Human Resources
Policies and Procedures Manual

Departmental Responsibility: Office of Human Resources
Topic: Grievance Policy & Procedure
Policy: Grievance Policy & Procedure
Effective:
August 11, 2008
Last Revised Date: November 09, 2011


Grievance Policy and Procedure

Policy:
To provide a process for review of grievances filed by covered employees regarding certain adverse employment actions.

Definitions.
As used in this Grievance Policy & Procedure, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following words or phrases shall mean:

  1. “Adverse employment action" means: demotion, involuntary reassignment, salary decreases based on performance, suspension, and termination. A reclassification may be considered a grievable adverse employment action only if the University’s Chief Human Resources Officer or designee, or in the case of appeals, the State Human Resources Director, determines that there is a material issue of fact that the action is a punitive reclassification. An allegation by an employee that he/she was allegedly denied the opportunity for consideration for a promotion for which he/she was qualified when the promotional opportunity occurred and the employee applied or would have applied if he/she had known of the promotional opportunity may also be an adverse employment action when the University’s Chief Human Resource Officer or designee, or in the case of appeals, the State Human Resources Director, determines that there is a material issue of fact. A reduction in force may be considered a grievable adverse employment action if the University’s Chief Human Resources Officer or designee, or in the case of appeals the State Human Resources Director, determines that there is a material issue of fact that the University inconsistently or improperly applied its reduction-in-force policy or plan.
  2. "Calendar days" means the sequential days of a year. The time shall be computed by excluding the first day and including the last day. If the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or an official University holiday, it shall be excluded.

  3. "Covered employee" means a full-time or part-time employee occupying a part or all of an established full-time equivalent (FTE) position who has completed the probationary period and has a “successful” or higher overall rating on the employee's performance evaluation and who has grievance rights. This definition does not include:
    1. employees in positions such as temporary, temporary grant, or other time-limited employees who do not have grievance rights;
    2. teaching or research faculty, professional librarians, academic administrators, or other persons holding faculty appointments;
    3. athletic coaches and unclassified employees in the athletic department; or
    4. those positions excluded by State statute, proviso, or regulation.
    5. "Demotion" means the assignment of an employee from an established position to a different established position having a lower state salary range.
    6. "Grievance" means a complaint filed by a covered employee or the employee's representative regarding an adverse employment action (NOTE: see, “A. Adverse Employment Action”, above).
    7. "Involuntary reassignment" means the movement of an employee's principal place of employment in excess of thirty (30) miles from the prior work station at the initiative of the University but the reassignment of an employee by the University in excess of thirty (30) miles to the nearest facility with an available position having the same state salary range for which the employee is qualified is not considered involuntary reassignment. (NOTE: see “I. Reassignment”, below).
    8. "Probationary employee" means a full-time or part-time employee occupying a part or all of an established FTE position in the initial working test period of employment with the State of twelve months' duration. An employee who receives an unsatisfactory performance appraisal during the probationary period must be terminated; this is not a grievable adverse employment action.
    9. "Promotion" means an employee's change from a position in one class to a position in another class having a higher state salary range. Failure to be selected for a promotion is not a grievable adverse employment action.
    10. "Reassignment" means the movement within the University of an employee from one position to another position having the same state salary range or the movement of a position within the University which does not require reclassification. A reassignment is not a grievable adverse employment action. (NOTE: see, “F. Involuntary Reassignment”, above).
    11. "Reclassification" means the assignment of a position in one class to another class which is the result of a natural or an organizational change in duties or responsibilities of the position. A reclassification is not a grievable adverse employment action.
    12. "Reduction in force" means a determination by the University to eliminate one or more positions in one or more organizational units within the University due to reorganization, work shortage, loss of funding, or outsourcing or privatization. A reduction in force is not normally grievable as an adverse employment action, unless the University’s Chief Human Resources Officer or designee, or in the case of appeals, the State Human Resources Director, determines that there is a material issue of fact that the University inconsistently or improperly applied its reduction-in-force policy or plan.
    13. "Salary decrease based on performance" means the reduction of a covered employee's compensation based on the results of an Employee Performance Management System (EPMS) evaluation.
    14. "Suspension" means an enforced leave of absence without pay pending investigation of charges against an employee or for disciplinary purposes.
    15. "Temporary employee" means a full-time or part-time employee who does not occupy an FTE position. Temporary employees are not covered employees under this grievance policy & procedure.
    16. "Termination" means an action taken against an employee by the appointing authority to separate the employee involuntarily from employment.
    17. "Transfer" means the movement to a different agency of an employee from one position to another position having the same salary range, or the movement of an employee from one agency to another agency which does not require reclassification. A transfer is not a grievable adverse employment action.

 

Eligibility:
As defined above, any covered employee is eligible to file a grievance for an adverse employment action in accordance with the procedures defined by this policy. A complaint of unlawful discrimination, by itself, is not grievable under this Policy and should be processed pursuant to the University’s anti-discrimination policy administered by the Office of Access and Equity.

Process:

  1. Informal Resolution. Complaints should be resolved whenever possible in an informal manner. Employees are encouraged to discuss their complaint with an appropriate supervisor prior to filing a grievance and the employee and/or their supervisor may seek the assistance of the University’s Office of Ombudsman.  However, this is merely an informal attempt to resolve the matter and cannot be substituted for the requirements of the Formal Resolution procedure.  Informal resolution is not mandatory in order to proceed with a formal grievance but it is encouraged.
  2. Formal Resolution. If informal resolution is not successful, an employee may file a formal grievance with the University’s Office of Human Resources.

    Covered employees must follow the procedure outlined below to file a grievance.
    1. A formal grievance petition shall be delivered in writing to the University’s Chief Human Resources Officer or designee no later than fourteen (14) calendar days after notice to the employee of the adverse employment action. The formal grievance petition must be completed using the Employee Grievance Petition (Form A). All information requested by the form must be completed by the employee.
    2. The Chief Human Resources Officer or designee, will within three calendar days, determine if the petition is grievable and, if grievable, shall forward a copy of the completed grievance petition to the member of the University’s Administrative Council responsible for the employee’s area.
    3. Upon receipt of the grievance petition, the Administrative Council (AC) member shall conduct any necessary investigation and review of the grievance and the underlying facts. This may include consulting individuals and/or appointing a committee for advice. The responsible AC member will render and deliver to the grievant a written decision within ten (10) calendar days of his/her receipt of the grievance petition. A copy of this decision will be transmitted to the grievant and other named parties.
    4. If the grievant is not satisfied with the decision, he/she may request a written review of the decision by the President of the University. This request must be submitted in writing using the Employee Grievance Appeal Petition (Form B) and delivered to the Office of the President within four (4) calendar days of the receipt of the decision by the Administrative Council member.
    5. Upon receipt of the request for review, the President will appoint a three-person Committee to conduct a hearing. A hearing shall be conducted and a final recommendation from the Committee shall be delivered to the President within eighteen (18) days of receipt of the request for review.

                                          i.    The employee has the right to be represented throughout the grievance and appeal process by an individual of their preference and at their own expense, including legal counsel. 

                                        ii.    The State Administrative Procedures Act does not apply.

                                       iii.    State rules of civil procedure and evidence do not apply. The Committee will rule on all matters of evidence and procedure.

                                       iv.    The Committee does not have the authority to compel attendance or to subpoena witnesses except that employees of the University may be required to attend provided the Committee determines that their attendance is relevant to the proceedings and that their attendance is not unduly disruptive to the operation of the University. Prior to the hearing, the grievant is responsible for notifying the committee of any witnesses they wish to be present at the hearing.

                                        v.    The Committee may seek advice from the University’s Office of General Counsel.

                                       vi.    The majority vote of the Committee shall be the recommendation of the Committee. The Committee shall submit its written findings and recommendation to the President.

                                      vii.    The President shall render the final decision of the University within ten (10) days of receipt of the Committee’s recommendation. The President’s written decision will be transmitted to the grievant with copies to the members of the hearing Committee, the appropriate Administrative Council member, the grievant’s immediate supervisor and the Chief Human Resources Officer. A covered employee has the right to appeal to the State Human Resources Director if the University has not rendered a final decision within 45 days of the date the grievance was filed.

                                    viii.    Appeal to the State Human Resources Director. A covered employee who wishes to appeal the final decision of the University must file a written appeal within ten calendar days of receipt of the final decision of the University or within 55 calendar days after the employee filed the grievance with the University, whichever occurs later. The written request for appeal shall be filed with the State Human Resources Director. Failure to file an appeal as described above, within 10 calendar days of the University’s final decision or within 55 calendar days of the grievance, is a waiver of the right to appeal. The covered employee may appeal to the State Human Resources Director any grievance specified in the State Employee Grievance Procedures Act after all administrative remedies to secure relief within the agency have been exhausted.

  1. Failure by the covered employee to comply with the internal time periods in the University grievance procedure constitutes a failure to exhaust administrative remedies and waives the covered employee’s right to further continue the grievance. The internal time periods of the University grievance procedure, however, may be waived upon the mutual written agreement of both parties. The 45 calendar day period for action by the University may not be waived except by mutual written agreement of both parties.

Retaliation
No employee shall be disciplined or otherwise prejudiced in employment for exercising rights or testifying under this procedure.

 



Related Documents:
Employee Grievance Petition (Form A)
Employee Grievance Appeal Petition (Form B)
Panel Recommendations to President (Form C)
Memo to AC Member

The language used in this document does not create an employment contract between the employee and the agency. The document does not create any contractual rights or entitlements. The agency reserves the right to revise the content of this document, in whole or in part. No promises or assurances, whether written or oral, which are contrary or inconsistent with the terms of this paragraph create any contract of employment.