Grievance Procedure for Non-Faculty Employees

The Office of Human Resources is a resource for both employees and supervisors/department heads on all matters arising in the work place. Human Resources staff are available for private and confidential consultations at any time. An employee should feel free to discuss any problem informally with his/her supervisor or department head or the staff in the Office of Human Resources at any time without the discussion being considered part of a formal grievance procedure. Supervisors and department heads should try to resolve differences between their employees and should listen and respond in a productive manner to any concerns employees may have with regard to working conditions and issues.

People often have questions such as, "Do I have a valid issue or complaint?" "How do I go about resolving the matter myself?" "What should I say and how should I say it?" "What do I do if my initial attempt fails?" Don't be reluctant to contact the Office of Human Resources with questions and concerns. Issues rarely resolve themselves, and early attempts at resolution are often productive. Conversations with the Office of Human Resources in no way limit an employee's access to the formal grievance procedure outlined below.

The University provides employees with an avenue by which they can express their concern, dissatisfaction or disagreement with a work-related issue. For purposes of this procedure, "grievance" means a complaint or dispute by a non-faculty employee of unfair treatment relating to his/her employment, including but not limited to disciplinary actions (up to and including termination). However, "grievance" shall not include a complaint or dispute relating to the setting and modifying of wages or salaries; position classifications; general employment benefits; the establishment or contents of policies, procedures, protocols, rules, or regulations of the University or University departments; reductions in force; hiring decisions; transfers within the University; work assignments; performance evaluation ratings; or the methods, means, and personnel by which the University's operations are to be carried on. While these management rights are reserved to the University, the Office of Human Resources, and individual University departments, failure to follow applicable University or department policies, procedures, protocols, rules, or regulations as written or established is grievable. Complaints of protected category discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct or retaliation should be brought informally or formally under separate procedures as set forth in the University's Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation, and are not grievable under this procedure.

The first two steps in this grievance procedure are informal efforts to resolve problems where they arise and with the parties directly involved. The third and fourth steps provide for further review by the Executive Director of Human Resources, then the Vice President for Finance and Administration. Finally, the fifth step provides a means of request for appeal to the President. All steps of the grievance procedure will be handled confidentially with information being shared only on a legitimate need to know basis.

An employee using this grievance procedure should initiate his/her grievance within fifteen (15) working days of the decision, event or action giving rise to the grievance, or the date the employee was informed of that decision, event or action, whichever is later. An employee should follow the steps in the order described below. However, the Office of Human Resources may be contacted directly if, for the particular grievance, it seems inappropriate to discuss the problem with the supervisor or department head. Also, the Office of Human Resources may be contacted at any time for additional information, guidance or assistance in interpreting any part of this grievance procedure. This entire five-step process can generally be completed within four to five weeks.

Retaliation by supervisors or others about whom an employee may bring a grievance is prohibited and will be investigated and disciplined appropriately.

Step 1: Discussion with Immediate Supervisor or Department Head

If problems arise in a work situation, the people closest to the situation should have the first opportunity to try to work through issues or disagreements. Therefore, as a first step with any grievance, the employee should seek resolution of the problem through discussions with his or her immediate supervisor.

Step 2: Discussion with Department Head or Dean

If the employee is not satisfied with the resolution received from the immediate supervisor, the employee should discuss the issue with the relevant department head or dean.

Step 3-: Formal Written Grievance, Executive Director of Human Resources

If these discussions do not lead to a satisfactory resolution within ten working days of bringing the matter to the Department Head or Dean, the employee should submit a formal written statement of grievance, with all supporting documentation, to the Executive Director of Human Resources. The Executive Director will review the grievance in an objective, confidential manner, may investigate the situation, as appropriate, and attempt to resolve the situation in light of all the relevant facts and their relation to University policy. The Executive Director's written decision shall be communicated to all involved parties, normally within five working days of receipt of the written grievance.

Step 4: Review by Vice President for Finance and Administration

An employee may initiate review of the Step 3 decision by filing a written request with the Vice President for Finance and Administration within five working days of receipt of the Step 3 answer. This request should state the basis for the review and should include all supporting documentation. The Vice President for Finance and Administration will conduct the review of the grievance based on the record of the investigation and supporting documentation. The written decision of the Vice President will normally be made within five working days of receipt of the Step 3 answer. In the case where an employee works within the Administration Division, another Vice President or the Provost will be asked to conduct the review.

Step 5: Appeal to the University President

An employee request an appeal of the Step 4 decision by filing a written request with the President within five working days of receipt of the Step 4 answer. The following are the only grounds for requesting an appeal to the President:

  • A procedural error or irregularity, which materially affected the decision.
  • New substantive information not previously available at the time of the earlier decision that could have materially affected the decision.

The President will decide to act on the appeal in one of three ways. S/he may:

  • Decide to deny the appeal; or
  • Decide to grant the appeal, consider it himself/herself and issue a decision; or
  • Decide to grant the appeal, appoint a panel of three people to consider the appeal and make a non-binding recommendation to the President, after which the President will issue a decision.

Appeals will be limited to review of the record of the formal grievance and all supporting documents, except as required to explain new substantive information that should be considered. The President's decision will normally be made within ten working days of receipt of the request for appeal and is final and not subject to further review.

Time Limits

The time limits included in this procedure have been established to facilitate a speedy resolution while providing sufficient time to prepare and present information. However, because scheduling constraints and/or holidays may impact the time limits, the University, in its discretion, may extend particular time limits upon request in advance of the deadline. If the University has not approved an extension of a particular time limit ahead of the deadline and an employee does not observe the time limit for that step, the grievance will be considered to have been dropped, which resolution will be final.

Grievability

If the grievability of an employee's complaint or dispute is challenged by the Immediate Supervisor, Department Head or Dean at Step 1 or Step 2, the Executive Director of Human Resources will make a decision on whether or not the matter is grievable. That decision will be issued in writing, normally within five working days from the time the challenge to grievability is brought to the Executive Director of Human Resources. The employee may seek a review of that grievability determination by filing a written request with the Vice President for Finance and Administration within five working days of receipt of the grievability determination. The request should state why the employee believes the matter is grievable and include all supporting documentation. The Vice President will conduct a review and issue a written decision on grievability, normally within five working days of receiving the request for review. A determination that the matter is not grievable is final. If the Vice President determines that the matter is grievable, the grievance will resume at the step where the grievability challenge was raised. If the employee works within the Administration Division, another Vice President or the Provost will be asked to conduct the grievability review.