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Human Resources

Non-Exempt Staff Grievance Procedure

Section: Human Resources Policies
Policy Name: Non-Exempt Staff Grievance Procedure
Policy Owner: Executive Vice President
Responsible University Office: Office of Human Resources
Origination Date: June 1998
Revisions: October 30, 2001; November 20, 2002; January 28, 2013; November 2015
Legacy Policy Number: 4-91
  1. SCOPE OF POLICYThis policy outlines the grievance procedure available to non-exempt staff who have completed their probationary period.  This policy does not apply to grievances regarding Sexual Misconduct as that term is defined in the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, except for appeals as set forth in the Sexual Misconduct Policy.  All complaints of sexual misconduct should be reported to the University Title IX Coordinator for investigation pursuant to the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  2. DEFINITIONS
    1. Grievance: Any difference arising between a non-exempt staff member and the University as to the interpretation or application of University policies, rules or procedures. Disciplinary action, including discharge, is grievable.
    2. Grievance Procedure Advisory Committee (“GPAC”): The GPAC is comprised of five non-exempt staff employees from the University Community interested in personnel matters and whose schedules and responsibilities allow. Names for members of the GPAC are submitted to the Non-exempt Staff Advisory Council and are elected in annual elections. Members serve three year terms, with the two members with the most seniority rotating to the Hearing Board.  Every January two members with the most seniority rotate to the Hearing Board and two new members are elected to the Advisory Committee.  The GPAC is accountable to the Non-exempt Staff Advisory Council and reports its activities to the Council at least annually, or more frequently as warranted.  The GPAC also maintains close relations with the Office of Employee Relations to ensure access to documentation and to receive proper training, as well as procedural advice when necessary.  Each GPAC member should have all appropriate information regarding policies and procedures in order to advise individuals seeking assistance.  A chair is chosen from among the five members for recording purposes. While the GPAC is to have direct and open communication with both Employee Relations and the grievant, this body is not to serve as a proponent for either.

      Specific responsibilities of the GPAC include:

      1. Publicizing its functions to non-exempt staff.
      2. Assisting non-exempt staff in the clarification of problems.
      3. Informing the concerned non-exempt staff about various formal and informal means of resolving matters.
    3. Grievant: The non-exempt staff member that has initiated the Grievance under this policy.
    4. Non-exempt Hearing Board (“Hearing Board”): The hearing board is comprised of five non-exempt staff members who rotated from the Advisory Committee. Members serve for three years.  The two members with the most seniority on the Hearing Board are replaced with the two members rotating in from the GPAC.  All members leaving the Hearing Board must wait one year before they can re-submit their names to the Non-exempt Staff Advisory Council for re-election to the GPAC.  The Hearing Board selects a convener and a co-convener.
    5. Step IV Hearing Panel: A four-member hearing panel convened to hear a Step IV grievance comprised of two members of the Hearing Board appointed by the convener of the Hearing Board and two members appointed by the Chief Human Resources Officer – one of whom is a department head and the other an officer of the administration.  The members of the Step IV Hearing Panel must be from units other than from the one in which the grievant is employed.
    6. Work Days: As used in this policy, work days means week days (Monday-Friday) when the University is open.
  3. POLICY STATEMENTAn employee may exercise the grievance procedure without prejudice to standing in the University. The GPAC provides objective confidential information and assistance to non-exempt staff employees regarding University policies and procedures, as well as individual rights, choices and obligations. All those involved in the Grievance shall abide by the final decision in the grievance process.
  4. POLICY STANDARDS AND PROCEDURESTime limits based on regularly scheduled University working days have been established at each step of the grievance procedure and may be waived only by mutual agreement of the affected parties, not to be unreasonable withheld.  This policy does not apply to employees in their probationary period. In deciding whether or how to proceed with a perceived grievance, the non-exempt staff employee has the option of contacting the GPAC.  Additionally, non-exempt staff may also benefit from assistance from other campus resources such as the Employee Assistance Program [Human Management Services (HMS)], Disability Services, Employee Relations, and the Office of Equity & Inclusion (OEI).
    1. Pre-Grievance Recommendations:

      Before filing a formal Grievance, it is strongly recommended that the employee meet with his/her supervisor in an informal, open, and congenial manner to resolve the issue of concern to the employee.  If, after this meeting, the employee is not satisfied with the results and wishes to file a Grievance, the following steps should be followed.

      1. STEP I
        Grievant’ s ResponsibilitiesWithin twenty work days of the employee becoming aware of the situation giving rise to the Grievance, the individual notifies the supervisor, in writing, that he/she is initiating a formal Grievance.
        Supervisor’s ResponsibilitiesWithin three work days of receiving the grievance notification from the employee, the supervisor must respond, in writing, to the employee of the final decision regarding the Grievance.
      2. STEP II
        Grievant’s ResponsibilitiesWithin five work days of the supervisor’s decision, if the problem is not resolved to the satisfaction of the employee, the Grievant forwards the Grievance in writing to the department head.
        Department Head’s ResponsibilitiesWithin five days of receipt of the written Grievance, the department head meets with the Grievant and with the supervisor, or alone if the Grievant wishes.  Witnesses may be called by both parties for disclosure of facts.  The Grievant may select another employee, who is not a current GPAC member, to help present the case during this and subsequent steps.  Within five work days following the above meeting, the department head responds in writing to the Grievant.  The department head forwards a copy of the decision to the Office of Employee Relations.
      3. STEP III
        Grievant’ s ResponsibilitiesWithin ten work days of receipt of the Step II decision, if the decision of the department head is not satisfactory, the Grievant may request, in writing, a meeting with the Director of Employee Relations or his/her designee.
        Director of Employee Relation’s ResponsibilitiesWithin five days of receipt of request, the Director of Employee Relations or his/her designee meets with the Grievant, the supervisor and department head together or individually if the Grievant wishes.  Witnesses may be called by both parties for a disclosure of facts.  Within five work days of the meeting(s), the Director of Employee Relations or his/her designee responds in writing to the Grievant.
      4. STEP IV
        Grievant’ s ResponsibilitiesWithin five work days of receipt of the decision, if the decision of the Director of Employee Relations or his/her designee is not satisfactory, the Grievant may request in writing a hearing before a Step IV Hearing Panel. If the Grievant wishes, he or she may select another employee, who is not a current GPAC member, to attend the Step IV hearing, to help present the Grievant’s case and offer support during the hearing process.  The Office of Employee Relations supplies all pertinent information to the Step IV Hearing Panel prior to meeting.
        Chief Human Resources Officer’s ResponsibilitiesWithin five work days of the Grievant’s request, the Chief Human Resources Officer selects a department head and an officer of the administration to serve as members of the Step IV Hearing Panel.  The Chief Human Resources Officer also notifies the convener of the Non-exempt Staff Hearing Board and requests that two Hearing Board members be selected to serve on the Step IV Hearing Panel.
        Hearing Board’s ResponsibilitiesAfter receiving a request from the Chief Human Resources Officer that a Step IV Hearing Panel will be convened, the convener of the Hearing Board provides the Chief Human Resources Officer with the names of two members of the Hearing Board to serve on the Step IV Hearing Panel.
        Step IV Hearing Panel’s ResponsibilitiesWithin five work days of appointment, the Step IV Hearing Panel meets with the Grievant, supervisor, department head and the Director of Employee Relations or his/her designee together or individually if the Grievant wishes. Witnesses may be called by the parties for full disclosure of facts. Within seven days of the collection of all evidence and the closing of the record, the Step IV Hearing Panel renders a written decision which is final and binding on all parties. The hearing may be audio taped.
        Special Considerations for Appeals from the University Sexual Misconduct PolicyIf the Step IV grievance is triggered by an appeal from a decision under the University Sexual Misconduct Policy, the parties involved will have all of the rights available to them under the Sexual Misconduct Policy.  In addition, the members of the Step IV Hearing Panel will receive training regarding sexual misconduct, the sexual misconduct policy and using preponderance of the information as the standard of proof in the matter.
  5. INTERACTION WITH OTHER UNIVERSITY POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND STANDARDS OF CONDUCTNotwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in this Policy shall be interpreted to supersede other University policies relating to specific categories of sexual misconduct, including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other employee protections established under federal, state or local law, which may have separately-defined policies and procedures.  In the event a Grievance implicates any such separate University policy or procedure, that policy shall govern the grievance procedures as applicable.