Section: Personnel
Policy Number: 4-85
Policy Name: Professional Grievance Procedure Up to Level 15
Date: 1997

POLICY

There may be occasions in which a professional employee may feel that he/she has a grievance as defined below. Every effort should be made by all parties to resolve the problem informally and directly. If the problem is not resolved informally to the satisfaction of the employee, the University provides a grievance procedure which permits an impartial review.

A grievance is defined as any difference arising between the individual and the University as to the interpretation or application of University policies, rules or procedures relative to salaries, fringe benefits or other conditions of employment.

Time limits have been established at each step of the grievance procedure and may be waived only by mutual agreement between the affected parties. In instances where mutual agreement can not be reached, the level five-Convener or Hearing Board Chair will have final approval. Extension time limits will not be unreasonably withheld. "Days" refer to regularly scheduled University working days. Step 3 and/or Step 4 may be waived by mutual agreement of both parties, if requested.

There may be occasions when the grievance involves action(s) by someone other than the immediate supervisor in the employee's own unit. In such cases, the grievant is advised to inform his/her immediate supervisor of the situation in addition to pursuing the matter with the person concerned.

Employees shall exercise their rights to the grievance procedure without prejudice to position in the University. All those involved in the grievance shall abide by the final decision in the grievance process without prejudice. To ensure nondiscriminatory treatment, the GPAB shall conduct follow-up interviews with principal parties to the grievance.

The Grievance Procedure Advisory Body

In deciding whether or how to proceed with a perceived grievance, the employee has the option of contacting the standing Grievance Procedure Advisory Body (GPAB).

The GPAB provides objective, confidential information and assistance to professional employees regarding University policies and procedures, as well as individual rights, choices and obligations. Specific responsibilities of the GPAB include:

  • Publicizing its functions to professionals.
  • Assisting the professional in the clarification of problems.
  • Informing the concerned professional about various formal and informal means of resolving the matter.
  • Conducting follow-up interviews with grievants. All findings shall be reported to the Office of Labor Relations.

The GPAB shall be comprised of five persons interested in personnel matters and whose schedules and responsibilities will not mitigate their availability for advisement. Members of the GPAB are chosen from the membership of the Professional Advisory Council in annual elections. Members serve two years, with two or three members elected during odd numbered years and two or three of the five members elected during even numbered years. Advisors may serve one or more terms.

The GPAB is accountable to the Professional Advisory Council and also maintains close relations with the Office of Labor Relations to ensure access to documentation and to receive proper training as well as procedural advice when necessary. Each advisor should have all appropriate information regarding policies and procedures in order to advise individuals seeking assistance. The GPAB reports its activities to the Professional Advisory Council at least once a year, more frequently if warranted. While the GPAB will have direct and open communication with both Labor Relations and the grievant, this body will not serve as a proponent for either.

The Grievance Hearing Board

The Professional Advisory Council nominates and elects ten professionals to be available to serve on hearing boards. Five professionals are elected each year to serve two-year terms. Elections will be held at the beginning of each academic year to maintain the ten person group. Two conveners will be elected from among this group.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

STEP I

Individual

Within twenty days after the employee is aware of the circumstances giving rise to the grievance, the individual discusses the problem with the supervisor concerned in an attempt to resolve the matter in open and frank discussion.

Supervisor

Supervisor (or person concerned) attempts to resolve the grievance in accordance with University policies by frank discussion of all issues.

STEP II

Individual

Within five days of verbal discussion, if the problem is not resolved to the satisfaction of the grievant, the individual submits to the supervisor (or person concerned) a written statement of the grievance which includes the policy(ies) and/or procedure(s) being grieved and the remedy or relief being sought.

The grievant shall have access to pertinent information contained in the grievant's University personnel file and/or the grievant's departmental personnel file.

Supervisor

Within five days of receiving the written grievance, supervisor (or person concerned) responds in writing to the grievant. A copy of the response should be forwarded to the Office of Labor Relations.

STEP III

Individual

Within ten days of receiving written response, if the matter is not resolved, the individual submits the written grievance to the department head for a hearing. Prior to the hearing, the grievant informs the department head whether the matter should be heard with or without the supervisor present and of witnesses to be present.

The grievant may select another employee who is not a current GPAB member to help present the case during this and subsequent steps.

Department Head

Within five days of receipt of the written grievance, the department head conducts a hearing. Witnesses may be called by both parties for disclosure of facts. Prior to a hearing the Department Head shall provide each witness with the Witness Advisory Statement available from Labor Relations or GPAB members.

Within five days of the hearing, the department head responds in writing to the grievant. A copy of the decision should be forwarded to the Office of Labor Relations. Include in the decision a list of witnesses who participated, if any, from both sides.

STEP IV

Individual

Within five days of receipt of the Step III decision, if the matter is not resolved, the individual requests in writing for a hearing by the vice president concerned.

Prior to the hearing, the individual indicates any witnesses to be present.

Vice President Concerned

Within five days of receipt of the request, the vice president conducts a hearing with the grievant, supervisor and necessary witnesses. Prior to a hearing the Vice President shall provide each witness with the Witness Advisory Statement available from Labor Relations or GPAB members.

Within five days of the hearing, the vice president responds in writing to the grievant. A copy of the decision including a list of witnesses who participated should be forwarded to the Office of Labor Relations.

STEP V

Individual

Within five days of receipt of the decision, if the matter is not resolved, the individual requests in writing to the Vice President for Administration, a hearing before a hearing board.

Vice President for Administration

Within five days after receipt, the vice president asks that a hearing board be constituted.

Note: If the grievant is a member of the staff of the Vice President for Administration, the Step V appeal shall be submitted to the University Secretary, who will receive the recommendation of the hearing board and make the decision.

Hearing Board

At the request of the Vice President for Administration, a convener will convene the full group. Five from the group will volunteer to constitute a hearing board. The hearing board will be formed within five days after the request of the Vice President for Administration. They will volunteer to serve on the basis of available time and ability to be impartial in the given case. Persons will not hear a case when he/she serves under the defending unit. As soon as possible when progressing beyond Step IV, a list of potential witnesses will be given to a Convener or the designated Hearing Board Chair. All supporting documents will be numbered and submitted directly to the Hearing Board Chair.

The Hearing Board will have the authority and responsibility for convening the hearing, after confirming previous steps and decisions have been completed. During the hearing, the following persons may be present for the entire hearing:

  1. Hearing Board members
  2. The grievant and his/her consultant (a University person who is not a GPAB member), if there is one.
  3. The administrator being grieved against or who is defending the policy.
  4. A Labor Relations observer.
  5. One or more GPAB member observer(s).
  6. Other persons as requested by the Hearing Board.

Witnesses or persons providing information will be present only when providing information or answering questions from either party or the Board. Administrators other than the one directly being grieved against will appear only as necessary to answer questions or provide information.

Within ten days, the Hearing Board conducts hearing(s). Witnesses maybe called by the Board for full disclosure of facts. Board hearing(s) will be recorded on tape. Principal parties shall have access to these tape recordings within appropriate University procedures.

Within five days of completion of the hearing(s), the Board makes a recommendation to the Vice President for Administration.

Majority and dissenting views will be available to the grievant.

Vice President for Administration

Within five days of receipt of the recommendation, the Vice President for Administration renders a decision and forwards it in writing to the grievant The decision made by the vice president is binding on all parties except in matters involving suspension or discharge. A copy of the decision should be forwarded to the Office of Labor Relations.

STEP VI

Individual

If suspension or discharge from service is involved and if the Step V decision is unsatisfactory, the grievant may appeal in writing to the President of the University, within ten days after receipt of the decision.

President

Within ten days after receipt of the appeal, the President appoints a panel of arbitrators consisting of three administrative officers as defined by University Trustee Bylaws. These officers are to be from vice presidential units different from that of the grievant.

The grievant may select another employee to assist in presenting the case.

Panel of Arbitrators

Within fifteen days of date of appointment, the panel of arbitrators conducts a hearing and renders a written decision within ten days of the hearing The decision of the panel shall be final and binding on both parties. A copy of the decision should be forwarded to the Office of Labor Relations.

Submitted by: Labor Relations