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POL 5.425 Grievance Policy

It is recognized that misunderstandings and disagreements may arise regarding an employee’s terms and conditions of employment. This procedure is provided to facilitate the existing right of non-union college staff to present grievances on matters where it is alleged policies and procedures of the college were not followed or actions were taken which may be contrary to law. Procedures for unionized staff are governed by the appropriate agreement, if established in said agreement.

Adopted March 14, 1996

Revised February 20, 2004

PRO 5.425 GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

  1. General Provisions:
    1. The office of human resources will advise staff in the use of the grievance procedure by explaining policies and procedures, providing objectivity to the process, assisting in preventing delays in the process, and resolving conflicts between employees and supervisors, if possible. Allegations of illegal behavior, including harassment, may be investigated directly by the office of human resources, and/or referred to the appropriate authorities, notwithstanding the provisions of this policy.
    2. A grievance submitted under the provisions of this policy will contain a precise statement of the grievance, including a statement of the facts, the parties involved, and the specific remedy the employee is seeking. An employee may not grieve an action that does not affect them.
    3. After a formal grievance has been submitted, no additional issue(s) may be added. If such are discovered, and cannot be resolved, another grievance may be filed.
    4. Notwithstanding a filing of a grievance, employees are obligated to conform to directives of their supervisor until a determination on the grievance has been made. The exceptions are when the employee would be subjected to dangerous or hostile working conditions, or required to violate the law. The president may authorize temporary reassignment under such circumstances. Any other refusal to obey a lawful directive may subject the employee to dismissal.
    5. The employee shall have the right to have a peer representative* present at any stage of the proceedings. Either party shall have the right to bring in witnesses necessary for the processing of the grievance.
    6. Failure by the employee to appeal a decision within the specified time limits will constitute a resolution or withdrawal of the grievance. Failure of the college to respond will result in the grievance promptly advancing to the next level of the process. It is the responsibility of the employee to monitor the processing of the grievance through the procedural levels. Time limits may be extended by mutual written agreement, in electronic or paper format, of both parties; if agreement is not reached for a reasonable extension, the matter of extension will be referred to the director of human resources for resolution.
    7. No discriminatory or retaliatory action shall be taken by the college against any employee for participation in the grievance process.
    8. Standard guidelines for confidentiality, as defined under POL 5.175 – CONFIDENTIALITY will be followed during the process of the complaint. The director of human resources shall assure maintenance of written records of each grievance for a minimum of three (3) years after resolution. For purposes of dissemination of grievance precedents, records may be released which indicate only the subject matter of each grievance, the resolution made, and the date of resolution.
    9. The grievant may have the right to take legal action through agencies or parties outside the college. If the grievant elects to file a grievance regarding the same issue(s) in another forum prior to the resolution of the initial grievance, the college will have no further obligation to continue its review under this procedure. The college may, however, continue to investigate the issue(s) as it would in any situation involving threatened or pending litigation.
    10. This policy does not preclude an individual petitioning the president, within fifteen (15) working days of the exhaustion of this process, for consideration of proceeding to alternative dispute resolution. The president will base his/her decision on the best interests of the college. Failure to reply within ten (10) working days will constitute rejection of this request.*The term “peer representative” refers in this instance to a colleague generally within the same employee group, as defined under POL 5.345 DEFINITION OF EMPLOYEE CATEGORIES.
  2. Process
    1. Regular Resolution of Complaint
      1. The employee will discuss the problem with their immediate supervisor within ten (10) working days of the action giving rise to the concern. The supervisor should gather and analyze the facts and make a decision. The supervisor will then notify the employee, in writing and dated, of his/her decision within five (5) working days of the initial discussion.Note: For issues of college-wide impact, or matters outside the scope of responsibility of one’s supervisor, staff are encouraged to utilize the Target Specific Problem Solving Process (TSPS). The office of human resources can provide the names of staff representatives who can hear a problem and research solutions.
    2. Formal Resolution of Grievance
      1. An employee taking substantive issue with a decision of his/her supervisor that is not resolved in the regular resolution process must, within five (5) working days of receipt of the supervisor’s decision in Section II, inform his/her supervisor in writing of the desire to invoke the formal grievance procedure. This written statement must contain the grievance issue(s), the circumstances upon which it is based, the college policy or procedure allegedly violated, if applicable, and the remedy being sought. The supervisor shall provide a written, detailed response within five (5) working days of receipt of this formal statement.
      2. An employee dissatisfied with the response from his/her supervisor may, within five (5) working days of the response, appeal the decision to the senior administrative supervisor* for his/her area. The senior administrative supervisor may designate another administrator, uninvolved in the particulars of the issue, to hear the grievance and respond. The responsible administrator will investigate the grievance and provide a written response within ten (10) working days of receipt of the appeal.
      3. If the employee remains dissatisfied with the responsible administrator’s response, he/she must notify the director of human resources within five (5) days of receiving the administrator’s response. The director of human resources will convene a hearing by the college grievance panel (refer to III, below) within ten (10) working days of receipt of the employee’s request. The hearing will be conducted in a manner determined by the members of the grievance panel, facilitated by the office of human resources. The panel will issue a written report to the director of human resources within three (3) working days following the hearing. The director of human resources will inform the employee and the employee’s supervisor of the decision of the panel. If there was found to be merit to the employee’s appeal, the matter will be referred to the appropriate senior administrative supervisor for administrative review and action.
      4. Within five (5) working days of the notification of the decision of the panel, the grievant may appeal the decision to the president, only on the basis that the grievance procedures described herein were not properly observed or followed. The appeal must be filed in writing with the director of human resources, providing specific detail as to how the process is alleged to have been violated. The director of human resources will forward the appeal to the president with records of the proceedings. The president will render a decision on the appeal within ten (10) working days of receipt of the appeal. The director of human resources will inform the parties involved of the president’s decision. The decision of the president represents the position of the college on the matter being grieved.The term “senior administrative supervisor” refers in this instance to administrators who report directly to the president of the college.
  3. College Grievance Panel
    1. Members of the college grievance panel are appointed by the president from staff members recommended by the representatives of the classified staff and part-time faculty at the beginning of each fiscal year. The panel will consist of six (6) members, including two (2) classified staff, two (2) part-time faculty, and two (2) administrators designated by the president. Panel members will normally serve for two (2) overlapping years, requiring the appointment of three (3) members each year. The director of human resources will initiate the appointment process in a timely manner, whether for annual vacancies, or those occasioned by resignation, retirement, or other cause, and will further be responsible for appropriate orientation and training of panel members.
    2. After appointment, the grievance panel will choose its chair. The chair may be one of three (3) members designated to review a grievance appeal.
    3. The full membership of the panel will not hear and evaluate an appeal. Three (3) members of the full panel will be selected for each grievance hearing by the chair, in collaboration with the director of human resources, the individual whose grievance is being appealed, and the person to whom the grievance is directed to assure no conflicts of interest exist for any of the actual grievance hearing members.