Staff Employee Grievances (with provision for certain hourly employees)

No. 3.31    Rev.  11-18-98     Date 8-17-77      



I. PURPOSE

To ensure fair treatment for non-faculty staff members who seek to resolve work-related grievances.

II. REFERENCES

  • PPM 3-32, Discrimination Complaint
  • PPM 3-14, Hourly Employment (Non-Teaching Personnel)
  • PPM 3-2, Personnel Definitions

III. DEFINITIONS

A. Staff Member

A non-exempt or exempt employee in a non-faculty position who receives compensation for work or services from funds controlled by the institution, regardless of the source of the funds, the duties of the position, the amount of compensation paid or the percent of time worked.

B. Employment Grievance

A grievance concerning interpretation or application of personnel policies or practices, working conditions, employee-supervisor relationships, termination or non-retention or other personnel matters. Grievances filed under this policy are to relate to non-faculty employment. Staff members who hold tenure from previous faculty employment may choose to file grievance under Section 9 of the Policy and Procedures Manual if the personnel action in question affects that tenure status. If the personnel action in question does not affect the tenure status, it will be regarded as a "staff" issue and will be dealt with under PPM 3-31. In the case of a Section 9 grievance, no action will be taken under PPM 3-31.

C. Final and Binding Decision

A final administrative decision. The complainant cannot take the matter any further administratively.

D. Final and Binding Decision-Maker

The president of Weber State University.

E. Immediate or First-Level Supervisor or Supervision

The lowest level of exempt salaried supervision of the employee as defined in the Fair Labor Standards Act and Department of Labor regulations.

F. Office of Human Resource Administration

That office or individual charged with the administration and record maintenance of personnel matters, or such other person as may be specially designated by the institution president to administer the grievance procedures of this policy.

G. Personnel Relations Committee

A committee established by institutional policy with membership from the staff, administration and faculty as a cross section of the college or University community. Such members are to be selected for their objectivity and fairness in personnel matters and will serve staggered terms. Where possible, a chair is selected who has knowledge of general employment practices, with perhaps a background in business, law or social work.

IV. POLICY

A. Problems or complaints involving a claim of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, handicap or veteran's status are processed through the provisions of PPM 3-32.

B. Staff members should first attempt to resolve employment grievances through informal discussions with their immediate supervision. A staff member may contact the Office of Human Resources administration to assist in the informal resolution of the problem. Employees may not be subjected to intimidation or reprisal for assertion of the employment grievance.

1. A staff member may be accompanied by a friend, fellow employee or relative during informal discussions of an employment grievance.

2. If a staff member insists on representation in the informal process by an employee organization representative, legal counsel or other similar professional, the institution may either proceed with the meeting between the staff member, such representative and the first level supervision, or determine that the parties should proceed directly with the formal employment grievance review process.

C. A formal employment grievance review process is available to all staff members who are not satisfied with the results of an informal discussion. A staff member has the right to be accompanied by another employee or a person of his or her choice during the formal grievance process. Employees may not be subjected to intimidation or reprisal for initiating a formal grievance review.

D. Staff members still within the initial 90-day probationary period and hourly wage employees and hourly student employees have access to the employment grievance policy up to and including formal Step 2 in V, B, 2 above. The Step 2 solution becomes the final binding decision for such employees.

E. The Office of Human Resources administration serves in an advisory capacity with respect to procedural questions which may be asserted by either the complainant or the supervisor. The Personnel representative designated by the Office of Human Resources administration monitors the employment grievance procedure and gives particular attention to the avoidance of unreasonable delays at each level of the process.

F. If any steps provided for in V, B, 2 above. are impractical for any reason, the Office of Human Resources administration, normally after consultation with the staff member, may prescribe an alternative process which, to the maximum practicable degree, assures to the aggrieved staff member the fair and adequate consideration of the problem or complaint provided, however, that a staff member's right to a hearing before the Personnel Relations Committee is not denied nor abridged.

G. Reasonable time off with pay during scheduled working hours are provided to the employee, the employee's representative, or any witnesses called to give information, for time spent participating in proceedings leading to resolution of the complaint. Time spent by the employee or representative in such activities outside scheduled working hours is non-compensable. Neither time-off with pay nor compensation is provided for time or money spent in preparation for such proceedings.

H. A proposed resolution of a complaint that involves an exception to an applicable institutional policy or regulation requires the prior approval of the supervising vice president.

I. Time limits provided for the conduct of the grievance procedure are guidelines and may be extended by (1) mutual agreement between the Office of Human Resources administration and the aggrieved employee or (2) extraordinary circumstances that make it inadvisable or impossible to meet the time limits. Time limits stated refer to normal work days.

V. PROCEDURE

A. Informal Review

1. All persons involved in an employment grievance should attempt to resolve their differences in an informal manner at the lowest level of supervision.

2. To facilitate the informal settlement of the grievance, staff members and supervisors are encouraged to discuss with the Office of Human Resources administration, on an informal basis, any employment problems or questions pertaining to personnel policy and practice.

3. The complaint should be presented orally by the staff member to his or her immediate supervisor within twenty (20) days of the event of action prompting the grievance. If the matter cannot be prudently discussed or resolved with the immediate supervisor, an exception to this procedure may be approved by the Office of Human Resources administration.

B. Formal Review

1. A formal complaint is filed in writing by a staff member when the issue cannot be resolved through informal discussions.

2. The following steps, procedures and time limits shall be observed by the aggrieved staff member and by administrative personnel in processing a formal review of the complaint:

Step 1

The immediate supervisor has seven (7) days from the last informal review or discussion with the aggrieved staff member to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. If by that time a mutually satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, then the aggrieved staff member may refer the grievance, including the remedy sought, to the next level of supervision by putting it in writing and delivering it to the appropriate office within an additional seven (7) days. The second-level supervisor should normally schedule a meeting in which the staff member and first level supervisor are present. The second-level supervisor conducts the meeting in a manner deemed beneficial in determining the facts. Both the employee and supervisor should be allowed to bring witnesses on their behalf if so desired. The employee and first-level supervision should bring forth all known material facts relevant to the events or occurrences complained of. A written decision by the second-level supervisor is given to the aggrieved staff member within seven (7) days of receipt of the written grievance or the Step 1 meeting, if one is held. Copies of the written grievance with the remedy sought, and the decision are forwarded to the Office of Human Resources administration.

Step 2

If the second-level supervisor's decision resulting from Step 1 is not satisfactory to the aggrieved staff member, he or she personally reviews the case, within seven (7) days of receipt of such decision, with the Office of Human Resources administration or with the person specially designated by the institution president to hear Step 2 employment grievances.

The Office of Human Resources administration or the person designated by the institution president to hear Step 2 employment grievances within seven (7) days of the personal review with the aggrieved employee, prepares a written summary of the issues, and a proposed solution.

This is the final and binding decision for a grievance of a part-time, temporary or probationary staff member. The solution is deemed acceptable by the staff member and his or her supervisor unless written notice to the contrary is received by the Office of Human Resources administration in accordance with Step 3 procedures.

 Step 3

If the staff member or other party to the grievance is not satisfied with the solution proposed as per Step 2, the dissatisfied party respond to the Office of Human Resources administration in writing within seven (7) days, setting forth the reasons why the proposed solution is not acceptable. The Office of Human Resources administration, within three (3) days, refers the case to the Personnel Relations Committee chair. The Personnel Relations Committee schedules hearings on the case within a reasonable time, generally twenty (20 days) except in unusual circumstances. Each party to the complaint is notified, has the right to be accompanied at the hearings by a person of his or her choice in an advisory capacity, has the right to hear the presentations of the other parties and the right to be heard by the Committee.

A Committee member is excused from participation in any grievance deliberation where he or she may be influenced by personal relationships with the parties, by bias concerning the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, or by any other material influence which would appear to inhibit the member's ability to render an unbiased judgment. The chair shall decide on any questions regarding a Committee member's participation.

Within twenty (20) days after the conclusion of the hearing, the Committee submits a written report of its findings and recommendations to the final and binding decision-maker. The final decision-maker may refer the grievance back to the Personnel Relations Committee if he/she feels that the Committee needs to consider additional factors. In such a circumstance, the Committee has an additional (7) days to submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the final and binding decision-maker.

Step 4

The final and binding decision-maker reviews the written report and the findings and recommendations of the Committee. Based upon such review and without conducting further hearings, he or she, within ten (10) days informs all parties of the final decision.