UNH.V  Personnel Policies
(Note: OLPM sections on this page may be cited following the format of, for example, "UNH.V.D.1.1". These policies may be amended at any time, do not constitute an employment contract, and are provided here only for ease of reference and without any warranty of accuracy. See OLPM Main Menu for details.)

D. Employee Relations

1.   Fast and Impartial Resolution (FAIR) Complaint and Grievance Process

1.1   Overview: The Fast and Impartial Resolution (FAIR) procedures represent two distinct but related processes established for the purpose of resolving work-related problems and/or misunderstandings. A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction or concern related to a workplace situation whereas a grievance is a written statement alleging a violation of University, University System or Board of Trustees policy. The first step of the complaint and grievance procedure provides for similar resolution options. The FAIR grievance procedure also includes a second step and the option to petition the Chancellor. The FAIR Complaint and Grievance policy is intended to assist with the prompt consideration and resolution of issues brought forth under this policy.

1.2   Common Attributes of FAIR

1.2.1   Eligibility: A complaint or grievance may be filed by any status faculty or staff member who is not part of a bargaining unit or a Principal Administrator.

1.2.2   Definition: A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction or concern related to a workplace situation. It does not encompass appeals to administrative processes such as classification, salary increases, issues of merit, nor does it apply to discrimination, harassment or termination of employment, as other processes are available for such issues. A grievance is a written statement alleging a violation of University, University System or Board of Trustees policy. The grievance procedure shall not be used to review the substantive merits of an administrative judgment, evaluation, or other discretionary act of decision, except as may be necessary when a violation of a nondiscrimination policy is alleged.

1.2.3   Time Requirements: Employees shall complete a FAIR Notice Form and file it with Personnel Services by 4:30 p.m. of the 10th calendar day from the day on which the employee became aware of the action which caused the complaint or the alleged policy violation and within one year of its occurrence.

1.2.4   Employee Rights: The filing of a complaint or grievance shall not affect the employee's rights to seek any remedy which may be available in an external forum and does not postpone any deadlines for pursuing such remedies.

1.2.5   Third Party: The employee may be assisted by a third party that is a status employee of the University and not an attorney.

1.2.6   Witnesses: The employee may invite participation of witnesses who have direct knowledge or have participated in the issue. Participation of character witnesses is usually not appropriate in this process.

1.2.7   Coordination: Personnel Services will coordinate the FAIR process and act as a resource to all parties involved.

1.2.8   Records: The documentation resulting from the formal process, including each step of the grievance process, shall be kept in confidential Personnel Services files, separate from the employee's personnel file. Such files will be kept for at least three years after the termination or retirement of the employee.

1.2.9   Remedies: Any complaint remedy, which conforms to the intent of the policy and has been reviewed by Personnel Services, is possible. Grievance remedies are limited to those necessary to bring the grieved action into compliance with the violated policy.

1.3   Step I FAIR Process

1.3.1   Employees should first meet with their supervisor or the individual with whom they have a complaint or grievance and try to resolve the issue informally. If the issue remains unresolved, or if the employee believes it is inappropriate to address the complaint informally, he/she should contact Personnel Services.

1.3.2   Personnel Services will consider the nature of the issue and provide information and guidance on FAIR options. The University encourages the use of the facilitation option to resolve issues. The facilitation meeting brings together the people involved in the complaint in a neutral environment and seeks a mutually agreed upon resolution. Other options include, but are not limited to, discussion with supervisor, investigation of the facts and mediation.

1.3.3   Personnel Services will seek to implement the option selected by the employee within five calendar days of receiving the completed FAIR Notice Form within the established time frame stated in UNH V.D.1.2.3. Completion of the FAIR Notice Form helps to define the issue or issues of concern to the employee and facilitates communication between those involved with the complaint or grievance.

1.3.4   Personnel Services will act as a resource to all parties involved. This assistance may include providing conflict resolution services, information gathering, document collection, copying, release time for witnesses, or other assistance deemed appropriate.

1.3.5   All meetings, as part of this procedure, shall be non-adversarial, and all parties will extend serious consideration to the views of all involved in an attempt to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Resolution will be in written form, non-precedent setting and as confidential as appropriate to the circumstances as determined by the University.

1.3.6   If the issue remains unresolved at the end of Step I, it may proceed to Step II if Personnel Services determines that the issue is grievable and the employee decides to continue the process. Personnel Services will notify the employee of the option to proceed to Step II and the time requirements to do so.

1.4   Step II FAIR Process

1.4.1   The Step II process is available to employees who are grieving termination, continuing their grievance from Step I, or grieving through the harassment policy. The employee may continue the grievance with written notification to Personnel Services which must be received by 4:30 p.m. of the fifth calendar day after the end of Step I. Time requirements for termination related grievances are as stated in UNH V.D.1.2.3.

1.4.2   The Step II grievance will be heard by a Peer Review Panel unless the employee requests the President or President's designee to hear the grievance. If the President agrees to the request, he/she will notify the employee.

1.4.3   Hearing: The Step II hearing will be scheduled within 10 calendar days from receipt of notice of intent to continue the grievance unless there are unavoidable delays approved by Personnel Services or agreed to by mutual consent of the grievant and the University.

1.4.4   President/Designee: The employee will present the grievance directly to the President or designee who will in turn determine the hearing procedures, time limits and overall format.

1.4.5   Peer Review Panel: The Peer Review Panel consists of three status University employees, one of whom may be the same occupational type as the grievant, and one may be the same occupational type as the respondent. Each party to the grievance may waive the occupational type option for him/herself. If the respondent is a Principal Administrator or Academic Administrator, the panel member need only have a supervisory responsibility.   The Peer Review Panel will be chosen from a list of employees appointed by the President and administered by Personnel Services. The panel determines the hearing procedures including, but not limited to, method of hearing witnesses, time limits and overall format.   The Peer Review Panel will determine whether or not a policy violation occurred.   Within five calendar days of hearing the grievance, the panel will make a recommendation to the President. The decision will be by majority vote.

1.5   Decision of the President. When the President has not personally heard the grievance, the President shall receive the recommendation of the Peer Review Panel or designee and make a decision on the employee grievance. The President may accept or reject the recommendation in whole or in part or request additional information. Normally within five calendar days of the President receiving the recommendation or hearing the grievance, the President will make a decision and notify the grievant and other parties involved of the decision.

1.6   Chancellor's Petition. After the employee has been notified of the President's decision, an employee who remains aggrieved shall be entitled to petition the Chancellor for further review of the grievance. The written petition must be received by the Chancellor's Office no later than 10 calendar days after the President issues the Step II decision. The employee's petition shall state clearly the grounds on which the Chancellor's review is sought. The Chancellor or his/her designee shall review the petition and determine whether further review is warranted. If the Chancellor or his/her designee determines further review is not warranted, the employee shall be so notified, and the President's decision shall be final. Otherwise, the Chancellor or his/her designee shall review the record of the grievance and make further inquiry as may be deemed necessary or appropriate. The Chancellor or his/her designee shall then decide the grievance and notify the employee and the President. Such a decision shall be final.

1.7   An employee who is grieving a termination may be placed on leave of absence without pay during the time involved in processing the grievance if necessary time exceeds notice period. Under such circumstances, USNH shall continue its benefits contributions for up to ninety (90) days for a member of the Operating Staff and for up to one hundred and twenty (120) days for a member of the PAT, Extension Educator or Academic Administrator unless otherwise stated by collective bargaining contract or Faculty Handbook. If the ninety (90) days or one hundred and twenty (120) days expire while a Chancellor level review is still under way, the USNH Benefit contributions for the grievant shall continue until the Chancellor's decision is made. This policy shall also apply to Faculty. Normal notice periods shall apply in cases of termination. See USY V.C.9.9.5.

3.   Safety

3.5   Excessive heat guidelines. When it has been determined by the UNH Department of Environmental Health and Safety that the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature has exceeded the Permissible Heat Exposure Threshold Limit Value (TLV), the Director of EHS will inform the President or his/her designee, and the following guidelines will be in effect. All faculty, staff, students and guests attending University of New Hampshire sponsored camps and/or other outdoor activities as well as those sponsoring such programs are advised to use caution.

3.5.1   Outdoor activities. Activity should be modified to either be inside or in a shaded area, and schedules may also be modified. If this is not possible, staff and others should be required to take frequent breaks and remain well hydrated. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists has made the following recommendations: For activity requiring heavy or moderate exertion individuals should be on a 25% work/75% rest regimen each hour and for work requiring light exertion individuals should be on a 50% work/50% rest regimen each hour.

3.5.2   Indoor activities. For staff and others active in areas without air conditioning, the temperature and humidity in individual offices will vary as will individual tolerances for heat. Supervisors may consider relocation to an air conditioned area if available such as Dimond Library; staff may work from home if practical or may be released for the remainder of the day.

3.5.3   General information. In both of the above instances supervisors are free and encouraged to send staff home with pay if their work environment has reached intolerable and unhealthy levels due to excessive heat. Staff will not be required to use leave time/earned time in this instance.   If excessive heat is declared, it will be communicated through e-mail and the phone tree which is used for winter weather emergencies.

4.   Tobacco [Use of]

4.1   Preamble. The University of New Hampshire (UNH) joins with the American College Health Association (ACHA) in supporting the findings of the Surgeon General that tobacco use in any form, active and passive, is a significant health hazard. UNH further recognizes that environmental tobacco smoke has been classified as a Group A carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In light of these health risks, UNH hereby adopts a tobacco policy that addresses prevention, reduction and cessation actions as they pertain to tobacco/smoking issues.

UNH supports the health goals of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) to reduce the proportion of adults who smoke to below 12% by the year 2010 and to positively influence our community by helping people to remain or become tobacco/smoke free. Efforts to promote a tobacco/smoke-free environment have led to substantial reductions in the number of people who smoke, the amount of tobacco products consumed, and the number of people exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. At the same time, the simple message of "smoke-free" can sometimes be misinterpreted to mean "smoker-free" or "anti-smoker." Our intent is to institute a policy that respects the rights of smokers and non-smokers. We acknowledge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics that an estimated 32 million smokers (about 70% of all smokers) report that they want to quit smoking completely. We recognize that the implementation of a tobacco/smoking policy will have an immediate effect on our smokers and have included prevention, education and cessation initiatives to support the non-use of tobacco products.

4.2   Policy. In order to protect the health, safety and comfort of University students, faculty and other academic appointees, staff, and visitors, and consistent with state law (RSA 155:64-77), it is the policy of the University of New Hampshire to restrict smoking in facilities and on grounds owned and occupied or leased and occupied by the University. Where the needs of smokers and nonsmokers conflict, smoke-free air shall have priority. In addition, UNH supports education programs to provide smoking cessation and prevention initiatives to our students, faculty and other academic appointees and staff. This policy supercedes all other tobacco/smoking policies at UNH.

4.3   Procedures

4.3.1   Education   The UNH tobacco policy shall be included in the new employee and student orientation program, in the UNH "Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities" handbook, in admissions application materials and other campus documents where appropriate.   UNH encourages employees and students not to smoke by offering educational information and providing information about smoking cessation classes offered through university departments or offices, health care providers, nonprofit organizations or other groups.   UNH Health Services Office of Health Education & Promotion will provide prevention and cessation programs to students upon request and offer other prevention and education initiatives that support non-use and address the risks of tobacco smoke.   USNH Embrace Life Fully (ELF) and other UNH faculty/staff assistance programs will offer prevention and cessation programs to faculty and staff.

4.4   Nonsmoking areas

4.4.1   Inside all buildings owned and occupied or leased and occupied by UNH including Forest Park Apartments, the Kellogg Conference Center and public areas of the New England Center Hotel.

4.4.2   University vehicles

4.4.3   Outdoor Areas   Entrances and outside stairways to buildings and outdoor passageways to entrances and stairways. Smoking will not be allowed within twenty (20) feet of a building or an air intake unit.   Courtyards or other areas where air circulation may be impeded by architectural, landscaping or other barriers.   Outdoor entry or service lines, such as for ticket purchases, event admissions, bus stops, ATMs, etc.   Outdoor seating areas provided by food services.   Areas where there is fixed seating, such as Cowell Stadium.   Areas that are reserved for events that do not have fixed seating but for which the sponsor determines that the interests of nonsmokers need to be protected (e.g., outdoor concerts, university receptions and events, and groundbreaking ceremonies). Such areas are designated "no smoking" by posting signage at appropriate locations or providing proper advanced notification.

4.5   Sales and Marketing

4.5.1   Advertisement of all tobacco products or their use shall be prohibited in all University of New Hampshire publications and on all University owned, occupied or leased properties.

4.5.2   Any sale or free sampling of tobacco products on campus shall be prohibited.

4.6   Implementation

4.6.1   This policy relies on the consideration and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers. All members of the UNH community, including visitors, are asked to observe this policy.

4.7   Responsibilities

4.7.1   The President, Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors and Department Heads shall:   Assure that this policy is communicated to everyone within their areas of responsibility.   Direct complaints and questions about the policy to the Environmental Health & Safety Office.

4.7.2   Any variation of this policy must be approved by the President upon the recommendation of the appropriate senior administrator reporting directly to the President.

5.   Lactation Policy

5.1   Rationale. The University of New Hampshire in compliance with New Hampshire State law, RSA 132:10-d: Breastfeeding in New Hampshire, and in support of the institution’s family friendly initiatives, the university understands the importance and benefits of breastfeeding, and recognizes and respects the need to accommodate lactating mothers who choose to nurse or express breast milk upon their return to work, without discrimination.

5.2   Policy Statement. The University of New Hampshire will provide a workplace that supports a decision of an employee to breastfeed when she returns to work. This policy therefore seeks to accommodate the needs of employees within the context of the needs of the University and individual work units. The University will provide an employee reasonable, flexible time and will make reasonable efforts to provide a location to nurse or express breast milk during work hours. Additionally, it is the policy of the University of New Hampshire to prohibit discrimination and harassment of breastfeeding employees who exercise their rights under this policy.

5.3   Applicability of the Policy

5.3.1   All units of the University; and

5.3.2   University faculty, staff, graduate, research and teaching assistants

5.4   Procedures: Supervisor and Employee Responsibilities

5.4.1   The supervisor should be aware of the need to support employees who intend to breastfeed and should accommodate reasonable requests to meet this need.

5.4.2   The supervisor and employee will work together to develop a reasonable, flexible work schedule that is mutually convenient for the employee and the work unit. It may include such options as the use of break times to use a breast pump at work; flexible start and finish times; or allowing lunch and/or other breaks to coincide with lactation/breastfeeding needs. The time allowed will not exceed the standard time allowed for lunch and/or breaks. For time above and beyond standard lunch and breaks, PAT sick/annual leave or earned time/sick pool for OS must be used (see policy USY V.A.12), or the employee can come in earlier, leave later, or take a shorter lunch.

5.4.3   The supervisor will work with the employee to identify a suitable, private location to nurse or express milk. The room will have accessible electrical outlets for electric breast pump use and a sink close by with a clean, safe water source. If there is adequate privacy, the room could include an employee’s own office space or a lockable conference room. If such a room does not exist in the building that houses the work unit, arrangements will be made to allow the employee to use one of the campus lactation rooms. The University’s Lactation rooms may be accessed at http://www.library.unh.edu/services/lactation-room.

5.4.4   Decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis.

5.4.5   Employees and supervisors who have concerns or questions regarding the UNH Lactation Policy should contact the Office of Human Resources at (603) 862-0501 or (603) 862-3227 (TTY).

5.4.6   Employees who believe they have been denied appropriate accommodation or that this policy may have been violated should contact Office of Human Resources or the Affirmative Action and Equity Office at (603) 862- 2930 Voice/TTY.

6.   Consensual Amorous Relationship Policy

6.1   Purpose and Scope

6.1.1   At the University of New Hampshire (UNH), as at all institutions of higher learning, it is necessary to acknowledge existing hierarchies and power dynamics and to mitigate negative consequences of such factors through the establishment and enforcement of high standards of professional conduct.

6.1.2   This policy provides guidelines specifically designed to prevent conflicts of interest that can occur when two members of the UNH community whose institutional roles place them in an uneven power dynamic engage in a consensual amorous relationship. The institutional interest in establishing clear standards of professional conduct for these types of relationships is clear. Such relationships create the opportunity for abuse of power and/or bias in the exercise of professional judgment.

6.1.3   This policy is applicable to all persons employed by the University. This includes, but is not limited to, adjunct and status faculty and staff. This policy is also intended to inform actions that relate to third party contractors who provide outsourced services to the University. This policy does not regulate amorous relationships between undergraduate students.

6.1.4   This policy does not address non-consensual relationships [see "Definitions"] which are not countenanced by the University under any circumstances. Nor does it seek to discourage or govern in any way consensual relationships between students or such relationships among faculty and staff where the institutional roles of the parties do not meet the definition of uneven power dynamic.

6.2   Definitions

6.2.1   Amorous Relationship: Any interpersonal relationship that involves sexual and/or romantic intimacy. Amorous relationships covered by this policy might exist between Faculty members, Staff members, Faculty and Staff, Staff and Students or Faculty and Students at UNH.

6.2.2   Faculty: Those employed in either tenured, tenure-track, or non-tenure-track faculty appointments. The tenured and tenure-track faculty are normally individuals holding the ranks of instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and or professor. The non-tenure-track faculty include, but are not limited to, clinical, research, lecturer, extension, ROTC, visiting, adjunct, post-doc, graduate assistant, research assistant, emeritus, and affiliate faculty.

6.2.3   Staff: Those employed in either an adjunct or status position not classified as faculty. Adjunct or status employees include, but are not limited to, Professional and Technical (PAT), Operating (OS) staff, Extension Educator (EE), Principal Administrators, and Academic Administrators. For further information on Adjunct Definitions and Term Limits see http://www.usnh.edu/olpm/USY/V.Pers/C.6.htm#6.3.2.

6.2.4   Student: All persons taking courses at UNH (both full-time and part-time and including continuing education students), including those pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies and those enrolled as non-degree students during the academic year, January Term, or Summer Session.

6.2.5   Non-consensual relationships: see UNH Discrimination, and Discriminatory Harassment Policy 5.4, at http://www.usnh.edu/olpm/UNH/V.Pers/B.htm.

6.2.6   Uneven Power Dynamic: The circumstance where one party has the professional responsibility to evaluate the other party's academic and/or work performance and/or the responsibility to perform in a "check and balance" (e.g. signing off on timesheet or expense payment) role relative to the other, or where there is a reasonably foreseeable possibility that one party could be called upon to participate in decisions affecting the other party's employment or academic prospects. This dynamic exists in the context of grading, promotion and tenure decisions, salary-setting, hiring, termination, provision of references or reference letters, or any other category of action relevant to academic and/or professional advancement or demotion. It also exists when one party has the authorization to approve (or to participate in approval of) any work by or any financial payment to another. For example, an Associate Dean who approves expense reports for a department chair would be deemed to have an uneven power dynamic with the chair for purposes of this policy.

6.3   Statement of Policy

6.3.1   The parties involved in any consensual amorous relationship with an uneven power dynamic are immediately required to disclose the relationship to the proper authorities and cooperate fully in steps necessary to eliminate the dynamic. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, reassignment of supervisory and/or check and balance oversight duties in which decisions affect the other party's academic and/or professional advancement or demotion and recusal of one party from all institutional decisions related to the other. Parties who find themselves in an uneven power dynamic with someone from a past consensual amorous relationship are also subject to the disclosure and recusal requirements.

6.3.2   Relationships between faculty or staff and students present particular challenges. While a relationship that is consensual does not constitute actionable sexual harassment, New Hampshire state law requires all University employees to report suspected cases of sexual harassment of students by University employees to supervisors and/or other appropriate offices (e.g. the Affirmative Action and Equity Office). All supervisors receiving such information should promptly report it to the Affirmative Action and Equity Office.

6.4   Procedures

6.4.1   Any Faculty or Staff member associated with a consensual amorous relationship with an uneven power dynamic must notify her/his department chair/director or immediate supervisor. If there is any doubt about the existence of an uneven power dynamic between the parties, disclosure is required. Any student involved in such a relationship is strongly encouraged to notify the Office of the Provost or the Affirmative Action and Equity Office.

6.4.2   A department chair/director or supervisor who learns that a Faculty or Staff member under her/his supervision is involved in an amorous relationship of the kind covered by this policy is responsible for addressing the situation with the individual(s) in question. S/he will develop and implement a clear and thorough plan for re-assignment of duties and any other steps required to eliminate the uneven power dynamic. The relevant Dean or Vice President and the Affirmative Action and Equity Office will be informed in writing regarding the relationship and the plan for eliminating the uneven power dynamic.

6.4.3   If the Faculty or Staff member in question refuses to cooperate with the reassignment of duties or other steps, or if s/he denies the existence of the relationship, the department chair/director or supervisor must report this to the relevant Dean or Vice President and the Affirmative Action and Equity Office.


This page last updated April 1, 2013. For information on the adoption and effective dates of policies please see explanation on the OLPM Main Menu.

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