D. Employee Relations
12. Employee Complaint and Grievance Procedures
12.1.1 The Chancellor, in consultation with the Administrative Board, is authorized by BOT V.C.2.1, 3.1, and 3.2 to adopt employment policies which will maximize the efficient and effective use of USNH Human Resources, ensure compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, and provide for a well coordinated system of public higher education.
12.2.1 Each component institution shall establish a procedure for the resolution of employee grievances that shall be consistent with the requirements of this policy. The initial adoption and any subsequent amendment of an institutional grievance procedure shall be effective only after review and approval by the USNH General Counsel and USNH Director of Human Resources.
12.2.2 Each component institution may also establish a mechanism for considering employee complaints. Complaint procedures may not be used to address termination of employment. The definition of issues to be considered under the complaint mechanism may be broader than that of a grievance complaint. Such nongrievance complaint resolution mechanisms shall not, and shall not be construed to, provide employees any rights other than the right to have a complaint heard and considered. They also shall not bind the institution to a particular outcome or course of action or in any other way limit the institution's discretion to determine an appropriate outcome or course of action.
12.3 Institutional Procedures
12.3.1 The employee grievance procedure adopted by any component institution shall provide for the following:
22.214.171.124 The definition of a grievance shall be "A written statement alleging a violation of a Board of Trustees, University System, or institutional policy." The grievance procedure shall not be used to review the substantive merits of an administrative judgment, evaluation, or other discretionary act or decision, except as may be necessary when a violation of a nondiscrimination policy is alleged.
126.96.36.199 Status faculty and staff, excluding principal administrators and members of a certified collective bargaining unit, are eligible to file grievances under an institutional grievance procedure.
188.8.131.52.1 Staff members in the Initial Introductory Period (see USY V.C.184.108.40.206) of employment are excluded from using the Grievance Procedure to appeal termination for inability to meet the requirements of the position.
220.127.116.11 The deadline for the filing of a grievance shall be ten (10) calendar days from the day on which the aggrieved employee becomes aware of the action that is alleged to violate policy and within one year of its occurrence.
18.104.22.168 A grievant may bring an advocate to any meeting or hearing held pursuant to a grievance procedure. The advocate may act in an advisory capacity to the grievant or, at the grievant's request, may speak on the grievant's behalf. The third party must be a status USNH employee and shall not be an attorney.
22.214.171.124 The campus procedure shall provide some appropriate opportunity for the parties to the grievance to present material and relevant testimony including documents from one or more witnesses. Such opportunity need not be present at each step of a campus procedure that provides for more than one step.
126.96.36.199 The remedies available under a grievance procedure shall be limited to that necessary to bring the grieved action into conformance with policy or policies which were violated.
188.8.131.52 Subject to the provisions of 184.108.40.206, below, the Chief Executive Officer of the institution shall retain the authority to either: (a) make the final decision on an employee grievance or (b) modify or reverse the final decision (if made by some other person or committee) under the following circumstances: (i) the final decision maker exceeded his or her authority or (ii) implementation of the remedy would cause grave harm to the institution.
220.127.116.11 After the Chief Executive Officer of the institution exercises the authority described in 18.104.22.168, above, a grievant who remains aggrieved shall be entitled to petition the USNH Chancellor for further review of his or her grievance. In order to be timely, the petition must be received by the Chancellor's office no later than 10 calendar days after the day on which the Chief Executive Officer of the institution exercises the authority described in 22.214.171.124, above. The grievant's petition shall state clearly the grounds on which the Chancellor's review is sought. The Chancellor or his or her designee shall review the petition and determine whether further review of the grievance is warranted. If the Chancellor or his or her designee determines further review is not warranted, the grievant shall be so notified, and the institution's decision shall be final. Otherwise, the Chancellor or his or her designee shall review the record of the grievance and make any such further inquiry as may be deemed necessary or expedient. The Chancellor or his or her designee shall then decide the grievance and so notify the grievant and the Chief Executive Officer of the institution. Any such decision shall be final.
12.3.2 The filing of a grievance shall not affect the rights of an employee to seek any remedy that may be available in an external forum. However, the filing of a grievance does not postpone any deadlines for pursuing remedies in any external forum.
12.3.3 An employee who is grieving a termination may be placed on leave of absence without pay during the time involved in processing the grievance. 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 staff 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 underway, 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)
12.4 Record Keeping and Reporting
12.4.1 All materials generated in a grievance proceeding, including tape recordings, exhibits, minutes, and affidavits, shall be the property of the institution. At the conclusion of the grievance all such materials shall be held in a confidential file in an appropriate institutional office. This shall be separate from the official personnel file.
12.4.2 All grievance materials will be held at least three years after the termination or retirement of the grievant. In cases where an employee lawsuit is involved, records shall be retained at least three years after conclusion of the suit.
126.96.36.199 At the time of destruction of grievance files, a permanent record will be maintained of the facts of a grievance, the outcome, the records to be destroyed, and date of destruction.
188.8.131.52 Nothing in the above policy shall preclude expunging records from the personnel file or the official record of an employee.
12.4.3 Each component institution shall maintain the following information regarding the operation of its grievance procedure:
184.108.40.206 The number of written grievances received by the institution annually.
220.127.116.11 The number of grievances resolved prior to formal hearing steps.
18.104.22.168 The broad section of policy upon which grievances are alleged.
12.4.4 Each component institution shall report annually to the USNH Director of Human Resources the information enumerated in section USY V.D.12.4.3 along with any other information he or she may from time to time request.