(Note: OLPM sections on this page may be cited following the format of, for example, "GSC.V.D.12.1". 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.)
12. Complaint Resolution
12.1 Preamble. The Grievance and Complaint Resolution procedures represent two distinct but related processes established for the purpose of resolving workplace problems. The policy is broken into two sections one describing a complaint procedure and one describing a grievance procedure. Except where noted, GSC status staff may use either procedure solely and separately, or may use the complaint procedure as the first step of the grievance procedure.
12.2 Complaint Resolution -- General.
12.2.1 Purpose. The purpose of the GSC complaint procedure is the resolution complaints and problems arising out of the interpretation and/or implementation of the Board of Trustees, University System, or Granite State College personnel policy, procedure and practice. The intent is to provide an effective, easily accessible means to seek solutions to workplace disputes and misunderstandings.
12.2.2 Definition. A complaint is an issue of concern related to a workplace situation or working conditions. Complaints related to judgments regarding performance, supervisory style, and final classification determinations are not appropriate for either the complaint procedure or the grievance procedure. Termination may be addressed only through the grievance procedure.
220.127.116.11 The complaint resolution procedure may serve as the informal step for the GSC grievance procedure.
18.104.22.168 The complaint resolution mechanism shall not, and shall not be construed to, provide employees any right other than the right to have a complaint heard and considered. It also shall not bind GSC 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.
22.214.171.124 Complaints may be brought at any time, however, in order to continue complaints in the grievance procedure, complaints must be filed in conformance with the time lines established by the grievance procedure.
126.96.36.199 The complainant may have any other GSC employee (except an attorney) present during the complaint process to act as an advocate/advisor/support person.
188.8.131.52 Confidentiality shall be required of all participants in the complaint resolution. All information revealed and all discussions held shall be confidential.
184.108.40.206 The filing of a complaint shall not affect the rights of an employee to seek any remedy which may be available in an external forum. However, the filing of a complaint does not postpone any deadlines for pursuing remedies in any external forum.
12.2.4 Remedies. Remedies pursued under the complaint procedure may include any remedy which is in conformance with policy and need not be limited solely to a correction of a policy violation.
12.2.5 Training and orientation. The intent of the complaint procedure is to find a solution to perceived workplace problems. The GSC Personnel Office shall serve as a resource for understanding the process, explaining remedies available, if appropriate, and providing options for alternative resolutions and processes if appropriate.
12.2.6 Record keeping. Any record of complaint information shall be the property of GSC and shall be kept in a confidential file.
12.3 Complaint Resolution Process
12.3.1 A GSC staff member may register a complaint by notifying the Personnel Office either verbally or in writing of a concern.
12.3.2 Considering the nature of the complaint, the Personnel Office will initiate a discussion/resolution. Options to pursue resolution will include, but not be limited to, discussions with the supervisor, informal investigation of facts, use of the third party to help mediate between the decision maker and the complainant, and/or an assessment/advice to the complainant about whether the action is grievable.
12.3.3 If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome, s/he may file a written grievance, if appropriate, to the definition and conditions of a grievance within no more than seven calendar days after the failure of the complaint resolution.
13.1 Purpose. The GSC grievance procedure is intended to provide staff with a mechanism to resolve alleged violations of Trustee, University System or GSC policy.
13.2 Definition. The definition of a grievance shall be "a written statement alleging a violation of the Board of Trustees, University System of New Hampshire, or Granite State College 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." A grievance may be filed by any status staff member except principal administrators.
13.3.1 The deadline for filing a grievance shall be ten (10) calendar days from the day on which the aggrieved staff member becomes aware of the action which is alleged to violate policy. In no event may a grievance be filed more than one year after the occurrence of the alleged violation.
13.3.2 A grievant may bring an advocate to any meeting or hearing held as part of the following 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 USNH employee and may not be an attorney.
13.3.3 Two or more persons similarly aggrieved by the same alleged violation of policy may file a joint grievance. All grievants to a particular grievance shall be identified. A "class action" grievance shall not be permitted.
13.3.4 Confidentiality shall be required of all participants in a grievance. All information revealed and all discussions held shall be confidential as reasonable within legal constraints and organizational responsibilities.
13.3.5 The filing of a grievance shall not affect the rights of any employee to seek any remedy which 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.
13.3.6 An employee who is grieving a termination or suspension may be placed on leave of absence without pay during the time involved in the processing of a grievance. See USY V.D.12.3.3 and USY V.C.9.9.5.
13.4 Remedies. Remedies available under this grievance procedure shall be limited to those necessary to bring the grieved action into conformance with the policies violated.
13.5 Training and Orientation. The GSC Personnel Office shall provide for informational materials and orientation of participants in the grievance process. This includes a copy of the grievance policy as well as other materials or resource personnel as may be appropriate to the participants and the case.
13.6 Record keeping
13.6.1 All materials generated in a grievance proceeding, including tape recordings, exhibits, minutes, and affidavits shall be the property of GSC.
13.6.2 At the conclusion of the grievance all materials shall be held in a confidential file in the GSC Personnel Office.
13.6.3 At step one of the grievance the GSC Personnel Office shall have the authority to determine what materials and records shall be available for copies to participants. At step two the hearing panel will make that determination.
13.6.4 The GSC Personnel Office shall make an annual report to the GSC CEO and the USNH Human Resources Office of the total number of grievances filed.
13.7 Grievance Resolution Process. The grievant files a written statement of grievance with the GSC Personnel Office. The statement will include the policy, procedure or practice alleged to be violated, a brief statement of the alleged violation and the resolution desired.
13.7.2 If the grievant has already used the GSC complaint procedure, or if the grievance is because of employment termination, the grievance will be submitted to step one of the grievance procedures.
220.127.116.11 If neither of the above is applicable, the Personnel Office and the grievant will consider the appropriateness of using the complaint procedure before using the grievance procedure.
13.7.3 Step One
18.104.22.168 The GSC Personnel Office will arrange a conciliation meeting to take place within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of a properly filed grievance. The meeting will include the grievant, the grievant's advocate, a representative of the GSC Personnel Office, the person whose actions are being grieved and any other administrators appropriate to resolution of the grievance.
22.214.171.124 The grievant and GSC each have the responsibility to provide the conciliation group documents which can reasonably be expected to contain evidence bearing on the case. This process of "discovery" may include an effort to investigate the facts and ask questions of the participants prior to the conciliation meeting in an effort to seek out evidence relevant to the grievance.
126.96.36.199 The GSC Personnel Office shall coordinate the collection of the documents. All documents shall be made available to all parties to the conciliation meeting.
188.8.131.52 The conciliation group will meet to review the grievance and fashion a mutually acceptable resolution. The meetings shall be non-adversarial, and each party will extend serious consideration to the views of the other parties.
184.108.40.206 If the parties are able to reach a consensus for the resolution of the grievance, the terms of the resolution will be implemented by GSC. The terms of the resolution will be recorded. The resolution shall not be precedent setting.
220.127.116.11 If the parties are unable to reach a solution, the grievant shall have the option of filing a written request to proceed to step two. This request will be made to the GSC Personnel Office no later than five (5) calendar days after the end of step one. No formal statement or summary of step one is required.
13.7.4 Step Two. The grievant and the GSC CEO shall have the option to have a step two grievance heard directly by the CEO or by a hearing panel which makes a recommendation to the CEO. If the grievant and the CEO do not agree on the method of hearing, a hearing panel will hear the grievance.
18.104.22.168 The hearing panel shall consist of three (3) USNH status employees chosen by the GSC Personnel Office after consultation with the GSC CEO.
22.214.171.124 After selection of the hearing panel, the panel shall determine the rules for hearing evidence, including, but not limited to, time limitations, if any, methods of hearing witnesses, and overall format.
126.96.36.199 The panel will make a recommendation to the GSC CEO which will include a determination of which, if any, policies or procedures have been violated, and a proposed remedy, if appropriate. The decision will be a majority decision.
188.8.131.52 The panel's responsibility in making the decision will be to determine whether a policy violation has occurred. The panel shall not serve to provide greater wisdom on an issue as part of the decision/recommendation.
13.7.5 Final Decision. The GSC CEO shall receive the recommendation of the hearing panel within five (5) calendar days of their final hearing and render a final decision within ten (10) calendar days. That decision may be reviewed under USY V.D.184.108.40.206. In the case where the campus CEO is the subject of the grievance, the Chancellor will perform the role of the CEO for purpose of this step of the grievance.