(Note: OLPM sections on this page may be cited following the format of, for example, "USA.V.D.12.1.1". 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.)
12. Complaint and Grievance Resolution Procedures. The complaint and grievance resolution procedures represent two distinct but related processes established for the purpose of resolving work-place problems and/or misunderstandings. This policy describes the complaint procedure and the following policy (USA V.D.12.3) describes the grievance procedure. Except where noted, staff may use either procedure solely and separately, or may use the complaint procedure as the first step of the grievance procedure.
12.1 Complaint Resolution -- General
12.1.1 Purpose. The System Office complaint procedure is intended to resolve complaints and problems arising out of the interpretation and/or implementation of Board of Trustees, University System or System Office policy, procedure and practice. Employees are encouraged to utilize the complaint process to address performance issues.
12.1.2 Definition. A complaint is an issue of concern related to a work-place situation or working conditions.
12.1.3 Relation to Grievance Process. The complaint resolution process may serve as an informal step to the System Office grievance procedure (USA.V.D.12.3). Complaints related to evaluations of work performance, 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.
184.108.40.206 The complaint resolution mechanism does not provide employees any rights other than the right to have a complaint heard and be considered. It does not bind the System Office to any particular outcome or course of action.
220.127.116.11 Complaints may be brought at any time. In order to continue complaints into the grievance procedure, established time lines (see USA V.D.18.104.22.168.1) must be followed.
22.214.171.124 The complainant may have an advocate (must be a System Office employee and shall not be an attorney).
126.96.36.199 Confidentiality shall be expected for participants in the complaint resolution process. Information revealed and discussions held shall be confidential insofar as that is reasonable within legal requirements and organizational responsibilities.
188.8.131.52 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 and does not postpone any deadlines for pursuing such remedies.
12.1.5 Remedies. Remedies pursued under the complaint procedure may include any remedy which conforms to the spirit of relevant policy.
12.1.6 Orientation. The System Personnel Office shall serve as a resource for understanding, accessing and managing the complaint process.
12.1.7 Record keeping. Complaint information shall be kept in a confidential file and will be accessible only to those individuals engaged in the complaint process and appropriate administrators with an official need to know.
12.2 Complaint Resolution Process
12.2.1 A staff member may register a complaint by notifying the System Personnel Office of the complaint and indicating a desire to pursue a solution. If the staff member wishes this complaint to meet the deadline for filing a grievance, the notification of a complaint/grievance must be in writing and must be within the time frame (see USA V.D.184.108.40.206.1) specified for a grievance.
12.2.2 After considering the nature of the complaint, the System 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, and/or use of a third party to help mediate between the decision-maker and the complainant.
12.2.3 If the options selected do not result in a satisfactory resolution of the complaint, the Personnel Office may, as appropriate, require any of the following: a report from the investigator of the facts of the case; a report from the mediator about the potential solutions; a report from the supervisor about the reasons that no settlement or resolution was reached. The Personnel Office will establish the appropriate time frame for any report or follow up on reports required.
12.2.4 If the complaint also qualifies as a grievance (see USA V.D.220.127.116.11 Grievance Definition), a staff member may file a written grievance within the deadlines established in USA V.D.12.3.1. The Personnel Office will make a determination of the point at which the complaint process has ended. If the complaint continues as a grievance the grievance will continue at Step One (see USA V.D.18.104.22.168).
12.3 The grievance and complaint procedures represent two distinct, but related processes established for the purpose of resolving workplace problems and/or misunderstanding. This policy describes the grievance procedure, and the preceding policy (USA V.D.12.1-2) describes the complaint procedure. Except where noted, staff may use either procedure solely and separately, or may use the complaint procedure as the first step of the grievance procedure.
12.3.1 Grievance Resolution -- General
22.214.171.124 Purpose. The System Office grievance procedure is intended to provide employees with a mechanism to resolve alleged violations of Trustees, University System or System Office policy.
126.96.36.199 Definition. A grievance is a written statement alleging a violation of Trustees, University System or System Office 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 non-discrimination policy is alleged. Any status staff member except principal administrators may file a grievance.
188.8.131.52 Relation to Complaint Resolution Process. The complaint resolution process (USA V.D.12.1-2) may serve as an informal step to the System Office grievance procedure.
184.108.40.206.1 Conditions. The deadline for filing a grievance shall be 15 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 policy violation. In cases where the complaint resolution process (USA V.D.12.1-2) is used as an informal step, the conciliation meeting shall take place within twenty (20) calendar days of the failure of that process (as determined by the System Personnel Office).
220.127.116.11.2 The grievant may have an advocate (must be a status System Office employee and shall not be an attorney).
18.104.22.168.3 Two or more employees similarly aggrieved by the same alleged violation of policy may file a joint grievance. All grievants to a particular grievance shall be identified in the written statement setting forth the grievance. A "class action" grievance shall not be permitted.
22.214.171.124.4 Confidentiality shall be expected for participants in the grievance resolution process. Information revealed and discussions held shall be confidential insofar as that is reasonable within legal requirements and organizational responsibilities.
126.96.36.199.5 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 and does not postpone any deadlines for pursuing such remedies.
188.8.131.52 Remedies. The remedies available under this grievance procedure shall be limited to those necessary to bring the grieved action into conformance with the policy which was violated.
184.108.40.206 Orientation. The System Personnel Office shall serve as a resource for understanding, accessing and managing the grievance process.
220.127.116.11 Record keeping. At the conclusion of the grievance process all materials used in the process, including tape recordings, exhibits, minutes, and affidavits, shall be held in a confidential file in the System Personnel Office. This file shall be separate from the
official personnel files.
12.3.2 Process of Grievance Resolution
18.104.22.168 The grievant files a written statement of grievance with the System Personnel Office. The statement will include the specific policy or policies alleged to be violated and a brief statement of the alleged violation and the resolution desired.
22.214.171.124 The Personnel Office and the grievant shall consider the appropriateness of using the complaint procedure before using the grievance procedure.
126.96.36.199 Step One
188.8.131.52.1 The System Personnel Office will arrange a conciliation meeting to take place within twenty (20) calendar days of receipt of a properly filed grievance. The meeting will include the grievant, the grievant's advocate, a representative of the System Personnel Office, the person whose actions are being grieved and any other administrators appropriate to resolution of the grievance.
184.108.40.206.2 "Discovery." The grievant and the System Office each have the responsibility to provide 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.
220.127.116.11.3 Collection of Documents. The System Personnel Office shall coordinate the collection of the documents. The documents shall be made available to all parties to the conciliation meeting.
18.104.22.168.4 Conciliation Meeting. The conciliation group will meet to review the grievance, and, where appropriate, fashion a mutually acceptable resolution. The meeting shall be non-adversarial, and each party will extend serious consideration to the views of the other parties.
22.214.171.124.5 Result of Conciliation Meeting. If the parties are able to reach a consensus for the resolution of the grievance, the terms of the resolution will be recorded and implemented by the System Office. The resolution shall not be precedent setting.
126.96.36.199.6 If the parties are unable to reach a resolution, the grievant shall have the option of filing a written request to proceed to Step Two. This request will be made to the System Personnel Office no later than seven (7) calendar days after the end of Step One. All documents submitted for Step One will be provided by the Personnel Office for review with Step Two.
188.8.131.52 Step Two. The grievant shall have the option to have a Step Two grievance heard directly by the Chancellor or by a hearing panel which makes a recommendation to the Chancellor.
184.108.40.206.1 Hearing Panel. A hearing panel shall consist of three (3) USNH status employees, at least one of which must be the same occupational type as the grievant, and at least one which must be the same occupational type as the person whose actions are being grieved. If the person whose actions are being grieved is a principal administrator, the panel member need only have a supervisory responsibility.
220.127.116.11.2 Selection of Hearing Panel. The System Personnel Office shall coordinate the selection of the panel members in agreement with all parties.
18.104.22.168.3 Hearing Procedures. After selection of the hearing panel, the panel shall determine the hearing procedures, including, but not limited to, time limitations, if any, method of hearing witnesses, and overall format.
22.214.171.124.4 Determination of Policy Violation. The panel will determine whether a policy violation has occurred, and if so, what shall be the appropriate remedy.
126.96.36.199.5 Hearing Recommendation. Within seven (7) calendar days the panel will make a recommendation to the Chancellor, which will include a determination of which, if any, policies have been violated, and a proposed remedy if appropriate. The decision will be by majority vote.
188.8.131.52 Decision of the Chancellor. Subject to the provisions of USY Grievance Policy, the Chancellor shall receive a recommendation from the hearing panel and make the final decision on the employee grievance. The Chancellor shall retain the authority to accept or reject the recommendation of the panel in whole or in part. The remedy, if any is appropriate to the decision, shall conform to USA V.D.184.108.40.206. The grievant shall be notified of the decision within ten (10) calendar days of the receipt of the recommendation from the hearing panel.