Staff & Administrative General Grievance Policy
Introduction: It is the desire of the College to provide fair and equitable application of work policies for all staff employees. The College recognizes the value and importance of full discussion in resolving misunderstandings and preserving good relations between supervisors and employees. This policy applies to all staff and administrative faculty.
Grievable Issues: A general grievance is defined as a claim by a staff employee that the College has violated College policy in how the employee was treated by the College and that such decision has negatively impacted that employee. This policy covers allegations of inappropriate or inequitable policy application. It does not include grieving outcomes under the grievance process as this policy itself provides for appeals.
General grievances do not involve claims of possible discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age (as defined by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act), sex, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation or any other category protected by law. Employees wishing to pursue claims of discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment must follow the Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy and Complaint Procedure.
The Office of Human Resources will determine whether or not a dispute is within the scope of this policy.
Retaliation: It is a violation of this policy to retaliate against a person who files a grievance under this policy or a person for assisting, participating or cooperating in an investigation of a grievance.
Wrongful Allegations: It is a violation of this policy to bring knowingly a false complaint under this policy. However, failure to prove a claim does not alone constitute proof of a false and/or malicious accusation.
Confidentiality: The College will make reasonable efforts to keep all information relating to complaints under this policy confidential on a need-to-know basis, to the extent consistent with implementing this grievance process as well as consistent with any of its legal obligations. All participants in the grievance process or any investigation of any allegation are to respect the confidentiality of the process.
Office of Human Resources: At any point in the grievance process, the Office of Human Resources may be contacted and will receive a complaint or provide assistance as appropriate. In the event of student involvement, the Dean of Students may be contacted. Discussing a complaint or seeking informal resolution does not commit one to making a formal grievance.
Grievance Materials: Once grievance proceedings are completed, all materials related to the case including statements, evidence and documents, and all other materials examined shall be retained in a separate file in the Office of Human Resources for a period of ten years. Complaint information is not placed in personnel files. If sanctions result, notice of sanctions will be placed in the personnel file.
GRIEVANCE RESOLUTION PROCESS
Informal Resolution: In most situations, disputes over the application or interpretation of policy/law can be resolved through informal communication between the employee and his/her supervisor. As such, the first step in this grievance policy is a discussion between the employee and their supervisor. This step should occur within ten business days of the incident in question. The supervisor will attempt to resolve the situation by listening to the employee’s concerns and either helping the employee understand the actions taken or to correct any actions inappropriately taken.
If the complainant is satisfied with the outcome, the matter will be considered resolved and no further action deemed necessary.
Formal Resolution: If the situation is not resolved to the satisfaction of the employee through the informal resolution process, the employee may submit a Formal Grievance Form to the Office of Human Resources within five working days of receiving the response from the supervisor. The Formal Grievance Form is available from the Office of Human Resources or online at the Meredith web site. The immediate supervisor and his/her supervisor will be notified by HR that a complaint has been filed, with both receiving a copy of the completed form. An HR representative will meet with the immediate supervisor, as well as conduct any additional review necessary to resolve the grievance. The HR representative will then meet with both the employee and the supervisor to provide a written response within ten working days.
At this point, the employee may accept the response and consider the matter resolved or, if not satisfied with the outcome, may submit an appeal.
Appeals – Grievance Hearing Subcommittee: If the situation is still not resolved to the satisfaction of the employee, he or she may submit a Grievance Appeal Form to the Office of Human Resources within five working days of receiving the response to the formal grievance. The Grievance Appeal Form is available through the Office of Human Resource or on the Meredith web site. A representative from HR will notify the supervisor, supervisor’s supervisor(s), and appropriate vice president that the grievance has progressed to this level. HR will assemble a grievance hearing subcommittee from the larger Grievance Committee.
The Chair of the Staff Affairs Committee shall randomly select three individuals and one alternate from the current Staff Affairs Committee to form a Grievance Hearing Committee (the Committee) which will hear the complaint. The Office of Human Resources will review the selections to ensure that no member of the Grievance Hearing Committee has a known conflict of interest. The members of the Committee will receive training from the Office of Human Resources on this policy prior to reviewing any grievance. A Chair will be selected by the Grievance Hearing Committee members.
The Committee will review the complaint, all pertinent facts, and any policies involved, and may seek statements or call witnesses to evaluate the complaint. The Committee’s decision will be based on a preponderance of the evidence, with the decision reached by consensus of the members. The Committee may find that there is no material unfair harm or may find in whole or in part for the employee and recommend action to remedy the situation. The Chair of the Committee will prepare a written report within ten working days of receiving the grievance, with findings and recommendations to go to the appropriate vice president, with a copy to the Office of Human Resources.
Upon receipt of the Grievance Hearing Committee’s recommendation, the vice president has the option of accepting the recommendation, returning the case to the Committee for further consideration, or rejecting the findings, after reviewing the case. The vice president will then prepare letters to both parties within three working days to notify them of the decision and any actions to be taken. The decision of the vice president is final.