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General Description
Requirements
Overview of Steps
Detailed Steps
Subject Experts
Grievance Procedure
Procedure

Document Number: HR--160p Revision #: 1.0
Document Owner: Executive VP Date Last Updated: 08/17/2012
Primary Author: Director of Human Resources Status: Approved
Date Originally Created: 01/23/2012

General Description
Description / Scope:

Information about grievance procedures relative to HR policy.


Purpose:

Delineation of the procedure for grievances.


Who Performs / Responsibility: Executive VP
Human Resources
Legal Counsel
President

When to Perform: As needed

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Requirements
Pre-Knowledge: Before performing this task you must know:
Current University policy
Federal statutes
Local statutes
Standards of good practice
State statutes

Terms and Definitions: Additional training

Corrective Action

Loss of privilege, general

Equipment: Policy and Procedure Handbook

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Overview of Steps
1.

Grievance Procedure

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Detailed Steps
1.

Grievance Procedure


How to Do:

The University understands that problems involving employer-employee relations may arise occasionally, or that a faculty member may feel that a University, division, or department policy has not been followed or administered in an appropriate manner, and as a result has been affected adversely. Cumberland University recognizes the right of its faculty to express their grievances and to seek a solution concerning disagreements arising from working relationships, working conditions, employment practices and/or differences of interpretation of policy that might arise. The University encourages effective communications between faculty members and their immediate supervisors both to prevent and to resolve problems.

 

In order that faculty members may be assured of fair consideration of their problems, a means of review and non-retaliatory appeal to higher levels of authority has been established. Problems or concerns regarding University rules, regulations, working conditions, or their applications, should be considered in the following manner:

 

· Employees who pursue grievances (grievants) under this procedure will not be subjected to retaliation or reprisals by anyone associated with the university. If an employee who has pursued a grievance under this procedure is of the opinion that he/she has been retaliated against for exercising his/her rights under this procedure, the employee should report the actions to the director of the Office of Human Resources. An employee who has engaged in a retaliatory act is subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge. Additionally, a faculty found to have made false accusations in exercising his/her rights under this procedure, or in filing a false charge of retaliation, is subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge.

 

Except as noted below, grievances may not be filed under this procedure if the grievance involves any of the following actions:

1. Terminations, reduction in force or job elimination due to financial necessity of the university, job elimination due to the expiration of a temporarily funded position.

2. Salaries and wages including raises or bonuses.

3. Promotions and transfers.

 

In the event the employee filing a grievance alleges that one of the above actions was taken based upon his/her race, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, disability or veteran status, he/she may file a grievance under this procedure. Employees may contact the Office of Human Resources for additional information concerning complaint procedures for discrimination and harassment.

 

A grievant's failure to exercise his/her rights to proceed to a subsequent step within the defined time limits shall result in the termination of the proceedings. In such cases, the response most recently issued will be considered the resolution of the grievance.


Who Performs this Step:

Director of Human Resources, Executive VP


1.1

Step One


How to Do:

The university encourages, but does not require, the resolution of grievances on an informal basis whenever possible.

 

Therefore, as a general rule, the employee should discuss the problem with his/her supervisor within 48 hours of the occurrence (or as soon there after in the case that the supervisor is unavailable). The immediate supervisor must respond in writing within 48 hours after notification (or as soon there after in the case that the supervisor is unavailable). If an employee is unable to resolve the grievance with the immediate supervisor, the employee should go to the next level of supervision to discuss the problem. An employee may request assistance from the Office of human Resources at any step in the grievance resolution process. A grievance against an immediate supervisor should be filed in writing with the Director of Human Resources within 48 hours of the occurrence (or as soon there after in the case that the supervisor is unavailable). The Director of Human Resources will bring this to the attention of the immediate supervisor and give the supervisor an opportunity to correct the situation or mediate a resolution if the grievance involves another. When a problem cannot be resolved on an informal basis, the university provides for a formal review which will seek a fair and timely resolution.


Who Performs this Step:

Director of Human Resources, Executive VP, Legal Counsel


1.2

Step Two


How to Do:

Any formal grievance must be in writing, signed by the employee and submitted to the Office of Human Resources and the employee's supervisor in the case of a grievance against a co-worker, or the supervisor's superior if the complaint is against the employee's supervisor. This must be submitted as soon as possible but in no case more than 10 calendar days of the date of the action giving rise to the grievance or from the date the employee first became aware of the action or actions. If the supervisor's superior is the president of the university or if the supervisor's superior is the subject of the grievance, the formal grievance shall be submitted to the director of the Office of Human Resources. The written grievance shall: state the facts which form the bases of the employee's complaint, outlining actions that have taken place in attempting to resolve the problem; identify relevant persons with knowledge of the situation; and state the remedy sought by the employee. As soon as it is received, the Office of Human Resources will forward a copy of the written grievance to the vice president responsible for the area in which the employee works.

 

Within five working days from receipt of the written grievance, the supervisor's superior or a representative from the Office of Human Resources will schedule separate meetings with the grievant and the employee accused of the actions leading to the grievance. The purpose of the meetings is to gather information about the nature of the grievance and to identify any other persons who have personal knowledge of the situation. The person being accused of the actions leading to the grievance has the right to have any other employee of the university accompany him/her to this meeting. The meeting shall be held within ten working days from receipt of the written grievance. Legal counsel shall represent neither party.

 

The supervisor's superior, the director of the Office of Human Resources or his/her designated representative shall attend the meetings and shall investigate the matter and render a decision in writing to both the employee who initiated the grievance and the employee charged in the grievance within 20 days of receipt of the written grievance. Copies of the decision shall be forwarded to the employee's supervisor and the vice president responsible for the area in which the employee works. The decision shall state findings of fact and conclusions as to the employee's allegations.

 

The decision shall grant or deny the remedy requested or present some modified remedy. This decision shall be final unless appealed to the Appeal Committee by the employee who initiated the grievance.


Who Performs this Step:

Director of Human Resources, Executive VP, Legal Counsel


1.3

Step Three


How to Do:

Appeals to the Appeal Committee must be made within 3 working days following the date the employee is notified of the decision. The Grievance Hearing is intended to give both the faculty member and the immediate supervisor an opportunity to air concerns and to determine whether actions that have been taken are consistent with University policy. The president will appoint a Appeal Committee, consisting of three (3) faculty members, including the Faculty Senate President; appointments are for a period of two years. No member(s) of the review panel who has been involved in the grievance shall be allowed to hear the appeal. In this event, the president will appoint a temporary substitute. The Director of Human Resources will schedule a hearing at a time that is convenient for all parties, if at all possible. The faculty member and the immediate supervisor may invite witnesses who have direct knowledge of the events or circumstances surrounding the grievance. The Director of Human Resources will serve as a facilitator.

 

Because the Grievance hearing is an internal meeting that has been called to address workplace complaints or disputes and is not a formal legal hearing, it is not open to others outside the University community. An attorney may assist neither the faculty member, nor the immediate supervisor, nor the University at the hearing. A script for the conducting of the hearing is on record in the Human Resource office and will be followed in order to allow all parties equal opportunity to represent themselves.

 

The Appeal Committee shall hold a hearing which shall include: an opening statement; presentation of evidence by grievant and followed by the employee accused of actions leading to grievance; an opportunity for questions by members of the committee with a limited time for response; and a closing statement. The employee shall represent him/herself. The hearing shall be lead by the Faculty Senate President. The committee shall arrange for the proceedings to be tape-recorded and/or videoed. The Appeal Committee may consider:

1. Whether there was compliance with relevant Cumberland University policies

2. Whether, in cases of disciplinary action, there existed a reasonable basis for the action.

3. Etc.

 

The Appeal Committee shall submit a written report to the president within 3 work days. Copies of the report shall be made available to the grievant, the employee accused of the action leading to the grievance and the Director of Human Resources. The report shall contain findings of facts and recommendations.


Who Performs this Step:

Director of Human Resources, Executive VP, Legal Counsel


1.4

Step Four


How to Do:

The president shall adopt, reject or modify the recommendations submitted by the Appeal Committee. The decision of the president is final.

 

If the faculty member is not satisfied with the resolution offered in the Review Panel's written response, he/she may file a written Appeal to the President, or the President's designee for hearing the appeal within five (5) workdays. The President's review must begin within ten (10) weekdays of the submission of the Appeal. The President may elect to interview any/all parties involved after reviewing the documentation.

 

After the President's review, the President has ten (10) days to reach a decision and present a written response. The President's decision is final.

 

Documentation of the Appeal, the Review Hearing, and the President's written response shall be placed in the faculty member's Personnel Files.

 

Employees are expected to exhaust the remedies available to them in this grievance procedure prior to institution any action in a local, state or federal court or agency. If an employee files an action in such a court or agency prior to completion of these grievance procedures, the university reserves the right to discontinue the grievance proceedings if in its judgment it determines the continuation of the proceedings either will not conclude the case or will be unnecessarily duplicative.


Who Performs this Step:

Director of Human Resources, Executive VP, Legal Counsel, President


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Subject Experts
The following may be consulted for additional information.
Director of Human Resources

Executive VP

Legal Counsel

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