1. Informal Resolution Procedures
The university believes that the simplest, quickest and most satisfactory solution to a job-related complaint can be reached at an informal level. One of the main objectives of this resolution procedure is to resolve matters before serious problems develop.
The university recommends that if you have a problem or complaint, talk with the person directly involved and try to resolve the issue. If this conversation does not yield satisfactory results or if you are uncomfortable with this approach, you should consult your immediate supervisor. Normally, your supervisor will attempt informally to settle any problem that comes to his or her attention.
If the discussion with your supervisor does not answer your question or resolve the matter to your satisfaction, or if your supervisor is the cause of your grievance, you may discuss your complaint with the vice president responsible for your work area or the associate vice president for human resources. At this point, the process is considered informal, and the Human Resources department is involved to try and achieve a resolution.
The university acknowledges that there are situations when a discussion with the supervisor may not be appropriate or may not sufficiently address the problem. For example, complaints concerning unfair discrimination and equal opportunity should be brought directly to the associate vice president for human resources. Also, complaints concerning sexual harassment and misconduct are handled under the university’s policy reprinted as Appendix E of this manual.
A complaint will be considered formal once it is submitted in writing.
2. Formal Procedures
A formal complaint must be a written statement that includes the relevant dates, the facts leading to the complaint, the persons involved, the situation involved, and whether it is a one-time or continuing incident. It should also include the resolution you seek. You must sign and date the formal complaint.
Formal Complaint: Formal complaints are submitted to the associate vice president for human resources. The Department of Human Resources will conduct an independent review of the problems or concerns. This review will include discussions with the staff member, the immediate supervisor, the next level supervisor, and any other university personnel deemed appropriate. The associate vice president for human resources will render a decision in writing to the complainant as soon as possible following the submission of the complaint, usually within ten (10) working days, unless circumstances demand for a longer period. If the complaint is against the associate vice president for human resources, it should be submitted directly to the vice president of business and finance.
First Appeal: If the associate vice president for human resources does not resolve the complaint to your satisfaction, you may appeal to the vice president for business and finance. If the complaint is against the vice president for business and finance, you should submit the appeal to the provost. In making an appeal, you should submit in writing your reasons for disagreeing with the associate vice president for human resources’ resolution of the matter.
The vice president of business and finance will determine whether to hear the appeal and will do so as soon as possible after his or her receipt, normally within ten (10) working days, unless circumstances demand a longer period. If the vice president for business and finance decides to hear the appeal, he or she will appoint a panel of three university employees as soon as practicable thereafter. No employee who was involved in the events upon which the grievance is based may participate as a member of the hearing panel. Both the complainant and the respondent may veto one of the proposed panel members. If either party vetoes one or more of the panel members, the vice president of business and finance will appoint replacement panel members. The vice president’s decisions on replacement panel members will be final. The vice president of business and finance will instruct the panel to review all the facts and circumstances surrounding the complaint and to investigate as it deems necessary or appropriate to reach an equitable resolution. The panel is charged with making a decision on the complaint brought before them, but they do not have the authority to change university policy, pay rates, benefits, or work rules. Unless the members of the panel determine that they need more time to reach a proper resolution, the panel is required to render its decision on the appeal in writing within fifteen (15) working days after its appointment.
Second Appeal: At least one of the following three conditions must exist for a second level appeal to be considered:
(1) New and significant evidence can be introduced;
(2) There is clear reason to believe that the sanction is not consistent with the seriousness of the action; or
(3) The complainant's right to a fair and impartial hearing was violated.
A second level appeal must be made in writing, must state the reasons for the appeal and must be received by the associate vice president for human resources within seven (7) days after receipt of the hearing panel’s decision. The associate vice president for human resources will forward the appeal to the president of the university.
The right to appeal does not entitle the complainant or respondent to a full rehearing of the entire case. If the university president determines that there is new and significant evidence or that the rights to a fair and impartial hearing were violated, the president will either reconvene the hearing panel or appoint a new panel to hear the case. If there is clear reason to believe the sanction is not consistent with the seriousness of the action, the president or administrator will revise the sanction in consultation with the associate vice president for human resources. The president will issue a written decision on the appeal and provide that decision to the respondent, the complainant and the associate vice president for human resources within ten (10) days after the appeal is filed, which shall be considered final for the university internal process.
You may withdraw a complaint at any time during the complaint process. Complaint withdrawals are made by written notice to the associate vice president for human resources.
You may request that another university employee participate in the complaint process with you. However, the university’s complaint process is considered to be an internal proceeding, and complainants may not be represented by legal counsel during any meetings or hearings that the university chooses to conduct.
Please notify the Human Resources department of any difficulties you have in using or understanding this complaint process.
All employees have the right to use this conflict resolution procedure when they feel they have not been treated fairly or to resolve work-related problems. Staff who avail themselves of the procedure should do so without fear of harassment or repercussion. The procedure should not, however, be construed as preventing, limiting or delaying the university from taking disciplinary action against any individual, up to and including termination, in circumstances where the university deems disciplinary action appropriate.