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Employee Relations (HR-600)

HR-602 Grievance Administration

Summary

The purpose of a grievance procedure is to provide an orderly mechanism through which employees may challenge policy interpretations or disciplinary actions. Grievances are appropriate vehicles for bringing problems to the attention of supervision. They also help to identify areas where supervision has been either inconsistent in the issuance of disciplinary action or inappropriate in policy interpretations. All Regular administrative, service and support staff who have passed the probationary period have the right to file a grievance, and probationary or Variable Hour Employees may process a grievance concerning issues of prohibited discrimination or application/interpretation of University policies and procedures.

Purpose

The main goal of grievance administration is to review employee disputes to determine if they can be resolved. In cases of disciplinary grievances, the supervisor should determine whether the discipline was issued appropriately. In cases of alleged policy or rule violations, the supervisor should review the grievance to determine if relevant rules or policies have been violated, misinterpreted or misapplied. Grievances should always be resolved, when possible, at the lowest step of the grievance procedure.

Processing and resolving grievances is a legitimate part of a supervisor's responsibilities. Just as the supervisor is responsible for the performance of employees, he/she is also responsible for processing grievances which arise in the course of conducting University business. Proper handling of grievances allows the supervisor to manage the work unit effectively. Good decisions in handling and processing grievances help to create a positive working environment and keep supervisors informed of employee concerns and discontents.

Implied in the right to file a grievance is an employee's right to challenge the employer's application and interpretation of policies or rules and the employee's right to challenge any disciplinary action taken against him/her. Supervisors should not view grievances as a personal attack on their authority or personality, but rather as an employee exercising his/her rights.

Guidelines

When processing grievances, there are several important guidelines to consider:

  • Check the grievant's title and employment status to determine if he/she is included in a union eligible classification.
  • Note the supervisor's respondent obligations under the grievance procedure.
  • Determine the timeliness of the grievance. These time limits may be waived under extenuating circumstances.
  • Review the requested solution to the grievance. Determine if the relief sought is beyond a supervisor's authority to grant.
  • Review all policies or other information relevant to the grievance.
  • Conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations.
  • Consider a conference with the parties involved to discuss the grievance. Allow sufficient time after the conference to review the information obtained and prepare the written response. If a delay is anticipated, contact the grievant or union representative for consent to extend the time limits.
  • Prepare a written grievance response including the reason for the decision and provide a copy to the grievant. If grievances are untimely or non-grievable, that should be stated.
  • Consider all grievance information confidential and not to be shared with other employees. Grievance materials should be maintained in a separate file from either personnel files or records.
  • Contact Human Resource Services for assistance.

 

Date Created: 09/26/1997

Last Updated: 09/15/2013

 

Contact webmaster@umsystem.edu. Reviewed July 7, 2004.