Forms, Policies, & Guides

704 - Employee Complaint Resolution Procedure

Subject: Employee Complaint Resolution Procedure

Section: U704

Date: September 21, 2007


Purpose:

To provide a means for non-union and non-probationary staff employees to bring formal internal employment-related complaints to the attention of the University’s administration for resolution.

Policy:

The University encourages employees and supervisors to resolve work standards and performance issues. If serious complaints and concerns cannot be resolved, a more formal process that non-union employees may utilize is available. Such complaints/concerns will be dealt with in accordance with the procedures and guidelines outlined below.

Guidelines:

  1. To be eligible to initiate the complaint resolution procedure, an individual must be an active non-union staff employee and must have successfully completed their probationary period.
  2. In view of HR Employee Relations or Labor Relation's prior involvement in the determination of a suspension or discharge, any individual who has been suspended or discharged will not be eligible to invoke this complaint procedure
  3. Any complaint which also is the subject of an external process or venue shall not be processed through the University’s Employee Complaint Resolution Procedure. “External process or venue” includes, for example, situations where an employee has retained an attorney, filed a lawsuit or complaint with an administrative agency or threatened to do so.
  4. If the employee’s complaint involves an issue of Affirmative Action (AA) or Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) or issues involving faculty, the University may elect to refer the matter for resolution to the University’s Affirmative Action Officer and/or may consult the section, department, or academic unit head, relevant dean’s office and/or the Office of the Provost for resolution.
  5. The University prohibits retaliation against any employee who initiates a complaint or participates in an investigation of a complaint under this policy.
  6. The University encourages an earnest effort be made to resolve these issues as promptly as feasible.
  7. The University reserves the right to consolidate sequential employee complaints when deemed appropriate.

Procedures:

  1. An employee’s formal complaint must be in writing and signed by the employee. The complaint must:
    • Explain the nature of the complaint and the specific circumstances at issue;
    • Identify the rights, procedures, or policies violated; and
    • State the specific complete remedy sought by the employee.
  2. The employee should initiate the written complaint with his/her immediate supervisor within two (2) weeks of the incident that gave rise to the employee’s concern. The supervisor will meet and discuss the matter fully with the employee and provide a written response to the employee regarding the complaint within two (2) weeks (if feasible) of being informed by the employee. If there is no response or if the response is not satisfactory to the employee, he/she may advance the complaint to the next step.
  3. In the event the matter is not satisfactorily resolved at the supervisor’s level, the employee may submit a written appeal to the department head or the departmental HR/administrative representative within one (1) week of the supervisor’s response. To initiate the appeal the employee must submit:

    • A copy of the formal complaint;
    • A copy of supervisor’s response; and
    • Reason(s) for disagreeing with the supervisor’s response.

    The department head or HR Administrative representative will investigate as appropriate, will meet to discuss the matter fully with the employee and other relevant parties, if applicable, and will provide a written response to the employee within two (2) weeks of being notified of the issue by the employee. If there is no response or if the response is not satisfactory to the employee, he/she may advance the complaint to the next step.

  4. If the employee still believes the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved at the department level, he/she may submit a written appeal to the HR Employee Relations / Labor Relations representative within one (1) week of receiving the department’s written response. All information and documentation from the initial complaint and previous appeals should be included.
  5. The employee appeal will then be referred to an Employee Complaint Review Panel consisting of three (3) members. In order to ensure the Panel members have no personal relationship, University business dealings or other significant knowledge of or dealings with the employee or the department, the Director of Employee/Labor Relations will select the individuals to serve on the Panel.
  6. The HR Employee Relations / Labor Relations representative should facilitate the complaint appeal procedure by first presenting the Employee Complaint Review Panel with all relevant documents, including but not limited to the following:
    • A copy of the staff employee’s written complaint and
    • A copy of the written response(s) from the department.
  7. The Employee Complaint Review Panel will determine whether the complaint requires a formal hearing to include the complainant and/or relevant staff or whether it can be fairly decided based upon the written documents of the complaint.

    It is recommended that the employee have the opportunity for a hearing with the Employee Complaint Review Panel. However, the Panel may make its decision based upon the written documents and recommendations of E/LR without meeting with the employee.

  8. The Employee Complaint Review Panel will make the final decision on the submitted complaint within three (3) weeks of the hearing (or of the receipt of the complaint materials from E/LR), whichever is applicable. The Panel’s written decision will be final and binding upon the department and the employee.
  9. It is expected that the time frames outlined in this procedure be adhered to. However any unforeseen delay will be promptly communicated to the complainant.
  10. Working time lost by the employee(s) at a complaint meeting should be considered as time worked for pay purposes.

Employees represented by a union may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.