E30.0 Staff Grievance Procedure
Applies to all staff employees
It is recognized that in any group of employees, individual differences and misunderstandings may arise. Successful resolution of differences depends on the willingness of the principal parties involved to communicate with one another. Every effort should be made to resolve in an informal manner whatever issues arise within the department. However, if issues cannot be resolved informally, it is RIT's policy to provide an orderly and formal procedure to deal promptly and fairly with any serious differences of opinion which cause a staff member to believe that he or she has been dealt with unjustly.
Grievance - a complaint on the part of an employee that an action taken by management violates a provision of the university policy or procedure in a way that adversely affects the employee.
NOTE: At any step in this process the supervisor or the employee may consult with the Department of Human Resources for advice and counsel.
Informal Complaint Resolution
Employee: Orally discusses the complaint with the immediate supervisor and seeks a resolution within two working days of the event upon which the grievance is based. (Should the situation be cumulative, the employee orally discusses with the supervisor as soon as practical.)
Supervisor: Responds orally to the employee's complaint within two working days.
NOTE: Initial responsibility for resolving a complaint lies with the supervisor.
(The two-day time frame may be extended if consultations, examination of particulars and possible avenues of resolution are very involved. In this case, the supervisor may notify the employee in writing that up to a one week delay may be expected in response to the complaint.)
Employee: Submits complaint to supervisor in writing within five working days of the supervisor's oral response if not satisfied with the supervisor's resolution of the complaint.
Supervisor: Responds, in writing, within five working days of written notification by the employee.
Employee: If the complaint has not been resolved at the supervisory level, the employee submits the complaint, in writing and within five working days of the supervisor's written response, to the department head, director, or next appropriate level with a copy of the statement of the complaint to the supervisor and the Director of Human Resources.
Department Head (or the next appropriate working level): Responds orally and in writing to the employee and sends a copy of the response to the Director of Human Resources within five days of the receipt of the complaint.
Employee: Forwards statement of complaint, and any written responses generated in the procedure, within five days to the vice president of the division, if he or she feels the complaint still remains unresolved.
Vice President: Conducts an investigation and renders a written recommendation to the principals within ten working days of receipt of the written complaint.
NOTE: At these and subsequent steps, the employee may consult with or be accompanied by any member of the RIT community, provided that this employee is not an attorney-at-law. Formal Complaint Resolution If the informal complaint resolution procedure has been exhausted and the complaint remains unresolved, the employee may file a Request for a Formal Hearing. The purpose of the formal hearing is to provide an open and thorough investigation of the grievance.
Employee: Files a written request for a formal hearing with the Director of Human Resources within five working days of the vice president's written response.
Director of Human Resources: Within ten working days:
Notifies the employee and the employee's supervisor (hereafter referred to as the principals), the department head, and appropriate administrative levels that a request for a formal hearing has been filed.
Informs the supervisor that the position will remain vacant until the president's decision is rendered, if the grievant was removed from his or her position as a result of the action being grieved.
Solicits from the grievant the names of two RIT employees and two alternate employees requested to sit on the Grievance Committee.
Solicits from the supervisor the names of two RIT employees to sit on the Grievance Committee.
Convenes the four-member Grievance Committee and instructs them to select a 5th member (and alternate) using a majority vote.
Instructs the five-member committee to select a chairperson. Solicits from the principals all documentation and lists of names and witnesses and other materials to be presented during the hearing.
Forwards materials to the chairperson.
NOTE: Grievance Committee members should not include principal parties, employees of the division involved (defined as the college or the non-academic unit led by a vice-president), or anyone else previously rendering a decision in the case.
Chairperson makes the appropriate number of copies of the (grievance) materials. Convenes the committee and principals within 10 working days after receipt of documentation from the Director of Human Resources; determines if any committee member wishes to disqualify himself or herself voluntarily, or if a principal wishes to have a member disqualified.
NOTE: A member may be disqualified involuntarily if three or more members concur with a principal's request. If disqualification occurs, an alternate will be selected in the manner by which the disqualified member was selected.
Grievance Committee Charge
The committee is to determine whether university policies and procedures have been fairly administered and interpreted in such cases as pay, promotion, adherence to professional standards, job assignment, and disciplinary action. The committee has the authority to hear grievances, and make recommendations to the president regarding their resolution. The committee will not substitute its substantive judgment on such matters for those of regularly constituted university authority. Committee recommendations are limited to the interpretation or application of university policies, procedures, and practices. The committee has no authority to add, subtract from, or modify such policies, procedures, or practices.
Convening of the Grievance Committee
The chairperson sets a date so that formal hearings begin within ten (10) working days after receipt of all documentation from the Director of Human Resources. All persons concerned, including witnesses, are notified of date, time, and place of hearings. Arrangements for tape recordings are made and, if needed, the chairperson arranges for the presence of a professional interpreter, who meets with the approval of the grievant.
At the initial meeting, the chairperson reviews the procedures to be followed:
Principals or their designated representatives may be present when evidence is introduced and each principal will be given the opportunity to make a final statement after the questioning of all persons is completed.
Principals may cross-examine all witnesses.
Principals may have counsel present at all times to speak on their behalf (provided that the counsel is a member of the RIT community and is not a professional attorney).
Hearings may be open to the RIT community if requested by either of the principals (given reasonable space limitations); either principal may request that portions of the hearing be closed, and such requests will not be unreasonably denied by the committee, and will be determined by majority vote.
Proceedings will be conducted under "Roberts's Rules of Order"; procedural disputes will be resolved by majority vote of the committee.
At the conclusion of the proceedings, deliberations will be conducted in closed session; a majority decision, by secret vote, will constitute the finding of the committee.
Grievance Committee Recommendation
The chairperson writes the recommendation, which will be signed by all committee members, and forwards it to the principals, the Director of Human Resources, the appropriate vice president, and the president of RIT within ten (10) working days. Minority reports may be written, signed, and submitted by individuals. Tape recordings of the proceedings are retained by the appropriate vice president, who will provide the principals with a copy of the recordings or a transcript (in the case of a hearing-impaired employee) at their request and expense. The principals or the vice president may submit their own recommendation to the president who makes a final, binding decision for the university.
The president's decision is stated in writing within ten (10) working days after receipt of the findings of the Grievance Committee, and is distributed to the principals, the appropriate vice president, and the Director of Human Resources. The decision is final and binding. The decision may be made public by the principals or the president.
NOTE: If a vice president feels that he or she has a grievance, the Personnel Committee of the Board of Trustees serves as the grievance committee.
Personnel Policy 5.07 Issued June 1, 1984
Last revised July 1, 1988
Edited October 2010