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E30.0 Staff Grievance Policy

 

Scope: Applies to all RIT regular staff employees as defined in E1.0 Employee Work Classifications

  1. Policy Statement 

    RIT’s core values establish the expectation that employees work together in a respectful and collegial manner.  To accomplish this, it is essential that the university maintain a climate that fosters prompt and equitable resolution of concerns and grievances. This policy provides an orderly and formal internal process for an employee who alleges existing policies or procedures have been violated, misapplied, or misinterpreted; or a practice has been unfairly administered, and as a result the employee has been adversely affected.
     
  2. Definitions
     
    1. Grievable Issue means an instance when an appropriate policy or procedure has been violated, misapplied, or misinterpreted; or a practice has been unfairly administered, and as a result has adversely affected the employee. Termination of employment as the result of a policy, procedure, or practice is not a Grievable Issue.
       
    2. Business Day means Monday through Friday when the campus is open for business and does not include official RIT holidays.
       
    3. Documentation means the materials submitted during the grievance process.  Appropriate/applicable documents should include but are not limited to:
       
      1. Statement of the Grievable Issue,
         
      2. Copy of the specific policy or procedure that has been violated, misapplied or misinterpreted; or practice that has been unfairly administered and an explanation of how the employee perceived the policy or procedure to be violated, misunderstood or misinterpreted; or the practice unfairly administered,
         
      3. The dates of the perceived Grievable Issue,
         
      4. The date the employee discovered the perceived Grievable Issue,
         
      5. The facts related to the perceived Grievable Issue,
         
      6. A description of attempts to resolve the Grievable Issue including summaries provided in applicable earlier steps in the process,
         
      7. The resolution sought by the employee.
         
    4. ​​​​Principal means one or more of the main parties involved in the grievance, typically the staff member filing the grievance and the employee against whom the grievance is being filed. Terminated employees cannot be Principals.
       
    5. RIT Community means any individual authorized to be on the RIT campus including administrators, faculty, staff, students and student organizations, alumni, and external organizations and individuals in their operations with RIT.
       
    6. RIT Supervisor means any person in a position at RIT which requires that person to supervise other individuals and to write performance evaluations on them, whether or not this person supervises any of the parties involved in a grievance.
       
    7. Majority Vote means at least three out of the five members of the Staff Grievance Committee unless otherwise stated.
       
    8. Staff Grievance Pool (the “Pool”) means a group of fifteen (15) RIT staff who have agreed to serve on a Staff Grievance Committee.  The Pool includes both non-supervisory staff and supervisory staff from across the university, appointed to 3-year terms.  Members will receive training from the Office of Legal Affairs.
       
    9. Staff Grievance Committee (the “Committee”) means a group of five (5) RIT staff chosen from the Staff Grievance Pool to conduct a hearing requested by an employee. The Committee will include at least two (2) non-supervisory staff and at least two (2) supervisory staff.  All Committee members must be primarily employed in divisions other than the division of the Principals.
       
  3. Grievance Procedures
     
    1. General Provisions
       
      1. At any step in this process either Principal may consult with the Department of Human Resources or the Ombuds Office for advice and counsel.  These discussions will not be considered part of the grievance procedures.
         
      2. Initial responsibility for resolving a complaint lies with the RIT Supervisor.
         
      3. All documents shall be submitted in electronic format unless otherwise requested by the employee. Communication and information sent between parties (e.g. notices, requests, responses), shall be facilitated by the Chair of the Staff Grievance Committee using secure communication on the RIT computing system (RIT computing systems that require RIT user name/password authentication) and labeled “RIT Confidential” unless otherwise noted.
         
      4. At any meeting that is part of this grievance policy, either Principal may be accompanied by one member of the RIT community, but such individual shall not hold a law degree.
         
      5. The processes available to employees in this Policy and any subsequent procedures document created, are intended to provide an internal resolution of Grievable Issue(s). In the event that the Staff Grievance Committee determines by a majority vote that the commencement of administrative or legal proceedings substantially impairs their ability to fairly implement this Policy, the Staff Grievance Committee may determine that a formal hearing will not be conducted. This determination shall end the formal hearing, is not reviewable, and no further action is required.
         
    2. Informal Process
       
      1. The informal process commences when an employee sends a written request for the informal resolution of a Grievable Issue to their immediate RIT Supervisor. This written request must occur within ten (10) Business Days from the time the employee discovers a perceived Grievable Issue. The written request may be sent via electronic mail.
         
      2. As soon as possible, but no later than five (5) Business Days from the day the immediate RIT Supervisor receives the written request from the employee, the employee and the immediate RIT Supervisor shall meet and attempt to reach an informal resolution. At the request of the employee, this meeting can occur in person, by telephone, or by video conference.
         
      3. Within five (5) Business Days after the conclusion of the meeting between the employee and their immediate RIT Supervisor, the immediate RIT Supervisor must provide the employee with a copy of the Documentation of their meeting including either the resolution of the issue(s) or the attempts to resolve the issue(s).
         
      4. If the Grievable Issue is resolved during the meeting between the employee and their immediate RIT Supervisor, all Documentation is sent to the Department of Human Resources, with copies for both the employee and the immediate RIT Supervisor. The informal process ends and no further action is required.
         
      5. If the Grievable Issue is unresolved during the meeting between the employee and their immediate RIT Supervisor, the employee may request a meeting with the next level RIT Supervisor. This request shall be made in writing within five (5) Business Days of receiving the immediate RIT Supervisor's Documentation. A copy of the request, together with the Documentation, shall be sent to the employee’s immediate RIT Supervisor and the Associate Director, Human Resources.
         
      6. Within five (5) Business Days of receiving the written request for a meeting, the next level RIT Supervisor shall schedule a meeting date with the employee. The next level RIT Supervisor and employee shall meet to attempt to reach informal resolution as soon as reasonably possible but no later than ten (10) Business Days from receipt of the written request. At the request of the employee, this meeting can occur in person, by telephone, or by video conference.
         
      7. Within fifteen (15) Business Days of the meeting between the next level RIT Supervisor and the employee, the next level RIT Supervisor shall provide the employee with a copy of the Documentation of their meeting including the resolution of the Grievable Issue or attempts to resolve the Grievable Issue. A copy of the resolution reached by the next level RIT Supervisor shall be sent to the Associate Director, Human Resources.
         
      8. If the Grievable Issue is resolved, the informal process ends and no further action is required.
         
      9. If the Grievable Issue is unresolved during the meeting between the employee and the next level RIT Supervisor, the employee may forward a statement of complaint and written responses received to the vice president of the employees’ division/dean of the employees’ college and to the Associate Director, Human Resources. This statement of complaint shall be made in writing within five (5) Business Days of receiving the next level RIT Supervisor’s Documentation.
         
      10. Upon receipt of the statement, the vice president of the division shall cause an investigation to be conducted by the Department of Human Resources. This investigation shall determine if an RIT policy or procedure has been violated, misapplied, or misinterpreted; or an RIT practice has been unfairly administered, resulting in an adverse effect on the employee. This investigation shall be conducted within a reasonable time frame, which shall be no more than twenty (20) Business Days from the vice president’s receipt of the statement from the employee.
         
      11. Within five (5) Business Days of the completion of the investigation conducted at the request of the vice president of the division, the vice president shall send a written recommendation to the Principals.
         
      12. If the Grievable Issue is resolved, the informal process ends and no further action is required. Copies of all Documentation shall be forwarded to the Associate Director, Human Resources.
         
      13. If the Grievable Issue is unresolved, the employee may file a request for a formal hearing with the Assistant Vice President, Human Resources. This request shall be in writing and shall be sent within ten (10) Business Days of receipt of the vice president of the division’s written recommendation.
         
      14. If upon the expiration of ten (10) Business Days from the receipt of the vice president of the division’s written recommendation, no request for a formal hearing is received, the informal process ends and no further action is required.
         
      15. In instances where the immediate RIT Supervisor or the next level RIT Supervisor is the vice president of the employees’ division/dean of the employees’ college, the employee shall not be entitled to another level of review as part of the informal process.
         
      16. In instances where the president is the immediate RIT Supervisor, the Board of Trustees chairperson shall serve as the next level of review, and the employee shall not be entitled to another level of review as part of the informal process.
         
    3. Formal Hearing
       
      1. Upon conclusion of the informal process, an employee may request a formal hearing. The request shall be directed to the Assistant Vice President, Human Resources, shall be in writing, and shall include copies of all Documentation. This request for a formal hearing may be provided electronically.
         
      2. The formal hearing shall be for the purpose of addressing the Grievable Issue that was the subject of the informal process. The request for a formal hearing shall be made no later than ten (10) Business Days from the conclusion of the informal process.
         
      3. Within five (5) Business Days following receipt of the request for a formal hearing and the Documentation, the Chair of Staff Council, in consultation with the Assistant Vice President, Human Resources, shall select the members of the Staff Grievance Committee from among the members of the Staff Grievance Pool.
         
      4. Within five (5) Business Days of the selection of the members of the Staff Grievance Committee, the Committee members shall choose a chair. Once chosen, the Assistant Vice President, Human Resources shall provide copies of the request for a formal hearing and all Documentation to the Chair of the Staff Grievance Committee.
         
      5. The Chair of the Staff Grievance Committee shall distribute copies of the request for a formal hearing and the Documentation to the members of the Staff Grievance Committee.
         
      6. Within five (5) Business Days of the distribution of the Documentation by the Chair, Staff Grievance Committee members shall notify the Chair of the Staff Grievance Committee if they need to disqualify themselves from participation in the formal hearing. A valid Staff Grievance Committee is formed once all members confirm their ability to serve.
         
      7. The formal hearing shall commence within fifteen (15) Business Days of the formation of a valid Staff Grievance Committee.
         
      8. The formal hearing shall be conducted by the Staff Grievance Committee in accordance with the procedures developed by the Department of Human Resources and as outlined in this Policy. In the event of a conflict between the procedures developed by the Department of Human Resources and this Policy, this Policy shall govern. In the absence of procedures developed by the Department of Human Resources, the valid Staff Grievance Committee shall use procedures designed to implement the process described in this Policy in a fair and efficient manner.
         
    4. Staff Grievance Committee
       
      1. The Staff Grievance Committee shall consist of five (5) members chosen in accordance with the provisions of this Policy, from the Staff Grievance Pool. Committee members are appointed for the duration of the case. The Committee will include at least two (2) non-supervisory staff and at least two (2) supervisory staff. Committee members must be primarily employed in divisions other than the division of the Principals.
         
      2. In the event that the Staff Grievance Committee cannot be fully formed using the Staff Grievance Pool members due to disqualifications or exclusions from serving on a case, the Executive Committee of Staff Council shall select replacements from Staff Council.
         
      3. Once the members of the Staff Grievance Committee are selected, the Principals are notified of the formation of the Committee and provided with the names of the members of the Committee.
         
      4. The Principals shall not contact any member of the Staff Grievance Committee prior to or during the formal hearing. Any Principal that contacts a member of the Staff Grievance Committee in violation of this Policy, may forfeit their right to a formal hearing.
         
      5. Members of the Staff Grievance Committee shall not contact any Principal prior to or during the formal hearing other than in accordance with the provisions of this Policy. Any Staff Grievance Committee member that contacts a Principal shall be disqualified from participating in the formal hearing.
         
    5. Staff Grievance Committee Charge

      The Staff Grievance Committee is to determine whether university policies and procedures have been fairly administered and interpreted by the supervisor. The Committee has the authority to hear Grievable Issues and make recommendations to the president. Committee recommendations are limited to the interpretation or application of university policies, procedures, and practices and whether they were fairly and consistently applied. The Committee has no authority to add, subtract from, or modify such policies, procedures, or practices. The Committee does not have the authority to make recommendations that are not consistent with this Policy.
       
    6. Formal Hearing Procedures
       
      1. All Staff Grievance Committee formal hearings shall be closed and private.
         
      2. The Staff Grievance Committee shall determine by Majority Vote if the formal hearing is to be held in person, by telephone, or by video conference.
         
      3. All Staff Grievance Committee formal hearings shall be audio recorded. This audio recording is available only for the Committee’s review during deliberations. Upon conclusion of the formal hearing any recordings made shall be considered an RIT Record and maintained in accordance with the provisions of RIT’s Record Management Policy (C22.0).
         
      4. Principals or their designated representatives may be present when evidence is introduced but they shall not receive copies of any Documentation submitted prior to or during the formal hearing. Designated representatives (one per Principal) shall be members of the RIT Community and may speak on behalf of a Principal, provided that such designated representative does not hold a law degree.
         
      5. Principals shall not question each other or witnesses during the formal hearing, but may submit questions to the Staff Grievance Committee. The Staff Grievance Committee shall determine which, if any, questions submitted by the Principals will be asked.
         
      6. Procedural questions shall be resolved by Majority Vote of the Staff Grievance Committee.
         
      7. The Staff Grievance Committee shall determine when to conclude the formal hearing. Upon conclusion of the formal hearing, no additional evidence shall be accepted by the Committee. Any Committee member that accepts evidence after the close of a formal hearing or communicates with a Principal prior to, during, or after the closing of a hearing, shall be disqualified.
         
    7. Reports/Decisions
      1. Within five (5) Business Days of the conclusion of the formal hearing the chair of the Staff Grievance Committee shall forward its written report to the Principals, the Assistant Vice President, Human Resources, the appropriate vice president/dean and the president of RIT.
         
      2. The Committee’s report shall be signed by all Committee members and shall include the substantiating reasons for the recommendations made by the Committee. It shall not include recommendations that are not consistent with the Committee’s charge.
         
      3. The president shall make the final decision within ten (10) Business Days of receipt of the Committee’s recommendation. The president’s decision shall be in writing, distributed to the Principals, the appropriate vice president/dean, and the Assistant Vice President, Human Resources and shall be final.

         

Responsible Office: Department of Human Resources

Effective Date:
Personnel Policy 5.07 Issued June 1, 1984

Policy History:
Last revised July 1, 1988
Edited October 2010
Approved as Interim Policy June 1, 2018
Revisions approved and interim status removed 26 September 2018

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