Staff Employee Mediation and Grievance                      UPPS No. 04.04.41

Policy                                                                                     Issue No. 15

Effective Date: 06/08/2015

                                                                                                Review: April 1 E4Y

Sr. Reviewer: Asst. Vice President for Human Resources

 

 

01.       POLICY STATEMENT

 

01.01  This document provides policies and procedures for staff employee mediation and grievances.

 

02.       DEFINITIONS

 

02.01   Mediation – a form of alternative dispute resolution outside of the university’s formal grievance process in which an impartial person, a mediator, facilitates communication between disputing parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, and understanding.

 

02.02  Grievance – an appeal of a disciplinary action or a disagreement affecting an employee’s wages, hours of work, or conditions of work. Appeals of oral and written reprimands, demotions, suspensions without pay, reductions in pay, and all terminations (disciplinary and non-disciplinary) both at-will and for cause will also be addressed through the grievance process (see The Texas State University System (TSUS) Board of Regents Rule, Chapter V.2 General 2.15).

 

02.03  Hearing Officer – the appropriate divisional vice president, unless otherwise designated by the president.

 

02.04  Staff Employee – any employee other than a student employee or a faculty employee as defined in the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents, The Texas State University System.

 

02.05  Assistant Vice President for Human Resources – either the assistant vice president or a representative appointed by the assistant vice president.

 

02.06  Department Head – the person with line authority for the employee involved in the action or condition against which the grievance is filed.

 

02.07  Vice President – the person with line authority for the employee involved in the action or condition against which the grievance is filed and is identified as “vice president” in the University Pay Plan.

 

02.08  Employment At-Will – Staff employees serve without fixed terms and at the pleasure of the president or Board of Regents. As “at-will” employees, either the university or the staff employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time with or without cause and without liability for failure to continue the employment.

 

02.09  Grievant – staff employee who submits a grievance.

 

02.10  Termination for Cause – involuntary discharge of an employee who fails to meet performance expectations or whose work related behavior or conduct has been deemed unsatisfactory. Failure to meet performance expectations can include: failure to comply with state or federal law, failure to meet performance, conduct or behavioral standards in a way that affects the efficient operation of the university, insubordinate acts directed at a supervisor, and any behavior or conduct that is not in the best interest of Texas State University.

 

03.         MEDIATION PROCEDURES

 

03.01   Mediation Process – The mediation process will follow the procedures contained in the Mediation Guidelines for Staff found on the Human Resources website. Both regular and non-regular staff employees may use mediation (see UPPS No. 04.04.03, Staff Employment, for a definition of "non-regular" employees).

 

03.02   Participation is Voluntary – While the university encourages mediation, participation is voluntary and both parties must agree to the process.

 

03.03Confidentiality – Human Resources will retain information pertaining to mediation and may share it with supervisory officials managing the employees involved, as well as any other university official Human Resources deems appropriate.

 

03.04   The Mediator – When mediation is requested and agreed to by the mediating parties, Human Resources will secure certain administrative record data and the services of a trained mediator to facilitate the mediation of the conflict or dispute at no expense to the mediating parties.

 

03.05   Time-Limits

 

a.    Requests for mediation are subject to the same 10-working-day time- limit for grievances as specified in Section 04.04.

 

b.    The staff member has five working days after receipt of 1) the mediator notification to all parties involved and Human Resources that the mediation has failed; or 2) notification from Human Resources that one party has declined the mediation to pursue a grievance.

 

03.06  Failed Mediation – Mediation fails when any party declines the mediation process, declines further participation once the process has begun, or the mediator notifies all parties and Human Resources in writing of failure to reach an acceptable mediation agreement.

 

04.       NON-TERMINATION GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

 

04.01  Staff employees may use the grievance procedures as appropriate within the time-limits as noted below.

 

04.02  Informal Resolution – Staff employees should discuss work-related problems with their supervisors. Employees and supervisors should cooperate to resolve problems efficiently and informally. An employee may use these grievance procedures only if he or she has first discussed the problem with the supervisor and they are unable to resolve the problem informally. The employee should begin informal resolution as soon as possible, and supervisors need to respond promptly to the employee's request for resolution.

 

Attempts at informal resolution do not change the 10 working-day time limit for filing grievances as discussed in Section 04.04. If for any reason informal resolution is not obtained within the 10-working-day time-limit, the employee must file a grievance as appropriate within the 10-working-day time-limit if he or she wants to pursue such action.

 

04.03  Due to the organizational structure in areas where an associate or assistant vice president functions as the head of the department (e.g., Library, Facilities, Treasurer’s office), the appropriate vice president may designate these officials as the first level of review of a personnel action that results in an employee filing a non-termination grievance.

 

In academic departments, the dean over the academic department will serve as the first level of review for all non-termination grievances. The provost will serve as the second and final level of review.

 

The appropriate assistant or associate divisional vice president will initially address all other staff grievances within the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

If a non-termination grievance is filed against an assistant or associate vice president or dean, the divisional vice president will serve as the first and only level of review.

 

04.04  Within 10 working days after learning of the action or condition giving rise to the non-termination grievance, the employee must present the incident's details on a grievance form to Human Resources. Human Resources will not attempt to resolve the problem, but will meet with the employee to review the information presented. Human Resources will also assist the employee in clarifying the issues, answer the employee's policy and procedure questions, and explain the grievance process. Human Resources will complete and sign the grievance form and return it to the employee.

 

The employee must present the signed form with any attachments to their department head or dean and send copies to Human Resources.

 

a.    As part of the process, the department head must meet with the grievant and his or her representative (if applicable) and investigate the issues thoroughly, conduct meetings and interviews as appropriate, and refer to the Human Resources Checklist for Investigating a Grievance.

 

b.    The department head must inform the employee of his or her decision in writing on the grievance form within five working days of its receipt. The department head must send a copy of his or her decision to the Human Resources office.

 

c.    If the decision of the department head is unacceptable to the employee, the employee must, within five working days after receipt of the decision on the grievance form:

1)   present a grievance form to the appropriate vice president, attaching copies of the previously completed grievance form and department head’s decision; and

2)   present copies of the grievance form and attachments to the Human Resources office, which will then be forwarded to the vice president’s office.

 

d.    The vice president will consider the grievance and investigate in a manner deemed appropriate (see the Human Resources website for Checklist for Investigating a Grievance).

 

e.    The vice president must inform the employee of his or her decision in writing on the grievance form within five working days of its receipt. The vice president will send copies of his or her decision to the department head and to the Human Resources office. The decision of the vice president is final.

 

04.05  If the non-termination grievance is against the vice president, the grievance will be submitted to the special assistant to the president as the hearing officer, unless the president appoints another divisional vice president to be the hearing officer.

 

05.       TERMINATION GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

 

05.01  Within 10 working days after either at-will termination or for cause termination, the employee must present the incident’s details on a grievance form to Human Resources. Human Resources will not attempt to resolve the problem, but will meet with the employee to review the information presented. Human Resources will also assist the employee in clarifying the issues, answer the employee’s policy and procedure questions and explain the grievance process. Human Resources will sign the grievance form and deliver the signed grievance form to the divisional vice president.

 

a.    As part of the process, the vice president may meet with the grievant and his or her representative (if applicable) and investigate the issues thoroughly, conduct meetings and interviews as appropriate and refer to the Human Resources Checklist for Investigating a Grievance.

 

b.   The vice president must inform the employee of his or her decision in writing on the grievance form within five working days of its receipt. The vice president must send a copy of his or her decision to the Human Resources office. The decision of the vice president is final.

 

c.   If the termination grievance is against the vice president, the grievance will be submitted to the special assistant to the President as the hearing officer, unless the president appoints another divisional vice president to be the hearing officer.

 

06.       RULES FOR GRIEVANCES

 

06.01  One Subject and Forms – The grievant must use the appropriate forms, and must include: 1) a clear statement of the problem; 2) a description of the event that gave rise to the problem, including its date and location; 3) the identity of persons involved; and 4) the relief sought. A department head or hearing officer who receives a grievance form that does not have a Human Resources acknowledgment signature should refer the employee to Human Resources. Once submitted, the employee cannot amend the forms or the attachments unless the reviewing authority agrees to the       amendment.

 

06.02  Time-Limits

 

a.   Since it is important to resolve problems as rapidly as possible, persons involved should consider time limits in this procedure as maximums. They should strive to expedite the process.

 

b.   An employee must present his or her grievance to the Human Resources office within 10 working days after learning of an action or condition giving rise to the grievance. Although the parties involved may still resolve the matter informally, they may not use the formal procedures in this policy after that time.

 

1)   The Human Resources office may only consider grievances filed within the appropriate time-limits.

2)   The parties may, by written agreement, extend or shorten time- limits at any step in the process. Human Resources may extend time limits at any step in the process for good cause at the request of the hearing officer, department head, or the grievant.

 

06.03  Time Off for GrievancesGrievants are permitted time off from their regular duties with pay to attend meetings under this process. These meetings include conferences with representatives of Human Resources and supervisors. The employees should notify their supervisors in writing when meetings are scheduled.

 

Employees are not allowed time off with pay to research or otherwise prepare for grievances. They may, however, take annual leave, compensatory leave, or leave without pay under normal leave procedures for these purposes.

 

06.04  Retaliation Prohibited – No person may penalize, discipline, or otherwise retaliate against an employee for 1) presenting a grievance, 2) testifying on behalf of another employee, or 3) representing or assisting another employee with a grievance.

 

06.05  Confidentiality – Those involved in the process should maintain confidentiality to the extent permitted by the Texas Public Information Act.

 

06.06  Records – Human Resources and the administrators involved will maintain records of grievances.

 

06.07  Notifications – All notifications to the grievant in this policy are complete when the notice is given to him or her directly or deposited in the U.S. or campus mail, addressed to the grievant at his or her department address or home address on file in Human Resources.

 

06.08  Investigation Meetings – Both the complainant and respondent may have a representative or advisor present at meetings with the investigator, Title IX coordinator, hearing officer, deputy coordinator, or other university administrator related to the grievance. The representative or advisor may provide support, guidance or advice to the complainant or respondent, but may not directly participate in the meetings.

 

07.       FORMS

 

07.01  All forms referred to within this document are available on the Human Resources website.

 

08.       REVIEWERS OF THIS UPPS

 

08.01  Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:

 

Position                                                         Date

 

Assistant Vice President for                       April 1 E4Y

Human Resources

 

Chief Diversity Officer                                 April 1 E4Y

and Director, Equity and Access

 

Chair, Staff Council                                    April 1 E4Y

 

09.       CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

 

This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

 

Assistant Vice President for Human Resources; senior reviewer of this UPPS

 

Vice President for Finance and Support Services

 

President