Problem Resolution Procedures
Employees who have complaints or concerns relating to their employment are encouraged to take advantage of the University’s problem resolution procedure. The University is committed to giving prompt and fair consideration to any such complaint, and no employee will be penalized in any way for using this procedure. The process is structured to assist both staff members and supervisors in resolving work-related problems in a constructive manner.
Concerns that arise out of the administration of a specific University or departmental policy or practice may be reviewed through this resolution procedure. Concerns regarding issues such as job title, rate of pay, organizational changes, performance appraisals, etc. generally may be directed to Human Resources.
Complaints involving allegations of unlawful discrimination may arise where individuals believe they have been treated unfairly because of their race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, or status as a disabled or Vietnam Era veteran. Such complaints should be directed to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources, who is the designated staff Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator.
The deadlines outlined herein are intended to insure that the process is carried out in an efficient and timely manner. Both the employee and the institution have an interest in a decision that is made as early as is practicable. While it is expected that these deadlines will be observed, the fact that a specified action is late shall not support a claim that the process is inadequate or defective unless the employee can show that the delay was unreasonable, in terms of cause or duration, and that it has caused serious prejudice or disadvantage. No such delay shall result in a decision “by default.”
The University also has the right to modify the stated deadlines and the general procedures as well in a particular case when, in its sole discretion, it deems such modifications appropriate.
Within these limitations, the following shall constitute the applicable procedure for seeking redress of work-related complaints:
1. The first step to be taken by the employee is to discuss the complaint with his or her immediate supervisor. Nothing said during such discussion shall prejudice any party in subsequent stages of the process. If discussion with the supervisor is not considered feasible or desirable, the employee shall have the option of taking the matter up with the Associate Vice President for Human Resources. The Associate Vice President, or a designated representative in Human Resources, will act in a mediating role, if appropriate, in attempting to work out a voluntary settlement of the problem.
2. If a satisfactory adjustment is not achieved within seven working days from the day the complaint was first discussed with the supervisor or Human Resources, the employee may then submit the complaint in writing to the person at the next supervisory level. The letter of complaint shall state the nature of the problem, the pertinent facts, and the remedial action desired. Within seven working days after receipt of the letter of complaint, the supervisor shall investigate the matter, meet with the employee and any other personnel involved, if deemed necessary or appropriate; and respond in writing. The supervisor’s response shall summarize what was done in investigating the complaint, what findings and/or conclusions were reached, and what action is being taken, if any. If the supervisor needs more than seven working days to respond, the supervisor shall so state in writing to the employee, indicating when the response will be provided.
3. If a satisfactory adjustment is not achieved at this level, the employee may take the problem to the person at the next higher supervisory level. The same procedure outlined in paragraph 2 shall be followed by all parties in dealing with the complaint.
4. If the problem is not resolved, the employee may continue this procedure upward through successive levels of authority. The last level of appeal shall be the President of the University, whose decision shall be final. Review at the level of the vice president and president may be made solely on the basis of the letter of complaint, the supervisors’ responses, and any other writings or documents that have been identified in the course of processing the complaint, rather than on the basis of an independent investigation.
If a decision at any level of review below that of the President is not satisfactory to the appropriate supervisor, the latter may carry the matter to the next higher supervisory level and appeal the decision, using the procedures outlined above.
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