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Unclassified Grievance/Complaint Policy

Unclassified Grievance/Complaint Policy

Authority: 
President
Date enacted or revised: 
Enacted March 2016; Revised April 17, 2018


Purpose

McNeese State University is committed to providing a collegial workplace.  To address complaints of any nature pertaining to working conditions, lack of a policy or procedure, allegedly unfair application of policy or procedure, and alleged deviation from a policy or procedure, the Unclassified Grievance/Complaint Policy will serve as the mechanism to redress those concerns.

The Chief Diversity Officer is available for informal discussions regarding complaints and concerns and to provide unclassified employees with information concerning grievance policies and procedures.

Procedure

An unclassified employee shall orally present and discuss a grievance with the department head or director or immediate supervisor.  If the issue is not resolved, then the employee may pursue the complaint with the next level in the supervisory chain.  If necessary, this process would continue until it reaches the Chief Diversity Officer. The Chief Diversity Officer will attempt to resolve the matter through Alternative Dispute Resolution.  Information explaining alternative dispute resolution is available from the Office of Inclusion Excellence.
At any point during this process, if the complaint is against someone in the supervisory chain, the unclassified employee may proceed to the next supervisory level.  It must be emphasized that each unclassified employee should feel secure in pursuing the complaint without fear or concerns about coercion or retaliation.
 
If the discussions do not yield results, the unclassified employee may file a written grievance form, which can be obtained from the Chief Diversity Officer or found on the Human Resources and Student Employment web site.  The employee must state the specific problem, the specific evidence in support of it, and the specific redress requested to resolve it.  Then he or she must date and sign the form.
 
Once committed to writing, the content of the grievance cannot be altered or expanded.  The original grievance form is submitted to the Chief Diversity Officer.  When appropriate, the Chief Diversity Officer will send a copy, via e-mail, US postal service mail, or personal delivery, to the appropriate vice president, other direct supervisor(s), and the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed.
 
Each party should file a written response to the complaint/grievance and submit it to the Chief Diversity Officer within five business days of receipt.  After the grievance form and responses have been filed, the Chief Diversity Officer will determine if the grievance has merit and attempt to reach an amicable resolution.  If the grievance resolution is not satisfactory resolved the Chief Diversity Officer will convene the Grievance Committee.
 
The Grievance Committee
 
The Grievance Committee shall be convened by the Chief Diversity Officer only after the complainant has complied with the procedure required in the grievance process.  The Grievance Committee serves as a hearing and recommending body, reporting its findings to the President of the University.  The Grievance Committee shall conduct the hearing in accordance with the procedures in this policy.
  1. All hearings must be conducted with the full committee present.  If any member of the committee is unavailable, the President has the authority to appoint substitute members for the specific purpose of acting at this hearing.

  1. In advance of the hearing, committee members meet informally to review submitted materials and determine whether additional material or evidence is necessary for the hearing.

  1. The committee chairperson shall then notify the complainant and other affected parties named in the grievance at least seven business days in advance of the hearing.  Notice shall be in writing and transmitted by U.S. Mail to the address of record and e-mail to the University assigned e-mail account, detailing the date, time, and place of the hearing.

  1. Non-appearance of the complainant after notice may cause the grievance to be abandoned.

  1. All committee proceedings are considered to be personnel matters and are therefore closed and private.  Committee members themselves are bound by strict confidentiality.  There is no right to a public hearing.

  1. All committee proceedings are recorded.  Complete transcripts shall be provided upon request, but only upon payment of actual costs required for transcription.  However, complete transcripts exclude the deliberations of the executive session of the committee, during which it makes its determination.

  1. If the complainant is represented by counsel, committee proceedings shall not go forward without the presence and assistance of legal counsel to the committee.   Attorney representing complainants at grievance committee hearing may not personally cross-examine witnesses, may not address the committee or may not raise motions or objections, and may not otherwise engage hearing attendees or procedures.  The attorney may communicate directly and confidentially with his or her client in a manner consistent with the dignity of the proceedings.

  1. Witnesses, when summoned to hearings, must be sequestered.

  1. The chairperson of the committee (after consultation with counsel) rules on the relevance of questions.

  1. Individual committee members must not engage in discussions with any individual(s) advocating on the complainant’s behalf.

  1. The committee submits a written, signed statement of findings to the President within a reasonable time, not to exceed five business days after conclusion of the hearing.

  1. The findings of the committee are recommendations for action.

  1. After the President receives the recommendations of the Grievance Committee, he or she reviews all information, evidence, and testimony relevant to the grievance, with the assistance, if requested, of the Chief Diversity Officer.  The President then shall render judgment which may include instruction, disciplinary actions, recommendations for additional management actions, and/or dismissal of all or any part of the grievance, as may be appropriate in accordance with applicable policy or law.

  1. The President shall notify, in writing, all parties to the grievance of the disposition of the case.

  1. All records of complaints and responses shall be kept in the Chief Diversity Office for EEO/AA review only.  All other copies are destroyed. 

Appeal
 
In the case of an adverse decision by the President, and after all administrative procedures of the University have been exhausted, the complainant may appeal the decision to the ULS Board of Supervisors.
 
The ULS Board of Supervisors and McNeese State University recognize the necessity and desirability of providing employees a method and forum in which to resolve problems in the workplace in an orderly fashion.  However, by the adoption of this policy, neither the ULS Board of Supervisors nor McNeese State University intends to confer upon college and university employees any additional right of substantive or procedural due process not mandated by law.


Communication

This policy is distributed via Academic Advisory Council, Senior Staff, and the University Policy page.