Unclassified Grievance/Complaint Policy
Authority: Inclusive Excellence
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted March 2016; Revised April 17, 2018; October 12, 2021; November 1, 2022
McNeese State University is committed to providing a collegial workplace. The Unclassified Grievance/Complaint Policy serves as the mechanism to address complaints pertaining to working conditions, the lack of a policy or procedure, an allegedly unfair application of a policy or procedure, and alleged deviations from a policy or procedure.
The chief diversity officer is available for informal discussions regarding complaints and concerns and provides unclassified employees with information concerning grievance policies and procedures.
An unclassified employee shall orally present and discuss a grievance with their department head, director, or immediate supervisor. If the issue is not resolved, then the employee may pursue the complaint at the next level in the supervisory chain. If necessary, this process continues until it reaches the chief diversity officer. In the event the chief diversity officer is unable to serve as the unclassified grievance officer, or if there is a conflict of interest with the chief diversity officer, Senior Staff will appoint the hearing officer. In this event, both parties retain the right to petition Senior Staff on their behalf.
The chief diversity officer will attempt to resolve the matter through alternative dispute resolution (https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/labor-relations/adr). It must be emphasized that each unclassified employee should feel secure to pursue the complaint without fear of coercion or retaliation.
If the discussions do not yield results, the unclassified employee may submit a Grievance Form, which can be obtained from the Office of Inclusive Excellence. In this form, the complainant must state the problem, provide evidence to support the claim, and describe the redress requested to resolve it. The complainant must date and sign the form.
The content of the grievance cannot be altered or expanded after submission to the chief diversity officer. When appropriate, the chief diversity officer will send a copy via email, USPS 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 is not resolved at this stage, then the chief diversity officer will convene the Grievance Committee.
- The chief diversity officer shall convene the Grievance Committee after the complainant complies with procedures required in the grievance process. The Grievance Committee serves as a hearing and recommending body and reports its findings to the president of the University or their designee. The full committee must be present for all hearings. If any member of the committee is unavailable, the president or their designee has the authority to appoint substitute member.
- Prior to the hearing, committee members will meet informally to review submitted materials and determine whether additional evidence or materials are necessary for the hearing.
- The committee chairperson shall notify the complainant and other affected parties named in the grievance at least seven business days prior to the hearing. Notice shall be in writing and transmitted by USPS mail to the address of record and emailed to the University-assigned email account, detailing the date, time, and place of the hearing.
- Non-appearance of the complainant after notice may cause the grievance to be abandoned.
- All Grievance Committee proceedings are personnel matters and are therefore closed and private. Committee members are bound by strict confidentiality. There is no right to a public hearing.
- 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.
- If the complainant is represented by counsel, committee proceedings shall not go forward without the presence and assistance of legal counsel to the committee. Attorneys representing complainants at grievance committee hearings may not personally cross-examine witnesses, may not address the committee, may not raise motions or objections, and may not otherwise engage hearing attendees or procedures. Attorneys may communicate directly and confidentially with their clients in a manner consistent with the dignity of the proceedings.
- Witnesses, when summoned to hearings, must be sequestered.
- The chairperson of the committee (after consultation with counsel) rules on the relevance of questions.
- Individual committee members must not engage in discussions with any individual(s) advocating on the complainant’s behalf.
- The committee submits a written, signed statement of findings to the president or their designee within five business days after conclusion of the hearing.
- The findings of the committee are recommendations for action.
- After the president or their designee receives the recommendations of the Grievance Committee, they review all information, evidence, and testimony relevant to the grievance with the assistance, if requested, of the chief diversity officer. The president or their designee shall then render judgment which may include instruction, disciplinary actions, recommendations for additional management actions, and/or dismissal of all or any part of the grievance, in accordance with applicable policy or law.
- The president or their designee shall notify all parties, in writing, regarding the disposition of the case.
- Records of formal complaints and committee responses shall be kept in the Office of Inclusive Excellence for EEO/AA review only. All other copies are destroyed.
In the case of an adverse decision by the president and/or their designee, and after all administrative procedures of the University have been exhausted, the complainant may appeal the decision to the University of Louisiana System (ULS) Board of Supervisors as described in ULS Board Bylaws and Rules, Part Two, Chapter III, Section XIV.
The ULS Board of Supervisors and McNeese State University recognize the necessity and desirability of providing employees with a method for resolving problems in the workplace. However, by the adoption of this policy, neither the ULS Board of Supervisors nor McNeese State University intends to confer upon University employees any additional right of substantive or procedural due process not mandated by law.
This policy is distributed via the University Policies webpage.