Wilkes University encourages and recognizes the value of communication between supervisors and staff members. The ability to maintain open lines of communication enhances the employment experience and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings in the workplace. While staff members are always encouraged to resolve concerns informally with their supervisors, the Human Resources department is available to assist employees when grievances occur.
The Staff Grievance Policy provides a mechanism for equitable resolution of staff concerns (grievances) that may arise during situations related to, work environment/schedules, pay practices, questions or missing information related to disciplinary actions and/or concerns related to inconsistent application of policies that are not resolved at the departmental level. Questions or concerns related to the staff performance appraisals are not subject to this policy/procedure and should be addressed utilizing the appeal process outlined in Staff Performance Management policy. The Staff HR Grievance procedure cannot be invoked for disciplinary actions related to acts or threats of violence.
Please note: Concerns related to gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct should be reported using the Discrimination and Harassment Reporting Form and will be resolved though the University’s Title IX Coordinator.
If an employee’s concerns are not resolved through an informal process within their department, employees may file a formal grievance by emailing the Human Resources Director, who will provide instructions on completing the Staff Grievance form. Grievances must be filed within ten (10) calendar days of the situation being grieved.
The grievant should include as much relevant information as possible via the on line reporting form or through email. All grievance reports should include:
- Employee Name, position and department
- Supervisor name
- Date of event(s)
- Names of all employees/witnesses involved
- A written statement with detail about the alleged violation and/or policy concern The remedy sought by the grievant.
The grievant may request that another employee serve as a support throughout the grievance procedure. The role of an employee support representative is to provide assistance throughout the grievance process including attending meetings and assist with gathering information to prepare for meetings and discussions. The grievant may select an employee of their choice or a current member of the University Staff Advisory Committee can be available to serve in this role.
Once a grievance has been filed, the Human Resources Director will notify the appropriate next level department leader (i.e. Chief, Director, Assistant/Associate Vice President) who is afforded up to ten (10) calendar days to review and formally respond to the grievance.
If the grievance is resolved at this step, the department head will notify both the grievant and the Human Resources Director of the determined remedy. Appropriate actions will be taken based on an agreed upon resolution and the grievance process will conclude.
Step Three – Appeal One
If the grievant is unsatisfied with the initial response from the department head, they may request an appeal of the determination by contacting the Human Resources Director utilizing the Staff Grievance Appeal Form within five (5) business days of receipt of the department head’s determination. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Human Resources Director will then commence an investigation of the grievance. This impartial investigation may take up to thirty (30) calendar days. Following the investigation, the Human Resources Director will convene a meeting of the concerned parties to discuss a resolution. The grievant will be provided a report in writing that documents the findings of the investigation and subsequent meetings. If a satisfactory remedy is reached, appropriate actions will be taken and the grievance process will end.
Step Four – Appeal Two
If the grievant believes that a secondary appeal is necessary, the grievant may contact the Associate Vice President/Chief Human Resources Officer to request the appeal within five (5) business days of receipt of the Human Resource Director’s determination. The Human Resources Director will then present the Associate Vice President/Chief Human Resources Officer with all information relevant to the grievance, including the grievance, written responses and all other information related to the investigation.
The Associate Vice President/Chief Human Resources Officer will have seven (7) calendar days to review the information and provide the grievant with a response in writing. If a satisfactory remedy is reached, appropriate actions will be taken and the grievance process will end.
Step Five – Final Appeal
A third and final appeal will be available to the grievant following the response from the Associate Vice President/Chief Human Resources Office within five (5) business days of receipt of the Associate Vice President/Chief Human Resources Officer’s determination. At this appeal stage, all information relevant to the grievance will be shared with the department head (i.e. Vice President, Dean, etc). In the event that the department leader also serves as the department head, the final appeal will be submitted to the University’s Title IX Coordinator. The department head/Title IX Coordinator will be provided with twenty one (21) days to render a final decision to the grievant in writing.
Please note: the grievant may request to dismiss the grievance at any time by providing written notice to the Human Resources Director. However, the Human Resources Department may still be obligated to continue an investigation in certain circumstances.
Created: May 2021