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Administration and Operations Manual

4.41 Gallaudet Employees Dispute Resolution Procedures

Last Revised: 22 February 2012
Refer Questions To: Director, Equal Opportunity Programs or Human Resources

Scope

This policy applies to regular and extended temporary staff who have satisfactorily completed their probationary period in all offices and divisions of Gallaudet University, unless specifically covered by collective bargaining agreements made between Gallaudet University and certified bargaining agents.

Policy

It is the intent of the University to provide an effective method for employees to bring problems and complaints concerning work to the attention of the administration without fear of retribution or prejudice. Employees are encouraged to use the formal procedures when they believe a decision or action (including termination) is inappropriate, unfair or in violation of the institution's policies or procedures.

Since the dispute resolution process is an internal review, a representative may advise the employee but may not attend or participate in any stage of the process. With the exception of any right granted or protected by law, employees electing to pursue their complaint through external remedies without first using these procedures waive their right to use these procedures.

Employees who want to discuss or attempt to resolve their problems informally, who desire counseling, who would like to consider mediation, or who wish to obtain clarification of their rights may meet in confidence with the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs or the Director of Human Resources.

Approved by: Gallaudet University Administration

Procedures

  1. MEDIATION
    At any stage of the dispute resolution process, the employee or the supervisor may request mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process where the employee and the supervisor (or the administrator who initiated the action causing the dispute) work together in a non-adversarial way to resolve differences and to reach a mutually agreeable solution to the conflict. The Director of Equal Opportunity Programs, the Director of Human Resources and/or the University Ombuds facilitate the process. Mediation does not prevent the employee from pursuing the dispute resolution process as long as the process is initiated or resumes within 10 working days following conclusion of the mediation.
  2. ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES
    (Administrative officer refers to the President, the Provost, and the Vice President for Administration and Finance. Senior administrator refers to the special or executive assistants reporting to the President, and to the deans (including associate deans), executive directors, and directors reporting to the Provost or Vice President. Unit administrator refers to directors, managers, and department heads reporting to a senior administrator. If a particular step is not applicable, the employee goes directly to the next step.)
    1. If an employee has a complaint, he/she should request, in writing, reconsideration of the decision or action from his/her immediate supervisor (or from the administrator who initiated the action) within 10 working days of the incident.
    2. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the supervisor has up to 10 working days to respond in writing.
    3. If the reply of the immediate supervisor does not resolve the issue, the employee has up to five working days after receipt of the supervisor's response to present a formal, written appeal to the appropriate unit administrator. The appeal must include the nature of the complaint, the policy or procedure which has been violated, any evidence which might be helpful, and the redress sought.
    4. Upon receipt of the written appeal, the unit administrator consults with appropriate individuals in determining a response. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the unit administrator must respond to the employee in writing within 10 working days after receipt of the formal appeal.
    5. If the reply of the unit administrator does not resolve the issue, the employee has up to five working days after receipt of the unit administrator's response to present a formal, written appeal to the appropriate senior administrator for review. The appeal must include the nature of the complaint, the policy or procedure which has been violated, any evidence which might be helpful, and the redress sought.
    6. If the reply of the senior administrator does not resolve the issue, the employee has up to five working days after receipt of the senior administrator's response to present a formal, written appeal to the appropriate administrative officer for review and disposition. The appeal must include the nature of the complaint, the policy or procedure which has been violated, any evidence which might be helpful, and the redress sought.
    7. Upon receipt of the written appeal, the administrative officer consults with appropriate individuals in determining a response. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the administrative officer must respond to the employee in writing within 10 working days after receipt of the formal appeal.
  3. PANEL REVIEW
    (The Dispute Resolution Panel is selected by the chair of the Gallaudet Staff Council in consultation with the Director of Human Resources and usually includes three Council members who are not aligned or associated with the employee who has submitted the complaint.)
    1. If the reply of the administrative officer does not resolve the issue, the employee may submit a formal written appeal, within five working days after receipt of the administrative officer's response, to the Director of Human Resources for review by a Dispute Resolution Panel. The appeal must include the nature of the complaint, the policy or procedure which has been violated, any evidence which might be helpful, copies of all correspondence related to the appeal, and the redress sought.
    2. The chair of the Dispute Resolution Panel, in consultation with the Director of Human Resources, determines whether or not the panel is an appropriate forum for the grievance. The chair may conclude that panel members would neither be in a position nor qualified to make an informed and appropriate recommendation for the resolution of a particular appeal (e.g., a complaint regarding a performance evaluation or the denial of leave). If the grievance is not accepted, the employee is notified by the Director of Human Resources, and the decision of the administrative officer is final.
    3. If accepted, the Dispute Resolution Panel reviews the appeal within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal. The chair of the Panel is responsible for scheduling the meeting. The Director of Human Resources is responsible for facilitating the meeting and for providing the Panel with the appropriate information and resources necessary to conduct the review. The Panel interviews, as necessary, all persons involved in the grievance.
    4. Upon completion of its examination, the Panel notifies the administrative officer in writing of its findings and offers recommendations for resolving the grievance. The administrative officer may reconsider his/her decision, if appropriate, and responds to the employee within 10 working days of the Panel's
      recommendation. The decision of the administrative officer is final. If the Panel supports the decision of the administrative officer without recommendations, the chair of the Panel notifies the employee in writing within five working days.
  4. Director of Equal Opportunity Programs
    In situations where there has been a potential violation of laws or regulations governing employment (e.g., discrimination), the employee may submit, within five working days after receipt of the administrative officer's or Panel's response, a formal, written appeal to the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the Director will investigate, if appropriate, consult with the administrative officer, and respond in writing within 10 working days after receipt of the formal appeal.
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