Dispute Resolution - Non-Union Staff

What is the purpose of the Dispute Resolution process?

The dispute resolution process is a way 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.

Does the Dispute Resolution process apply to all employees?

The dispute resolution process applies to regular and extended temporary staff employees who have satisfactorily completed their probationary period, unless specifically covered by collective bargaining agreements made between Gallaudet University and certified bargaining agents.

Who can I meet with informally for advice, clarification, or counseling?

Employees who want to discuss or attempt to resolve their problems informally, who desire counseling, or who wish to obtain clarification of their rights may meet in confidence with the EEO Officer or the Director of Human Resources.

How do I go about requesting a formal administrative review of a problem?

The dispute resolution process allows an employee to appeal a decision through the chain of command up to the appropriate administrative officer. In the steps described below, administrative officer refers to the individual reporting to the President (e.g., vice president); the unit administrator refers to the individual who reports to the administrative officer (e.g., dean or business director). In some cases, the supervisor, or the individual who initiated the action, may be the unit administrator. If this is the case, the employee would have 10 days to begin with step 2 below. Following the timelines is critical.

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. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the supervisor has up to 10 working days to respond.

Step 2: If the reply of the immediate supervisor does not resolve the matter, the employee has up to 5 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. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the unit administrator has 10 working days to respond.

Step 3: If the reply of the unit administrator does not resolve the issue, the employee has up to 5 working days after receipt of the unit administrator's response to present a formal, written appeal to the appropriate administrative officer. 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. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the administrative officer has 10 working days to respond.

Does the administrative review stop with the vice president?

Not necessarily. If the reply of the administrative officer does not resolve the matter, the employee may submit a formal written appeal, within 5 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. 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 grievance. 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.

If accepted, the panel reviews the matter within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal. The panel interviews, as necessary, all persons involved in the grievance. 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 5 working days.

What kinds of grievances would a panel not consider?

As a general rule, a dispute resolution panel would not, for example, be in a position to determine if a performance evaluation an employee received was appropriate, or if hours of work were appropriate, or if the denial of leave was appropriate.

Is there a step beyond the panel?

In situations where there has been a potential violation of laws or regulations governing employment, the employee may submit, within 5 working days after receipt of the administrative officer's or panel's response, a formal, written appeal to the EEO Officer. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the EEO Officer will investigate, if appropriate, consult with the administrative officer, and respond in writing within 10 working days after receipt of the formal appeal.

Where can I find additional information about the dispute resolution process?

For more information, please contact the Director of Human Resources or refer to the Dispute Resolution Procedures policy in the Administration and Operations Manual.

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