Employee Relations

Employee Relations under Human Resources (HR) provides guidance and information to employees.  Employee Relations is responsible for handling sensitive employment issues related to employee performance, attendance/leave, conduct, development and needs by providing daily consultative assistance and service to managers/supervisors and employees. The Employee Relations also assists with preventing and resolving issues involving individuals that arise out of or affect work situations.  

What is the Goal of Employee Relations? 

Our goal is to maintain a positive relationship with employees.  By maintaining positive, constructive employees relations, Gallaudet hopes to keep employees loyal and more engaged in their work.  Gallaudet University expects high performance from employees and also strives to treat employees fairly. To do so, Gallaudet seeks to resolve matters and concerns regarding employees in a just and consistent manner.  The University expects that supervisors will promptly and fairly resolve such concerns, but that employees will be held accountable for poor performance or misconduct. To accomplish these goals, the University strives to promote and maintain a climate of open communication and mutual trust between employees and supervisors. The University also expects supervisors to typically use a progressive discipline process prior to moving forward with termination.

What Employee Relations Does to Help Supervisors and Employees: 

  • Provides counsel and advice to supervisors and employees regarding employment-related inquiries.
  • Assists in the interpretation of University policies and procedures.
  • Provides confidential consultation.
  • Advises employees regarding their employment rights.
  • Facilities dialogues on employee/employer issues.
  • To provide fair, reliable and effective resolutions in a timely fashion. 

Employee Relations Procedures: 

For Employees

Employees are always encouraged to promptly address their concerns directly with their immediate supervisor. A good first step is typically for the employee to schedule an in-person conversation between the employee and the supervisor that includes discussion of the employee’s concern and review of the facts and any relevant communications, policies or other documents. As appropriate, the employee and supervisor should bring copies of related materials so they can be reviewed during the meeting. The employee should also be prepared to inform the supervisor of his or her desired resolution of the concern.

In turn, the supervisor should be prepared to listen effectively to the employee’s concerns and, where applicable, explain clearly his or her reasoning behind the decision or conduct at issue. The supervisor should promptly communicate to the employee either at the meeting or promptly after the meeting the intended next steps and/or any resolutions or other decisions (including the decision not to change the decision or action at issue) reached. The supervisor may, where appropriate, confirm his or her decision in writing.

Please note that this policy is not intended to require supervisors to reconsider their decisions, nor is intended to encourage employees to challenge routine supervisory actions. It is intended to instead promote better communication between supervisors and their reports.

For Supervisors

Supervisors are primarily responsible for managing job performance and behavioral issues within their departments. Supervisors are expected to provide coaching and ongoing feedback to help employees perform and to make them aware of performance and other deficiencies, and to promptly address deficiencies when they arise. This may include, for example, providing a verbal warning as described below. When supervisors need assistance resolving a conflict, they should contact Human Resources, which may involve the Ombuds and/or the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs where appropriate. 

Option for Facilitated Conversation

If discussion(s) between the employee and supervisor does not result in a satisfactory resolution, or if the employee is uncomfortable with approaching his or her supervisor independently, or if the supervisor believes involving a third party would be helpful in resolving performance concerns, this optional step is available to employees or supervisors to request to meet with one another together with another appropriate individual and attempt to resolve their issue. This may include, but not limited to, the Ombuds or Human Resources. As with any attempt at conflict resolution, an open exchange of information is critical for success. A facilitated discussion may be able to help both the employee and the supervisor to express their thoughts, concerns and willingness to find a resolution.

Human Resources will, where appropriate, work with various stakeholders, including the administrators, the Office of Ombuds, the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, and the Provost’s Office, to help address certain employee matters and concerns.

Resources:
A&O Manual
Leave/FMLA
Progressive Discipline Procedures
Staff Performance Management

Employee Relations Contact:
Shana Daniels Sever

Coordinator of Benefits and Employee Relations
(202) 250-2634 (VP)
shana.daniels.sever@gallaudet.edu