Employee Grievance

Employee Grievance Policy
Updated: 8/29/18
Contact: Human Resources

The purpose of this policy is to provide employees a process to address and resolve differences on matters pertaining to the specific application of College policies and procedures to the employee. This policy does not apply to issues that arise out of the application of a policy or procedures for discrimination and harassment issues, which should be addressed to the Anti-Harassment Coordinator. Faculty may also reference the Grievance Procedure listed in the William Jewell College Faculty Handbook.

Procedures
Two basic resolution processes are available to employees in expressing a concern: an informal process and a formal process.

The College wants to address grievances in a positive manner and work toward effective and expedient resolutions. When initiating an informal concern, an employee who has a concern or issue is encouraged to pursue resolution first by following the informal processes discussed below. Employees may seek guidance from the Director of Human Resources at any level of this process.

Level 1 – Informal Procedure
An employee should first seek to informally resolve an issue with the immediate supervisor. Often, the majority of disputes, complaints or misunderstandings can be resolved at this level. This is consistent with our philosophy of resolving disputes at the lowest possible level in the organization. These discussions should be conducted in private. There may be situations that employees feel cannot be discussed with their immediate supervisor.  In these instances, an employee has the option to discuss the issue with the next level of management to seek resolution. The Director of Human Resources is also available to assist or advise employees and managers regarding grievances.

If the circumstances of the issue prevent an employee from effectively using the Level 1 process, the employee can access the Level 2 process.

Level 2 – Formal Procedure
If the issue is not resolved informally (Level 1), the employee must formalize the grievance by submitting it in writing to the Director of Human Resources within seven business days. It must include the following information:

  1. Information concerning the nature and extent of the problem and related facts,
  2. Policy, procedure or practice that is alleged to have been violated,
  3. Any and all supporting documentation,
  4. The desired resolution.

Upon receipt of a written concern, the Director of Human Resources will review the grievance and contact the appropriate President’s Cabinet member (based on the organizational chart) to review the grievance. The Cabinet member will consider the facts and circumstances of the grievance and will discuss the grievance with the appropriate staff. The Cabinet member will make every effort to resolve the grievance in a timely manner but will put the resolution in writing to the employee no longer than 30 days of the receipt of the written grievance.

If the grievance is with a Cabinet member, the Director of Human Resources will forward the grievance directly to the President, who will select a Cabinet member to review the grievance. If the grievance is with the President, the Board of Trustees will designate an appropriate person to review the grievance.

Appeal: The employee may appeal the decision for the following reasons:

  1. The decision was contrary to the information provided
  2. There was newly discovered information not available at the time of initial notice of written concern.

The employee must notify the Director of Human Resources of the intent to appeal the decision.  The employee will have one week (7 calendar days)  to submit a written appeal to the Director of Human Resources. The content of the appeal should include a statement of the resolution of the complaint as well as a detailed statement of the basis of the appeal including the specific facts, circumstance and argument in support of the appeal. The Director of Human Resources will forward the appeal to the President to consider the facts and circumstances of the appeal.  The President will investigate the concern, attempt to resolve the problem and will provide a written response to the employee within ten (10) working days of receipt of the appeal from the employee. The President’s decision shall be final.

Confidentiality: The grievance procedure shall be conducted with the highest level of sensitivity to the privacy of all concerned except as necessary for the preparation of a grievance or grievance response, or as otherwise may be required by law.

General Grievance Provisions: The decisions received during the grievance procedure will be considered final unless the employee asks for further review as previously described. If the employee does not ask for further review of the grievance within the specified time limit, the grievance will not be considered further.  The time limits are firm unless the parties involved mutually agree in writing to extend the time limit.  Extensions may be justified by the complexity of the issue and availability of individuals involved.

These procedures should not be construed as preventing, limiting or delaying the College from taking disciplinary action against any individual, up to and including termination, in circumstances where the College deems disciplinary action appropriate, e.g., problems involving conduct, attitude, demeanor or performance.

Retaliation: The College will not tolerate any form of retaliation against employees who avail themselves of the grievance procedures. It is a violation of this policy to retaliate against any William Jewell College employee who reports a grievance or who participates in the investigation of a grievance. Employees who believe they have been retaliated against in violation of this policy should make a complaint immediately to the Director of Human Resources.