HUMAN RESOURCES

Revised: 03/03/03
Updated: 03/03/09


Policy Statement 7: Employee Relations



Mediation and Grievance Policy for SPA Employees.

EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

I.

 

PURPOSE

II.

 

POLICY

III.

 

COVERED EMPLOYEES / ACTIONS

IV.

 

DEFINITIONS

V.

 

GENERAL GUIDELINES

VI.

 

FILING A GRIEVANCE

VII.

 

PROCEDURES FOR NON-DISCRIMINATION GRIEVANCES

A. Step 1 – Mediation
B. Step 2 – Appeal to the Chancellor through the SPA Grievance Committee
C. Step 3 – Appeal to the State Personnel Commission (SPC)

VIII.

 

GRIEVANCES ALLEGING ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION, UNLAWFUL WORKPLACE HARASSMENT AND/OR REGARDING REASONABLE ACCOMODATION


IX.

 

GRIEVANCE RECORD MAINTENANCE AND POLICY REVIEW

 


 

Forms:
Request for Mediation Form
Request for Step 2 – Panel Hearing Form

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I.               PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to provide a means of communication between East Carolina University (ECU) supervisors and employees and establish principles of administration to ensure a prompt, orderly, and fair response to an employeeÕs grievance or complaint.


II.              POLICY

Any career State employee having a grievance arising out of or due to employment shall first discuss the problem or grievance with his/her supervisor or the appropriate supervisor, and, after this discussion, employees may follow this grievance procedure.

Employees alleging discrimination because of age, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, creed, handicapping condition (disability), political affiliation, or sexual orientation shall have the right to file a complaint through the University grievance procedure established by the Office of Equal Opportunity & Equity (EOE) within the time frame established, or may appeal directly to the State Personnel Commission within thirty (30) calendar days of the action giving rise to the grievance.

Allegations of illegal discrimination or unlawful workplace harassment are exceptions. Grievances alleging discrimination may, at the grievant's choice, proceed either through the University procedures as indicated in Section VIII, below, or may proceed directly to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).

Complaints of unlawful workplace harassment are addressed through the University's Unlawful Workplace Harassment procedure as administered by the EOE. Employees alleging unlawful workplace harassment or retaliation concerning unlawful workplace harassment must follow the University's Unlawful Workplace Harassment Policy in order to bring a subsequent appeal to the State Personnel Commission. The University shall investigate the matter and take appropriate action within sixty (60) days of the complaint or grievance.

 

III.        COVERED EMPLOYEES / ACTIONS

The following indicates the person(s) covered and which issues may be grieved through this policy.

Covered Persons / Grievable Issues

Career state employees or former career state employees

University employees have a right to present a grievance free from interference, restraint, coercion, or reprisal. Matters of inherent management rights are not subject to appeal under this policy.

These matters include, but are not limited to, such areas as the program and functions of the University, standards of service, utilization of technology, and the assignment and reassignment of staff to positions, duty stations, and shifts, except where such transfers include a demotion to a lower classification.

A written warning is not grievable pursuant to this policy. Should an employee wish to contest the written warning, s/he may write a letter "To the File" stating his/her point of view in the matter. This document shall be forwarded to the Director of Employee Relations to be placed in the employee's permanent file along with the warning. Generally, matters not specifically set out in this policy as those which can be grieved cannot be grieved or appealed to the State Personnel Commission. Specific questions on what is and is not considered grievable may be directed to the Director of Employee Relations.

IV.         DEFINITIONS

The following are definitions used for the purpose of this policy:

Term / Definition

Adverse Action: Personnel action and/or disciplinary action that is considered by an employee to be unfavorable.

Agency: A department, university, office, board or commission.

Career State Employee: A State employee who is in a permanent position appointment and has been continuously employed by the State of North Carolina in a position subject to the State Personnel Act (SPA) for the immediate 24 preceding months.

Grievance: An issue that is defined as grounds for a contested case that may be appealed to the State Personnel Commission.

Grievant: The grievant is the person filing the grievance.

Mediation: Mediation is the process where parties involved in a dispute use the assistance of a neutral third party to attempt to resolve their dispute(s) in a mutually acceptable manner. Primary responsibility for the resolving the dispute rests with the parties.

Mediation Agreement: A written agreement resulting from the successful resolution of a grievance reached in mediation. The Mediation Agreement is binding on both parties.

Mediator: A mediator is an OSP-approved neutral third party whose role is to guide the mediation process, facilitate communication, and to help the parties generate and evaluate possible outcomes. A mediator does not act as a judge and does not render decisions.

Permanent Position Appointment: This appointment refers to any employee who is in a permanent position and has successfully completed their probation period.

Respondent: A designated agency representative who will mediate in good faith and will have the authority to reach an agreement on behalf of the agency to resolve a grievance.

V.       GENERAL GUIDELINES

Representation: Neither East Carolina University nor the employee shall be represented by any outside parties (i.e., representatives, advisors, legal counsel, etc.) during East Carolina UniversityÕs internal grievance process.

Correspondence. Unless otherwise specified in this policy, copies of all correspondence and written documentation related to a grievance/appeal should be sent to:
Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources
Department of Human Resources
East Carolina University
210 East First Street
Greenville, NC 27858

(252) 328-9884

Deadlines. If a deadline falls on a non-workday or any established state holiday, the deadline shall be extended until the next business day.

Postponement. The postponement of any step of the internal grievance hearing will be considered only in the instance of a documented medical emergency or the death of an immediate family member of the grievant, management representative, or grievance panel committee member, as applicable. The individual seeking the postponement will need to contact the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources at the earliest convenience when such circumstances occur. In the event the grievant fails to show up for any step of the internal grievance hearing which s/he requested and of which s/he was notified in accordance with this policy, and s/he has made no contact with the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources as set out above, and the grievant fails to provide sufficient reasons for non-attendance, the appeal will be permanently closed and noted as withdrawn by grievant.

Posting and Publication. This policy shall be posted in a permanent and conspicuous manner within each division office and will be placed in the ECU Human Resources Manual. New employees will be informed of the policy and grievance procedure during employee orientation training sessions. All employees will be notified of grievance policy and procedure changes through staff newsletters and/or ECU Official/Announce email notifications. All employees shall be notified no later than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the effective date of the change. Employees also will be provided a copy of this Policy as an attachment/enclosure to any grievable disciplinary action .

 

VI. FILING A GRIEVANCE

An employee who has adverse action taken against him/her will be given written notice of any applicable appeal rights. Should the adverse action be grievable, the employee will be provided a copy of this Policy as an attachment/enclosure to the adverse action.

An eligible employee who wishes to grieve a decision internally, under this Policy, must file the grievance no later than fifteen (15) calendar days after the incident for which the employee is filing the grievance. See the attached Employee Mediation and Grievance Filing Form.

Time Off to Prepare. Employees shall be allowed time off from regular duties as may be necessary and reasonable, up to a maximum of eight (8) hours, for the preparation of the internal grievance without loss of pay, use of vacation leave or other time credits. Employees must notify their supervisor in advance of the necessity to be absent from work for preparation of the internal grievance and receive prior approval to be absent from work for preparation of the internal grievance.

For participation in contested case hearings, or other administrative hearings, the employee may request necessary time away from work without use of vacation or other time credits. This request is subject to the supervisor or personnel officer's approval. Prior notification and approval are required and employees must document the time needed for this purpose. The Director of Employee Relations shall provide guidance to employees and supervisor in case of disagreement as to a reasonable amount of time off for the purpose of preparing for a grievance. Documentation of the time required by the presiding official may be requested by the supervisor before leave approval is granted.

Available Assistance. Employees may contact an Employee Relations Specialist with questions related to this Policy.

Employees can use a fellow employee in the role of a volunteer employee advocate during the grievance process according to the following guidelines for employee advocate.

 

VII.         PROCEDURE FOR NON-DISCRIMINATION GRIEVANCES

The University encourages direct communication between employees and supervisors as the first method of attempting to address grievances in the spirit of cooperation and compromise.

A. Step 1: Mediation

Mediation is the first step in the grievance process and involves the services of neutral third person(s) who will serve as mediator(s). Mediation provides an opportunity for the grievant and a designated university representative, serving as the respondent, to openly discuss the grievance with the goal of reaching a resolution that is mutually acceptable to both the employee and the university. Mediation only applies to those items listed under "Covered Employees/Actions" in Section III above. Unless specifically indicated otherwise, all grievances must go through the University mediation process.

To initiate a grievance, the employee must complete entirely and present the Employee Mediation and Grievance Filing Form to the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources within 15 calendar days of the contested action or after attempting and unsuccessfully resolving the grievance informally, whichever is longer. The mediation process shall be concluded within 45 calendar days from the filing of the grievance unless the parties agree in writing to a longer period of time.

Location and Timing: Mediations shall be conducted in a location approved by the mediator and shall be scheduled for an amount of time determined by the mediator to be sufficient. Mediations may be recessed by the mediator and reconvened at a later time.

Mediators: ECU will only use OSP approved mediators. The OSP mediation coordinator will identify and contact mediators to facilitate the mediation. Co-mediators will be utilized whenever possible.

Designation of Management Representative: The ECU mediation coordinator will notify the head of the division from which the grievance arises and request that s/he designate a management representative to serve as Respondent for the mediation.

Participation by Parties: The designated management representative serving as Respondent must participate in the mediation in good faith and shall have the authority to negotiate an agreement on behalf of the university to resolve the grievance. The respondent shall notify the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources or his designee in advance if circumstances prevent the respondent from attending a scheduled mediation. The employee must participate in good faith to resolve the grievance, attend the mediation as scheduled and notify the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources or his designee in advance if circumstances prevent the employee from attending a scheduled mediation. Failure to make such an advanced notification as indicated in Postponement in Section V., above, shall cause the employee to forfeit their rights to the grievance process and the appeal will be permanently closed and noted as "withdrawn by grievant."

Representation by Other Individuals: Representatives, advisors and attorneys are not allowed to appear in person to represent either party during a mediation session. However, because a mediation that resolves an employee grievance will result in a Mediation Agreement, either party may ask for a recess at any time during the mediation in order to obtain advice regarding the terms of the agreement.

Electronic Devices

Mediation Agreement: When mediation results in a resolution of the grievance, both parties will sign a mediation agreement and receive signed copies. The Mediation Agreement is binding on both parties. A copy of the signed Mediation Agreement will be maintained on file in the agency for not less than 3 years.

Mediation Impasse: At the conclusion of mediation, the mediator will prepare either a Mediation Agreement that is signed by the parties, or a statement that mediation did not result in resolution (impasse). If it results in impasse, the Respondent at the Mediation process will provide the employee with a copy of this Policy and advise of his/her right to appeal to Step 2.

Limitations on a Mediation Agreement: Parties to the mediation cannot enter into an agreement that would exceed the scope of their authority. The Mediation Agreement will:

When mediation resolves a grievance but it is later determined that one or more provisions of the Mediation Agreement do not comply with University and/or OSP policies or rules, or other applicable state or federal law, the parties are encouraged to return to mediation to resolve those issues that can be resolve by the parties.

Breach of a Mediation Agreement: Employees and supervisors who breach a mediated agreement may be subject to disciplinary action up to an including dismissal based on unacceptable personal conduct.

Confidentiality of Documents: Mediation agreements are considered public documents under G.S. 132-1.3 Except for the Mediation Agreement itself, all other documents generated during the course of mediation and any communication shared in connection with mediation are intended to be confidential to the extent provided by law.

B. Step 2: Appeal to the Chancellor through the SPA Grievance Committee

Employees must comply with the following University requirements before proceeding to Step 2:

In situations where mediation does not produce an agreement, employees may appeal to the University's SPA Grievance Panel appointed by the Chancellor. Any request for review by the SPA Grievance Panel must be received by the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the Notice of Mediation Impasse form, which is signed by all parties and the mediator. The Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, or his designated representative, will appoint the Grievance Panel ("Panel").

The Panel shall consist of five voting members and two alternates. None of the seven members of the Committee shall be from the same operational unit as the grievant. The Panel shall not be made up entirely of supervisory or administrative personnel.

The Panel will be selected from the Panel Pool ("Pool") that is comprised of three representatives from each division. Each division will have diverse representation in the Pool. Members of the Pool will serve a period of twelve months and may be called to serve on the Panel during that period. The selected members of the Panel shall receive training on the hearing process and sign confidentiality statements.

Each party, which includes the grievant, the management representative and the members of the Panel, shall be notified at least ten (10) work days in advance of the date and location of the hearing. Once notified, the Panel will convene and select the Chairperson and determine alternates for that specific hearing.

At least seven (7) work days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing, the grievant and the management representative should provide to the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources a list of all witnesses that they wish to have present at the hearing. The Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources will provide the list of witnesses to the Chairperson of the Panel. The grievant and management representative will be responsible for notifying their own witnesses as to the date, time and location of the hearing. Witness attendance at a Step 2 hearing is voluntary; therefore, witnesses do not have to attend.

On the first day of the Step 2 hearing, the grievant shall be allowed the opportunity to eliminate up to two members of the Panel where there is an issue of whether the members can render an unbiased decision. Once the members are eliminated, the alternates will serve as voting replacements on the Panel. Should no members be eliminated, the alternates will be excused from the hearing. Neither the Associate Vice Chancellor or Human Resources nor the Employee Relations staff members shall serve in any capacity on the Panel or participate in any deliberations of the Panel. They may only serve as advisors on personnel policy.

At the end of the hearing, it will be the responsibility of the Chairperson of the Panel to inform the Chancellor, in writing, of the details of the grievance, share the dissenting opinions of the employee, and provide a recommendation for the final agency decision (FAD). This written summary shall include reasons why the problem was not resolved at the preceding steps and shall be forwarded to the Chancellor within ten (10) work days after the conclusion of the hearing.

The grievant shall be provided with the FAD within ten workdays from the date the Chancellor receives the written summary from the Panel, or be advised as to the conditions which prevent a response within the ten workdays and when a response may be expected. A written FAD and the grievantÕs appeal rights must be delivered to the grievant within a reasonable time from the date the grievance was initiated. A reasonable time is no more than 90 calendar days for dismissals and demotions, and no more than 120 calendar days for all other issues. If there are extenuating circumstances, both parties may agree to an extension.

Attendees: may include:

Electronic Devices

C. Step 3: Appeal to the State Personnel Commission (SPC)

Any career State employee, who does not agree with the FAD and has attained career status as defined earlier in this policy, may appeal this decision within thirty (30) calendar days by filing a petition for a contested case hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to appeal to the SPC. An Administrative Law Judge will render a recommended decision to the State Personnel Commission, who will issue a Final Decision and Order.

The employee must comply with the following minimum requirements before proceeding to Step 3:

Procedures for Appeal to the State Personnel Commission

A Petition for a Contested Case Hearing (form H-06A) must be filed (received) within 30 days of the final agency decision or within 30 days of the action or omission giving right to the right of appeal at:

Office of Administrative Hearings
6714 Mail Services Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-6714
(919) 431-1000

Forms can be secured from the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) or State Personnel Commission (SPC):

State Personnel Commission
6714 Mail Services Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-6714
(919) 807-4850

After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge has 45 days from the close of the record to file a recommended decision to the State Personnel Commission. Cases are then heard and the State Personnel Commission renders a final administrative decision. These decisions are appealable to the Superior Court.


VIII.       GRIEVANCES ALLEGING ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION, UNLAWFUL WORKPLACE HARASSMENT AND/OR REGARDING REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION

An employee wishing to file an internal complaint as it relates to any of the above issues should contact the UniversityÕs Office of Equal Opportunity & Equity (EOE) for additional information/procedures. Contact information for the EOE:


Ms. Taffye Benson Clayton
Assistant to the Provost and University Equity Officer
Office of Equal Opportunity & Equity
East Carolina University
Old Cafeteria Complex Suite G 406
Greenville, NC 27858
(252) 328-6804
http://www.ecu.edu/eoe/

IX.           GRIEVANCE RECORD MAINTENANCE AND POLICY REVIEW

In accordance with the UNC General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, all grievance records will be maintained for a period of at least three (3) years. Grievances filed and all related information will be analyzed on an annual basis by demographics, group and nature of issues grieved to ensure that University policies and procedures are administered fairly and consistently and follow good employee relations practices. The Director of Employee Relations will respond to all requests for information regarding grievances and appeals and will report this and other relevant information as requested to the other appropriate authorities.

This policy will be forwarded to the Office of State Personnel on a schedule determined by OSP for their review to ensure that it is in compliance with current State laws and rules.

This plan will be reviewed internally on an annual basis to determine implementation of goals and procedures.

Downloadable Word Document Files: SPA Employee Grievance and Appeal Request Forms

 

 

East Carolina University

SPA Employee Grievance and Appeal Request Form

Instructions:

To file a formal grievance, an employee is required to complete and submit this form to the Department of Human Resources in accordance with the guidelines of ECU's regulations regarding Grievance and Appeal Policy for Employees Subject to the Personnel Act. In order for the process to begin, all information MUST be completed. Please print or type.

Employee Information Employee's Full Name: ______________________________________

Position Title: ______________________________________________________________

Department: _______________________________________________________________

Campus Address: ___________________________________________________________

Work Phone #: _______________________________________________

Home Address: _____________________________________________________________

Home Phone #: _____________________________________________________________

Date of Incident: _____________________________________________________________

Supervisor's Name: ___________________________________________________________

Supervisor's Title: _____________________________________________________________

Grievance Information

I am requesting Mediation for the reason(s) specified below and requesting the resolution/remedies as specified below.

State the specific reason for the grievance: ________________________________________________________________

State the specific resolution being requested: ________________________________________________________________

Employee Signature: ____________________ Date: _______________________

Submit this form to: Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Department of Human Resources, East Carolina University, 210 East First Street, Greenville, NC 27858

 

 

East Carolina University

SPA Employee Grievance and Appeal Request Form

Instructions:

To file a formal grievance, an employee is required to complete and submit this form to the Department of Human Resources in accordance with the guidelines of ECUÕs regulations regarding Grievance and Appeal Policy for Employees Subject to the Personnel Act. In order for the process to begin, all information MUST be completed. Please print or type.

Employee Information

Employee Information Employee's Full Name: ______________________________________

Position Title: ______________________________________________________________

Department: _______________________________________________________________

Campus Address: ________________________________________________________________________

Work Phone #: ______________________________________________________________

Home Address: _____________________________________________________________

Home Phone #: _____________________________________________________________

Date of Incident: _____________________________________________________________

Supervisor's Name: ___________________________________________________________

Supervisor's Title: _____________________________________________________________

Grievance Information

I am requesting a Step 2 Panel Hearing for the reason(s) specified below and requesting the resolution/remedies as specified below. The Mediation Process resulted in non-agreement (impasse).

State the specific reason for the grievance: ___________________________________________________________________

State the specific resolution being requested: ____________________________________________________________________

Employee Signature: ___________________________ Date: ___________________

Submit this form and copy of the form "Notice of Mediation Impasse" to: Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Department of Human Resources, East Carolina University, 210 East First Street, Greenville, NC 27858