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UPS Local Grievance Procedures

Effective Date:July 1, 2015
Last Updated:March 23, 2015
Last Reviewed:
Next Review:July 1, 2016

University Staff Policies and Procedure

SUBJECT: Grievance Procedures

Original Issuance Date: July 1, 2015

______________________________________________________________________

1. POLICY PURPOSE:

The purpose of this policy is to establish grievance procedure parameters for university staff that includes elements required by Wis. § Stat. 36.115(4).

2. POLICY BACKGROUND:

This policy establishes grievance procedures for university staff who were formerly members of the classified staff (subject to Wis. Stat. Chapter 230) as of June 30, 2015, and to university staff hired on or after July 1, 2015, who by terms of their appointment have an expectation of continued employment.

A. Dismissal

Under Wis. Stat. § 36.115(4) the University of Wisconsin Personnel System must include grievance procedures applicable to dismissals that include the following elements:

(a) A written document specifying the process that a grievant and an employer must follow Wis. Stat § 36.115(4)(a). (b) A hearing before an impartial hearing officer (Wis. Stat 36.115(4) (b)). (c) An appeal process in which the highest level of appeal is the Board of Regents (Wis. Stat § 36.115(4) (c)).

B. Discipline

All UW System Institutions are required to develop and administer grievance procedures for discipline of university staff consistent with Wis. § Stat. 36.115 (4) and UPS Operational Policy Gen-14.

C. Layoff

All UW System Institutions are required to develop and administer grievance procedures for layoff of university staff consistent with Wis. Stat. § 36.115(2) and UPS Operational Policy Gen-13.

D. Working Conditions

University of Wisconsin System university staff may file a grievance regarding some matters that affect working conditions. Grievances may not be filed on issues pertaining to:

(a) Utilizing personnel, methods and means to carry out the mission of the University of Wisconsin System or the University of Wisconsin-Parkside;  
 
(b) Determining the size and composition of the work force;  
 
(c) Managing and directing employees of the University of Wisconsin System or the University of Wisconsin-Parkside;  
 
(d) Hiring, promoting, assigning or retaining employees; or  

(e) Establishing reasonable workplace expectations

3. POLICY DEFINITIONS:

“Dismissal” means separation from employment for disciplinary or performance reasons.

“Discipline” means any action taken by a University of Wisconsin institution with respect to a university staff member with an expectation of continued employment which has the effect, in whole or in part, of a penalty.

“Grievance” is a written complaint by a university staff member involving an alleged violation of conditions of employment. Only one subject matter shall be covered in any one grievance. A grievance shall contain a clear and concise statement of the grievance by indicating the date the incident or violation took place, the issue involved and the relief sought. If the allegation involves sexual misconduct including sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender-based stalking, and/or relationship violence (domestic or dating) the allegation shall be reported by the Employer to the Title IX Coordinator or other designated individuals authorized to receive reports.

“Grievance procedure” means the process through which certain working conditions, discipline, or dismissal of a UW System university staff member with an expectation of continued employment can be appealed.

“Impartial Hearing Committee” means a grievance review committee established through shared governance.

“Impartial Hearing Officer” means an Impartial Hearing Committee (see above), an arbitrator employed by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC), an arbitrator from the WERC roster of neutral decision-makers not employed by the WERC, or an arbitrator from a UWSA roster of arbitrators with a set fee for resolving a discharge case.

“Just Cause” means a standard that is applied to determine the appropriateness of a disciplinary action. The elements of determining whether just cause exists are:

  • Whether the employee had notice of workplace expectations and potential consequences if those expectations were not met;
  • Whether the workplace expectations were reasonably related to business efficiency and performance the employer might reasonably expect from the employee;
  • Whether an internal investigation was undertaken by the employer before discipline or discharge to determine whether the employee violated expectations;
  • Whether the investigation was conducted fairly and objectively;
  • Whether the employer obtained substantial evidence of the employee's infraction;
  • Whether workplace expectations were applied fairly and without discrimination; and
  • Whether the degree of discipline imposed reasonably related to the seriousness of the employee's offense and the employee's past record.

“Layoff” means separation from employment for reasons of budget or due to the discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection of a program.

“University staff”are members of the university workforce who contribute in a broad array of positions in support of the university’s mission and are not exempt (hourly) from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

4. POLICY:

This policy provides University of Wisconsin-Parkside university staff that has the expectation of continued employment the ability to appeal certain working conditions, discipline, layoff or dismissal. University staff serving a probationary period will not have the right to file grievances on dismissal, discipline or layoff.

Discipline and dismissal of a university staff member with the expectation of continued employment may only be for just cause.

Grievances shall be submitted on the University of Wisconsin-Parkside grievance form, and each grievance shall describe the facts upon which the grievance is based and the relief sought. Employees, whose native language is not the English language, may request assistance with completing and submitting the grievance form by contacting the Human Resources Office. University staff is strongly encouraged to resolve situations prior to a grievance being filed by discussing the situation with their supervisor, division head, or director.

The Impartial Hearing Committee (IHC) will consist of three University Staff members and two Academic Staff members.The committee members will be selected from among the members of the University Staff Committee, the Academic Staff Committee or Title Review Committee, and a pool of University Staff members that have volunteered to serve for three years. The committee members will be appointed by the Chancellor working in consultation with the Chair of the University Staff Committee and the Chair of the Academic Staff Committee. Members of these committees and the pool of volunteers will receive training in complaint and grievance policies and procedures and best practices. Prior to any hearing, a UW System hearing examiner will meet with the IHC in order to provide training. Any individual chosen to serve on the IHC shall remain in pay status to duly fulfill their responsibilities associated with being an IHC member.

If the grievance arose from an earlier complaint, then no university staff member who served on the review committee for the complaint may serve on the Impartial Hearing Committee for the grievance.

A grievant will be given the opportunity to choose between the grievance being heard by the Impartial Hearing Committee or an Impartial Hearing Officer, who may be an arbitrator employed by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC), an arbitrator from the WERC roster of neutral decision makers not employed by the WERC, or an arbitrator from a roster developed by UW System Administration. The grievant has a right to be accompanied and advised by a person of their choosing, at all levels of the grievance process. The grievant will be informed of any fees that may be incurred when using an independent arbitrator acting as an Impartial Hearing Officer. Payment structures are outlined in Step 2A, paragraph 2, below.

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is prohibited from retaliating against a grievant for filing a grievance or against a representative or witness who participates, or is scheduled to participate, in grievance proceedings.

5. PROCEDURE:

Prior to filing a grievance, an attempt should be made, if possible, to resolve the issue through discussion between the employee and supervisor. Employees may request assistance from the Human Resources Office to facilitate a fair resolution. If an attempt to resolve a matter is not successful or appropriate, a grievance may be filed. All grievances must be filed by completing the Employee Grievance Report.

Upon mutual agreement the timeframes outlined in this policy may be extended.

Grievances shall be pursued in accordance with the following steps and time limits.

  • Dismissal grievances will begin at Step Two, as outlined below, and may proceed to Step Three.
  • Layoff and discipline grievances will begin at Step One and may proceed no further than Step Two.
  • Working condition grievances may be processed through Step One only.

 

STEP
ONE

STEP
TWO

STEP
THREE

 

 

STEP 2A

STEP 2B (employed on June 30, 2015

 

DISMISSAL

 

X

X

X

LAYOFF

X

X

X

 

DISCIPLINE

X

X

X

 

WORKING CONDITIONS

X

 

 

 

Step 1:

If attempts to resolve a matter through discussion between an employee and supervisor are not successful, a written grievance may be filed. Grievances shall be filed with the employee’s department head, director, dean, or equivalent administrator, and the Human Resources Office, no later than thirty (30) calendar days (excluding holidays) from the date the grievant first became aware, or should have become aware (with the exercise of reasonable diligence), of the matter grieved. Within thirty (30) calendar days (excluding holidays) of receipt of the written grievance, the department head, director, dean, or equivalent administrator (or designee) shall meet with the grievant to hear the grievance. The grievant shall receive a written decision no later than seven (7) calendar days (excluding holidays) after this meeting. If the grievant does not receive a written response within seven (7) calendar days (excluding holidays), the grievant will contact the Human Resources Director, who in turn, will notify the Chancellor (or her designee). The Chancellor will notify the Grievant of her decision within five (5) calendar days (excluding holidays). If the subject of the grievance is not addressing a discipline or layoff, there will be no further opportunity for appeal.

Step 2A:

When an employee has filed a grievance alleging that a discipline decision was not based on just cause and is dissatisfied with the Step One decision, the employee may appeal the decision to the Impartial Hearing Committee or an independent arbitrator acting as an Impartial Hearing Officer. In order to file such an appeal, the grievant must inform the Chancellor or Chancellor’s designee, in writing, of his or her desire to appeal the Step One decision within ten (10) calendar days (excluding holidays) from receipt of the answer in Step One.

The cost for all arbitrators listed above, should an arbitrator be chosen to act as an Impartial Hearing Officer, shall be split 90/10 with the employer paying 90% of the arbitration fee and all expenses and the employee paying 10% of the arbitration fee only. If there is a cost associated, the employee shall be responsible for paying their portion of the cost to Human Resources (HR). HR shall deposit these funds into a separate “grievance fund” account. If the recommendation is in favor of the employee, HR shall reimburse the employee within ten (10) business days of the final IHC recommendation. The employing department will then be responsible for 100% of the cost associated with the use of the Impartial Hearing Officer.

An appeal of dismissal of a university staff member will begin at Step Two and must be filed within twenty (20) calendar days (excluding holidays) of the date of written notice of dismissal.

At issue before the Impartial Hearing Committee, or independent arbitrator will be whether just cause for the discipline or discharge exists. If the subject of the appeal is layoff, the issue before the Impartial Hearing Committee or Impartial Hearing Officer will be whether the applicable layoff procedure was followed. The Impartial Hearing Committee or Impartial Hearing Officer will be charged with hearing the case and making a report and recommendations to the Chancellor or Chancellor’s designee. Such a hearing for a University staff employee shall include a right to representation, a right to offer witnesses and a right to a written decision. The hearing shall be closed unless the grievant requests an open hearing. Within twenty (20) calendar days (excluding holidays) of receipt of the report and recommendations, the Chancellor or Chancellor’s designee shall release a statement accepting or rejecting the findings of the Impartial Hearing Committee or Impartial Hearing Officer and explaining how the decision will be implemented.

Step 2B: Direct Appeal to Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission for Certain University Staff:

According to provisions of Wis. Stat. § 36.115(6), an individual who held permanent status in employment prior to July 1, 2015 retains Chapter 230 appeal rights and may instead appeal a disciplinary action (suspension, demotion, or reduction in base pay), layoff or discharge using a different procedure.

Such a grievance may be appealed directly from Step One to the Chancellor or Chancellor’s designee within ten (10) calendar days (excluding holidays) from receipt of the answer in Step One. Thereafter, if the employee is still dissatisfied with the decision as issued by the Chancellor or Chancellor’s designee, the employee may appeal the decision to the WERC under Wis. Stat. § 230.44(1)(c) within thirty (30) calendar days (excluding holidays) from the date of the decision being appealed. If an appeal to WERC is filed, no further steps in the grievance process will apply. The decision of the WERC may be subject to judicial review, but an appeal to the Board of Regents is not available using this procedure.

Step 3: Board of Regents Review:

For matters that involve dismissal only, a grievant who is dissatisfied with a Chancellor’s or Chancellor’s designee’s Step Two decision may appeal the decision to the Board of Regents. If the matter is not appealed to the Board of Regents within thirty (30) calendar days (excluding holidays), the grievance will be considered ineligible for Board review. Upon receiving an appeal, the President of the Board shall refer the appeal to the Board of Regents Personnel Matters Review Committee. In accordance with Board of Regents Bylaws, the Committee shall conduct a review based on the record of the matter created by the Impartial Hearing Committee, and it shall prepare recommended findings and a decision, and shall transmit them to the full Board for final action. The full Board may confirm the Committee’s decision, or it may direct a different decision. No further appeals shall be available to the parties.

JOINT RESPONSIBILITY:

The Human Resources Office and the University Staff Committee will share joint responsibility for evaluating the effectiveness of this policy by conducting yearly reviews of grievance issues and resolutions.The Human Resources Office may provide procedural assistance for employees as needed.

RELATED DOCUMENTS:

Wisc. Stat. § 36.115, University Personnel Systems
Wisc. Stat. § 36.05, Definitions
Wisc. Stat. § 230.44(1)(c), Appeal Procedures
University of Wisconsin System UPS Policy GEN 14

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