Grievance Procedure for Career Service Employees (Procedure 2.1700)

Based on Board Policy and Florida Statutes: 1001.64 F.S.; 6A-14.024; .0261 FAC
Effective Date: 11/06; 10/2013
Date of Review: 11/06; 10/2013

Purpose:

It is the purpose of this procedure to provide full-time Career Service Employees of the College with a fast and fair way to resolve grievances related to job performance by providing a process for review of employment-related issues by senior administration.

Definitions:

"Career Service Employee" is defined as a full-time employee of the College who is paid on the Career Service Salary Schedule.

"Duty Day" is defined as a day of College operation as determined by the District Board of Trustees' approved calendar.

"Grievance Procedure" refers to the process outlined herein to contest an employment-related action by the College, based upon an alleged violation, misrepresentation, or misapplication of Policies, rules, directions, orders, or procedures governing or affecting the employee within the scope of his/her work and work environment. This procedure does not apply to rates of pay for specific positions, disagreements with supervisor decisions (unless there is an indication of the Policy, procedure, etc. that has allegedly been violated), or to complaints of discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, age, sex, gender, veterans’ or military status, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, or any other factor protected under applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations.

"Class A Grievance" is defined as any complaint by a Career Service Employee regarding employment-related actions taken by the College that do not result in the loss of income to the Career Service Employee. Employment-related actions that support a Class A Grievance include, but are not limited to: attendance, working conditions, assignment of work, non-selection for promotion, participation in training opportunities, scheduling, leaves, job performance, conduct and attitude, discipline, and corrective actions.

"Class B Grievance" is defined as any complaint by a Career Service Employee regarding employment-related actions taken by the College that have resulted in a loss of income earned through the College to the Career Service Employee. Employment-related actions that support a Class B Grievance include, but are not limited to:  reduction in pay grade, suspension without pay, or termination from employment.

Procedure:

Class A Grievance

  1. Step I: Discussion with Immediate Supervisor
    1. Any individual desiring to pursue a Class A Grievance must first discuss the grievance with his or her supervisor. This discussion should take place no later than ten (10) Duty Days from the incident giving rise to the grievance. The supervisor may engage in informal discussions with the employee and any other individuals involved for purposes of settling differences in the simplest and most direct manner. The individual and/or the supervisor may invite an observer to attend the meeting. The supervisor should make a determination and notify the employee in writing as soon as practical, but no more than ten (10) Duty Days after the informal discussion with the employee.
  2. Step II: Written Grievance
    1. If the Class A grievance is not resolved to the employee's satisfaction at Step I, the employee may file a written grievance. The employee must file a written grievance with the next level of supervision (i.e. the supervisor's supervisor) within ten (10) Duty Days after the employee's immediate supervisor has rendered a determination at Step I. A copy of the written grievance must also be given to the immediate supervisor and to the Office of Human Resources. The Office of Human Resources will review the grievance and determine if it meets the criteria for a Class A or Class B Grievance. If necessary, the Office of Legal Affairs and/or another appropriate party will be consulted to assist in making that decision.
    2. Written grievances shall be submitted on a Grievance Report Form, which is available online and from the Office of Human Resources. The written grievance shall serve as the grievant's position statement and must contain, at a minimum, the following:
      1. a complete statement of the grievance, the facts upon which it is based, and a summary of the informal discussions with the immediate supervisor;
      2. an identification of the individual or individuals responsible for the alleged violation;
      3. an identification of any written documentation involved in or pertinent to the grievance
      4. an identification of any individuals with knowledge of the facts surrounding the grievance
      5. an indication of what Policies or procedures, if any, the grievant alleges were violated; and
      6. the remedy or correction requested.
    3. The administrator responsible for receiving the written grievance at this step shall meet with the grievant within ten (10) Duty Days of receiving the grievance, or as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable. The administrator may also meet with any other individuals allegedly involved in the matter. If discussions have already been held with these individuals at Step I, the administrator, at his or her discretion, may request these individuals to meet again to secure additional information or clarify the information previously given.
    4. The administrator shall then provide a written response to the written grievance within ten (10) Duty Days of meeting with the grievant. A copy of the administrator's answer must be furnished to the grievant's immediate supervisors, the Office of Human Resources, and the appropriate Vice President.
    5. In the event that a grievant files an additional grievance(s) before the first grievance has been resolved, the administrator responsible for receiving the grievance at this step also shall follow this procedure for the additional grievance(s). The administrator shall provide a written answer to the additional grievance(s), clearly identifying which grievance is being addressed by that answer, and shall distribute the answer as indicated above.
    6. The Office of Human Resources shall ensure that Steps I and II of this procedure have been followed for all grievances.
  3. Step III: Appeal to the Vice President
    1. If the grievant is not satisfied after Step II of the Class A Grievance, he or she may appeal the administrator's decision in writing to the appropriate Vice President. If the employee works in a division that is not led by a Vice President, i.e. individuals who report directly to the President, the employee may select a Vice President to fulfill requirements at this and subsequent stages of the process. The grievant must file a written notice of the intention to appeal to the Vice President within ten (10) Duty Days of receiving the response to Step II. The written notice shall include all information and documentation presented at Steps I & II of this procedure. Copies of the written notice shall be provided to the grievant's immediate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources.
    2. Upon receipt of notice of appeal, the Vice President shall review the information and documentation submitted with the notice of appeal and shall issue a determination that upholds, reverses or modifies the employment-related action that is the subject of the grievance.
    3. The Vice President may consider any information or documentation submitted with the appeal, or developed in the course of the grievance. The Vice President may also meet with any other individuals allegedly involved in the matter. If discussions already have been held with these individuals at earlier steps in the grievance, the Vice President at his or her discretion may request these individuals to meet again to secure additional information or clarify the information previously given.
    4. The Vice President shall render a decision to uphold, reverse or modify the employment-related action. A written answer to the appeal shall be provided to the grievant, the immediate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources within ten (10) Duty Days of receiving the appeal, or as soon as practical. The decision of the Vice President shall be final.

Class B Grievance

  1. Step I: Discussion with Immediate Supervisor
    1. Any individual desiring to pursue a Class B Grievance shall follow the process outlined in Step I of a Class A Grievance.
  2. Step II: Written Grievance
    1. If a Class B Grievance is not resolved to the employee's satisfaction at Step I, the employee may file a written grievance as outlined in Step II of the Class A Grievance.
  3. Step III: Grievance Review Panel
    1. If the employee is not satisfied with the answer of the administrator at Step II of the Class B Grievance, he or she may request a hearing by a Grievance Review Panel. Such a hearing request must be received by the Human Resources Office within ten (10) Duty Days of the date of the administrator's answer at Step II.
    2. The Grievance Review Panel shall be selected as follows:
      1. Within ten (10) Duty Days of filing the request for a hearing, the grievant and the employee's supervisor shall each provide to the Human Resources Office the name of four (4) persons selected from among current fulltime College employees to serve on the Grievance Review Panel. The President, Human Resources Staff, the Legal Affairs Administrator and the Equity Coordinator shall be ineligible to serve. The names submitted shall be individuals who are not directly involved with the grievance.
      2. The Office of Human Resources shall promptly submit these names to the President who will appoint two names from each list to serve on the Panel and a fifth person of his/her choosing to serve as Chairperson. The employees selected for the Grievance Review Panel shall not be a relative, as defined in Florida Statutes, of any party to the proceeding.
    3. A hearing shall be held within ten (10) Duty Days of the selection of the Chairperson, unless otherwise agreed to by a majority of the Grievance Review Panel members.
    4. The Office of Human Resources will coordinate preparation of the College's position statement relevant to the grievance(s). The Office of Human Resources will meet with the Grievance Review Panel to explain the process to be followed and to distribute relevant materials. HR will provide to the Hearing Panel, Grievant, and those who are called to testify written guidelines regarding the hearing process.
    5. If multiple grievances are filed prior to the resolution of the first grievance, step III will be delayed to begin within ten (10) Duty Days of the date the administrator responds in step II to the most recent grievance filed. HR will inform the Panel of this and will advise the Chairperson of the need to clarify the Panel's findings relevant to each grievance.
    6. The Grievance Review Panel shall review the written record of the grievance as it has proceeded through the various administrative levels, and afford the grievant, supervisors and administrators the opportunity to make presentations regarding the dispute. The Grievance Review Panel may request other employees to appear and be questioned. The Panel shall be a fact-finding and recommending body and courtroom rules of evidence or procedure shall not apply.
    7. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Panel shall deliberate and reach a recommended decision by majority vote. The Chairperson shall then be responsible for preparing a written report, signed by each panel member, and issue it to the President within ten (10) Duty Days of the hearing's adjournment. The report shall contain a brief summary of the hearing, the issues in dispute and a recommended resolution.
    8. In the event that a grievant files an additional grievance(s) after the Grievance Review Panel has completed its review, the Office of Human Resources or designee shall ensure that Steps I and II of this procedure have been followed prior to accepting the grievant's request for a hearing. Within ten (10) Duty Days of receiving the request, HR will notify the President that an additional request for a hearing has been received. Within ten (10) Duty Days of notification, the President will reconvene the previously assigned Grievance Review Panel or will decide to appoint a new Panel following the procedure described in this Step, and will notify the grievant of that decision.
  4. Step IV: President's Action
    1. The President may uphold, reverse or modify the recommendations of the Grievance Review Panel or may empanel the President's Advisory Panel for further review of the matter alleged in the grievance.
    2. The President's Advisory Panel shall include:
      1. Three Vice Presidents. The Vice President who is responsible for the department in which the grievant is employed shall not serve on the President's Committee. The President shall appoint one of the Vice Presidents to serve as Chairperson.
      2. The Fourth Vice President (ex-officio)
      3. The Director, Legal Affairs (ex-officio)
    3. After receiving the Grievance Review Panel's report, the President's Advisory Panel shall make a decision to uphold, reverse, or modify the decision of the Grievance Review Panel. The President's Advisory Panel shall endeavor to issue a decision within ten (10) Duty Days of receiving the Grievance Review Panel's report, or as soon as is reasonably practical. Copies of the President's Advisory Panel decision shall be given to the President.
    4. No additional information shall be submitted to or given consideration by the President's Advisory Panel, unless it can be shown that the party or parties seeking to introduce the new information could have had no knowledge of its existence at the time of the hearing. The President shall uphold, reverse or modify the recommendation of the President's Advisory Panel. The President's decision shall be final; the President will notify the employee in writing of this determination.
    5. In the event that the grievant files multiple grievances, the President's Advisory Panel will address any of those grievances that are referred to them in a timely manner, ensuring that all steps outlined in this procedure have been followed.

Miscellaneous Provisions

  1. The time frames imposed on the grievant in this procedure will be strictly construed in order to ensure a timely complaint process, and cannot be waived without the written mutual consent of the grievant and the Office of Human Resources. The failure of a grievant or administrator to appeal a decision to the next step of the process within the specified time frames shall terminate the proceedings based on the decision most recently rendered.
  2. In the event that a Human Resources staff member is a grievant or a supervisor in the chain of the grievants, the President shall appoint a full-time employee to perform the Office of Human Resources’ duties as defined in this grievance procedure.
  3. In the event that the President is a direct supervisor of the grievant, the President shall designate an individual to perform the President's duties as defined in this grievance procedure beyond Step 1.
  4. Meetings and hearings shall be conducted during regularly scheduled hours of employment whenever possible; however, they may be held during off duty hours to accommodate the schedules of those involved.
  5. The grievant may invite someone unconnected to the facts alleged in the grievance to accompany him/her to meetings relevant to this process, however, the grievant's guest will not be permitted to participate or comment during the proceedings.
  6. All original documentation, including paper and electronic records related to the grievance shall be maintained in the designated grievance file by the Office of Human Resources, and may be released only in accordance with the requirements of Florida law.
  7. The College will continue to administer discipline as warranted while the grievance process is in progress.
  8. The President may temporarily reassign a grievant to a different position pending resolution of the grievance.
  9. The Chairperson of the Grievance Review Panel is the presiding officer over the hearing and shall have control of the proceedings. The Chairperson shall take whatever action is necessary to ensure an equitable, orderly and expeditious hearing. The Chairperson or any member of the Panel may direct questions to either party or witnesses at any time during the proceedings.

Recommended by Executive Staff Date 10/2013
Approved: President, E. Ann McGee Date 10/2013
1.    Step I: Discussion with Immediate Supervisor
a.    Any individual desiring to pursue a Class B Grievance shall follow the process outlined in Step I of a Class A Grievance.
2.    Step II: Written Grievance
a.    If a Class B Grievance is not resolved to the employee's satisfaction at Step I, the employee may file a written grievance as outlined in Step II of the Class A Grievance.
3.    Step III: Grievance Review Panel
a.    If the employee is not satisfied with the answer of the administrator at Step II of the Class B Grievance, he or she may request a hearing by a Grievance Review Panel. Such a hearing request must be received by the Human Resources Office within ten (10) Duty Days of the date of the administrator's answer at Step II.
b.    The Grievance Review Panel shall be selected as follows:
i.    Within ten (10) Duty Days of filing the request for a hearing, the grievant and the employee's supervisor shall each provide to the Human Resources Office the name of four (4) persons selected from among current fulltime College employees to serve on the Grievance Review Panel. The President, Human Resources Staff, the Legal Affairs Administrator and the Equity Coordinator shall be ineligible to serve. The names submitted shall be individuals who are not directly involved with the grievance.
ii.    The Office of Human Resources shall promptly submit these names to the President who will appoint two names from each list to serve on the Panel and a fifth person of his/her choosing to serve as Chairperson. The employees selected for the Grievance Review Panel shall not be a relative, as defined in Florida Statutes, of any party to the proceeding.
c.    A hearing shall be held within ten (10) Duty Days of the selection of the Chairperson, unless otherwise agreed to by a majority of the Grievance Review Panel members.
d.    The Office of Human Resources will coordinate preparation of the College's position statement relevant to the grievance(s). The Office of Human Resources will meet with the Grievance Review Panel to explain the process to be followed and to distribute relevant materials. HR will provide to the Hearing Panel, Grievant, and those who are called to testify written guidelines regarding the hearing process.
e.    If multiple grievances are filed prior to the resolution of the first grievance, step III will be delayed to begin within ten (10) Duty Days of the date the administrator responds in step II to the most recent grievance filed. HR will inform the Panel of this and will advise the Chairperson of the need to clarify the Panel's findings relevant to each grievance.
f.    The Grievance Review Panel shall review the written record of the grievance as it has proceeded through the various administrative levels, and afford the grievant, supervisors and administrators the opportunity to make presentations regarding the dispute. The Grievance Review Panel may request other employees to appear and be questioned. The Panel shall be a fact-finding and recommending body and courtroom rules of evidence or procedure shall not apply.
g.    At the conclusion of the hearing, the Panel shall deliberate and reach a recommended decision by majority vote. The Chairperson shall then be responsible for preparing a written report, signed by each panel member, and issue it to the President within ten (10) Duty Days of the hearing's adjournment. The report shall contain a brief summary of the hearing, the issues in dispute and a recommended resolution.
h.    In the event that a grievant files an additional grievance(s) after the Grievance Review Panel has completed its review, the Office of Human Resources or designee shall ensure that Steps I and II of this procedure have been followed prior to accepting the grievant's request for a hearing. Within ten (10) Duty Days of receiving the request, HR will notify the President that an additional request for a hearing has been received. Within ten (10) Duty Days of notification, the President will reconvene the previously assigned Grievance Review Panel or will decide to appoint a new Panel following the procedure described in this Step, and will notify the grievant of that decision.
4.    Step IV: President's Action
a.    The President may uphold, reverse or modify the recommendations of the Grievance Review Panel or may empanel the President's Advisory Panel for further review of the matter alleged in the grievance.
b.    The President's Advisory Panel shall include:
i.    Three Vice Presidents. The Vice President who is responsible for the department in which the grievant is employed shall not serve on the President's Committee. The President shall appoint one of the Vice Presidents to serve as Chairperson.
ii.    The Fourth Vice President (ex-officio)
iii.    The Director, Legal Affairs (ex-officio)
c.    After receiving the Grievance Review Panel's report, the President's Advisory Panel shall make a decision to uphold, reverse, or modify the decision of the Grievance Review Panel. The President's Advisory Panel shall endeavor to issue a decision within ten (10) Duty Days of receiving the Grievance Review Panel's report, or as soon as is reasonably practical. Copies of the President's Advisory Panel decision shall be given to the President.
d.    No additional information shall be submitted to or given consideration by the President's Advisory Panel, unless it can be shown that the party or parties seeking to introduce the new information could have had no knowledge of its existence at the time of the hearing. The President shall uphold, reverse or modify the recommendation of the President's Advisory Panel. The President's decision shall be final; the President will notify the employee in writing of this determination.
e.    In the event that the grievant files multiple grievances, the President's Advisory Panel will address any of those grievances that are referred to them in a timely manner, ensuring that all steps outlined in this procedure have been followed.

1.    The time frames imposed on the grievant in this procedure will be strictly construed in order to ensure a timely complaint process, and cannot be waived without the written mutual consent of the grievant and the Office of Human Resources. The failure of a grievant or administrator to appeal a decision to the next step of the process within the specified time frames shall terminate the proceedings based on the decision most recently rendered.
2.    In the event that a Human Resources staff member is a grievant or a supervisor in the chain of the grievants, the President shall appoint a full-time employee to perform the Office of Human Resources’ duties as defined in this grievance procedure.
3.    In the event that the President is a direct supervisor of the grievant, the President shall designate an individual to perform the President's duties as defined in this grievance procedure beyond Step 1.
4.    Meetings and hearings shall be conducted during regularly scheduled hours of employment whenever possible; however, they may be held during off duty hours to accommodate the schedules of those involved.
5.    The grievant may invite someone unconnected to the facts alleged in the grievance to accompany him/her to meetings relevant to this process, however, the grievant's guest will not be permitted to participate or comment during the proceedings.
6.    All original documentation, including paper and electronic records related to the grievance shall be maintained in the designated grievance file by the Office of Human Resources, and may be released only in accordance with the requirements of Florida law.
7.    The College will continue to administer discipline as warranted while the grievance process is in progress.
8.    The President may temporarily reassign a grievant to a different position pending resolution of the grievance.
9.    The Chairperson of the Grievance Review Panel is the presiding officer over the hearing and shall have control of the proceedings. The Chairperson shall take whatever action is necessary to ensure an equitable, orderly and expeditious hearing. The Chairperson or any member of the Panel may direct questions to either party or witnesses at any time during the proceedings.

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