Staff HR Policy D-706.01
Institutional Effectiveness Criterion: Culture
Faculty and Staff Conflict Resolution Procedure
The following procedures establish the appropriate, formal process for addressing employment-related problems involving any regular full-time or part-time College faculty or staff member (does not apply to collective bargaining employees) who has completed the provisional period.
The conflict resolution procedures do not take the place of normal, conscientious efforts to solve employment or work area problems through discussion with the immediate supervisor of the work area involved and the normal administrative structure.
The informal, problem-solving discussion procedures are intended to be advisory, giving the faculty or staff member suggestions about solving the problem through the supervisor of the work area, and, as needed, giving the faculty or staff member an opportunity to question and receive clarification about College policies, practices, and applicable government regulations before deciding to initiate the formal conflict resolution process.
The goal of the conflict resolution process is to resolve problems at the organizational level closest to the problem and in the shortest amount of time possible, without jeopardizing the best solution for all parties involved. This should result in infrequent use of the formal hearing procedures.
Faculty and staff members shall exhaust these remedies prior to initiating any proceedings regarding the subject in a state or federal court or agency. However, the filing of a grievance does not postpone any deadlines or statutes of limitation for filing of complaints with outside agencies or courts.
A work-related problem or condition of employment which the faculty or staff member believes to be unfair, inequitable, or a hindrance to his/her effective operation, or an alleged violation of policy. Excluded from this policy are grievances concerning:
- Classification of a faculty and/or staff member's position
- Performance evaluation
- Extension of the probationary period or the termination of a probationary faculty or staff member
- Termination of employment due to faculty and/or staff reductions
- All discrimination and harassment (see Procedure D-702.01)
- Problem-Solving Discussion
A meeting with the Director of Human Resources (or designee), the grievant, and his/her supervisor will be set up
- Grievance Committee
This committee is comprised of the Director of Human Resources (chair), one faculty representative, one administrative, professional or technical/paraprofessional representative, one support staff representative and one additional member from the respective council. Such representatives will be appointed by their respective councils. Parties involved in any capacity with the grievant or the issue will not be allowed to serve on this committee.
- DISCUSSION WITH SUPERVISOR
The faculty or staff member should first discuss the issue with the supervisor within 14 calendar days from the date the faculty or staff member became aware of the issue. This will give the supervisor an opportunity to address the matter. If the problem has not been resolved to the faculty or staff member's satisfaction, in a timely manner, it may be taken to the executive officer of the area.
- PROBLEM-SOLVING DISCUSSION PROCEDURE
In keeping with the goal of resolving problems at the earliest possible time and avoiding the necessity of initiating a formal grievance, the problem-solving discussion is the next step in the conflict resolution process. The problem-solving discussio n may be helpful in the faculty or staff member's decision-making process by:
- identifying the source of a problem,
- advising the faculty or staff member of applicable College policies, and
- suggesting possible methods of resolution, such as meeting with all parties involved.
The faculty or staff member may initiate this procedure by contacting the Director of Human Resources and requesting a problem-solving meeting. This request should be submitted within 14 calendar days of the date the faculty or staff member discussed the issue with the supervisor. A meeting will be arranged as soon as possible, but not to exceed 10 working days of the request.
- GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
- Step 1: Formal Grievance
If the problem has not been resolved to the faculty or staff member's satisfaction with the aid of the problem-solving discussion, the faculty or staff member shall file a written statement of grievance (available in the Office of Human Resources). This statement will include the issues involved, facts, date(s) alleged violation(s) took place, supporting documentation (if any), and remedy desired. The form will be signed and dated by faculty or staff member, and submitted to the Director of Human Resources.
A formal grievance may not be filed unless the faculty or staff member has exhausted parts III and IV of this conflict resolution procedure.
The grievance must be submitted within 15 days of the date of the recommendation of the problem-solving discussion committee.
Upon receipt of the written grievance:
- The Director of Human Resources will convene a meeting of the grievance committee within 10 working days of receipt of the written complaint. The chair of the committee will establish the rules of order for the meeting and arrange for minutes to be taken.
- At the review meeting, the committee will hear the presentation of the grievant and review the record presented.
- After the meeting, the committee chair (or designee) will investigate allegations and, if necessary, meet with the faculty or staff member's supervisor, director, and/or fellow faculty or staff member group members, and conduct other fact-finding. It is the purpose and intent of this fact-finding process to assure that there shall be full and fair consideration of the grievance based on full disclosure of the relevant facts.
- The committee and committee chair will then review and document the findings and prepare a written response to the grievant.
- The Director of Human Resources will assure that written response to the grievant is accomplished within 30 working days from date of review meeting. This time limit may be extended by the Director of Human Resources if there are extenuating circumstances. This response shall set forth the facts and findings of the investigation, and recommended solution. A copy will be sent to the faculty or staff member's supervisor.
- Step 2: Right to Appeal
If the problem is not resolved to the faculty or staff member's satisfaction, the faculty or staff member may file a written appeal. The supervisor may also request a review of the committee's recommendation.
- A written appeal will be completed and submitted to the Director of Human Resources within 30 working days of receipt of written answer from the grievance committee.
- Upon receipt of written appeal, the Director of Human Resources will call a meeting of the grievance committee to review the appeal. Further investigation into the allegations may be necessary. The grievance committee will submit their findings and recommendations in writing to the appropriate executive officer with a copy to the faculty or staff member and supervisor, within 15 working days of receipt of the appeal.
- The president will review the grievance, the appeal, and any supporting documentation and meet with the parties and the grievance committee. The response at this level will be sent to the grievant within 15 working days of receipt of the committee's recommendation. A copy of the response will be sent to the faculty or staff member, supervisor, executive officer, grievance committee, and Director of Human Resources.
- Step 1: Formal Grievance
If the situation occurs that a grievance cannot be resolved through these internal procedures, then the faculty or staff member may request outside mediation. The mediator does not have decision- making authority, but will assist in facilitating communication and problem-solving discussions between the parties.
Such request must be presented in writing to the Human Resources director within 10 days of receipt of the response from the president.
- TIME LIMITS
- A formal grievance may be withdrawn by the grievant at any step of the grievance procedure without prejudice by notifying the Director of Human Resources in writing. A grievance which has not been settled and has been withdrawn may be reinstated based on new evidence not previously available within 30 working days from the date of withdrawal.
- A grievance not appealed within the designated time limits set forth in this procedure will automatically result in the grievances being considered settled on the basis of the last response.
- The time limits at any step may be extended by written mutual agreement of the parties involved at that particular step.
If any provisions(s) of this policy or set of bylaws conflicts with laws applicable to Northwestern Michigan College, including the Community College Act of 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, or the Open Meetings Act, as each may be amended from time to time, such laws shall control and supersede such provisions(s).
Authorized on 4/12/04