Uniform Grievance and Alternative Dispute Resolution
This grievance procedure is established to provide employees with a prompt review, impartial consideration, and equitable disposition of their grievances. Any employee who presents a grievance or complaint in good faith and in a reasonable manner will be free from restraint, interference, discrimination, or reprisal.
This procedure is intended to encourage employees to discuss problems with their supervisor, thereby providing a basis to talk over matters of mutual interest, to explain, to reach agreement, to make adjustments if necessary, and to foster better understanding between employees and supervisors. Such discussion will lead to better employee/supervisor understanding of policies, procedures, and practices.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or Mediation component of this procedure is provided to promote collaborative problem solving. The mediation process may be utilized for resolution of any work-related disputes, which include issues that may not necessarily be defined as grievance issues.
It is the policy of this agency that all employees be given the opportunity to resolve complaints or grievances which they believe adversely affect their employment or working conditions. This opportunity is provided through established steps and procedures to ensure fair resolution within a reasonable time frame.
It is also our policy that reasonable efforts be made to settle complaints or grievances as quickly as possible. Direct contact between supervisor and employee has always been a policy of this agency. These Grievance and ADR Procedures are not intended, nor will they be allowed, to become a barrier to the supervisor/employee relationship.
Employees should submit only grievances or complaints that meet the following criteria:
1) made in good faith
2) expressed in reasonable terms
3) include causes for the grievance
4) include corrective action desired, and
5) include sufficient information upon which to base decisions.
Access to this procedure is at the employee’s option and does not create any expectation of continued employment, but provides an avenue of review and resolution of internal situations.
1. Employee – an individual who is a non-probationary, full-time employee of the agency who occupies a regular position and who works a minimum of 1,000 hours per year. This policy will not apply to employees who hold administrative posts, appointed positions, and employees who are on initial new hire probationary status. Part-time, temporary, intermittent, and extra help employees do not have access to this procedure.
In DFA, the employees occupying the following positions do not have access to these procedures:
DFA Deputy Director
DFA Revenue Assistant Commissioner
Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Director
Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration Director
Racing Commission Manager
Criminal Detention Facilities Review Coordinator
and anyone occupying an unclassified position.
2. Grievance – a complaint by an employee regarding an aspect of his or her employment, including, but not limited to:
or any other work-related problem except compensation and conditions which are beyond the control of agency management or are mandated by law.
Complaints about performance evaluations may be appealed utilizing the separate performance evaluation appeals process. Complaints concerning performance evaluation will not be reviewed by the State Grievance Review Committee, the State Employee Grievance Appeal Panel, or through ADR.
Reduction-in-force (RIF) appeals will be processed through a separate appeals procedure. The ADR mediator, the State Grievance Review Committee and/or the State Employee Grievance Appeal Panel will not hear complaints concerning reduction-in-force.
Non-selection for promotion or lateral transfer will not be heard by the State Grievance Review Committee or the State Employee Grievance Appeal Panel, unless discrimination is the basis of the complaint. Non-selection may be heard, internally, through mediation or the grievance procedure.
3. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or Mediation – a process that allows parties to constructively manage conflicts through collaborative problem solving and joint decision making, through utilization of a third party neutral (mediator).
All grievances, complaints, steps in the procedure, and any appeal steps will be processed through the agency grievance officer and should be handled in accordance with the following procedures:
Participation in any portion of this procedure is voluntary. This includes both the ADR component and the grievance procedure component. If ADR is the process selected by the employee to attempt resolution of the dispute, the employee will not have access to the grievance procedure. If the employee elects to utilize the grievance procedure, the employee will not have access to mediation (ADR). Regardless of the issue, the employee will not have access to the State Grievance Review Committee or the State Employee Grievance Appeal Panel if ADR is the chosen resolution process.
The grievance and/or ADR may be terminated at any stage if an agreement between parties is reached. The grievance procedure may be terminated at any step by the grievant. The ADR process may be terminated at any point by the grievant, supervisor, and/or mediator if the sessions are not productive.
The employee and agency may be represented by someone of his or her own choosing at each step of this procedure except during informal discussions prior to initiating the formal grievance procedure or ADR process.
The internal grievance procedure will be completed within 25 working days, and the ADR procedure will be completed within ten working days after the employee files a written grievance, unless an extension is agreed to by all parties involved. The total number of days, including extensions and/or appeals to the agency director, the State Grievance Review Committee, or the State Employee Grievance Appeal Panel, is not to exceed 35 working days.
It is recognized that supervisors and employees have frequent discussions of work-related problems or disagreements, These candid conversations are generally healthy and helpful to both participants and this procedure is not intended to inhibit these exchanges. Before filing a written grievance or using the ADR process, an employee is encouraged to discuss the problem with his or her immediate supervisor to attempt to reach a satisfactory solution. (If the complaint involves sexual harassment, the employee will not be required to meet with the supervisor alone, if the supervisor is the accused.) Most problems can be cleared up or resolved at this point. Collaborative problem-solving is encouraged.
If the problem is not resolved by an informal meeting between the employee and the supervisor, the employee may contact the department’s grievance officer who will assist him or her in starting the ADR process or the formal grievance procedure at the appropriate step. If, for whatever reason, the grievance officer cannot process the grievance, a substitute grievance officer will be designated.
The employee and the appropriate level of management may have any persons having knowledge of matters relevant to the grievance present at any and all steps of the grievance or ADR procedure. Both parties may also submit or request the submission of relevant written documents at any and all steps.
Under special circumstances, the grievance officer has the authority to modify, waive, or otherwise change the Uniform Grievance/ADR Procedure to fulfill the intent of the procedures, provided such modification, waiver, or change is agreed to by the Department Director and the employee. This will include combining grievances. The grievance officer will document the justification for and the details of any variation from the procedure.
The Department Director may intervene at any step in the grievance or ADR procedure if he/she decides that direct action is necessary to resolve the complaint. The Director will make every effort to resolve all matters involving allegations of unlawful discrimination, termination, suspension without pay, involuntary demotion, and/or failure to award compensatory time.
Should any person within the Department intentionally interfere with, hinder, block, or otherwise impede the processing of a grievance, that employee will be subject to disciplinary action. Also, if any employee or supervisor willfully fails to meet any of the deadlines set forth within this procedure in an attempt to delay the resolution or disposition of a grievance, the employee or supervisor will be deemed to have forfeited any participation which he/she might otherwise have under this procedure. Additionally, if an employee is determined to have filed frivolous grievances or complaints, the employee will be subject to disciplinary action.
Determination of Grievable Matters
If the grievance officer and the employee cannot agree about whether the complaint is grievable within the scope of these procedures, Executive Order 86-1, and/or Executive Order 93-01, the grievance officer will request a determination from the State Grievance Review Committee (SGRC). To request this determination, the grievance officer will file information concerning the nature of the complaint with the Administrator of the Office of Personnel Management. The employee and the agency supervisor will submit position statements concerning the nature of the complaint. These statements will be filed with and attached to the grievance officer’s request for the determination. Determination matters include whether the matter is grievable, whether the employee has access to the procedure, and/or whether the matter is grievable to the State Employee Grievance Appeal Panel (SEGAP), State Grievance Review Committee (SGRC), or is eligible for ADR.
The Administrator of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will promptly report to the grievance officer and/or employee (where applicable) the Committee’s decision concerning the determination. Neither the Administrator of OPM nor any member of the SGRC will make any finding at this stage regarding the complaint. Their review will be limited to the determination of whether the complaint is a grievable matter, whether the employee has access to the process, and/or to which process the complaint should be addressed.
Meetings and hearings at all steps of the grievance procedure may be transcribed and will become part of the case file record if appealed to the agency director, SGRC, or SEGAP. Meetings and hearings of the ADR process will not be recorded.
Grievances involving allegations of unlawful discrimination, termination, suspension without pay, involuntary demotion, and/or failure to award compensatory time will begin at Step 3 of this procedure unless the employee chooses to utilize the ADR process to attempt resolution.
At the conclusion of each step of the procedure, including ADR, written notification of decisions, agreements, or recommendations will be provided to all parties involved, including the employee’s immediate supervisor (when appropriate). If ADR is utilized, the only documentation will be a written agreement or a statement which reports that an agreement was not reached.
The employee should attempt to resolve any work-related problems with the supervisor in an informal meeting prior to initiating the ADR process or the grievance procedure.
To initiate the grievance or ADR component of this procedure, the employee must submit the complaint or grievance in writing to the agency grievance officer within five working days of the occurrence of the incident.
The grievance officer will contact the appropriate supervisor within three working days of the filing of a grievance and arrange for a meeting within three working days between the employee and the supervisor with the grievance officer present. The grievance officer will explain the ADR process and grievance procedure to both parties. The employee will have two working days to select the process (ADR/Mediation—Option 1 or Grievance—Option 2) to be utilized.
Option 1 (For the purposes of this policy, the terms ADR and Mediation will be used interchangeably.) If ADR is chosen, the grievance officer will contact the Office of Personnel Management to secure a mediator. The mediator will contact the employee and appropriate level of management within two working days of notification to schedule the initial mediation session.
If the ADR process is successful, the mediator will formalize the agreement in writing. The agreement will be signed by the grievant, agency management, representatives (if present), and the mediator. The agreement will be filed with the grievance officer within five working days of the conclusion of the ADR session.
If a resolution is not reached through ADR within ten working days, the mediator will prepare a statement to that effect. The statement, specifying that a resolution was not achieved, will be signed by the grievant, management, and the mediator. At this point, the employee’s access to internal resolution procedures is exhausted. The statement will be filed with the grievance officer within two working days of the conclusion of the ADR process.
Option 2 If the grievance procedure option is selected, the grievance officer will contact the supervisor and arrange a meeting between the supervisor and employee, with the grievance officer present, within three working days. The supervisor will submit his/her decision in writing to the employee and the grievance officer within one working day of the conclusion of this meeting. If the employee wishes to continue the grievance, written notice will be provided to the grievance officer within two working days of receipt of the supervisor’s written decision. The process will continue to Step 2.
The employee, if not satisfied with the results of Step 1, may, in writing, request a review by the next appropriate level of management. The request will be submitted to the grievance officer within two working days of receipt of the decision at Step 1. The grievance officer will arrange and attend a hearing between the employee and management (referred to as the deciding official). The deciding official may require the employee to submit a written statement of his/her disagreement with the decision in Step 1 prior to the hearing. The deciding official may take testimony from relevant witnesses and the employee’s supervisor. This hearing will be recorded. The deciding official will submit his/her decision in writing to the employee, the grievance officer, and the supervisor within three working days following the conclusion of the hearing.
If not satisfied with the results of Step 2, the employee may, in writing, request a hearing by the Department Director (or designee). The request will be submitted to the grievance officer within two working days of the receipt of the decision at Step 2. The grievance officer will submit the matter to the Department Director. The hearing must be recorded and may be transcribed, and will become a part of the case file (if appealed).
The grievance officer will, within three working days, arrange and attend a meeting between the employee and the Department Director or his/her authorized representative (e.g.: special hearing officer, Deputy Director, etc.). Subordinate managers will attend at the request of the hearing officer. The hearing officer may take testimony and accept exhibits. The hearing will be recorded.
Within three working days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Department Director will submit his/her decision in writing to all parties involved, including the immediate supervisor (if appropriate).
If the employee is not satisfied with the decision of the Department Director (or designee), he or she may, within five working days of receipt of the Director’s written decision, appeal the decision to SGRC or SEGAP (as appropriate).
Within five working days from the date of receipt of the grievant’s written appeal, the Administrator of the Office of Personnel Management will set a hearing date with SGRC (Committee) or SEGAP (Panel). The Committee or Panel will conduct whatever review of the grievance it deems necessary. The Panel will hear unresolved grievances concerning allegations of unlawful discrimination, termination, suspension without pay, involuntary demotion, and/or failure to award compensatory time. The Committee will hear all other unresolved grievances.
The Committee will conduct its review and make recommendations to the Director and the appealing party (and designated representatives) within ten working days of the appeal.
The Panel will conduct a hearing and make its decision within five working days following the conclusion of the hearing. The written decision will be forwarded to the Director, appealing party, representatives of either or both parties, and the employee’s immediate supervisor within ten working days following the conclusion of the hearing. The decision will be binding on all parties.
If the review body is the Committee, the director will review the Committee’s recommendations and will submit, within three working days of receipt of the written SGRC recommendation, his or her decision in writing to all parties, representatives, and supervisors involved. The Committee will be copied on this decision. The decision of the Director will be final and binding on all concerned.
If the review body is the Panel, the Director will review the Panel’s decision and effect implementation of the decision. If the Director does not agree with the Panel’s decision, he or she may, within ten working days of receipt of the Panel’s written decision, provide the Chief Fiscal Office of the State and the aggrieved employee with written justification of the agency’s action, and request a formal review of the Panel’s decision by the Chief Fiscal Officer. The employee may also submit comments regarding the agency director’s justification to the Chief Fiscal Officer. These responses to an agency appeal will be submitted to the Chief Fiscal Officer within ten calendar days of the date of the agency appeal. (Appeals to the Chief Fiscal Officer should be processed by the agency grievance officer or authorized representative.) Within fifteen days of receipt of the agency director’s justification and written request for review, the Chief Fiscal Officer will issue a final administrative order affirming, reversing, or modifying the Panel’s decision. This order will be binding on the agency.
Note: Since the Chief Fiscal Officer of the State is also the Department Director of DFA, Step 5 may not be available to employees of the Department of Finance and Administration. However, the DFA Director may designate the DFA Deputy Director or DFA Revenue Assistant Commissioner to hear the grievance at Step 3. The Director, as Chief Fiscal Officer, would then be able to review the appeal at Step 5.
This, however, does not prohibit employees from using remedies outside these procedures. Each employee retains the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or pursue other legal remedies.
It will be the responsibility of the grievance officer to maintain the official file of the grievance or complaint, the procedures followed, and the ultimate disposition, along with copies of all documentary evidence. In addition, when an employee begins the formal grievance procedures or ADR at any step, it will be the responsibility of the grievance officer to immediately document the name of the employee and of his/her immediate supervisor, the employing unit, the name of the grievance officer, a statement of the nature of the grievance, the chosen method of resolution, and the date formal proceedings began. All documentation relating to an employee grievance will be maintained in the department’s Human Resources Office, separate from the employee’s personnel file. No information relating to the grievance will become a part of any employee’s permanent personnel record. However, these records will be maintained in hard copy for five years, and maintained permanently in a manner that complies with applicable state and federal laws regarding retention of such records.