4.32 Conflict Resolution and Grievance Process

I. Definitions

A. Conflict resolution is an informal process whereby full-time employees resolve workplace disputes.

B. A grievance is a formal process whereby a full-time employee alleges a violation, inequitable application, or misinterpretation of a specific College rule, regulation, policy, or procedure pertaining to the employment relationship between the grievant and the College that cannot be resolved through informal conflict resolution avenues.

II. Policy

The College will establish and maintain a work climate within which a full-time employee who seeks assistance in resolving a conflict or a grievance, as defined above, will be afforded the opportunity to have the matter presented and will receive fair and timely consideration according to the following procedure.

III. Purpose

This policy establishes an informal and formal process for any full-time employee who claims to have a conflict.

IV. Informal Resolution of Conflicts

A. Informal Conflict Resolution Within the Unit

Employees should bring to the attention of their supervisor any work-related problems as soon as possible after they arise. If attempts to resolve the issue with the immediate supervisor are unsuccessful, the employee should proceed within the unit administrative chain until the conflict is resolved. Informal conflicts will ultimately be decided upon by the Unit Vice President.

B. Informal Mediation

Employees may contact the Executive Director of Institutional Equity to discuss the mediation program at any time. Both parties must agree to mediation before the process can begin. If informal mediation does not resolve the conflict, the employee still retains the option of filing a formal grievance if applicable as detailed in Section V.

C. Additional Information from the Office of Human Resources

The informal resolution process does not include the Office of Human Resources in the resolution of the complaint, since this is handled at the Unit Vice President level. However, employees may contact the Executive Director of Employee Relations to determine if their workplace conflict rises to the level of a formal grievance, determine if their employment rights are being violated, to obtain information about applicable policies, and/or to obtain information about additional available resources such as the Employee Assistance Program.

V. Formal Grievance

This grievance procedure applies to any full-time employee. It does not permit a grievance that relates to dismissal, layoff, non-renewal of contract, the designated discipline process referenced in Policies and Procedures 4.38 Employment, Discipline and Dismissal of Full-Time Classified Employees; 4.07 Appointment, Reappointment, Discipline and Dismissal of Full-Time Administrators; 4.08 Appointment, Reappointment, Discipline and Dismissal of Full-Time Faculty and Librarians; or 4.31 Appointment, Reappointment, Discipline and Dismissal of Full-Time Professional Employees or other matters of employment status except those resulting from violation of College policies and/or procedures. A recommendation to initiate new policy or to change existing policy is handled through normal administrative channels. Information concerning an appeal of dismissal during term of contract or non-renewal of an extendible contract is contained in Policy 4.07, Policy 4.08, and Policy 4.31. If an employee has an allegation of discriminatory treatment or harassment, the employee should refer to 4.60 Discrimination and Harassment Policy. However, in accordance with 4.64 Sexual Misconduct Policy, some forms of harassment may also violate the College's policy against Sexual Misconduct under Title IX. When a report of harassment is received, the Title IX coordinator will determine whether it shall proceed under this policy or the Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures.

VI. Grievance Submission Procedure

A. The employee must present the grievance memorandum to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources (or designee). The grievance memorandum will be reviewed by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources (or designee) within five working days to determine if it meets the definition of a grievance per this policy. Notification will be provided to the employee in writing as to the status of the grievance (either accepted or denied). Such notification will describe the next procedural steps for the grievance, if accepted.

B. The full-time employee shall state the grievance in memorandum form providing the following:

1. A statement concerning the basis of the grievance that specifies the specific College rule, regulation, policy, or procedure that has allegedly been violated, inequitably applied, or misinterpreted.

2. The attempts made to solve the grievance through the Unit Administrative chain and/or informal mediation.

3. The results of those attempts.

4. The remedy or corrective action sought.

5. The signature of the aggrieved employee on the dated memorandum.

VII. Grievance Review Procedure

A. Within ten working days after receipt of a grievance memorandum from the Associate Vice President of Human Resources (or designee), the Executive Assistant to the President shall make the necessary appointments to a Grievance Review Panel.

B. The Grievance Review Panel will consist of five members plus the Executive Assistant to the President serving as the Panel Facilitator. The Panel Facilitator shall work with the President of the College Senate (or designee), a member of the Leadership Council, or a member of the Classified Staff Council (as applicable) to select five members of the Panel. The President of the College Senate (or designee), a member of the Leadership Council, or a member of the Classified Staff Council (as applicable), and a representative from Human Resources will account for three panel members. The remaining two members will be selected from the College Senate, the Leadership Council, or the Classified Staff Council (as applicable) and will include members from the involved employee’s peer group. No member of the Panel shall have any personal interest or be directly involved in the grievance under consideration. The Panel shall appoint a substitute when necessary.

C. The Panel Review meeting date shall be set no later than ten working days from the receipt of the grievance memorandum. Accommodations will be made for the disabled upon prior request. Any request for postponement must be submitted in writing to the Panel Facilitator at least three working days prior to the scheduled meeting. The Panel Facilitator reserves the right to extend the notice of the Panel Review date if additional time is needed.

IX. The Panel Review Meeting

A. The Panel Review meeting shall be closed to the public.

B. The Panel Facilitator will convene the meeting, ensure that the meeting is conducted in an orderly and impartial manner, and collect and distribute pertinent materials to the Panel members.

C. The Panel will hold separate meetings with each party involved in the grievance. After meeting with each party, the Panel may meet with all parties together if the Panel feels such a meeting is necessary before preparing its written decision. At all meetings the Panel may hear testimony, examine documents, and ask questions as deemed relevant to the grievance. After holding meetings, hearing both parties, and reviewing documents pertinent to the grievance, the Panel may decide whether testimony from other persons will be useful. Each party may be accompanied by an institutional peer who will be present as an observer. The peer will not participate in the meeting but can be consulted by the party whom he/she is accompanying.

D. In its closed session, the Panel will consider all information presented. The five panel members, by majority vote, will respond to the grievance and prepare a written report to the President. The Panel Facilitator shall ensure that the written decision is submitted to all parties of the grievance, as well as the President, within five (5) working days after the Panel's decision. These copies will be the only ones in existence, will be treated as confidential documents, and will not become part of the official personnel files.

E. Upon receipt of the Panel's report, the President shall decide if any action will be taken to remedy the grievance. The President's decision shall be final.

Changes approved by the Board of Trustees on January 9, 2008
Changes approved by Cabinet on July 8, 2002; July 9, 2003; January 25, 2005; December 12, 2007; July 27, 2015; November 7, 2016