Montana State University

Subject:
Personnel
 
Policy:
Grievance Procedures
 
Revised date:
March 5, 2014
 
Effective date:
March 5, 2014
 
Review date:
March 5, 2017

 
Responsible Party:
Human Resources
 

SECTION CONTENTS

800.10     Applicability
801.00     Definition of a Grievance
802.00     Rules of Grievance Processing
803.00     Steps in Grievance Processing
804.00     Greivance Procedures
805.00     Pre-Hearing Conference
806.00     The Grievance Hearing
807.00     Grievance Procedures for Student/Temporary Employees
807.10     Policy

800.00 Grievance Procedures

Modified: November 2001; January 2010 TBD, 2014

800.10 Applicability

  1. Employees covered by this grievance policy and procedure are:
    1. Classified employees and non-tenure track faculty who are not part of a collective bargaining unit.
    2. Employees on a Board of Regents Contract; MUS Contract or Letter of Appointment in professional or administrative positions.
  2. The grievance procedures for Tenure and Tenure Track faculty are contained in Interim Faculty Personnel Procedures.
  3. The grievance procedures for employees represented by a union are outlined in the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
  4. Grievances alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, gender, age, political beliefs, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation or preference will be referred to the Office of Institutional Equity for investigation under the Discrimination Grievance Procedures for Allegations of Violations of the Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Retaliation Policy.

801.00 Definition of a Grievance

Employees for whom this grievance policy is applicable may file a grievance if he or she believes the university has failed to follow university policies regarding some aspect of the employee’s terms and conditions of employment.

802.00 Rules of Grievance Processing

  1. Reference to "days" refers to working days unless specifically stated otherwise. A working day is defined as all week days, Monday - Friday, which are not designated as university holidays.
  2. In computing time periods, the day of the incident for which the designated time period begins is not included.
  3. The grievant carries the burden of moving the grievance forward within the time period specified for that step, unless the time period has been extended by mutual agreement of the parties. Failure of the grievant to comply with the established time limits shall result in dismissal of the grievance.
  4. If a step in the following procedure is deemed inappropriate (for example, the supervisor is the person alleged to have violated the policy or a second level of supervision does not exist), that step may be bypassed by submitting the grievance to the next step.

803.00 Steps in Grievance Processing

Most employee concerns can be settled by informally discussing the problem with the immediate supervisor. Employees are encouraged to present work related concerns to their supervisor for informal resolution, and are protected from discrimination, coercion, restraint, or reprisal in initiating either an informal or formal action. The steps of formal grievance processing are as follows:

  1. Step 1 - Within 10 days of the grievable incident, or the employee's initial knowledge of the grievable incident, the employee may initiate a grievance by submitting a written grievance to the immediate supervisor. The grievance should contain a complete statement of the action or situation being grieved, the university policy that is being violated and the remedy being sought. The supervisor must provide the employee a written decision within five (5) days of receipt of the grievance.
  2. Step 2 - If the employee is not satisfied with the Step 1 response, the employee may, within five (5) days of receipt of the response, submit the grievance to the next level of supervision. The supervisor at this level shall, within five (5) days of receipt of the grievance, submit a written decision to the employee and the immediate supervisor. This shall be repeated for each additional level of supervision until the appropriate Vice President has been provided an opportunity to resolve the grievance. If the Grievant reports directly to the President or the Chief Human Resource Officer [CHRO], the President or CHRO may elect to refer the grievance to the Personnel Board before rendering a decision.
  3. Step 3 - If the employee is not satisfied with the Step 2 response, the employee may request a hearing by submission of the grievance to the Chief Human Resources Officer within five (5) days of the receipt of the last Step 2 response. If the CHRO has a conflict of interest because the person works for Human Resources or for other reasons, all actions designated to be conducted by the CHRO will be conducted by the Vice President for Administration and Finance or designee.
  4. Step 4 - The employee may appeal the CHRO's decision to the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education under the procedures set forth in Section 203.05.2, "Appeals," Board of Regents Policy and Procedures Manual. This appeal must be made within five (5) days of receipt of the CHRO’s decision.

804.00 Grievance Procedures

  1. A formal grievance hearing shall be conducted by a specially constituted "Personnel Grievance Board" (Board), which shall be appointed by the CHRO. The Board shall be comprised of one classified employee recommended by the Staff Senate, one contract professional employee recommended by the Professional Council, and one dean appointed by the CHRO. The CHRO will appoint a non-voting Hearing Officer to assist the Board. If a recommendation for an appointee is not received within five (5) days of the request, or otherwise cannot serve, the CHRO may appoint another employee in the same employee category to serve.
  2. The Board's review will focus on:
    1. Whether there has been a violation of the employee’s rights under applicable university and Board of Regents policies.
    2. Whether, in cases of suspension or termination for cause, there existed a legitimate business reason for the suspension or termination.

805.00 Pre-Hearing Conference

  1. The Hearing Officer will schedule a pre-hearing conference to be conducted within ten (10) days of receipt of the Statement of Grievance. The appropriate supervisor(s) making the decision that is the basis for the grievance will participate in the Pre-Hearing Conference and the hearing.
  2. The purposes of the pre-hearing conference are to:
    1. Narrow and define the issue(s) to be considered at the hearing.
    2. Identify and list any/all witnesses for the hearing. No witnesses may be called at the grievance hearing who have not been identified by the time specified by the Hearing Officer at the pre-hearing conference. Limitations on the number of witnesses for the hearing may be established for the parties by the Hearing Officer during the pre-hearing conference.
    3. Identify and list any/all documents to be submitted at the hearing. No documents may be submitted at the grievance hearing which were not identified at and exchanged by the time specified at the pre-hearing conference.
    4. Provide a time for a pre-hearing exchange (between all parties) of any documents or other information to be submitted at the hearing.
    5. Set a time and place for the formal hearing. The hearing shall be held within ten (10) days of the pre-hearing conference, unless good cause for a delay is shown by any party.

    The grievant may have the assistance of an advisor or attorney at the pre-hearing conference. However, the parties are responsible for representing themselves and, therefore, advisors or attorneys are not permitted to participate directly in the pre-hearing conference.

806.00 The Grievance Hearing

  1. Because of the potential personal privacy interests involved in the subject matter of many grievances, grievance hearings will be closed to the public unless the grievant and any other participants in the hearing waive their rights to individual privacy. Only the Personnel Board members, the grievant, appropriate university officials, advisors/attorneys, and any witnesses called by the Board or either party will be allowed to attend proceedings of the hearing. Deliberations of the Board will be in a closed session, and will be confidential proceedings. The grievance hearing is not a judicial process; therefore the proceedings shall not be governed by the formal rules of evidence or the rules of civil procedure used in civil court cases.
  2. The grievance hearing will be conducted according to the following procedures:
    1. The Hearing Officer shall preside at the grievance hearing and will make all decisions regarding evidentiary and procedural questions.
    2. The grievant may have the assistance of an advisor or attorney during the hearing. The grieving parties are responsible for representing themselves and, therefore, advisors and attorneys are not permitted to participate directly in the hearing.
    3. Each party shall be given a reasonable opportunity to present his or her case, including presenting testimony of witnesses and documentary evidence. However, the Hearing Officer may preclude the presentation of duplicative, irrelevant or unnecessary evidence.
    4. Each party shall have the opportunity to question the other party's witnesses.
    5. The Montana Rules of Evidence and the Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply. Every reasonable effort will be made to elicit and consider the most reliable evidence. Sworn statements may be admitted in lieu of testimony only if the witness is not available and the statement is necessary to a resolution of the matter. The decision of the Hearing Officer on questions of admissibility of evidence or procedural matters shall be final.

807.00 Grievance Procedures for Student/Temporary Employees

Revised February, 2000

807.10 Policy

Student employees and temporary employees may use the following grievance procedures if they believe that they were terminated from their employment with MSU-Bozeman without good cause. For purposes of this grievance procedure, "good cause" means reasonable job-related grounds for dismissal based on a failure to satisfactorily perform job duties, disruption of an employer's operation, or other legitimate business reason.

The grievant carries the burden of moving the grievance forward within the time period specified for each step, unless the time period has been extended by mutual agreement of the parties. Failure of the grievant to comply with the established time limits shall result in dismissal of the grievance.

Steps in Grievance Process

  1. Step 1 - Within ten (10) working days of the termination, the employee may submit a written grievance to the immediate supervisor on a grievance form available from Personnel and Payroll Services. The grievance should contain a complete statement of why the employee believes the termination was not for good cause and the remedy being sought. The supervisor must provide the employee a written decision within five working days of receipt of the grievance.
  2. Step 2 - If the employee is not satisfied with the Step 1 response, the employee may, within five (5) working days of the receipt of the response, submit the grievance to the next level of supervision. The supervisor at this level shall, within five (5) working days of receipt of the grievance, submit a written decision to the employee and the immediate supervisor. This shall be repeated for each additional level of supervision until the appropriate Dean or Director has ruled on the grievance. The decision of the appropriate Dean or Director is intended to be the final decision of the university. If the Dean or Director is the immediate supervisor, the grievance will be submitted to the appropriate Vice President/Provost for the final decision.