Jump to other news and events
Purdue signature
 

Human Resources

NOTE: Effective April 1, 2013, all graduate student personnel are covered by the policy on Grievances by Postdoctoral Researchers, Graduate Student Personnel, Clinical Residents and Clinical Interns (VI.D.2).

Grievance Policy for Administrative/Professional and Clerical/Service Staff Members (VI.D.1)

Volume VI: Human Resources
Chapter D: Grievance
Responsible Executive: Executive Vice President for Business and Finance, Treasurer
Responsible Office: Office of the Vice President for Human Resources
Date Issued: October 1, 2004
Date Last Revised: November 18, 2011

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Statement of Policy
Reason for This Policy
Individuals and Entities Affected by This Policy
Who Should Know This Policy
Exclusions
Website Address for This Policy

Contacts
Definitions
Responsibilities
Procedures
Related Documents, Forms and Tools
History and Updates
Appendix

STATEMENT OF POLICY

All Employees are encouraged to seek and obtain answers to questions or concerns relating to their employment and working conditions through normal, day-to-day supervisory contacts and channels. However, when these informal discussions are not resolved to the Employee’s satisfaction, and the matter can be grieved as defined in this policy (see definition of “Grievance"), then the Employee may utilize the Grievance procedure for presentation, handling and disposition of the Grievance.

This policy will be applied and administered in a manner consistent with the University's equal employment opportunity and affirmative action programs without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, age, disability, sex or veteran status, except where age or sex is a legitimate occupational qualification. Employees may exercise all rights and procedures of this policy without being subject to reprisal, harassment or retaliation.

REASON FOR POLICY

This policy exists to provide a fair and equitable formal process for an Employee to have his or her Grievance(s) heard when complaints are unable to be resolved informally.

INDIVIDUALS AND ENTITIES AFFECTED BY THIS POLICY

  • Clerical/service Employees as defined in Business Office Memorandum No. 66;
  • Administrative/professional Employees as defined VI.F.5; and
  • Graduate administrative/professional Employees

WHO SHOULD KNOW THIS POLICY

President
Chancellors
Vice Chancellors
Vice Presidents
Deans
Associate and Vice Provosts
Directors/Department Heads/Chairs
Administrative and Professional Staff
Clerical and Service Staff
Supervisors
Human Resources Staff
Business Office Staff

EXCLUSIONS

This policy is not applicable to temporary employees, provisional employees and biweekly student employees. These employees should raise concerns through the Human Resources department on their campus. Graduate students (other than Graduate Administrative/Professional) who are also employees may file a grievance under Executive Memorandum C-19.

Complaints, objections or questions relating to the following matters do not meet the definition of Grievance under this policy.

  • Salary
  • Assignment of work
  • Increase or decrease in CUL
  • Job sharing
  • At-will terminations
  • Telework
  • Flextime
  • Job transfers
  • The establishment, revision, or substantive content of University rules, regulations or policies
  • Reductions in Workforce

The matters listed above may, of course, continue to be the subject of informal communications through lines of the organization setting forth the Employee’s complaint, objection or question to the appropriate person or group.

WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR THIS POLICY

www.purdue.edu/policies/human-resources/vid1.html

CONTACTS

Subject Contact Telephone E-mail/Web Address
Policy Clarification Office of the Vice President for Human Resources — Employee Relations Team 765-494-1679 erofficer@purdue.edu
Campus Specific Questions Calumet:
Human Resources Department
219-989-2251 webs.calumet.purdue.edu/hr/employment/
Fort Wayne:
Human Resources Department
260-481-6677 www.hr.ipfw.edu/
North Central:
Human Resources Department
219-785-5300 www.pnc.edu/hr/index.htm
West Lafayette:
Employee Relations Team 765-494-1679 erofficer@purdue.edu
Human Resources Manager for Advancement 765-494-0542
Housing and Food Services Human Resources Team 765-494-9418 www.housing.purdue.edu/HTML/
Human_Resources/
Physical Facilities Human Resources Team 765-494-1421 www.purdue.edu/physicalfacilitieshr/
ITaP Human Resources Team 765-496-3879 ithr@purdue.edu
Special Situations/Exceptions Vice President for Human Resources 765-494-7395

DEFINITIONS

Advisor
A University Employee who assists in the presentation of the Grievance. The Employee and Supervisor may each have one person to act as their Advisor during the hearings for Steps 1 and 2. Because these hearings are internal and administrative in nature, attorneys are not permitted to serve as Advisors. Unless the Employee with the Grievance works in Human Resources, Human Resources Employees will not serve as Advisors. Advisors may present evidence, assist in the presentation of the case, and advise the department or Employee. Serving as an Advisor is optional.

Confidentiality
Grievances and Grievance proceedings are regarded as confidential and will be treated with the greatest possible degree of Confidentiality. However, Employees are advised that Confidentiality can only be respected insofar as it does not interfere with the University’s obligation to deal with the issues raised in the Grievance and duties imposed by law including, but not limited to, the Indiana Access to Public Records Act, responses to discovery requests in litigation, and third-party subpoenas.

CUL
Capacity utilization level (full-time equivalency). For example, an Employee who works full time has 100 percent CUL. An employee who works 20 hours per week has 50 percent CUL.

Employee
Benefits-eligible, full-time and benefits-eligible, part-time individuals who are part of the following employee groups:

  • Clerical/service Employees as defined in Business Office Memorandum No. 66;
  • Administrative/professional Employees as defined VI.F.5; and
  • Graduate administrative/professional Employees.

Grievance
A complaint by an Employee, alleging that he or she has been, or is being, adversely affected by a specific:

  • Improper application of one or more University rules, regulations, or policies; or
  • Improper action, inaction, or decision of any Supervisor, department head, or other persons with administrative control and responsibility.

The complaint must be directed toward the University, not a person, and the Employee must not have raised the complaint through any other University policy or procedure.

Grievance Review Committee
A three-member group, with one alternate, composed of individuals selected through the striking process described in this policy. One member of the committee must be from the same employee classification as the person filing the Grievance.

HR Director
This refers to the following individuals:

  • Calumet: Associate Director, Human Resources
  • Fort Wayne: Director, Human Resources
  • North Central: Director of Employment and Compensation
  • West Lafayette: Director of Employee Relations

Relief Sought
Action by the University that will resolve the Employee’s Grievance. The Relief Sought by the Employee must refer to his or her employment relationship.

Supervisor
The person to whom the Employee filing the Grievance reports and who has the authority to hire, fire, discipline, etc. If in Step 1 the Employee’s immediate supervisor is a department head, dean or director, then the references in this policy to the department head will refer to the person to whom the employee’s immediate supervisor reports.

Witness
An individual, usually a University Employee, who has firsthand knowledge about facts relating to the Grievance. Individuals who could provide character information are not normally called as Witnesses at hearings. The Grievance Review Committee has the discretion to determine if a Witness will be permitted to present testimony at the Step 2 hearing. Serving as a Witness is optional.

Workdays
In relation to the time limits established in this policy, Workdays are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., for all Grievances, even if the Employee works a schedule other than Monday through Friday. Official University holidays are not Workdays. Part-time employees have five Workdays, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., regardless of the number of days they work.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Advisor
Assist the Employee or the department head with the presentation of his or her case.

Department Head
Follow the time limits of this policy.

Hold a hearing as outlined in Step 1 of the Procedures, consult with human resources and provide a determination from the Step 1 hearing to the Employee and Supervisor.

Attend the document exchange and present information at the hearing as outlined in Step 2 of the Procedures.

Employee
File a written Grievance in accordance with this policy.

Follow all time limits of this policy

Participate in Steps 1 and 2 hearings as appropriate, including presenting his or her own case.

Grievance Committee
Conduct Step 2 hearing and provide findings and recommendations to the Vice President for Human Resources or the Chancellor, as the case may be.

Human Resources
Provide counsel to the Employee and department as requested and help to facilitate Steps 1 and 2 of the Procedures.

Gather a list of names as potential Grievance Review Committee members for striking.

HR Director
Interpret this policy.

Determine if a Step 2 hearing will take place by reviewing whether the complaint asserted by the Employee meets the definition of a Grievance and whether the time limits of this policy have been followed.

Select the final Grievance Review Committee members and assign a human resources staff member to serve as the non-voting recording secretary of the committee.

Forward the Grievance Review Committee’s recommendation to the Vice President for Human Resources or the Chancellor, as the case may be.

Promptly investigate allegations of retaliation and work with the supervisor to take appropriate disciplinary action when necessary.

Supervisor
Provide department head information at Step 1 hearing and attend Step 2 hearing if requested by department head.

Vice President for Human Resources or Chancellor
Review the Grievance Review Committee’s findings and communicate his or her final decision to the Employee and department head.

Witness
Provide first-hand, factual information when being questioned during Steps 1 and 2 hearings.

PROCEDURES

Purdue University encourages its Employees to bring their complaints to the attention of their Supervisors. Employees and their Supervisors are expected to make every effort to resolve differences informally. Human Resources can be helpful in working with Supervisors and Employees to resolve these situations. An informal discussion with the Supervisor is most often all that is required to reach a resolution. However, if the conflict persists, and it meets the definition of a Grievance as defined in this policy, Employees are encouraged to use the following procedure.

Step 1
If the Employee has been unable to resolve concerns through informal discussions with the Supervisor, and he or she believes the concern is a Grievance under this policy, the Employee may submit a written complaint and Relief Sought, delivered in person or via U. S. mail, to his or her department head within five Workdays of the last informal discussion.

The department head or designee will conduct a hearing within 10 Workdays of receipt of the written complaint. The Employee and the Supervisor may each have an Advisor at the hearing. The department head or designee will consider the facts, hear testimony of Witnesses, conduct an investigation (if necessary), and review the matter with an employee of Human Resources. The department head will provide the Employee with a written decision within five Workdays of the date of the hearing.

Step 2
If the Employee is not satisfied with the Step 1 decision, he or she may grieve the same issues at Step 2 but may not add new issues or complaints. Any issues resolved at Step 1 will not be considered at Step 2.

The Employee begins Step 2 by submitting the same written complaint to the HR Director within five Workdays after receiving notice of the decision at Step 1. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the HR Director will determine whether the complaint asserted by the Employee meets the definition of Grievance and whether the time limits of this policy have been followed.

In cases where the definition of a Grievance is in question, the HR Director will randomly select three members of the Grievance Review Committee pool to serve as an advisory panel. In consultation with the advisory panel, the HR Director will determine whether the complaint meets the definition of a Grievance.

If the HR Director determines that the complaint does not meet the definition of Grievance or the time limits of the policy, the Employee and department will be informed within five Workdays of receipt of the written complaint. If the written complaint does not qualify for Step 2, the decision from Step 1 will be final.

If the HR Director determines that the written complaint qualifies for a Step 2 hearing, the HR Director or designee will select potential committee members using the procedure described in this policy under the heading “Grievance Review Committee." The committee will schedule a hearing at the earliest possible date. Normally, the hearing will be scheduled within 20 Workdays of the date the HR Director received the Employee’s written complaint at Step 2. The Employee and the department will be informed of the date, time and place of the hearing.

Employee Relations (Human Resources on regional campuses) will provide administrative assistance to the Grievance Review Committee.

At the hearing, the Employee and the department may each have the assistance of one Advisor of his or her choice for advice during the hearing process.

The Employee and the department may both call Witnesses that have firsthand knowledge of information pertinent to the Grievance. Both the Employee and the department are responsible for contacting their own Witnesses and informing them of the hearing dates and times. The Employee and the department must inform Witnesses that their participation in the process is voluntary.

One Workday prior to the date of the hearing, the Employee and department head must furnish each other, and the chairperson of the committee, the name of the person, if any, who will appear as Advisor as well as the name(s) of any Witness(es). Additionally, one day before the hearing the Employee and the department will meet to exchange five copies of each document they wish to be considered by the committee at the hearing.

The Employee and the department are each responsible for shaping their own case. The hearing will proceed as follows:

In cases involving the alleged improper application of one or more University rules, regulations, or policies, normally the Employee presents first. In cases in which the Employee is appealing discipline, including termination, normally the department presents first. The committee chairperson will ask that the Employee, the department representative, and their respective Advisors and Witnesses, swear or affirm that the testimony and statements made during the hearing are true. Witnesses will then be escorted to a separate room. The Employee will state his or her Grievance and the Relief Sought. Each side will then present its case, including the calling and cross examining of Witnesses. Each side may ask questions of the other at the conclusion of each side’s presentation. Closing statements will be made in reverse order of presentation. The committee chairperson may establish time limits.

Following the hearing, the committee will meet privately to determine its findings and recommendations. At the West Lafayette campus, the committee will forward a written report of its findings and recommendations to the Vice President for Human Resources, the president’s designee. Committees at regional campuses will forward a written report of the committee’s findings and recommendations to the Chancellor (see “Exception," below). Generally, the written report will be forwarded to the appropriate party within 10 Workdays of the conclusion of the hearing.

After receiving the findings and recommendations of the committee, the Vice President for Human Resources or Chancellor will render a final decision in writing to the Employee and the department. This will generally be accomplished within 10 Workdays of receipt of the committee’s written report.

Exception: In a situation in which the Grievance pertains to the actions of the Vice President for Human Resources or the respective Chancellor, the committee will forward its written report directly to the President for a final decision.

Grievance Review Committee
The committee for each Grievance will be created from a pool consisting of members of the faculty and members of the administrative/professional, extension, graduate administrative and clerical/service staffs. Each member will serve a three-year term. The dean or vice president of an area will appoint committee members annually from names provided by Human Resources. Human Resources will acquire names through an annual random run of payroll records. Initial appointments will be for periods of one, two, or three years, so that one-third of the members will be replaced annually. Regional campuses will each have their own committee pool.

If the Employee has initiated Step 2 and the HR Director has determined that the complaint qualifies as a Grievance, 12 members from the pool will be selected by Human Resources for the striking process.

Human Resources will send a list of the 12 potential committee members to the Employee, who may strike four names, one in each employee classification group. The Employee will have two Workdays to complete the striking. Human Resources will then send the list to the department head, who may also strike up to four names. The department head will have two Workdays to strike names. After the striking process is complete, the HR Director will strike any potential committee members who have conflicts of interest with the Employee or department.

The selected committee members may not be from the same department, school or division of the University as the Employee. One member of the committee will be from the same staff classification as the Employee. At least one member of the committee will be from the faculty. From the remaining potential committee members, the HR Director will select and appoint three members and one alternate to serve as the committee.

The alternate will attend all meetings of the committee and the hearing. The alternate will only participate if one of the committee members is unable to fulfill his or her appointment. The alternate will be from an employee classification not already represented on the committee.

The committee will choose one of its members to act as chairperson. The chairperson, with the assistance and guidance of Human Resources, will set any additional procedures for the hearing. The committee chairperson will ensure that all who are present are allowed to make any relevant statements they desire in a reasonable, civil and orderly manner. The chairperson will restrict attendance at the hearing to those persons directly involved with the Grievance. The HR Director will appoint an employee from Human Resources to serve as the non-voting recording secretary of the committee. This individual will provide advice on University policies, practices and procedures.

Administrative Procedures
The Human Resources department will:

  • Provide the committee the services necessary to apply these Grievance procedures;
  • Provide counsel and guidance to aggrieved staff members and to Supervisors, department heads, deans, and directors; and
  • Coordinate arrangements and information relative to hearings.

Electronic Recording Equipment
The use of any form of technology, including recording devices, will not be permitted during the hearing.

Additional Provisions
Time Limits:

  • The time limits set forth in this policy may be changed by mutual consent of the two parties or by the HR Director.
  • The HR Director will determine whether the time limits established by this policy have been met.
  • If the department fails to comply with the time limits set forth for Step 1, the Employee may proceed to Step 2 at the expiration of such time limits.
  • If the Employee fails to comply with the time limits set forth in this policy, the University may consider the Grievance terminated.

The Employee may withdraw the Grievance at any time by notifying the department and/or the HR Director.

Time the Employee spends preparing for the Grievance will not be considered as time worked, nor will it be in pay status.

Time a currently-employed staff member spends serving as an Advisor or a Witness, while attending the Grievance hearing, will be considered as time worked in pay status. (Former Employees are not in pay status.) It is expected that Grievance hearings will be conducted during normal working hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday).

Employees, Advisors and Witnesses (who are current Employees) may consult with Human Resources in pay status.

Breach of confidentiality is grounds for discipline, up to and including termination of employment.

In the following situations, the Executive Vice President for Business and Finance, Treasurer will designate an appropriate University Employee to implement the responsibilities of this policy normally fulfilled by the Vice President of Human Resources:

  • A Grievance alleges that the Vice President of Human Resources improperly applied regulations or policies; or
  • A Grievance concerns the Vice President of Human Resources' action, inaction or decision(s)

Knowingly filing false or malicious Grievances will result in disciplinary action. Any individual needing a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the Grievance process must notify Human Resources.

Freedom from Retaliation
Retaliation against any Employee as a result of his or her participation in any role under this policy (for example, initiating a Grievance or serving as an Advisor, Witness or committee member), is strictly prohibited. This prohibition of retaliation is applicable to members of management as well as to coworkers. An Employee who believes that he or she has suffered any type of retaliation as a result of participation under this policy should provide the HR Director with a written description of the events, facts and the names of individuals involved within 10 Workdays of the alleged retaliation. The HR Director or designee will promptly investigate these allegations. The HR Director will determine whether or not the retaliation is substantiated and will notify the Employee in writing.

The HR Director will work with the appropriate vice president, dean or director to take appropriate disciplinary action against any Employee who has engaged in retaliation. The HR Director will also take action to remedy the effects of the retaliatory act(s). A decision of the HR Director regarding retaliation may be appealed to the President’s designee, the Vice President for Human Resources or the Chancellor, as the case may be, within five Workdays after the date of the decision letter.

Special Situations

Grievances of Job-Related Health and Safety Conditions
The HR Director may, at any time, refer Grievances related to job health and safety conditions to the director of Radiological and Environmental Management (REM) — Physical Facilities. The safety coordinator, upon receipt of the Grievance, will initiate an investigation within 24 hours.

When such Grievances are appealed to Step 2, the REM director or designee will investigate or refer to the appropriate technical service area all grievances regarding job-related health and safety conditions.

After completing the investigation, the REM director or designee will make a determination for disposition of the case and report the findings and recommendations, in writing, to the Vice President for Human Resources or the appropriate regional campus Chancellor. The Vice President for Human Resources or Chancellor will then render a written decision to the parties involved, generally within 10 workdays of receipt of the findings and recommendations.

Utilizing This Policy in Conjunction with Other Policies
Employees may seek formal resolution to a specific action or decision through only one University policy or procedure (see the definition of “Grievance." For example, the Employee should decide, in consultation with Human Resources or the Office of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance, whether to file his or her concern under this grievance policy or under the Anti-harassment policy.

RELATED DOCUMENTS, FORMS AND TOOLS

Anti-Harassment (III.C.1):
www.purdue.edu/policies/ethics/iiia5.html

HISTORY AND UPDATES

November 18, 2011: Policy number changed to VI.D.1 (formerly IV.8.1) and website address updated. Link in Related Documents section also updated.

January 1, 2011: Many of the responsibilities previously assigned to the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance were reassigned to the HR Director, and the policy was reformatted into the current policy template.

The April 15, 2009, revision of this policy makes minor wording clarifications, removes reduction in workforce as an issue that can be grieved, and supersedes the November 12, 2007, version.

This policy was updated November 12, 2007, to delegate to the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance, formerly the Vice President for Human Relations and to respective regional campus Chancellors the President’s authority to review committee reports and render a final decision.

This policy supersedes the following:

  • Executive Memorandum B-37, “Grievance Policy and Procedure for Members of the Administrative and Professional Staffs of Purdue University," dated July 10, 1975.
  • Vice President and Assistant Treasurer’s Memorandum No. 137, “Complaint and Grievance Procedure for Biweekly Employees," dated November 9, 1979.

APPENDIX

There are no appendices to this policy.