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Human Resources

Grievances by Postdoctoral Researchers, Graduate Student Personnel, Clinical Residents and Clinical Interns (VI.D.2)

Volume VI: Human Resources
Chapter D: Grievances
Responsible Executive: Vice President for Human Resources
Responsible Office: Office of the Vice President for Human Resources
Date Issued: See History
Date Last Revised: April 1, 2013

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 Postdoctoral Researchers, Graduate Student Personnel, Clinical Residents and Clinical Interns 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, the University recognizes that occasionally more formal processes are needed and, by instituting this policy, provides a Grievance resolution process for Initiators whose concerns are not resolved through informal discussions.

Everyone participating in the Grievance resolution process as outlined in this policy may exercise his or her rights and fulfill his or her responsibilities without being subject to reprisal or retaliation.

Grievances and the proceedings under this policy will be treated with the greatest degree of confidentiality possible. However, all parties 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.

When extenuating circumstances warrant, the Vice President for Research, the Dean of the Graduate School or the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, as the case may be, has authority to extend any of the time limits set forth in this policy. The Initiator may withdraw the Grievance at any time by notifying his or her department head or the Vice President for Research, Dean of the Graduate School or Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, as the case may be.

Any question of interpretation regarding this policy will be referred to the Vice President for Research, the Dean of the Graduate School or the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, as the case may be, for final determination.

REASON FOR POLICY

This policy exists to provide a fair and equitable formal process for Postdoctoral Researchers, Graduate Student Personnel, Clinical Residents and Clinical Interns to have their Grievances heard when concerns are unable to be resolved informally.

INDIVIDUALS AND ENTITIES AFFECTED BY THIS POLICY

All campuses, units, students, faculty and staff of the University are affected by this policy.

WHO SHOULD KNOW THIS POLICY

President
Vice Presidents
Chancellors
Vice Chancellors
Deans
Directors
Department Heads/Chairs
Managers and Supervisors
Faculty
Staff
Postdoctoral Researchers
Graduate Student Personnel
Clinical Residents
Clinical Interns

EXCLUSIONS

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

  • Salary
  • Assessments or evaluations of academic performance
  • Assessments or evaluations of professional achievement
  • Assignment of work
  • The establishment, revision or substantive content of University rules, regulations or policies
  • Complaints of discrimination or harassment
  • Issues of research misconduct

The matters listed above may, of course, continue to be the subject of informal communications conducted through normal organizational channels. Complaints involving allegations of discrimination or harassment may be brought under the University’s Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination or Harassment, and issues of research misconduct may be addressed under the Policy on Research Misconduct (III.A.2).

WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR THIS POLICY

www.purdue.edu/policies/human-resources/vid2.html

CONTACTS

Subject 

Contact

Telephone

E-mail/Web Address

Policy Clarification

Office of the Vice President for Human Resources – Employee Relations

765-494-1679

erofficer@purdue.edu

DEFINITIONS

Advisor
A University employee who assists, at will, in the presentation of the Grievance, including the presentation of evidence at the hearing, and advising the Initiator or Respondent throughout the process. The Initiator and Respondent each may have one person to act as their Advisor during the departmental and administrative hearings. Because these hearings are internal and administrative in nature, attorneys are not permitted to serve as Advisors. Unless the individual with the Grievance works in Human Resources, Human Resources employees may not serve as advisors.

Clinical Intern
An individual in a clinical program that provides advanced training in a particular discipline, such as psychology or veterinary medicine. The program qualifies the individual for entry into an approved residency program leading to board certification or licensure in a recognized discipline. The requirement for an assessment for academic performance or professional achievement to qualify for additional educational training is not a part of the employment relationship.

Clinical Resident
Individuals in clinical programs designed to provide advanced training and to satisfy experiential requirements for certification as specialists in a particular discipline, such as pharmacy, psychology or veterinary medicine. The requirement for an assessment for academic performance or professional achievement to qualify for a graduate degree or licensure is not considered part of the employment relationship.

Day
In relation to the time limits established in this policy, a Day is a business day that occurs Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., even if the Initiator works different hours or works part time. Official University holidays are not counted as Days.

Graduate Student Personnel
Those individuals classified as graduate lecturers, graduate teaching assistants, graduate research assistants, graduate administrative/professionals or graduate  aides in their role as such, but not in their role as students. This definition does not include individuals who receive hourly pay. The inclusion of Graduate Student Personnel in this policy supersedes the inclusion of this group in any previously issued policies or procedures.

Grievance
A complaint by an Initiator 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 person with administrative control and responsibility.

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

Grievance Review Committee
A campus-level committee composed of three members and one alternate selected through the process described in section D of the Procedures. The committee conducts the administrative level hearing and provides a recommendation to the Vice President for Research, the Dean of the Graduate School or the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, as the case may be.

HR Director
For the purposes of this policy, this refers to the Associate Director of Human Resources on the Calumet campus, the Director of Human Resources on the Fort Wayne campus, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources on the North Central campus and the Director of Employee Relations on the West Lafayette campus.

Human Resources
The campus human resources department.

Initiator
The Postdoctoral Researcher, Graduate Student Personnel, Clinical Resident or Clinical Intern who seeks to resolve a complaint through the procedures set forth in this policy.

Postdoctoral Researcher
A postdoctoral resident, research assistant or research associate.

Relief Sought
Action by the University that will resolve the Initiator’s Grievance. Such relief must refer to the Initiator’s employment relationship.

Respondent
The University employee(s) who made the decision or took the action on behalf of the University that precipitated the Grievance.

Supervisor
The person to whom the Initiator reports and who has the authority to hire, fire, discipline, etc.

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.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Advisors

  • Assist the Initiator or Respondent throughout the Grievance process.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Grievance.

Dean of the Graduate School

  • Annually appoint Graduate Student Personnel to the West Lafayette campus pool for Grievance Review Committees or designate responsibility for such.
  • Make the final determination on administrative level Grievances brought forth by Graduate Student Personnel on the West Lafayette campus.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Grievance.

Department Heads

  • Receive and process department level Grievances in accordance with the Procedures outlined in this policy.
  • Make a determination on department level Grievances.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Grievance.

Grievance Review Committee

  • Appoint a Grievance Review Committee chairperson.
  • Schedule and conduct the hearing in accordance with the Procedures outlined in this policy.
  • Meet privately following the hearing to discuss the issue and forward a written report of findings and recommendations to the Vice President for Research, the Dean of the Graduate School or the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, as the case may be.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Grievance.

HR Director

  • Receive and process administrative level Grievances in accordance with the Procedures outlined in this policy.
  • Appoint a Human Resources employee to provide administrative assistance to the Grievance Review Committee and serve as a non-voting recording secretary at the hearing.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Grievance.

Human Resources

  • Provide guidance and advice to supervisors and department heads on complaints and Grievance matters.
  • Provide administrative assistance to the Grievance Review Committee.
  • Maintain a campus-level pool of individuals from which the Grievance Review Committee can be drawn.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Grievance.

Initiator and Respondent

  • Follow the Procedures outlined in this policy and adhere to all time lines.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to work toward a resolution.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Grievance.
  • Abide by all determinations made at the department level and, if applicable, at the administrative level.

REM Director

  • Receive Grievances related to job health and safety conditions and process in accordance with the Procedures outlined in this policy.
  • Provide a written report of findings and recommendations to the department head, Vice President for Research, Dean of the Graduate School or Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, as the case may be.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Grievance.

Supervisors

  • Make every effort to resolve conflicts involving individuals whom they supervise informally.

Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs

  • Annually appoint Graduate Student Personnel, Clinical Interns, Clinical Resident and Postdoctoral Researchers (as available) to their campus pools for Grievance Review Committees, or designate responsibility for such.
  • Make the final determination on administrative level Grievances brought forth on their respective campuses.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Grievance.

Vice President for Human Resources

  • Appoint another administrator to carry out the responsibilities of the HR Director in the event he or she is a party to the complaint.

Vice President for Research

  • Annually appoint Postdoctoral Researchers to the West Lafayette campus pool for Grievance Review Committees or designate responsibility for such.
  • Make the final determination on administrative level Grievances brought forth by Postdoctoral Researchers, Clinical Interns and Clinical Residents on the West Lafayette campus.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Grievance.

PROCEDURES

Conflicts frequently can be resolved if the parties involved communicate their concerns, listen to each other and show a willingness to compromise. Often conflicts can be lessened, if not eradicated, by clearing up misperceptions and misunderstandings. Individuals and their Supervisors are expected to make every effort to resolve differences informally. However, if the conflict persists, and it meets the definition of a Grievance as defined in this policy, the following procedures may be utilized. At any time during the process, any party involved in the Grievance may consult with Human Resources for guidance and advice on University policies, practices and procedures.

  1. Department Level Grievance Process
    1. Within five Days of the last informal discussion with his or her Supervisor, the Initiator may submit to his or her department head a written description of the complaint and the Relief Sought. If the complaint concerns an action or decision made by the department head, the Initiator may skip this step and submit his or her complaint as outlined in section B.
    2. The department head (or his or her designee) will investigate the complaint (if necessary) and within 10 Days of receipt of the written complaint conduct a hearing where he or she will hear testimony of the Initiator, Respondent and any Witnesses. At the hearing, the Initiator and the Respondent may each have an Advisor. Prior to making any decisions, the department head or designee will review the matter with Human Resources. The department head will provide the Initiator and the Respondent with a written decision within five Days of the date of the hearing.
    3. If the department head fails to comply with the time limits set forth in this section, the Initiator may proceed to the steps in section B below at the expiration of such time limits. If the Initiator fails to comply with the time limits set forth in this section, the Grievance will be considered terminated.
  2. Administrative Level Grievance Process
    If the Initiator is not satisfied with all or part of the outcome of the department level process, he or she may continue to the administrative level process. The Grievance must be regarding the same complaint and may not contain any new issues or complaints. Similarly, any issues resolved at the department level will not be considered at the administrative level.
    1. To begin the administrative level process, the Initiator must submit his or her written complaint to the HR Director within five Days after receiving notice of the department level decision or the expiration of the time limit for such. In the event the HR Director is a party to the complaint, the Vice President for Human Resources will appoint another administrator to carry out the responsibilities of this section.
    2. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the HR Director will determine whether the complaint asserted by the Initiator 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.
    3. In cases where the complaint is determined not to meet the definition of a Grievance or has not adhered to the time limits of this policy, the HR Director will inform the Initiator and the Respondent within five Days of receipt of the written complaint. Any decisions that were made regarding the complaint at the department level will then be final.
    4. In cases where the complaint meets the definition of a Grievance and has adhered to the time limits of this policy, the HR Director will select potential committee members as outlined in section C below. The committee will schedule a hearing at the earliest possible date within 20 Days of the date the HR Director received the Initiator’s written Grievance. The Initiator and the Respondent will be informed of the date, time and location of the hearing.
    5. Human Resources will provide administrative assistance to the Grievance Review Committee and advice on University policies, practices and procedures.
    6. At the hearing, the Initiator and the Respondent may each have the assistance of one Advisor of his or her choice during the hearing process. The Initiator and the Respondent may both call Witnesses that have firsthand knowledge of information pertinent to the Grievance. Both the Initiator and the Respondent are responsible for contacting their own Witnesses and informing them of the hearing date and time. The Initiator and the Respondent must inform Witnesses that their participation in the process is voluntary. The Initiator and the Respondent are each responsible for shaping their own case.
    7. No later than two Days prior to the date of the hearing, the Initiator and Respondent must furnish each other and the chairperson of the Grievance Review Committee the name of the person, if any, who will appear as their Advisor and the names of any Witnesses speaking on their behalf. The Grievance Review Committee has the discretion to determine if a Witness will be permitted to present testimony at the hearing. The Initiator and Respondent also must, within the same timeframe, exchange a copy of each document they wish to be considered by the committee at the hearing.
    8. At the hearing, the committee chairperson may establish time limits for presentations. The use of recording devices will not be permitted during the hearing. Attendance at the hearing is open only to those persons directly involved with the Grievance.

      Any individual with a disability needing a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the hearing must notify Human Resources at least one Day prior to the date of the hearing.

      The hearing will proceed as follows:
      1. The chairperson of the Grievance Review Committee will ask that the Initiator, the Respondent 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.
      2. The Initiator will state his or her Grievance and the Relief Sought.
      3. In complaints involving the alleged improper application of one or more University rules, regulations or policies, the Initiator will present first.
      4. In complaints in which the Initiator is appealing discipline, including termination, the Respondent will present first.
      5. Each side will present its information, including the calling and cross examining of Witnesses. Each side may ask questions of the other at the conclusion of each side’s presentation.
      6. Closing statements will be made in reverse order of presentation.
    9. Following the hearing, the Grievance Review Committee will meet privately to determine its findings and recommendations. The committee will forward a written report of its findings and recommendations to the Vice President for Research, the Dean of the Graduate School or the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, as the case may be, within 10 Days of the conclusion of the hearing.
    10. After receiving the findings and recommendations of the committee, the vice president/chancellor or dean, will render a decision in writing to the Initiator and the Respondent within 10 Days of receipt of the committee’s written report. Such decision is final. In the event the Vice President for Research or the Dean of the Graduate School is a party to the complaint, the President will appoint another administrator to render the decision. In the event the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs is a party to the complaint, the relevant Chancellor will appoint another administrator to render the decision.
    If the Initiator fails to comply with any of the time limits set forth in this section, the Grievance will be considered terminated and any remaining steps will not be required to take place. Failure of the Respondent to participate or to comply with any time limits will not prevent the process from moving forward.
  3. Selection of the Grievance Review Committee
    1. The committee for each Grievance hearing held as part of section B above will be drawn from the same campus-level pools used in the Grievance Policy for Administrative/Professional and Clerical/Service Staff Members (VI.D.1), as amended from time to time, with the addition of Graduate Student Personnel, Clinical Interns, Clinical Residents and Postdoctoral Researchers to each campus pool, as available. Human Resources annually will acquire a list of possible appointees to each campus pool via a random run of payroll records. From these lists:
      1. The Dean of the Graduate School, or his or her designee, will appoint Graduate Student Personnel to the West Lafayette campus pool,
      2. The Vice President for Research, or his or her designee, will appoint Clinical Interns, Clinical Residents and Postdoctoral Researchers to the West Lafayette campus pool, and
      3. The Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs, or their designees, will appoint Graduate Student Personnel, Clinical Interns, Clinical Residents and Postdoctoral Researchers (as available) to their campus pools.
    2. If a Grievance hearing is to be held, Human Resources will select 12 members from the appropriate campus pool as potential Grievance Review Committee members. The members may not be from the same college, school, department or division of the University as the Initiator. Faculty, administrative/professional staff, clerical/service staff, Graduate Student Personnel, Clinical Interns, Clinical Residents and Postdoctoral Researchers must be represented on the list, as available. Human Resources will send the list to the Initiator, who may strike up to four names, each from a different classification group. The Initiator will have two Days to strike names. After the Initiator has struck up to four names, Human Resources will send the list to the Respondent, who may do likewise. The Respondent will have two Days to strike names.
    3. From the remaining potential committee members, the HR Director will appoint three members and one alternate to serve as the Grievance Review Committee. At least one member of the committee must be from the same classification as the Initiator. At least one member of the committee must be from the faculty. The alternate will be from a classification not already represented on the committee, and he or she 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.
    4. 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.
    5. The HR Director will appoint a representative of Human Resources to serve as the non-voting recording secretary of the committee. This individual also will fulfill the role described in section B5 above.
  4. Determination of Pay Status
    Time the Initiator 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 Witness at the Grievance hearing, will be considered as time worked in pay status. Former employees will not be in pay status.

    Initiators, Respondents, Advisors and Witnesses, who are current employees, may consult with Human Resources in pay status.
  5. Grievances of Job-Related Health and Safety Conditions
    At any time, the department head or HR Director may refer a Grievance related to job health and safety conditions to the Director of Radiological and Environmental Management (REM). Within two Days of receipt of the Grievance, the REM director will assign the appropriate technical service area to investigate the claim(s).

    After the investigation is complete, the REM director will make a determination for disposition of the Grievance and report the findings and recommendations in writing to the department head, vice president/chancellor or dean, as the case may be, who will then render a written decision to the Initiator and Respondent within 10 Days of receipt of the findings and recommendations. Such decision will be final.

RELATED DOCUMENTS, FORMS AND TOOLS

HISTORY AND UPDATES

April 1, 2013: The inclusion of Graduate Student Personnel in this policy supersedes the inclusion of graduate administrative/professionals in the Grievance Policy for Administrative/Professional and Clerical/Service Staff Members (VI.D.1). Graduate lecturers, graduate teaching assistants, graduate research assistants, and postdoctoral residents, research assistants and research associates were previously covered under the Grievance Procedures for Academic Personnel (Executive Memorandum No. C-19).

APPENDIX

There are no appendices to this policy.