Dispute Resolution for Staff, Graduate Student Staff, Postdoctoral Researchers, Clinical Residents and Clinical Interns (VI.D.1)

Volume VI: Human Resources
Chapter D: Dispute Resolution
Responsible Executive: Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Responsible Office: Office of the Vice President for Human Resources
Date Issued: October 1, 2004
Date Last Revised: March 1, 2020

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Contacts
Statement of Policy
Reason for This Policy
Individuals and Entities Affected by This Policy
Exclusions
Responsibilities
Definitions (defined terms are capitalized throughout the document)
Related Documents, Forms and Tools
Website Address for This Policy
History and Updates
Appendix

CONTACTS

Policy Clarification

Title/Office

Telephone

Email/Webpage

Office of the Vice President for Human Resources — Employee Relations

765-494-1679

erofficer@purdue.edu

 

Campus Questions

Title/Office

Telephone

Email/Webpage

Fort Wayne Human Resources and Office of Institutional Equity

260-481-6840

hr@pfw.edu

Northwest Human Resources

219-989-2251

hr@pnw.edu

West Lafayette Employee Relations

765-494-1679

erofficer@purdue.edu


 

Special Situations

Title/Office

Telephone

Email/Webpage

Vice President for Human Resources

765-494-7395

 

 

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 informal discussions are not resolved to the employee’s satisfaction and the matter meets the definition of a Dispute, employees covered by this policy may utilize the Dispute Resolution Procedures to address the issue.

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, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability or status as a veteran, 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.

Every effort will be made to keep the matters at issue in the dispute resolution process confidential. Any request for confidentiality must be balanced with applicable legal reporting requirements, the risk of harm to any individual and the University's duty to maintain a safe work environment for all. Knowingly submitting a false or malicious written statement of Dispute will result in disciplinary action.

REASON FOR THIS POLICY

This policy exists to provide a fair and equitable formal process for employees to have their Dispute(s) heard when complaints are unable to be resolved informally.

INDIVIDUALS AND ENTITIES AFFECTED BY THIS POLICY

This policy affects all campuses, colleges, departments, offices and other units of the University. The following classifications of employees may bring forward Disputes in accordance with this policy:

EXCLUSIONS

This policy does not apply to complaints brought by the following employee classifications:

  • Temporary employees;
  • Employees who have not completed 90 days of continuous employment;
  • Undergraduate student employees (and graduate students in those positions);
  • Individuals covered under the policy on Faculty Grievances (I.B.1)

The above employees may raise concerns with their Supervisor and through the Human Resources department on their campus.

This policy does not apply to complaints, objections or questions related to the following matters:

  • Salary
  • Assignment of work
  • Increase or decrease in FTE
  • Job sharing
  • At-will terminations
  • Telework
  • Flextime
  • Job transfers
  • Assessments or evaluations of academic performance or satisfactory progress toward degree objective (as it pertains to Graduate Student Staff, Clinical Residents and Clinical Interns)
  • Assessments or evaluations of professional achievement (as it pertains to Postdoctoral Researchers, Clinical Residents and Clinical Interns)
  • The establishment, revision or substantive content of University rules, regulations or policies
  • Reductions in workforce (see the policy on Reduction in Workforce (VI.F.2))
  • Claims of harassment or discrimination (see the Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment)
  • Issues of research misconduct (see the policy on Research Misconduct (III.A.2))

The matters listed above may, of course, continue to be the subject of informal communications with the appropriate supervisory and Human Resources personnel.

RESPONSIBILITIES

ADR Specialist

  • Facilitate the Informal Alternative Dispute Resolution process as described in the Dispute Resolution Procedures.
  • Complete a written summary of Step 1 of the Dispute Resolution Procedures in a timely fashion.

Advisors

  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Dispute.

Dean of the Graduate School

  • Review the Review Committee’s findings on issues where the Initiator is a Graduate Student Staff member or Postdoctoral Researcher and communicate the final decision to the Initiator and Respondent (Supervisor/unit head).

Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships (EVPRP)

  • Review the Review Committee’s findings on issues where the Initiator is a Clinical Resident or Clinical Intern on the West Lafayette campus and communicate the final decision to the Initiator and Respondent (Supervisor/unit head).

Human Resources

  • Provide counsel to the Initiator (employee), Respondent (Supervisor/unit head) and Witnesses as requested and help to facilitate the parties through the Dispute Resolution Procedures.

HR Director

  • Interpret this policy.
  • Assign an ADR Specialist to facilitate Step 1 of the Dispute Resolution Procedures.
  • Select the final Review Committee members and assign a human resources staff member to provide administrative and advisory assistance as necessary.
  • Forward the Review Committee’s recommendation to the Vice President for Human Resources, Chancellor, EVPRP, or Dean of the Graduate School, as the case may be.
  • Promptly investigate allegations of retaliation and work with the unit head to take appropriate disciplinary action when necessary.

Initiator (Employee)

  • File a written statement of Dispute in accordance with this policy and the associated procedures.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to work toward a resolution.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Dispute.
  • Abide by all determinations made at the conclusion of Step 2, if applicable.

REM Representative

  • Investigate disputes related to job health and safety and provide a written report of the findings and recommendations to the decision-maker.

Respondent (Supervisor or Unit Head)

  • Cooperate and fully participate in the Dispute resolution process.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to the Dispute.
  • Abide by all determinations made at the conclusion of Step 2, if applicable.

Review Committee

  • Conduct a formal review and provide a written report of the findings and recommendations to the decision-maker.

Supervisor

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

Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

  • Review the Review Committee’s findings on issues where the Initiator is a Clinical Resident or Clinical Intern on their respective campus and communicate the final decision to the Initiator and Respondent (Supervisor/unit head).

Vice President for Human Resources or Chancellor

  • Review the Review Committee’s findings on issues where the Initiator is a staff member (excluding Graduate Student Staff) and communicate the final decision to the Initiator and Respondent (Supervisor/unit head).

Witness

  •  Provide firsthand, factual information when being questioned during the Dispute resolution process.
  •  Respect the confidentiality of the information and records related to a Dispute.

DEFINITIONS

All defined terms are capitalized throughout the document. Some defined terms may be found only in the associated Dispute Resolution Procedures. Refer to the central Policy Glossary for additional defined terms.

ADR Specialist
An employee of Human Resources who is trained in workplace alternative dispute resolution to the satisfaction of Human Resources.

Advisor
A University employee who provides advice and support to the Initiator or the Respondent throughout the process.  

Back Pay
Past wages and benefits to which an Initiator is entitled due to the alleged wrongful act. The purpose of Back Pay is to make an Initiator who has succeeded on their claim whole. 

Dispute
A complaint by an employee that alleges they have been, or are 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 Dispute must be directed toward the University, not a person, and the Employee must not have raised the concern through any other University policy or procedure. 

FTE
The full-time equivalent of an employee’s appointment, with one (1) being full time.

HR Director
This refers to the following individuals:

  • Fort Wayne: Director of Human Resources and Office of Institutional Equity
  • Northwest: Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
  • West Lafayette: Senior Director, Human Resources

Initiator
The employee who seeks to resolve a complaint by filing a written Dispute with HR.

Relief Sought
Action by the University that will resolve the Dispute. The Relief Sought by the Initiator must relate to their employment relationship and may not be monetary damages, with the exception that an Initiator may request Back Pay, as defined.

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

Review Committee
A three-member group composed of individuals selected from a trained pool of potential members. One member of the committee will be from the same employee classification as the Initiator. One member of the committee will be a faculty member.

Supervisor
The person to whom the Initiator reports and who has the authority to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer, discipline or take other, similar powers to directly affect the terms and conditions of the Initiator’s employment.

Witness
An individual who has firsthand knowledge about facts relating to the Dispute. Individuals who could provide character information are not normally called upon as Witnesses. Providing information as a Witness is optional at the discretion of the individual from whom the information is sought. 

Workdays
Regardless of the Initiator’s or Respondent’s regular work schedule or FTE, Workdays are defined as Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding official University holidays.

RELATED DOCUMENTS, FORMS AND TOOLS

Dispute Resolution Procedures

Alternative Dispute Resolution Initiation Form

Policies

WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR THIS POLICY

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

HISTORY AND UPDATES

March 1, 2020: Graduate Student Staff, Postdoctoral Researchers, Clinical Interns and Clinical Residents added as employee classifications eligible to bring Disputes under this policy. This supersedes policy VI.D.2, which was the grievance policy for these positions. Dean of the Graduate School, EVPRP and Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs added as decision-makers for Disputes. Updated employee classifications with current terminology. Removed definitions for Complainant and CUL and replaced with Initiator and FTE, respectively. Added definition for Respondent. Included responsibilities for Advisors and REM representatives.

July 21, 2017: Contacts section and definition of HR Director updated.

July 1, 2015: Policy updated and converted to new template. In so doing, the procedures have been separated from the policy. The term Dispute has been introduced in lieu of the term Grievance, and the equal opportunity statement has been updated to conform to Board resolution.

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.
  • Grievance Policy for Administrative/Professional and Clerical/Service Staff Members (VI.D.1)”, dated October 4, 2004.

APPENDIX

There are no appendices to this policy.

 

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