Policy No. 5:01:03:00

CLEVELAND STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE Cleveland, Tennessee

SUBJECT:  Employee Grievance/Complaint Procedure

  1. Purpose
    The purpose of this procedure is to provide a clear, orderly and expedient procedure through which employees of this Institution may process bona fide complaints or grievances.
  2. Policy Statement
    It is the policy of this Institution to provide an effective procedure for the resolution of problems arising from the employment relationship or environment.  To this end a formal grievance procedure has been established for the use and benefit of Cleveland State employees.  When an employee believes a condition of employment affecting him/her is unjust, inequitable or a hindrance to effective performance of his/her employment responsibilities, the employee should seek resolution through this procedure without fear of coercion, discrimination or reprisal.  It is the policy of this Institution to make every effort to resolve a grievance/complaint at the lowest possible step in the grievance/complaint procedure.
  3. Scope
    This procedure is available to employees of Cleveland State Community College.  For purposes of this procedure, employees shall include administrators, faculty (including full-time faculty on term or temporary contracts), professional non-faculty, clerical and support personnel, and probationary employees.  Student workers, graduate assistants, adjunct faculty or temporary workers are not included.
    This policy has no application to a termination procedure against a tenured faculty member under TBR Policy No. 5:02:03:00, Section P.
    The grievance committee established pursuant to this procedure shall be utilized where an employee requests an institutional hearing in the following situations:
    1. actions relating to the suspension of employees for cause or termination in violation of an employment contract which falls under TBR Policy No. 1:06:00:05 (Cases Subject to TUAPA) or TBR Policy No. 5:02:03:00, Section III P (2), which provides no other type of hearing procedure.
    2. actions involving harassment pursuant to TBR Guideline P-080.
  4. Responsibility for Implementation and Compliance
    The President of Cleveland State Community College has the final decision-making authority in any action subject to this procedure.
  5. Definitions
    There are two types of matters which this policy shall address:  (1) grievances which are subject to committee review, and (2) complaints which must be resolved without committee review.
    1. Grievances - (committee review available) - an employee may only grieve those matters defined below.  A grievance may result from any action the Institution has taken against the employee which:
      - violates Institution or TBR policy, or involves an inconsistent application of these same policies;
      - violates state or federal discrimination statutes in that the adverse action is based solely on race, sex, national origin, age, disability or veteran’s status; or
      - violates any constitutional right.  The most likely areas of concern are the First, Fourth, or Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution when that action hampers free speech, freedom of religion, the right to association, provides for improper search and seizure, or denies constitutionally required notice or procedures.
    2. Complaints - (committee review not available) - a complaint is a concern which an employee wants to discuss with supervisory personnel in an effort to resolve the matter.  Personnel actions such as, but not limited to:  performance evaluations, rates of pay, position reclassifications, verbal disciplinary warnings, termination of personnel during or at the end of the initial probationary period, group insurance or retirement benefits, or position terminations due to a reduction in force, lack of funds or reorganization, do not fall under the definition of complaint.
    3. Immediate Supervisor - that person who is directly responsible for the supervision of the employee’s activities.
    4. Next-higher-level-supervisor - that person who is directly responsible for the supervision of the immediate supervisor’s activities.
    5. Executive Administrator - that person who reports directly to the President of the College and has responsibility for the supervision of line administrators.
    6. Working days - days on which the business offices of the Institution are officially open.
    7. Date of the decision - date the decision is communicated to the employee if communicated in person; three days after mailing of the decision if communicated by mail.
    8. Grievance Committee - committee of not more than five employees, none of whom have a direct interest in the grievance to be considered, will be selected by the President.  The composition of the committee will include:  (a) proper representation of race and sex of at least one member; (b) one peer representative from the same job classification and (c) two members from job classifications non-partial to the grievance.  The committee will be chaired by the Director of Human Resources.
  6. General Rules of Implementation
    1. Employees using this procedure shall be entitled to do so without fear of retaliation, interference, coercion or discrimination.
    2. A grievance/complaint must be presented to the employee’s immediate supervisor within ten working days after the occurrence of the incident claimed to have given rise to the grievance or complaint.  Any claim not presented within the time frame provided shall be deemed to have been waived.  For repetitive or ongoing incidents or circumstances, the grievance must be filed within ten working days of the last occurrence of such incident or circumstance.  Once a final determination has been made, the employee may not present the same grievance complaint again in an attempt to gain a more favorable decision.
    3. The grievant is entitled to be accompanied by an advisor at each step of the grievance procedure; however, the advisor may not act as an advocate on behalf of the grievant.
    4. Employees shall be given the opportunity to pursue grievances/complaints during their assigned work time.  Such activities will not interfere with the normal workflow.
    5. The President may grant reasonable extensions of the applicable time limit at each stage of the procedure upon the timely showing of good cause.  The request for an extension must be in writing.  The approval or denial of the request shall also be in writing.
    6. Supervisors to whom a grievance is raised and the grievance committee may consult the Director of Human Resources for advice on resolving grievances except for grievances involving action taken against the grievant by the Director of Human Resources.
    7. The grievant may withdraw in writing a filed grievance at any stage of the process.
    8. A grievance which is the subject of an action filed with an external body shall not be processed through Cleveland State’s grievance procedure.  The term external body includes a court or federal or state administrative body such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Civil Rights, or the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.
  7. Complaint Procedure for Filing a Complaint
    1. Discussion with Immediate Supervisor - A complaint must be brought to the attention of the employee’s immediate supervisor within ten working days after the employee becomes aware of the problem.  The employee should state the basis for the complaint and the corrective action desired in temperate and reasonable terms.  The employee and the supervisor should discuss the complaint in an attempt to resolve the matter in a mutually satisfactory manner.
      If the employee is not satisfied, the employee may proceed to 7.2.  (If no decision is communicated to the employee within five working days of the initial discussion, the employee may proceed directly to 7.2.)
    2. Discussion with Higher-Level Supervisor - If the employee and the immediate supervisor are not able to resolve the complaint, the employee may proceed to discuss the matter with the next-higher-level supervisor within five working days of the date of the decision of the immediate supervisor.  Failure to comply with 7.2 in a timely manner shall be deemed a waiver of the complaint by the employee and the complaint may not be raised again.  If the employee and the next-higher-level supervisor are not able to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution to the complaint within five working days, the employee may follow the chain of command using the same procedure up to the level of executive administrator.  If the employee is not satisfied with the decision of the executive administrator, he/she may proceed to 7.3.
    3. Written Complaint Statement - If the employee and the executive administrator are not able to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution to the complaint, the employee may file a written complaint with the Director of Human Resources using a CSCC Complaint form (Attachment A).  The written complaint must be filed within five working days of the date of the decision of the executive administrator in 7.2.  Failure to comply with 7.3 in a timely manner shall be deemed a waiver of the complaint and the complaint may not be raised again.
      Upon receipt of a written complaint, the Director of Human Resources will permit the employee to present facts and/or material relative to the complaint.  The Director will then investigate the dispute and attempt to find a solution.  The Director will submit a written recommendation to the President within five working days.
      Upon receipt of the recommendation, the President may accept the recommendation or select an alternate solution.  The President’s decision shall be final.  Complaints do not include a right to any type of hearing, adversarial proceeding, nor the right of appeal to the Chancellor.
  8. Grievance Procedure For Filing the Grievance
    1. Discussion with Immediate Supervisor - A grievance must be brought to the attention of the employee’s immediate supervisor within ten working days after the employee becomes aware of the problem.  The employee should state the basis for the grievance and the corrective action desired in temperate and reasonable terms.  The employee and the supervisor shall discuss the grievance in an attempt to resolve the matter in a mutually satisfactory manner.  The supervisor shall conduct any necessary or appropriate investigation and inform the employee of a decision based upon full and fair days of the initial discussion.  The immediate supervisor will assure that the decision is clearly communicated to, and understood by, the employee.  If the employee is satisfied with the decision, no additional action is required.  If the employee is not satisfied, the employee may proceed to 8.2.  (If no decision is communicated to the employee within five working days of the initial discussion, the employee may proceed directly to 8.2.)
    2. Discussion with Higher-Level Supervisor - If the employee and the immediate supervisor are not able to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution to the grievance, the employee may proceed to discuss the matter with the next-higher-level supervisor within five working days of the date of the decision of the immediate supervisor.  Failure to comply with 8.2 in a timely manner shall be deemed a waiver by the employee and the grievance may not be raised again.  The next-higher-level supervisor and the employee shall then follow the same procedure as required in 8.1.
      If the employee is satisfied with the decision reached by the next-higher-level supervisor, no additional action is required.  If the employee is not satisfied, the employee may follow the chain of command using the same procedure up to the executive administrator level.  If the employee is not satisfied with the decision of the executive administrator, he/she may proceed to 8.3.
    3. Written Grievance Statement - If the employee and the executive administrator are not able to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution to the grievance, the employee may file a written grievance with the Director of Human Resources using a CSCC Grievance form (Attachment A).  The grievance must be filed within five working days of the date of this decision of the executive administrator in 8.2.  Failure to comply with 8.3 in a timely manner shall be deemed a waiver by the grievant and the grievance may not be raised again.
      The Director of Human Resources may request the employee to restate the grievance for additional clarity if necessary, but such request shall not count toward the applicable time limit.
      At the filing of the written grievance, the employee has the option to request the grievance (1) to be investigated by the Director of Human Resources or (2) request a hearing by the grievance committee.  If the employee chooses an investigation by the Director of Human Resources, the Director will make a thorough and independent study of the grievance.  The Director of Human Resources may request supervisors(s) to respond in writing to the grievance statement.  Within ten working days of the filing of the grievance the Director of Human Resources will forward a recommendation of solution to the President.  Upon receipt of the recommendation, the President may accept the recommendation of the Director of Human Resources or select an alternate resolution.  The President’s decision shall be directed to the employee within five working days.  The President’s decision shall be final and binding   to all parties concerned.  An employee dissatisfied with the resolution may not request a hearing by the grievance committee.
      If the employee chooses to request a hearing by a grievance committee, the President shall appoint a grievance committee as established with this policy.  Within ten working days of the filing of the request for a hearing on the grievance, the grievance committee shall conduct an impartial hearing on the grievance, at which time it will accept and review all pertinent information presented by the employee and the chairman of the committee as well as any other information it deems appropriate.  The grievance committee shall make a thorough and independent study.  The procedure by the committee shall consist of fact finding.  The committee shall be allowed to hear each witness, including the grievant, separately.  If the committee is convened in a harassment case, the hearing will allow each party the right to confront witnesses against him or her. The grievant shall be allowed to present any pertinent evidence to the committee and to have the committee call those witnesses who have testimony pertinent to the committee’s recommendation.  Within three working days after the hearing, the Chairman of the committee shall prepare a written report of the committee’s recommendation and reasons to the President.  The recommendation shall be based on the facts and circumstances as known to the committee.  The report shall also contain a summary of the committee’s investigation and findings.  Copies of the report shall be submitted to all parties involved. 
      Upon receipt of the recommendation, the President may accept the recommendation of the committee, in whole or part, or select an alternate resolution.  Within five working days, the President’s decision shall be directed to the Chairperson of the committee and all parties involved.  The President’s decision shall be final and binding as to all parties concerned.  However, grievances which are processed through the grievance committee are appealable to the Chancellor only where they fall within the parameters set out in TBR Policy No. 1:02:11:00.
  9. Maintenance of Records
    1. Copies of written grievances/complaints and accompanying responses and documentation shall be maintained in the office of the Director of Human Resources.
    2. Copies of grievances/complaints and accompanying responses shall be maintained for at least three years.

Source:  TBR Guideline P-110
Revised:  December 1, 1992; March 14, 1994, March 3, 1995
 
 

Attachment A

CLEVELAND STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
     
Grievance/Complaint Form

(Please Print or Type)
     
      1.  Name _________________________________________________________________
       
      2.  Position _______________________________________________________________
     
      3.  Department _____________________________________________________________
     
      4.  Name of immediate supervisor _____________________________________________
     
      5.  Date grievance/complaint initially discussed with
        immediate supervisor _____________________________________________________
     
      6.  Name of next-higher-level supervisor ________________________________________
     
      7.  Date grievance/complaint initially discussed with
          next-higher-level supervisor _______________________________________________
     
      8.  Explanation of grievance/complaint (include
        identification of any Institutional policy violated) 
        _______________________________________________________________________

        _______________________________________________________________________
     
        _______________________________________________________________________
     
        _______________________________________________________________________
     
      9.  Corrective action desired __________________________________________________
     
        _______________________________________________________________________
     
        _______________________________________________________________________

        _________________________________________   ____________________________
          Employee’s Signature                                                   Date
     
        Verification by Human Resource Office ______________________________________
     
        _______________________________________________________________________