It is always recommended that employees and supervisors work to resolve any disagreement with an unfavorable, or adverse, employment action through a more “informal” process of verbal communication that is properly documented. If a solution can’t be reached that is satisfactory to all parties involved, then it would be appropriate to escalate to the more “formal” grievance procedure.
All employees considering filing a grievance are encouraged to contact the Employee Relations Office for procedural advice and assistance. The grievance and appeal processes only apply to covered classified and unclassified employees in FTE positions and involve strict time limits. An employee must initiate a grievance in writing with the University within 14 calendar days of the effective date of the action being grieved.
Under the provisions of the Grievance policy [pdf], employees who choose to file a grievance or appeal must not be disciplined or otherwise prejudiced for exercising rights or testifying.
Actions That May Be Grieved or Appealed
- Terminations, suspensions, involuntary reassignments in excess of thirty (30) miles from the prior work station and demotions
- Reclassifications, only if it is determined that there is a material issue of fact that the action is a punitive reclassification
- Promotions, only in instances where an employee was denied a promotional opportunity for a position for which the employee formally applied or would have applied if the employee had known of the promotional opportunity
- Salary decreases based on performance
- A reduction in force, only if it is determined that the University inconsistently or improperly applied its reduction in force policy or plan
Grievance and Appeal Process
There are two steps in the internal grievance process that involve various reviewing officials as follows:
Reviewing Official: University’s Vice President for Human Resources
The VP for Human Resources will review the grievance to determine if the matter is grievable. If it is not, the VP will issue a final decision to the grievant. If the grievance meets requirements, the VP for HR will forward the grievance to the appropriate VP, Chancellor, Dean or other official who will review the information and record, meet with the employee if needed and issue a decision to uphold, modify or reject the action taken against the employee.
Reviewing Official: President of the University
If the grievant is dissatisfied with the step 1 decision, a letter may be written to the President of the University who will convene a panel of University employees to review the matter. When the panel concludes their review, they will issue a recommendation to the President to uphold, modify or reject the action taken against the employee. The President may accept the recommendation of the panel in whole or in part and will issue the final University decision to the grievant. The President will notify both parties of the final decision.
If the grievant is dissatisfied with the President’s final decision, an appeal may be filed to the State Human Resources Director consistent with filing requirements as outlined in the USC grievance policy. The Division of Human Resources will provide procedural information to both parties, arrange for the selection of the panel, schedule hearings, and prepare and reproduce records and documents to the reviewing officials and the panel.
For more detailed information, please refer to the Grievance policy [pdf] .