|Revised||January 24May 13, 20052019|
The following procedure is provided to ensure that employees are afforded due process procedures for grievances arising from employment at the College.Any employee of Blue Ridge Community College who has a complaint relating to a matter of major importance is authorized to use this process.The College's grievance process is primarily established for disputes that
In order to maintain a harmonious and cooperative relationship between the College and its employees, the College provides for the settlement of problems and differences through an orderly grievance procedure. Every employee shall have the right to present his/her problem or grievance free from coercion, restraint, discrimination or reprisal. The Policy provides for prompt and orderly consideration and determination of employee problems or grievances by supervisors and the President.
A grievance is any matter of employee concern or dissatisfaction within the College's control. Typically, a grievance is for disputes which may arise from an employee’s allegation of a violation, inequitable application, or misinterpretation of a specific college rule, regulation, policy, procedure or contract. It is not designed to permit a grievance that relates to dismissal, layoff, non-renewal, or other matters of employment status unless there is a contention that any such action was in violation of written College policies, procedures, or regulations.The grievance should be initiated within 30 days from the time the alleged incident or action occurred.The employee may accept the decision reached at any level of the following procedure or the employee may appeal to the next stage of a possible four-step undertaking.Step One: Informal Discussion:
The employee should attempt to resolve the matter of concern informally. This informal method entails meeting with one's immediate supervisor and any Dean or Vice President in the direct line of supervision to the President.Step Two: President’s Written Decision:
Having exhausted the informal procedures without gaining satisfaction, a formal appeal may begin by the employee notifying the President of the complaint. This shall be with a written statement that sets forth the grievance, efforts made to remedy the grievance, the remedial action being sought, and any information available in support of the request. The President is to notify the employee of his or her decision in writing within ten (10) working days, stating the reasons for the conclusion. In lieu of rendering a decision, the President may elect to proceed directly to Step Three of the process, beginning with Sec. 8, below (Hearing Committee). Within seven (7) working days from such notice, the employee may then elect to withdraw the grievance or proceed to Step Three.Step Three: Hearing Committee:
The next step in the appeal process is before a Hearing Committee consisting of three (3) members, those being: one person selected by the current Faculty Senate Chairperson, one staff member chosen by the President, and a third employee jointly agreed upon by the other two members. The third member shall chair the hearing. No Hearing Committee member shall be directly involved in the complaint or fall within the appellant’s chain of supervision.The hearing will have the following procedural safeguards for the employee and the College:
Step Four: Review by Board of Trustees:
- The opportunity to confront and cross-examine witnesses.
- The opportunity to present arguments and evidence orally, as well as in writing.
- The right to retain an attorney. In such cases, each party shall be informed of the other party’s intent.
- The maintenance of a complete record of the hearing. Tape recordings may not be used without the consent of all parties.
- A recommendation resting solely on the legal rules and evidence advanced at the hearing.A majority of the Hearing Committee will present a written recommendation to the President who, within fifteen (15) working days of the hearing's conclusion, will act upon this recommendation.
The employee has the right to appeal any ruling by the President to the College Board of Trustees. Such appeal must be submitted in writing to the President within ten (10) working days of the employee’s receipt of notification of the President's decision. The Board of Trustees will review the record of the hearing and notify the employee of the Board's final determination within fifteen (15) working days after receipt of the appeal notice, stating the reasons for its decision.
Exceptions would be: (a) employee disciplinary matters pursuant to Policy 3.11.2 (b) the non-renewal of an employment contract pursuant to Policy 3.3.3; (c) discrimination and harassment pursuant to Policy 3.15.1; (d) reduction in force and/or involuntary leave without pay pursuant to Policy 3.13.1; or (e) any other matter that has a specific grievance process outlined in College policy.
- Informal Grievance Process
Importantly at the initial point, attempts should be made to resolve the matter of concern informally. If an employee has a grievance, it should first be discussed with his/her immediate supervisor within five (5) days from the date of the situation which is grieved. The supervisor may call higher level supervisors into the discussion if the employee agrees or the supervisor may consult with higher level supervisors to seek any needed advice or counsel from his/her administrative superiors before giving an answer. The employee shall receive an answer within five (5) days or be advised as to the conditions which prevent an answer within five (5) days and when an answer may be expected. In any event, an answer shall be provided in writing within ten (10) days. The circumstances should be documented by both the supervisor and the grievant.
- Formal Grievance Process
If the decision reached by the Informal Grievance Process is not satisfactory to the grievant, s/he may file a written grievance with the Director of Human Resources (“Director”) within five (5) days after receipt of the Informal Grievance Process decision. The written grievance must contain with specificity the facts supporting the grievance. Depending on the nature of the appeal, the Director will determine to what extent additional facts will be required. The supervisor and employee shall provide all pertinent information the Director requests and the Director will review the facts and hold whatever discussions s/he deems necessary. The Director shall provide his/her written decision to the proper administrators or superiors and grievant within ten (10) dates of receipt of the grievance. In the absence of an appeal, the Director's decision will be carried out within a reasonable period of time and the grievance considered resolved.
- Appeal to the President
If the decision reached by the Formal Grievance Process is not satisfactory to the grievant, the grievant may, within five (5) days receipt of the Director's decision, appeal the Director's decision to the President. The appeal must be in writing and provided to the President. The President will conduct an “on the record review” of the documents and supporting materials presented during the Formal Grievance Process and, if needed, conduct any further investigation. The President can accept, reject or modify the Director’s determination and will make a decision within ten (10) days and the decision will be communicated to all appropriate persons. The President's decision shall be final.
- Grievances Involving the President
In the event that a grievance is being filed against the President, the grievant shall first follow the Informal Grievance Process outlined above and meet with the President. If the grievant is not satisfied with the resolution at the Informal Grievance Process, s/he may continue with the Formal Grievance Process but file the written grievance with the Board Chair. The Board Chair shall delegate the matter to the College Attorney to conduct an investigation. The Board Attorney will have the authority to conduct the investigation and will file a written report to the Board and the grievant within thirty (30) days.
The Board shall review the Board Attorney’s report and if necessary, allow for the grievant and President to address the Board. The Board shall issue a written decision within thirty (30) days receipt of the Board Attorney’s report.
In the event that more time is necessary for either the Board Attorney to conduct his/her investigation and/or the Board to review the matter, the Board Chair may extend all deadlines as necessary.
Grievances shall be processed according to the following rules:
- If at any stage of the grievance the grievant does not take the next step within the time allotted, the grievance shall be settled in the manner recommended or decided by the administration at the last step.
- All reference to a number of days in this procedure shall be determined to mean College working days. In the event, a grievance is not filed or processed in the manner and within the time set forth above, it shall be forever barred.
- The grievant may withdraw the grievance at any level.