Office of the Vice President for
Administration and Finance
SECTION: HUMAN RESOURCES INDEX: C-21
SUBJECT: EMPLOYEE GRIEVANCES
The University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) is committed to a work environment that requires supervisors and officials at all levels to treat
employees fairly and consistently in all matters related to their employment and
to make personnel decisions consistent with state and federal laws and
university policies. The purpose of
this policy is to provide the informal
and formal processes for addressing non-faculty employee grievances.
Employees have the right to express concerns/grievances through informal and
formal avenues without interference, coercion, intimidation, harassment or
This policy applies to all UHV
non-faculty employees, and offers different levels of recourse (informal and formal) for regular employees and other
employees. (Guidelines governing faculty grievances are published in the
a. The informal
problem-solving procedure has been established to resolve work-related
problems as quickly as possible and is available to all university employees,
regardless of classification, hours worked, or length of appointment. Employees
are encouraged to pursue the resolution of work-related concerns through the
informal problem-solving procedure prior to seeking recourse through the formal
b. The formal grievance
procedure has been established to resolve those work-related issues
that could not be resolved through the informal problem-solving procedure.
formal procedure is only available to employees in regular positions
at the university with the exception of probationary status employees (see S.A.M.
02.A.04 and 02.A.18).
Grievance: A disagreement between an employee and supervisor on
the terms or conditions of employment. The causes for a grievance may include,
but are not limited to, complaints concerning wages, hours of work, working
conditions, performance evaluations, job assignments, or the interpretation or
application of a rule, regulation or policy.
Regular Employee (benefits eligible): A regular employee is
defined as one who is employed at least 50% FTE on a regular basis for a period of at least 4 1/2
continuous months, excluding students holding positions for which student status
is a requirement for employment.
Excluded from this policy are complaints/grievances concerning:
Discipline and Dismissal - see UHV Policy C-14 - "Discipline and Dismissal Regular Staff
Job Reclassification - see
UHV Policy C-20
- "Job Reclassification Review"
Sexual Harassment - see
UHV Policy C-12
- "Sexual Harassment"
Discrimination Complaints on the basis of race, color, religion, national
origin, sex, age, disability, or veteran status - see
UHV Policy C-22
- "Title IX and other Discrimination Complaints"
Please consult with the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action if
you have a question as to which policy applies
to the grievance.
- Each individual is
encouraged to become familiar with his or her responsibilities and this
grievance and appeals process. T he university grievance and appeals policy
and procedures will be communicated to each new employee, both orally and in
writing, during new employee orientation.
- If an employee feels that
she/he has been dealt with in an unfair way, she/he is encouraged to proceed first through the
informal problem-solving procedure prior to seeking recourse through the
formal grievance procedure.
- The formal grievance
procedure must be initiated within twenty (20) working days of the action or
inaction for which the employee feels aggrieved.
- The burden of proof to show
that the action taken against the employee is in violation of university
policy or state or federal law or regulation rests with the grievant.
Informal Problem-Solving Procedures
Whenever possible, employees are encouraged to pursue the resolution of
work-related concerns through open discussion with the party(s) involved. Such
discussions should be held early to
prevent problems from escalating. Each department supervisor is responsible for establishing a mutual
understanding with employees of the need to resolve problems objectively and
without fear of retaliation. Most work-related problems can and should be
resolved informally within the department.
If an employee has a work-related problem, the university strongly
encourages him/her to schedule a meeting with the person to whom he/she reports,
and make a good faith-effort toward resolution.
If the work-related problem is not resolved through informal open
discussions with the immediate supervisor, either party may then request a
confidential review by the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer
or the next supervisor in line. The Director,
Human Resources/Affirmative Action or the next supervisor in line will attempt
to promote resolution of the complaint.
This concludes the informal problem-solving process.
Formal Grievance Procedures
If resolution has not been obtained
through the informal problem-solving process, a regular employee may
proceed with the formal grievance procedure.
Step 1 Written Grievance
Within twenty (20) working days of the occurrence of the action or inaction
for which the employee feels aggrieved, the employee should file a written,
signed grievance with the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action. The
written grievance should contain the following information: name and address of
grievant; nature and date of action or inaction; name(s) of person(s)
responsible for the action or inaction; requested relief or corrective action,
and any background information that the grievant believes to be relevant. If the
Resources/Affirmative Action is the immediate supervisor named in the grievance,
the appropriate vice president will designate another administrator to assume
all grievance responsibilities normally assigned to the Director..
The Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action will either forward a copy of the grievance to the
employee's immediate supervisor or notify the employee in writing that the
complaint does not warrant action under this policy.
If the grievance is forwarded to the immediate supervisor, the supervisor
will respond in writing to the employee within five (5) working days of receipt
and provide a copy of the response to the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative
If the grievant is notified that the complaint does not warrant action under
this policy, he/she has five (5) working days to appeal the decision by the
Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action. The appeal must be in writing. If
the grievant appeals, the Director,
Human Resources/Affirmative Action will forward the complaint to the Chair of
the Staff Grievance Committee, who shall convene a review panel (3 members of
the Staff Grievance Committee) to consider the appeal. The review panel will
notify the grievant within ten (10) working days of its decision. The decision of the review panel is final.
Staff Grievance Committee
The President shall appoint the Staff Grievance Committee, which shall
consist of twenty (20) staff members (ten (10) from the Non-Exempt Subcommittee
and ten (10) from the Exempt Subcommittee). The Staff Grievance Committee will
elect a Chair, and members of the
Committee will serve two (2) year terms. Members may be reappointed at the
Step 2: Appeal of Immediate Supervisor's Response
If the employee is not satisfied with the supervisor's written decision, the
employee may, within five (5) working days of receipt of the decision, notify
the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action of his/her desire to file an
appeal of the supervisor’s decision with the appropriate department
head. The Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action will then
forward a copy of the written grievance to the department head with a request
for review. (If the employee reports directly to the department head, the copy
shall be forwarded to the appropriate vice president.) The department head (or
vice president) has the option of meeting with the grievant and supervisor,
either separately or together, before responding in writing. Either party may
decline to attend the meeting. If a meeting is agreed upon, the department head
has the option of contacting the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action to
be present at the meeting for procedural advice only.
The department head (or vice president) has five (5) working days from
receipt of the written request for review to provide the employee with a written
decision that affirms, amends, or reverses the supervisor's decision. A copy of
the decision will be sent to the employee's supervisor and to the Director,
Human Resources/Affirmative Action.
Step 3: Request for Hearing
If the grievance is not resolved in Step 2, the employee may, within five (5) working days of receipt of the department head's (vice president's) decision, file a signed, written request for a hearing with the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action.
Upon receipt of the written request for a hearing, the Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action will
immediately begin the process of appointing a Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel
will consist of five (5) panelists selected from the Staff Grievance Committee.
The membership of the panel will be provided to the employee and the supervisor
within five (5) working days and may be challenged by either party in writing to
the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action. Both parties may challenge
the selection of a prospective hearing panel member one time without a statement
of reasonable cause; however, neither party may select or recommend a member of
the Hearing Panel. Any additional challenges by either party must include a
statement of reasonable cause. Rulings on challenges with a reasonable cause
statement will be made by the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action.
The Hearing Panel will elect its Chair.
The hearing will be conducted within twenty (20) working days, or as soon as
practicable, after receipt of the employee's written request. The Director,
Human Resources/Affirmative Action will send a notice confirming the date, time,
and place of the hearing to the employee, supervisor, and members of the Hearing
Panel no later than five (5) working days prior to the hearing, together with
copies of documents relevant to the grievance.
The Hearing Panel may request that an attorney from the Office of General
Counsel sit as an advisor to the panel during the hearing. The attorney would be
available to answer procedural questions and to assist in maintaining the
decorum of the proceeding. The attorney will not be present during deliberation.
The hearing procedures specified below are intended to serve as a broad outline for ensuring a fair and impartial hearing. However, the Hearing Panel Chair may approve departure from these procedures, if, in the opinion of the Chair, all parties have been treated fairly. The Hearing Panel Chair will be responsible for maintaining decorum.
Advisors: Parties will have the right to an advisor of their choice;
however, neither party may proceed through their advisor. Any party who chooses
to bring an advisor to the hearing must provide the name of the advisor to the
Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action at
least five (5) working days prior to the hearing date. Any advisor not listed
will not be allowed to attend. If the grievant’s advisor is
an attorney, then an attorney from the Office of General Counsel must also be
present at the hearing.
Record of Hearing: The hearing, but not the deliberations, will be
electronically recorded so that there is an official record of what occurred.
The Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action will have responsibility for recording the hearing and no
other recording will be allowed. Either party may obtain a copy of the tapes at
the requesting party's expense. The request must be made in writing to the
Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action. The tapes of the hearing will be
kept by the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action for at least three years after the resolution of the appeal.
Documents and witnesses: The issues before the Hearing Panel will be
limited to those raised by the written grievance. Both parties shall provide the
Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action with all documents to be used and relied on at the hearing and
names of potential witnesses no later than five (5) working days prior to the
hearing date. No new information will be accepted after this date, except in
compelling circumstances as determined by the Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action or the
Chair of the Hearing Panel. In such event, the hearing will be delayed until all
interested parties have had a fair opportunity to consider the new information
and prepare a response, if necessary. There will be a simultaneous exchange of
this information between the parties, which will be facilitated by the Director,
Human Resources/Affirmative Action within two (2) working days of the hearing date.
It is the responsibility of the grievant and the supervisor to notify their
respective witnesses as to the date and time of the hearing. It is not the
responsibility of the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action to
contact witnesses and ascertain whether such witnesses consent to provide
information at the hearing.
Retaliation against any employee for participating or not
participating in a grievance
hearing is strictly prohibited. Retaliation by a UHV employee will be
handled as a separate disciplinary action under this policy.
Opening Statements and Closing Statement: At the hearing, all parties
will be afforded a reasonable opportunity for oral opening and closing
arguments. The amount of time allowed for opening and closing statements may be
limited by the Hearing Panel. The complainant will make the first opening
statement. The respondent will then make an opening statement. After all
witnesses are presented, the complainant will make a closing statement, which
will be followed by the respondent's closing statement.
Witnesses: Only listed witnesses will be allowed to address the
Hearing Panel. If information is made available to the Hearing Panel during the
course of the hearing that the Hearing Panel deems necessary for the resolution
of the hearing, the Panel is vested with the authority to request testimony from
additional witnesses or request additional documentation. The Hearing Panel can
only hear testimony from additional witnesses and can only review additional
documents if it allows both parties additional time to prepare a response.
Witnesses will not be present during the questioning of any party or any
other witness. The number of witnesses and the length of testimony may be
limited by the Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel may also decline to hear from a
witness if the testimony is determined to be repetitive, irrelevant, or for
other good reason.
After opening statements, the complainant will present witnesses. After the
complainant has questioned each witness, the respondent will be given an
opportunity to question each witness.
After the complainant has presented all witnesses, the respondent then has an
opportunity to present witnesses. The respondent may question these witnesses,
and then the complainant will have an opportunity to question the respondent's
The Hearing Panel may ask questions of a witness at any time.
After all parties and the Hearing Panel have concluded questioning the
witness, the witness will be reminded that all testimony is confidential and
will be excused from the room.
Since this is an administrative hearing, legal rules of evidence will not
Disruptive Behavior: Disruptive behavior by any participant, as
determined by the Hearing Panel, will not be tolerated and will be grounds for
expulsion from the hearing.
Hearing Panel Outcomes and Recommendation Transmittal: After the
hearing is concluded, the Hearing Panel will convene in closed session to
deliberate its findings and arrive
at majority decision. Within five (5) working days after the date of the hearing
, the Panel will prepare and submit a report containing fact findings and
recommendation(s) to the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action, who will
forward the report to the appropriate Cabinet-level supervisor or vice
president. (If the vice president was involved in Step 2, the findings will be
forwarded to the vice president who is not in the employee's appeal chain. For
example, if the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is the
department head in Step 2, the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action will
forward the fact findings and recommendations to the Vice President for
Administration and Finance and vice versa.)
Step 4: Administrative Actions
Within five (5) working days from the receipt of the Hearing Panel's report,
the appropriate Cabinet-level supervisor/vice president will take action on the
recommendation(s). The Cabinet-level supervisor/vice president may accept or
reject the recommendation(s) of the panel, or may return the case to the panel
with instructions to conduct further deliberations or answer specific questions.
If the case requires further deliberation, the Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action will
establish new time schedules and communicate them to all members of the panel.
The Cabinet-level supervisor/vice president will make a decision and forward it the Director,
Human Resources/Affirmative Action, who will notify the employee and the
supervisor by mailing copies of the decision by certified mail.
supervisor/vice president will make a decision and forward it the Director,
Human Resources/Affirmative Action, who will notify the employee and the
supervisor by mailing copies of the decision by certified mail.
Both the employee and the supervisor have the right to appeal to the
President. Appeals must be received in the President's office not later than ten
(10) working days after the person appealing has been notified of the action
taken by the Cabinet-level supervisor/vice-president. If either party has
requested an interview or is requested to appear for an interview by the
President, then both parties must be informed. The intent of the President's
review is not to hear new evidence. The intent of this review is to insure that
the hearing and recommendations of the Hearing Panel were not arbitrary,
capricious, or discriminatory, did not violate the rights of the parties and did
not violate the concepts of fair play to both parties. The President shall
respond in writing to the appeal within fifteen (15) working days from the date
of receipt. The copy of the response will be forwarded to the Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action for
inclusion in the hearing file. The decision of the President is final.
Karen S. Haynes, Ph.D. Date
Next Review date: August 2005
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