Grievance Procedures

G7.02-10 Grievance Procedures

This grievance procedure is designed to address both disciplinary actions and complaints and disputes between the employee and the university over working relationships, working conditions, employment practices or differences in interpretation of policies. This grievance procedure applies only to non-probationary, full-time employees. The grievance steps available to an employee is dependent on the nature of the grievance. Not all grievance steps listed below are available in all circumstances. Each step specifies when it is available to an employee. Union employees are covered by the grievance procedure established in the Memorandum of Agreement between the university and The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), AFL-CIO, Local No. 453 and The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union 245.

This grievance procedure does not apply to employees who have been subjected to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employee, pursuant to Op1.02-11 Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure Policy, as such policy includes its own specific grievance procedure.

When an issue or dispute regarding general employment matters arises between an employee and his/her supervisor or co-worker, the employee is encouraged to first discuss the concern with his/her immediate supervisor or the Office of Human Resources. Many general concerns may be resolved through this dialogue and communication.

Employees who believe they have a legitimate grievance may undertake the following procedure in order to resolve the matter. In certain circumstances, employees may be suspended either with or without pay, as determined appropriate by the university, pending the outcome of the grievance procedure. In cases of employment termination, the grievance procedure may be utilized after the termination effective date.

As outlined in the Missouri State University Nondiscrimination Policy (see Chapter 2), the University maintains a grievance procedure incorporating due process available to any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of a protected class. Missouri State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Minority/Female/Veterans/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity employer. Inquiries concerning the complaint/grievance procedure related to sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual assault, should be addressed to the Title IX Coordinator, Carrington Hall 205, 901 S. National Ave., Springfield, Missouri 65897, TitleIX@MissouriState.edu, 417-836-8506, or to the Office for Civil Rights. All other inquiries concerning the grievance procedure, Affirmative Action Plan, or compliance with federal and state laws and guidelines should be addressed to the Equal Opportunity Officer, Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance, Carrington Hall 205, 901 S. National Ave., Springfield, Missouri 65897, Equity@MissouriState.edu, 417-836-4252, or to the Office for Civil Rights. (Res. Board Policies No. 70-11; Bd. Min. 10-28-11.)

10.1 Step 1 - Immediate supervisor

Step 1 is available to employees that are subject to any disciplinary action and employees that have general concerns regarding their working relationships/environment. Discussion of the problem with the immediate supervisor is encouraged as a first step with the objective of resolving the matter informally. The majority of disputes, complaints, or misunderstandings can be resolved at this level. Employees should bring their grievances to the attention of their supervisor in a timely manner in order to resolve it as quickly as possible. Generally, in order for a grievance to be timely, it must be presented within 10 work days of occurrence. The supervisor will have 10 work days to inform the employee in writing of the decision regarding the grievance. There may be situations that employees feel cannot be discussed with their immediate supervisor. In these instances, employees are encouraged to request a meeting with the office of human resources to discuss their concerns.

10.2 Step 2 - Appeal to the department head level

Step 2 is only available to employees that are appealing a disciplinary decision that resulted in suspension without pay, disciplinary suspension, or dismissal (as listed in Sections 9.5.3-9.5.5 of the Progressive Disciplinary Action). If the problem is not resolved as provided in Step 1, then the employee may formalize the grievance by submitting it in writing to the department head level. The written grievance will identify the policy or regulation which is alleged to have been violated, will contain the remedy sought, and will be signed and dated by the employee. A written grievance should be filed by the employee within 10 work days after the supervisor has rendered a decision to the employee. In an effort to resolve the problem, the department head level will consider the facts, conduct an investigation, may give the employee the opportunity to present the case orally, and also may review the matter with a member of the office of human resources. The department head level may affirm, reverse or modify the supervisor's decision, and will notify the employee of the decision in writing within 10 work days after receiving the appeal.

10.3 Step 3 - Appeal to the vice presidential level

Step 3 is only available to employees that are appealing a disciplinary decision that resulted in suspension without pay, disciplinary suspension, or dismissal (as listed in Sections 9.5.3-9.5.5 of the Progressive Disciplinary Action). If an employee is not satisfied with the decision of the department head level, he/she may appeal to the appropriate vice presidential level or designee within five (5) work days after receiving that decision. The appeal will be in writing and will include all of the information included in the initial grievance and subsequent appeals, all the decisions related thereto, and any other pertinent information the employee may wish to submit. The appeal will be signed and dated. The vice presidential level will investigate the grievance and will allow the employee to present the case orally. The vice presidential level has the option of appointing a three-member panel from the university community to also hear the case and review the actions to ensure that university procedures have been followed and due process has been afforded to the employee. The vice presidential level may affirm, reverse, or modify the previous decision in writing within 10 work days after receiving the appeal. On the West Plains campus, this appeal step is made to the chancellor.

10.4 Step 4 - Appeal to the president

Step 4 is only available to employees that are appealing a disciplinary decision that resulted in suspension without pay, disciplinary suspension, or dismissal (as listed in Sections 9.5.3-9.5.5 of the Progressive Disciplinary Action). If an employee is not satisfied with the decision rendered at Step 3 of the grievance procedure, he/she may appeal to the president within five (5) work days after receiving that decision. The appeal will be in writing, and will include all of the information included in the initial grievance and subsequent appeals, all decisions related thereto, and any other pertinent information the employee may wish to submit. The appeal will be signed and dated.

The president will initiate an investigation into the matter and may give the employee the right to present his/her case orally. The president may affirm, reverse, or modify the previous decision and, within a reasonable time frame, will notify the employee of the decision in writing. The appeal, together with the president's findings, may be reported to the Board of Governors. Further appeal to the Board of Governors is not available unless the Board, as a matter within its discretion, takes action to hear the appeal.

10.5 Step 5 - Appeal to the Board of Governors

No disciplinary action may be appealed to the Board of Governors except for dismissal (i.e., termination of employment). In such cases an appeal to the Board of Governors must be made in writing by the employee, and must be filed with the university president within ten (10) workdays following the issuance of the findings by the university president; otherwise the findings and resulting dismissal become final. Upon receipt of the written appeal, the university president will notify the chair of the Board of Governors. In its sole discretion, the Board may either hear the appeal, or refuse to hear the appeal (thereby affirming the findings of the university president and the employee's dismissal). In the event that the Board decides to hear the appeal, the chair of the Board will schedule the grievance appeal for hearing at the next regular Board meeting, or as otherwise determined appropriate by the chair of the Board. The appeal may be formal or informal, and the time and place of such appeal will be communicated within a reasonable time to all parties involved. The Board, or its designated committee, shall have access to all facts and information it may feel are relevant and material to the issue. Parties involved in the appeal may be represented by counsel. The presiding officer selected by the Board of Governors will rule on all questions of evidence and procedure. Upon conclusion of such appeal, the Board or its designated committee will render a finding in writing which will be final.

10.6 General grievance provisions

The decisions received during the grievance procedure will be considered final unless the employee asks for further review as previously described. If the employee does not ask for further review of the grievance, within the specified time limit, the grievance will not be considered further. The time limits established for each step in the process allow expeditious resolution of grievances. These time limits are firm unless the parties involved in the grievance mutually agree in writing to extend the time limit. Such extensions of the time limits may be justified by the complexity of the case or by the availability of individuals involved. The university will not tolerate any form of retaliation against employees availing themselves of this procedure. The procedure should not be construed, however, as preventing, limiting, or delaying the university from taking disciplinary action against any individual, up to and including termination, in circumstances (such as those involving problems of overall performance, conduct, attitude, or demeanor) where the university deems disciplinary action appropriate.