503 Grievances, All Staff
This policy applies to all full-time non-teaching staff members who have completed their probationary period and who are not covered by a collective agreement.
Handling of Grievances
The following guidelines should be observed by all those in the University who may be called upon to respond to any employee grievances as a representative of the University. With the exception of the faculty grievance procedure, it is the responsibility of supervisors dealing with employees on the matter of grievances to discuss all grievance documents (i.e., grievance presentation forms and management replies) at all levels with Employee Relations.
Gathering facts on grievances is essential to the proper consideration and answering of grievances. Before considering any grievance, it is imperative to ensure that all the facts of the case have been ascertained. Never fail to interview the grievor to get their viewpoints.
Investigating a Grievance
A thorough investigation of any grievance will serve to clarify the situation. Careful notes should be made of the issues and findings and should contain such details as:
b) what happened
c) who was involved
d) where did it happen
e) what is the issue
f) what remedy is the grievor seeking
What is the Issue?
The supervisor should make sure they understand the nature of the grievance. Is the issue an alleged violation of:
a) the Human Resource Manual
b) a collective agreement
c) the Employment Standards Act
d) the Human Rights Code?
A grievance might be submitted as a substitute action in an attempt to solve a problem not related, or only indirectly related, to the claim. In this case, it is important to learn the nature of the real problem. Identifying the remedy sought may assist the supervisor in determining the nature of the problem.
When did the Matter Arise?
The question of time is highly significant in the grievance procedure. Is the complaint barred by the time limits of the collective agreement? Our agreements indicate time limits within which grievances must be filed and answered. The purpose is to prevent delays and ensure consideration of an issue while the facts are still clear in the minds of the participants.
Where did the Incident Occur?
Sometimes the location of an event is essential in determining the final outcome of the grievance.
The main purpose of a grievance procedure is to permit speedy, informal, and relatively inexpensive adjustment of differences.
1. The purpose of establishing a grievance procedure for the University's professional, supervisory and exempt staff is to create a systematic method of resolving complaints.
2. It is the policy of the University to provide methods of resolving complaints quickly and fairly.
3. Senior administrative officers of the University are available to an employee who feels aggrieved as a result of disciplinary action or as a result of some act, omission, or practice within their department affecting their terms or conditions of employment.
Following the initial complaint step, there are basically four formal steps in the staff grievance procedure.
This step calls for the complainant to discuss their concerns with the appropriate immediate supervisor, within 15 days after the employee would reasonably be expected to have become aware of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, in a sincere attempt to resolve the problem. The supervisor shall be allowed 10 days to reply. Such discussions should resolve most concerns. The complainant is not prejudiced from pursuing the matter further in writing if not resolved at this step.
At Step One, the complainant must reduce their complaint to a written statement outlining the problem and indicating the corrective action sought. This statement should be presented to the complainant's supervisor within 10 days of the supervisor's reply at the complaint stage. Following any discussions or investigations that may be required, and within 10 calendar days, the supervisor will reply to the grievance statement in writing, giving their analysis of the problem and decision.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the supervisor, they may submit the complaint to the supervisor's immediate superior or department head within 10 days of the immediate supervisor's written reply at step one. Within 10 calendar days a decision will be given in writing to the complainant.
If not settled at Step 2, the grievor may submit their alleged grievance to the Associate Vice-President, Human Resources or designate within ten (10) days of the reply at Step 2. The Associate Vice-President, Human Resources or designate shall meet with the grievor within ten (10) days of the grievance's presentation to them. They shall render a decision in writing to the grievor within ten (10) days of the above meeting.
This is the final stage permitted by this policy. Should the complainant not be satisfied with the reply to their grievance at Step Three, they may, within 10 calendar days, present the grievance to the President of the University who may establish a University Adjudication Committee to examine and investigate the grievance and to report back to him with advice as to the final disposition of the grievance. The Adjudication Committee shall be an ad hoc committee of three consisting of:
i ) The Vice-President Academic or the Vice-President Administration.
ii) A person nominated by the grievor.
iii) A chair shall then be chosen by agreement of the Vice-President and the grievor's nominee. In the event that the Vice-President and the grievor's nominee cannot agree on a chair within 14 days of the submission of the grievor's complaint to the President, the President will appoint one.
The committee shall convene no later than 14 calendar days following the appointment of the chair and shall report in writing, through its chair, its advice to the President within 10 calendar days of having convened. The President shall give the University's final and binding reply to the grievor within 7 calendar days of receiving the Adjudication Committee's advice on the matter.
- Except for discharge cases, no grievance may be lodged at Step One without first having been discussed verbally by the grievor and their immediate supervisor.
- All grievance documents and management replies must be clearly dated.
- Grievances at Step One must be presented within 10 calendar days of the grievor first becoming aware of the matter giving rise to the grievance.
- The time limits specified above in relation to this grievance procedure may be extended by mutual consent of the parties.
- Grievances related to an employee's discharge may be commenced at Step Three within 10 calendar days of the employee being informed of their discharge.
- The employee is allowed University resources in the preparation and presentation of their grievance (i.e. photocopying, etc.) within limits that the University considers reasonable. The employee will make arrangements with the Associate Vice-President, Human Resources prior to availing themselves of University resources.
- The grievance procedure is intended as a formal in-house mechanism for the resolution of grievances and is not intended to supersede any legal rights possessed by the employee. Therefore, the grievance procedure is not available to an employee who is pursuing their complaint or grievance through any Federal or Provincial board, commission or court. For purposes of this grievance procedure the use of solicitors in the proceedings is not appropriate and will not be considered.