Policy Number: 146
I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”) encourages fair, efficient and equitable solutions for problems arising out of the employment relationship. The university strongly recommends that individuals experiencing problems attempt to resolve them informally before exercising the grievance process. Employees should discuss the concerns openly with the individual with whom the problem exists.
Upon separation of an employee from the university, dispute resolution and grievance processes end.
All classified, management administrative and professional, and academic administrative and professional employees who do not hold a faculty appointment are covered by this policy, including those who are within their probationary period, and those with temporary and casual appointments. Faculty members should consult HOOP Policy 127 Faculty Grievances. Postdoctoral fellows should consult HOOP Policy 123 Grievances: Postdoctoral/Research Fellows.
This policy covers complaints concerning wages, hours of work, working conditions, performance evaluations, merit raises, job assignments, reprimands, or the interpretation or application of a rule, regulation, or policy.
This policy does not apply to complaints from employees regarding suspension without pay, demotion or termination of employment due to disciplinary action. Appeals regarding suspension without pay, demotion or termination resulting from disciplinary action will be handled within the process described in HOOP Policy 187 Discipline and Dismissal of Classified Employees. If the grievance concerns a reduction in force, the provisions of HOOP Policy 52 Reductions in Force apply.
Complaints regarding harassment or discrimination shall be addressed under the procedures in HOOP Policy 183 Equal Opportunity, Discrimination and Harassment.
B. RETALIATION AND CONFIDENTIALITY
No employee will be penalized or disciplined for filing a grievance or for aiding another employee in the presentation of a grievance. Employees who believe they have been penalized or disciplined for doing so should follow the procedures in HOOP Policy 108 Protection from Retaliation. Acts or threats of retaliation in response to grievances may subject the person retaliating to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, in accordance with HOOP Policy 108 Protection from Retaliation. Persons filing grievances with reckless disregard for the truth or in willful ignorance of the facts are excluded from protection and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
A. INFORMAL RESOLUTION
The university encourages communication between supervisors and employees in order to resolve workplace concerns promptly. Employee Relations Advisors are available to assist in an informal resolution. If an employee has been unsuccessful in informally resolving concerns directly with his/her supervisor or manager, the employee may proceed directly to the Grievance Procedure.
Parties to a grievance are strongly encouraged to contact an Employee Relations Advisor in Human Resources at any point in the grievance process for guidance regarding the process. An--Employee Relations Advisor must be copied on any correspondence.
Calculation of calendar days does not include holidays or "skeleton crew" days indicated on the published university calendar. A time limit may be extended by the Chief Human Resources Officer for good cause determined in the sole discretion of the Chief Human Resources Officer.
1. Formal Grievance
To initiate a formal grievance, the employee shall present the grievance in writing to his or her supervisor within seven calendar days from the date of the action that is the subject of the grievance. The employee's statement of complaint must include the employee's recommendation(s) for resolution of the grievance. Relevant documents or any other information pertinent to the matter should also be provided. Once the grievance has been committed to writing, it cannot be changed.
If an employee’s immediate supervisor is the subject of the grievance, the employee may file the grievance in writing with the department head. Immediate supervisors and department heads must respond to the employee in writing within seven calendar days of receipt of the grievance.
2. Review of Grievance
If the grievance is not satisfactorily resolved by the administrator or if the employee does not receive a response in accordance with the timelines outlined in this policy, the employee may submit a written response stating why the decision is unacceptable to the following persons in the order listed:
- department head;
- appropriate dean or senior management staff member;
- Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer or designee.
The employee’s grievance to the next level must be filed with the appropriate next higher level of management within seven calendar days of 1) receipt by the employee of the response or 2) the deadline for response if no response was received. The employee’s grievance to the next level must be in writing and describe clearly why the decision is unacceptable to the employee.
The employee’s grievance must be responded to in accordance with the following timelines:
- Department heads must respond to the employee in writing within seven calendar days of receipt of the grievance.
- Deans and senior management staff members must respond to the employee in writing within 14 calendar days of receipt of the grievance.
- The Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer or designee will respond to the employee in writing within a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 calendar days, following receipt of the grievance. The written decision will be sent via certified mail to the employee’s home address.
Failure to respond to the employee within the time limit allows the grievant to automatically submit the grievance to the next higher appeal level. The decision of the Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer or designee is final.
The written grievance and any and all decisions or responses regarding the grievance shall be part of the employee record.