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University Policy Office

Shelly G. Gonzalez, Policy Officer
Administration 208
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660.543.4730
Fax: 660.543.8022
sgonzalez@ucmo.edu





GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

Approval: Revised and approved by the President on February 22, 2007

Authority: Board of Governors Policy 1.2.040

Responsibility: Department of Human Resources

PROCEDURE

I. Application of Procedure

The university recognizes the right of all current staff (faculty and students refer to other procedures) to appeal decisions affecting them and to express their grievances and seek a solution concerning disagreements which arise regarding an alleged violation, or the application or interpretation of the Board of Governors Policy Manual, or violation of other university policies and/or procedures.

If the issue involves allegations of discrimination or harassment in violation of the university’s discrimination/harassment procedure, those procedures must be used.

II. Use of Procedure

If the employee is not satisfied with the results of informal resolution, a formal grievance/appeal may be submitted according to the procedure set forth below. All parties are expected to make a good-faith effort to resolve grievances at each step of the process.

If an employee believes that his or her immediate supervisor (the person the employee directly reports to) has taken a grievable action and the employee elects to utilize this procedure, the employee should attempt to informally resolve the issue with that supervisor. If an informal attempt at resolving an issue is unsuccessful, a formal grievance may be submitted. All formal grievances must follow the order of steps for grievance resolution.

III. Time Limits

Timely submission of and timely response to grievances is crucial to the grievance resolution process. Formal (written) grievances must be submitted to the grievant’s human resourses generalist in the Department of Human Resources within ten (10) business days after the employee first had knowledge of the circumstances on which the grievance/appeal is based or after the informal process. At each step of the grievance process, the individual(s) responsible for reviewing the grievance will meet with the employee to discuss the matter, will conduct any necessary or appropriate investigation and will make a written determination within five (5) business days of receipt of the written grievance. Appeal to the next step of the process must be submitted within five (5) business days of receipt of the prior written response. All time limits may be extended with advance coordination with the human resources generalist. No grievance may be filed by persons whose employment at UCM has ended.

NOTE: Employees recommended for termination should refer to the university’s "Progressive Discipline Procedures", (Employees Recourse) if they wish to request a review of their termination.

IV. Documentation

The grievant is responsible for providing documentation to support the grievance. This documentation should be attached to a "Grievance Form" which provides a tracking mechanism throughout the grievance process. Written determinations will be part of the grievance file.

V. Steps to Resolution

Step 1: Informal Resolution- with appropriate (usually lowest level possible) supervisor.

Step 2: Formal Resolution – the employee must file a completed "Grievance Form" with their human resources generalist. The generalist will forward the grievance to the appropriate level for action.

Step 3: Department Director/Chair – consult with the director of human resources or designee.

Step 4: Vice President- an alternative available to the vice president or employee is a request to substitute a Review Panel in accordance with this section of the procedure.

Step 5: President

VI. Employee Relations Specialist in the Department of Human Resources

The goal of the employee relations specialist will be to coordinate any grievance issues and to advise both supervisors and employees of the steps and process. Either party may consult the employee relations specialist during any part of the grievance process.

VII. Review Panel

A. Panel Membership- The director of human resources (“director”) will identify members of the Review Panel Pool who have received appropriate training. Review Panel members shall be selected as follows: the director shall designate one member from the Review Panel Pool as chairperson for the Review Panel; grievant shall select two (2) members from the Review Panel Pool to serve on the panel; and respondent shall select two (2) members from the Review Panel Pool to serve on the panel for a total of five (5) members.

The director will provide the names of the Review Panel members to the grievant and respondent in writing within two (2) business days after naming the panel. Written challenges to the Review Panel members based on actual conflict will be submitted within two (2) business days of receiving notification. The director will make the final determination based on an evaluation of the conflict presented.

If it is determined that an actual conflict does exist the person who originally selected the panel member in question shall select a subsequent person from the remaining members of the Review Panel Pool. The director will provide the name of the selected Review Panel member to the grievant and respondent in writing within two (2) business days of the selection. Written challenges to the Review Panel member based on actual conflict will be submitted within two (2) business days of receiving notification. If it is determined that an actual conflict does exist, the director will eliminate one member selected by the opposing party and the Review Panel will consist of three (3) members: one panel member selected by the grievant; one panel member selected by the respondent; and a chairperson designated by the director.

B. Hearing Schedule- The director will set a date, time and location for a hearing and will inform the panel members, grievant and the respondent in writing. The hearing date will be set within five (5) business days after the hearing panel membership is finalized. Sufficient time will be provided for the grievant and the respondent to prepare.

C. Witnesses and Evidence- The grievant and respondent will each provide the designated human resources generalist with copies of all documents and a list of witnesses and physical evidence intended to be presented at the hearing no later than three (3) business days prior to the review. Materials submitted late may or may not be considered at the discretion of the Review Panel. The human resources generalist will immediately provide copies of such documents and lists to all parties and to the Review Panel members.

D. Rights of the Parties- Both the grievant and the respondents are entitled to have an advisor present; the grievant and respondent will be allowed to present evidence and witnesses; and the grievant and respondent will be allowed to cross-examine opposing witnesses.

E. Order of Presentation- Both the grievant and the respondent will be allowed to provide a brief opening statement and/or closing statement. The grievant will present his or her witnesses and evidence first. The respondent will present his or her witnesses and evidence last.

F. Review Procedures- The chairperson of the Review Panel will decide all procedural questions. This may include, but is not limited to, the relevance of evidence or testimony presented.

  1. The Review Panel may receive any evidence that, in the discretion of the chairperson, may be helpful to the panel regardless of whether such evidence would be admissible in a court of law.

  2. The members of the Review Panel may ask questions of any person present during the review according to the procedures established by the chairperson.

  3. The review will be closed to the public as permitted by Chapter 610 RSMo (The Sunshine law).

  4. The Department of Human Resources will retain all documents and/or other evidence considered by the Review Panel in reaching its decision.

  5. The Department of Human Resources will retain all documents submitted as evidence even if rejected by the Review Panel.

G. Statement of Review Panel- The Review Panel will decide whether or not university policy and/or procedure have been violated based upon information presented during the review.

  1. The Review Panel will prepare a written statement that should include the decision of the Review Panel and a summary of the evidence and/or information relied upon to reach the decision. The statement will contain all findings of fact and conclusions regarding whether the policy or provision at issue was violated or misapplied.

  2. The written findings of the Review Panel will be provided to the appropriate vice president, with copies sent to the Department of Human Resources within seven (7) business days of the review.

  3. The grievant will receive notification of the findings of the Review Panel within three (3) business days of the vice president receiving the review panel statement.

  4. The respondent will receive notification of the findings of the Review Panel and the decision of the vice president within three (3) business days of the vice president receiving the review panel statement.

H. Appeal by Grievant- If the grievant is not satisfied with the decisions, grievant may appeal the matter to the university president within two (2) business days of receipt of statement. The university president may concur with the decision or convene a new Review Panel. The university president will provide a final decision as soon as reasonably possible to the grievant with copies to the respondent, the Department of Human Resources and the vice president.

I. Appeal by Respondent- If the respondent is not satisfied with the decision, respondent may appeal the matter to the university president within two (2) business days. The university president may concur with the decision or convene a new Review Panel. The university president will provide a final decision as soon as reasonably possible to the respondent with copies to the grievant (except in cases where the respondent has appealed a disciplinary action), the Department of Human Resources and the vice president.

J. Closure- If no appeal is made, the vice president will notify all parties that the review is closed.

K. Selecting and Training Members of the Review Panel Pool.

  1. A pool of individuals to potentially serve on a Review Panel will be developed at the beginning of each fiscal year.

  2. By mid-July, the Department of Human Resources will notify the president of governance groups for which vacancies exist in the Review Panel Pool. The names of potential members should be submitted to the Department of Human Resources by August 1 of each fiscal year. The nominees to the pool will consist of four (4) staff members each from the Professional Staff, Support Staff and Bargaining Unit.

  3. Inclusion in the Review Panel Pool will be for a two (2) year period with half of the pool appointed in the even years and half in the odd years to provide continuity (Note: During the implementation year, half of the appointments would be for two (2) years and half for three (3) years.). An individual may be reappointed for successive two (2) year periods, but may not serve longer than six consecutive years. However, an individual would again become eligible for appointment after a one (1) year mandatory separation from the pool.

  4. Training sessions will be provided on an annual basis for all new Review Panel Pool members. All individuals selected to the panel must attend at least one training session to serve as a member of the Review Panel Pool. Members may not be selected to serve on a Review Panel until training is received