Problem Solving and Review Process (Danforth)

Summary

From time to time there will be disagreements between managers and employees in the workplace. Open, considerate and respectful communication is fundamental to finding appropriate solutions for workplace problems. It is important that employees are treated fairly, receive prompt responses, and issues within the workplace be resolved. For this reason, the University provides multiple avenues for resolving issues. In addition to the process contained in this policy, the university has a Discrimination and Harassment policy and committee process, as well as an Abusive Conduct Policy, to resolve situations as appropriate.

The university emphasizes an open door policy. Employees may approach any member of management, up to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration, to discuss matters affecting their work or work environment.  Management should be willing to meet with employees to discuss their issues and concerns.

Whether situations are resolved informally or through a formal process, it is hoped that the university can engender an environment that supports fairness and creativity in addressing concerns about university and departmental practices and policies, or to fix issues.

This formal review process applies to employees on the Danforth campus. The steps of this process are as follows:

Following efforts to informally resolve issues, the employee requests a formal appeal by submitting a written request to the Office of Human Resources. Human Resources will transmit the request to:

  1. The appropriate Dean* or Vice Chancellor* for review and resolution. If the employee does not find this resolution satisfactory, he/she may send an appeal to;
  2. The Vice Chancellor for Human Resources*, who will confer with senior executive management, including the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration to review the matter. A joint decision will then be made by the Provost, the Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration, and the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and will be final.

The formal review process is available to review any formal disciplinary action, including formal written warnings, suspensions and terminations.  This process is not applicable to complaints of discrimination, harassment or abusive conduct, which are addressed by other University policies and procedures.

I.  Informal Problem Solving Process

Employees are encouraged to deal directly with their supervisor in order to resolve issues. If this is not possible, an employee has a number of options to contact for assistance, including Human Resources, the staff Ombuds, or a higher level of management within their office/division for resolution of the issue.

The Office of Human Resources – Employee Relations group is able to informally coach employees on possible approaches to help resolve the issues. Employee Relations may investigate issues and work to seek informal resolution of the issue with the School’s Human Resources representative and other management as appropriate.

II.  Formal Review Process

If an employee does not believe that the results of the informal processes described above are satisfactory, he/she may seek formal review of the disciplinary action in dispute.

To request a formal review of the disciplinary action, an employee must submit a written request for review within 30 days of the disciplinary action to the Office of Human Resources. This request should be addressed to the appropriate Dean or operational Vice Chancellor with direct responsibility for the employee’s department and must include any relevant documentation. Employees must utilize the aforementioned informal procedures prior to submitting a request for formal review.

The Manager of Employee Relations will transmit the employee’s submission to the Dean or Vice Chancellor for review and resolution. An appointment will then be set for the employee to meet with the Dean or Vice Chancellor to discuss the matter. The Dean or Vice Chancellor will then review the issue, render a determination on the matter, and issue a written response to the employee as soon as reasonably possible. If the employee does not believe this resolution is satisfactory, he/she may send an appeal to the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. The Vice Chancellor for Human Resources will review the matter in conjunction with management, including the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration. A joint decision will then be made by the Provost, the Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration, and the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and will be final. This decision will be sent in writing to the employee as soon as reasonably possible.

Any disciplinary action under review remains in effect until the review is completed. Outside parties will not be allowed to participate in this process.

III.  Protection of Rights

The University will not tolerate retaliation against any employee who utilizes or participates in this problem solving and review process. Retaliation means actions that adversely affect a person’s terms or conditions of employment and were taken because of the person’s utilization of or participation in this process. An employee may still be subject to appropriate disciplinary action during the review process.

The utilization of this process does not preclude a staff member from directly seeking review from the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources at any time.

*Any member of administration named in the process may have their designee meet with the employee, review the issue and render a decision on their behalf.

ADOPTED: September 1, 2018

LAST UPDATED: August 14, 2018