Problem Solving and Review Process (WUSM)

Overview

It is inevitable that 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 and receive prompt responses so that issues within the workplace can be resolved.

For this reason, the University supports an open door policy through which employees may approach any member of management to discuss matters affecting their work.  When situations cannot be resolved informally, employees may request formal review of certain disciplinary actions as described below.

This policy and procedure is not applicable to complaints of discrimination, harassment or abusive conduct, which are addressed by other University policies and procedures.

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 with resolution, including higher level of management within their office/division, Human Resources, and the staff Ombuds.

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.

Formal Review Process

If an employee does not believe that the results of the informal processes described above are satisfactory, he/she may then seek formal review of disciplinary action that consists of a formal written warning, suspension, demotion or termination, excluding those that occur during the employee’s orientation/probationary period upon hire or rehire.  If an employee’s department has an internal procedure to review disciplinary actions, the departmental process must be utilized prior to requesting the formal review process under this policy.

To request a formal review of a disciplinary action, the employee must submit a written request for review to the Director of Employee Relations in the Office of Human Resources within 30 days of the disciplinary action or completion of an available departmental review procedure.  This request must include their stated basis for the appeal, along with any relevant documentation.

The Director of Employee Relations or her/his designee will review the employee’s submission.  As part of the review, the Director may meet with the employee, the supervisor or manager, or others and may request additional documentation.  The Director may also consult as appropriate with relevant administrators (e.g., department chair, dean, vice chancellor) before communicating the University’s decision, which shall be final.

Disciplinary actions under review remain in effect until the review is completed.  Outside parties will not be allowed to participate in this process.

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.

Revised January 26, 2017; Updated November 24, 2020