Penn State - Human Resources
POLICY'S INITIAL DATE: March 1, 1974
THIS VERSION EFFECTIVE: July 15, 2011
To define the procedure for regular staff employees to appeal the alleged or perceived violations of their rights under the University's published rules and regulations. Nothing contained herein shall negate the right of the University to augment or change its policies applicable to staff employees.
A grievance not alleging discrimination shall be handled in accordance with the sections that follow. Procedures for a general grievance do not apply to:
A grievance alleging discrimination because of age as defined by law, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, genetic information, national origin, race, religious creed, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status as provided by law, shall be referred to the Affirmative Action Office for investigation and possible disposition in accordance with procedures established by that office. If the grievance is not settled to the employee's satisfaction after completion of the Affirmative Action Office investigation, the employee may appeal it to the Final Step Review outlined below.
Most grievances and on-the-job conflicts can be settled in discussions between the employee and the employee's supervisor. In some situations, the employee may wish to seek the counsel of his or her Human Resources Representative and/or the Employee Relations Division in the central Office of Human Resources. In the event of alleged discrimination, counsel may be sought from the Affirmative Action Office.
Within one (1) calendar week of the time that the employee has knowledge of the act which is the basis for the grievance, an employee who wishes to pursue a grievance shall discuss the matter with his or her supervisor, unless there are substantial extenuating factors that prevent meeting this time limit. The supervisor shall respond orally to the grievance within two (2) workdays of the discussion.
If the employee is not satisfied with the supervisor's response, the employee may put the grievance in writing within three (3) workdays of the date of the response. The employee must make four copies, three copies for the supervisor and one to be retained by the employee. A meeting shall be held within ten (10) workdays of the date of the request. The employee must attend as well as his or her immediate supervisor, the next level supervisor, the Human Resources Representative, and other appropriate University representatives.
At this step, the employee may be accompanied by a University employee of the employee's choosing, unless it is a group grievance. In the event of a group grievance, up to three (3) employees within an aggrieved group can attend and represent the group. A written response shall be provided to the employee(s) within ten (10) workdays of the date of the hearing.
NOTE: A grievance concerning dismissal shall be heard directly at Step Two.
If the employee is not satisfied with the Step One response, or with a matter involving dismissal, the employee may request a Step Two hearing, in writing, within seven (7) workdays of the Step One response or dismissal action. A meeting is then held within ten (10) workdays of the date of the request and is attended by the employee, the dean or administrative officer or a designee, the Manager of Employee Relations or a designee, the Human Resources Representative, and other appropriate University representatives.
At this step, the employee may be accompanied by a University employee of the employee's choosing, unless it is a group grievance. In the event of a group grievance, up to three (3) employees from an aggrieved group can attend and represent the group. A written answer shall be provided to the employee(s) within ten (10) workdays of the date of the hearing.
If the employee is not satisfied with the Step Two response, the employee may request a Final Step Review, in writing, within seven (7) workdays of the Step Two response. This request shall include the employee's position on the relevant issue(s) and the reasons for disagreement with the Step Two response. (As noted in the Discrimination Grievance section herein, if the employee is not satisfied after completion of the Affirmative Action Office process, the employee may request a Final Step Review. Such request will be made in writing within seven (7) workdays of the Affirmative Action Office's conclusion of the matter.)
This review is conducted by the Vice President for Human Resources or a designee. The review may include meetings and discussions with individuals, including the employee, whom the Vice President for Human Resources, or his or her designee, deems necessary in order to gather the information needed to render a decision. Following a review of the employee's Final Step Review request, the Step Two answer, and other relevant materials, a written response will be provided to the employee. The Final Step Review decision is final.
If the employee gets a response at any step of the procedure and does not ask for further review of the grievance within the specified time limit, further review is deemed waived and it will be assumed that the employee is satisfied.
At any step, University representatives and/or the employee may invite people to present factual testimony in the hearing.
An employee will not lose pay for any time that he or she is required to be present in any step of this grievance procedure. An employee will not be paid for any time that he or she is present during the grievance procedure, if this time falls outside the employee's normal working hours.
May 1, 2011 - Substantial revisions