Note: Effective April 2013, and September and December 2012, this policy has been revised. For individual changes, see the redlined version.
(Amended 9/12; 4/13)
In order to maintain and promote a fair and productive work environment for all University staff, the University encourages the active resolution of workplace conflicts. Staff members and supervisors are encouraged to maintain and utilize open communications to promote and maintain a civil and humane workplace. The University also provides a variety of mechanisms to facilitate the management and constructive resolution of conflict situations involving staff when workplace conflicts occur.
The University encourages the resolution of conflict at the earliest opportunity, or the lowest step in whatever dispute resolution process is used. Both formal procedures and informal conflict resolution mechanisms are provided. Staff are encouraged to use informal resolution whenever appropriate. When staff use multiple forums to raise non-grievable issues (as defined by the applicable grievance procedures), the University may, upon consultation with the staff member, designate one to be the primary forum appropriate for final resolution of the situation.
Together, the resources listed are intended to provide fair, thoughtful, and effective means to manage and/or resolve conflict situations, and thereby promote the work of the University. Working independently or collaboratively, these mechanisms constitute the system of conflict management for University staff (note references to University policies):
b. Administrative Review -- provides a mechanism for the review of employment-related actions or inactions at both departmental and collegiate/division levels, with participation and input from University Human Resource offices. Administrative review may be used for issues not subject to a formal grievance process, including but not limited to disputes over the application of University policy, ethics complaints, salary administration, and/or probationary dismissals. Administrative review may also be used as a less formal alternative for issues covered by one of the grievance processes. (See III-28.3 Exempt Merit System Member Grievance Procedure and III-28.4 Grievance Procedures for Professional and Scientific Personnel.)
c. University Ombudsperson -- provides an informal, confidential, neutral, and independent dispute resolution resource. The mission of the Ombudsperson is to ensure that all members of the University community receive fair and equitable treatment within the University system. (See VI-2 Office of the University Ombudsperson.)
d. Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (EOD) -- provides both formal and informal processes to address complaints of discrimination, including, but not limited to, racial discrimination, sexual harassment, discrimination based upon disabilities, consensual relationships, and/or other violations of the University Policy on Human Rights (II-3). EOD also receives complaints under the University Policy on Violence (II-10). (See also Part II. Community Policies, Chapters 3-10.)
e. Faculty and Staff Services/Employee Assistance Program (FSS/EAP) -- provides confidential counseling, consultation, and resource and referral information to members of the UI community by licensed mental health providers knowledgeable about UI resources, policies, and practices. (See VI-23.2 Office of Faculty and Staff Services/Employee Assistance Program.)
f. Human Rights Committee -- provides a formal process to investigate complaints alleging violation of the University Policy on Human Rights (II-3).
g. Classification Appeal -- provides a formal appeal process for the denial of an individual reclassification request. (Professional and Scientific staff, see III-3.4; Merit staff, see Iowa Administrative Code, Regents 681, Merit Rule 3.127 (19A).)
h. Grievance Procedures -- provide formal grievance processes for the review and resolution of certain employment issues. Following a series of steps, third-party arbitration may be used to resolve the issue. Issues subject to grievance may include violations of University policy, collective bargaining agreements or Merit rules, and disciplinary action. (Please refer to the relevant grievance procedures: Merit staff: III-28.1; Professional and Scientific staff: III-28.4; Contract-covered staff should refer to their respective collective bargaining agreements: AFSCME for Blue Collar, Security, Technical and Clerical Merit staff, SEIU for professional health care staff, and UE/COGS for Graduate Assistants.)
If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to utilize these resources, please contact Faculty and Staff Disability Services, 121 University Services Building, in advance.
28.2 ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW.
(2) If the conflict is not resolved at the unit level, the staff member may proceed to the college/division level. The individual will need to fill out an Administrative Review (AR) form within 10 days following the response to paragraph (1) above to proceed to the next level. The staff member will complete the top portion of the Administrative Review form and share with the collegiate/division administrator or Human Resource representative.
(3) Review and discussions at the college/division level will involve the Dean/VP/Director or designee and may include input from University Human Resources to resolve the concern/conflict. If a face-to-face conference is determined by the collegiate area to be helpful in the resolution of the issue due to the nature of the review, this will be scheduled. The participants will agree upon a time frame for a response not to exceed 30 calendar days.
(4) Upon completion of the review the collegiate/division administrator or Human Resource representative will complete the Administrative Review form and send a copy with the decision/rationale and/or resolution to University Human Resources, to Employee and Labor Relations, and to the employee. The collegiate level review/response is considered a final position and end to the administrative review process.
(5) In the event that the employee is a covered staff member within the meaning of the Grievance Procedures for Professional and Scientific Personnel (see III-28.4 below) and the issue is within the scope of those procedures, the individual can request to proceed to Step 3 of the grievance process within 7 calendar days of the response at the collegiate/division level. However, absent extenuating circumstances, the individual must have initiated the administrative review within 15 calendar days of the discovery of the event giving rise to the conflict, but not later than 1 year from the occurrence of the event that gave rise to the conflict.
(6) The UI staff member utilizing the Administrative Review process will be provided a reasonable amount of release time from work duties without a loss of pay to attend meetings under the Administrative Review procedure. Release time must be scheduled with the approval of the appropriate supervisor and shall not interfere with the employee's work responsibilities.
(7) A UI staff person can bring another employee as a witness observer or support person to meetings as scheduled under this procedure. If a staff member, and if such meetings occur during his or her normal duty hours, the witness observer or support person will be provided a reasonable amount of release time from work duties without loss of pay. Release time for this purpose must be scheduled with the approval of the appropriate supervisor and shall not interfere with the employee's work responsibilities. Legal counsel is not appropriate for this process.
(8) The confidentiality of individual specific employment information will be maintained at all times.
28.3 EXEMPT MERIT SYSTEM MEMBER GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES.
Note: The University follows the Grievance Procedures established by the Board of Regents as set forth in IAC 681-12.9 (19A), 681-12.10 (19A); 681-12.11 (19A); 3.127 (19A); 3.128 (19A). The following is a reproduction of those sections.
For supervisory exempt and confidential merit positions. For positions covered by a collective bargaining agreement consult the current contract.
Disputes or complaints by permanent employees regarding the interpretation or application of institutional rules governing terms of employment or working conditions (other than general wage levels) or the provisions of the merit system rules, or other than disputes whose resolution is provided for in the Iowa Administrative Code 3.127(19A) and 3.128(19A), will be resolved in accordance with this procedure, which has been approved by the merit system director in accordance with 3.129(1). Employees in an initial probationary period will be allowed access to the grievance procedure with the right to appeal orally at Step 1 and in writing at Steps 2 and 3. The University may permit an oral presentation at Steps 2 and 3 if deemed necessary.
b. Grievance procedure.
(2) An aggrieved employee has the right to be accompanied by no more than two representatives throughout the grievance procedure. The names of such representatives will be noted on written grievances and each subsequent request for review.
(3) An aggrieved employee is allowed reasonable time off from regular University duties without loss of pay to investigate and process a grievance. The immediate supervisor of the employee makes suitable arrangements.
(4) The aggrieved employee may also request released time from work without loss of pay for such representative or representatives to investigate a grievance at any time following the oral presentation in Step 1 of the grievance procedure, except that the aggrieved employee and representative are allowed up to one hour off from regular University duties without loss of pay to confer before any grievance hearing held under these procedures.
Any request for time off for a grievant's representative is made in writing to the representative's supervisor, with an informational copy to the director of personnel, and should contain an indication of the reason released time is necessary. The representative's supervisor shall provide a reasonable bona fide amount of released time for the investigation, such time being scheduled as soon as reasonably possible and preferably within the same work day, consistent with the normal functioning of the employee's department.
Furthermore, it is a violation of institutional policy to restrain, interfere, coerce, or discriminate against an employee acting as a grievant's representative in accordance with this procedure. On the other hand, an employee acting as a grievant's representative shall not use time provided for grievance investigation for other matters and will conduct the investigation with dispatch.
The grievance procedure consists of the following four steps:
Step 1. An aggrieved employee states in writing that a grievance is being presented and then presents the grievance orally, stating the pertinent circumstances of the complaint or dispute and the actions requested, to the employee's immediate supervisor. The supervisor responds in writing to the grievance within seven calendar days. In such writing, the supervisor states the supervisor's understanding of the grievance, the response to the grievance, and justification for the response. If a satisfactory settlement is not reached, the employee has seven calendar days to request Step 2.
Step 2. If the employee requests Step 2, a written grievance is forwarded by the aggrieved employee to the administrative head of the unit or department within seven calendar days. The administrative head of the unit or department or designee has ten calendar days to reply in writing. If a satisfactory settlement is not reached, the employee has seven calendar days to request Step 3.
Step 3. If the employee decides to request Step 3, the written grievance is forwarded by the aggrieved employee to the head of major functional or administrative unit of the university with a copy sent to the director of personnel. A meeting shall be held within ten calendar days after the grievance has been submitted to the head of a major functional or administrative unit. The University may be represented by the director of personnel, or designee, the head of a major functional or administrative unit or designee, and the administrative personnel involved in Steps 1 and 2. The aggrieved employee has the right to be accompanied by representatives. The head of the administrative unit should respond in writing within seven calendar days to proceed to Step 4.
Step 4. If the employee is not satisfied with the decision rendered under Step 3, a hearing before an arbitrator may be requested within seven calendar days after receiving the Step 3 decision. Such a request will be in writing and include all of the information included in the initial grievance and subsequent appeals, all of the decision related thereto, and any other pertinent information the employee wishes to submit.
The appeal will be signed and dated by the employee and will be directed to the Merit System Director, Board of Regents, State of Iowa, 11260 Aurora Avenue, Urbandale, Iowa, 50322-7905, who will arrange for a hearing before an arbitrator. The arbitrator will be expected to render a decision within 30 calendar days following the conclusion of the hearing.
A written grievance will contain a brief description of the complaint or dispute and the pertinent circumstances and dates of occurrence. It will specify the university or merit system rule which has allegedly been violated and will state the corrective action desired by the employee.
Presentations, reviews, investigations and hearings held under this procedure may be conducted during working hours, and employees who participate in such meetings will not suffer loss of pay as a result thereof.
If an employee does not appeal a decision rendered at any step of this procedure within the time prescribed by these rules, the decision becomes final. If a University representative does not reply to an employee's grievance or appeal within the prescribed time, the employee may proceed to the next step. With the consent of both parties, any of the time limits prescribed in these rules may be extended.
The arbitrator will hear a dispute appealed to the last step of the grievance procedure and render a decision thereon subject only to review by the courts.
The arbitrator establishes procedures for the conduct of the hearing in a fair and informal manner that affords each party reasonable and ample opportunity for case presentation and to rebut the presentation of the other. The arbitrator will be expected to render a decision to the involved parties and to the Board of Regents within the prescribed time.
28.4 GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES FOR PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL.
(Regents amended 6/19/91; amended 7/1/99; amended 3/1/02)
b. Definitions. As used in this policy:
(2) "Hearing officer" means the person selected as provided in paragraph i of this policy.
(3) "Reviewing officer" means the Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations, except that in cases in which the grievant holds a position in the Division of Finance and Operations, the reviewing officer will be the Executive Vice President and Provost.
(4) "Covered staff member" means a non-organized employee with career status holding an appointment in a professional and scientific classification. A listing of Professional and Scientific classifications is available on the web at: http://www.uiowa.edu/hr/classcomp/prof/ps_classifications.html.
(5) "Grievance" is defined as an allegation or complaint involving a perceived harm or injury and consistent with the scope of the policy outlined below.
(2) involves the wrongful interpretation or application of established University, collegiate, and departmental policies governing terms and condition of employment;
(3) results in disciplinary action, including discipline, demotion, or dismissal; or
(4) for a staff member in term status, results in termination before the end of the staff member's term of appointment, when the action is based on unsatisfactory performance or on University-related misconduct.
(5) Other matters involving covered staff members beyond those specified in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), or (4) above for term staff, or matters involving staff members not covered by this procedure (probationary, temporary, and other term-status issues) are not subject to this procedure, but can be addressed through Administrative Review provided in III-28.2. University policies on human rights and on sexual harassment and consensual relationships also provide alternate complaint procedures available to all staff.
(6) Disputes regarding whether an issue qualifies under the scope of this policy as defined above will be subject to administrative review beginning with the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, and concluding with the Reviewing Officer as defined in this procedure, as final and binding.
(2) A covered staff member who utilizes this procedure will be released without loss of pay for a reasonable amount of time, if needed during working hours, to attend the meetings provided under sections (f) and (g) of this procedure. In addition, the staff member may be released without loss of pay, not to exceed a total of eight hours, in preparing for the hearing provided under section (g) of this procedure. Release time for this purpose must be scheduled with the approval of the appropriate supervisor and shall not interfere with the individual employee's work responsibilities. Denial of reasonable time to prepare for a grievance is grievable under paragraph c(2) of this policy.
(3) The staff member may be accompanied at any step of this procedure by a witness observer or support person. If a staff member, this person will be released from duty without loss of pay to attend the meeting during scheduled work hours. Such release time shall be scheduled with their supervisor so as not to interfere with their normal work responsibilities.
(4) The staff member may be accompanied by legal counsel of his or her choosing in lieu of a witness observer or support person in all proceedings provided for in this procedure after Step One.
(5) A letter of discipline issued more than one (1) year before the occurrence giving rise to the grievance is not available for use as evidence against the staff member in the grievance procedure unless that staff member has been subject to further disciplinary action subsequent to receipt of the letter or unless the discipline reflects a repeated pattern of behavior.
(6) As provided by state law, a staff member may have access to his or her personnel file.
(2) A staff member must initiate a request for administrative review (see III-28.2) or file a grievance under this policy within 15 days of the staff member's discovery of the action or non-action giving rise to the grievance. After that time, any request must reflect extenuating circumstances, but in any event, the grievance must be filed no later than 12 months from the date of the action or non-action of which the staff member complains. Questions of timeliness will be addressed as those relative to the scope of the policy, as outlined in paragraph c(6) of this procedure.
(3) At any time during the grievance process, the parties may agree in writing to mediate the dispute, through the University Mediation Service or other mutually agreeable resource. Such agreement shall suspend the deadlines for processing outlined in paragraph f of this procedure for a period of 30 days, or other mutually agreed-upon period of time, in order to pursue a mediated settlement of the dispute. In the event the mediation is unsuccessful, the formal procedures will resume at the point at which they were suspended for mediation.
(4) If the grievant fails to act within the time period specified in this policy, the grievance shall be deemed to have been satisfied by the administrative response and the grievance may not be raised again.
(5) If the University fails to act within the time periods specified in this policy, the grievance shall be deemed denied and the grievant may pursue the grievance at the next step of these procedures. The time limit governing the grievant's next step shall run from the latest time the omitted action should have been taken.
(6) Time limits may be waived in writing by mutual consent of the parties.
(2) Step Two. If the response at Step One fails to resolve the matter, the grievant, within seven days of the Step One response, may begin Step Two by filing a written grievance (electronic or hard copy) with the executive officer (e.g., head, chair, or director) of the department in which the grievant is employed. Step Two is waived if the person to whom the grievant is immediately responsible is also the executive officer of the department in which the grievant is employed. The written grievance will state with reasonable particularity:
(3) Step Three. If the issue is not resolved at step 2 the grievant, within seven days of the receipt of that response, will file a request for review (electronic or hard copy) with the head of the major administrative unit in which the grievant is employed, e.g., with the dean, vice president, or director (or designee), as appropriate. The request for review will be accompanied by a copy of all materials required to be submitted in Step Two plus the written response from Step Two, if any. The head of the major administrative unit, or designee, will confer with the grievant within seven days of the filing of the request for review. At this time, both the grievant and the University will present all arguments and facts reasonably known at the time relevant to the grievance. Following the conference, the person reviewing the grievance shall have 10 days in which to respond in writing to the grievant.
h. Arbitrator. The administrator and the grievant will select the arbitrator. They may choose an arbitrator from within the University or from outside. If they do not agree on an arbitrator within 10 days of the request for a hearing, the administrator will seek a list of at least five persons who are skilled in the resolution of disputes dealing with professional staff in institutions of higher education from an appropriate dispute resolution service (e.g., American Arbitration Association, or Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service). The parties will then select the arbitrator by alternately striking a single name until one name remains. The parties will decide who strikes first by flipping a coin. The grievant's department will pay the arbitrator's fee.
i. Hearing. The arbitrator will conduct the arbitration hearing to assure that the grievant is accorded a full and fair hearing and all due process to which the grievant is entitled, according to the standards usually followed in arbitrations sanctioned by the American Arbitration Association.
(2) Issue at hearing. The issue(s) at the hearing will be restricted to the issue(s) presented by the parties at Step Three. No later than one week prior to the hearing, the representatives for the grievant and the University shall meet to review to exchange all evidence relevant to the grievance that is available at that time through the exercise of reasonable diligence, and a list of potential witnesses. If not presented at the pre-hearing exchange, no additional argument or evidence shall be presented at hearing, unless the presenting party can prove that such information was not reasonably known prior to the hearing through the exercise of reasonable diligence.
(3) Record to be kept. Any party wishing a stenographic record shall make arrangements directly with a stenographer and shall notify the other parties of such arrangements in advance of the hearing. The requesting party or parties shall pay the cost of such record. If such stenographic record is agreed by the parties to be, or in appropriate cases determined by the arbitrator to be, the official record of the proceeding, it must be made available to the arbitrator and to the other party for inspection, at a time and place determined by the arbitrator. If no stenographic record is kept, a tape recording shall be made of the hearing, if requested by either of the parties, except that on order of the hearing officer, procedural matters may be discussed off the record. After the hearing has been completed, the tapes and all documents shall be turned over by the hearing officer to the administrator, who shall keep them. The tapes and documents will be available only to both parties and the reviewing officer. After all appeals related to the grievance have been completed, the administrator shall retain the record and documents in the University Human Resources Office for an appropriate period of time, generally not less than five (5) years. The material will continue its status as personnel information in a confidential record and will be available only to the parties.
(4) Burden of proof.
(b) In all other claims, the grievant shall have the burden of proving that the action or non-action complained of is improper under one or more of the grounds established in paragraphs c(1) or (2) of this policy. The grievant will present evidence first.
(2) Decision. After reviewing the report, recommendations, briefs (if any), and the record if deemed necessary, the reviewing officer will determine what administrative action, if any, shall be taken. In making a decision, the reviewing officer will give great weight to the recommendations made by the hearing officer and will not reverse the hearing officer's decision unless 1) the decision was unsupported by substantial evidence in the record made before the administrative hearing officer when that record is viewed as a whole; 2) the decision as a whole was unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, or characterized by an abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion; or 3) the procedures were not properly followed. The reviewing officer's written decision will constitute final institutional action, subject only to a decision by the Board of Regents to grant the staff member's request for review. (See III-31.)
(3) Within 30 days following the reviewing officer's decision, the grievant may contact the reviewing officer if the decision has not been fully implemented or if retaliation has taken place. Subsequent retaliation may be treated as a separate grievance.