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What is a grievance as opposed to a complaint?
Grievances can also be disputes arising out of management decision or action that has "practical consequences" on the employee. For example, management has the right to assign work, but an employee many grieve a reassignment if claiming that his reassignment was made to punish/discipline him.
What is NOT a grievance?
As stated in question No. 1, above, a grievance is NOT a dispute over a management action (assignment or reassignment), but it could be a grievance if the dispute is over the consequencesof the management action. (See later questions on grievances claiming that management is "arbitrary and capricious.")
HERE IS A QUESTION FOR YOU: Is a disciplinary suspension of 3 working days grievable? How about a suspension of 10 days?
If you respond to a grievance that is not a grievance, it may become a grievance. (Huh?)
It is important to recognize when a complaint is not a grievance so that responses to the "grievance" all say the same thing- it is not a grievable issue.
What are the key things I need to consider when dealing with a grievance?
Clarification of these items can best be obtained during the meeting you have to have with the grievant before responding. While not required in the MOU, GSD supervisors must respond in writing to all grievances no matter the level-even if at the informal level.
I understand issues phrased as "Did management violate Article III, paragraph D," but how do you phrase issues
claiming a "practical consequences" of a management decision or action?
If the employee is not challenging the decision, but is hurt by the results, he is challenging the METHOD used by management to arrive at its decision. The issue in these (management decision) cases is, "Was management arbitrary and capricious?" Alternatively, "Did management abuse its discretion?" On the other hand, "Was management unreasonable?"
What we need to evaluate in these grievances is the practice or procedure used by management to make its decision (UNreasonable or arbitrary and capricious). Did management follow its own rules and procedures? Is there any evidence of bias or prejudice in making the decision? Does the management decision serve some legitimate business purpose (as opposed to harassment of the employee)?
Notice, nowhere in the issue should there be the question of how good the decision was, or if it was the best decision, or if it was even a correct decision.
Okay, pretty weird. If you have a question on how to phrase an issue in a grievance that does not allege a violation of written rules or the MOU, call your Liaison Personnel Analyst in Personnel Services.
Where can I get help, or forms needed to process grievances?
The "rule" is to comply with the MOU - which requires a meeting. If you really want to make an "exception" to this rule, seek agreement with the union to forego the meeting.
If there is no purpose or not enough time, must I have a "grievance
meeting" with the grievant before responding to her grievance? (Especially
if I already know what she is going to say, and it wonít be pleasant!)
Why do I have to respond IN WRITING to an informal (unwritten) grievance?
First, it gives the supervisor first opportunity, after having met with the grievant and clarified the issues, to state the issue and remedy sought in the grievance. If the supervisor did not respond in writing the grievant would have to state the issues in writing at the next step on the Grievance Initiation form. And, issues tend to change from the informal grievance meeting, and tend to be very unclear. A written response to an informal grievance helps narrow the issue that needs to be addressed at that level and higher levels in the grievance procedure.
Second, a written response at the informal level clearly establishes time frames and the supervisor"s response. Without the written response, the grievant gets to write out the supervisor's response on the Grievance Response form-and what's written is often not what was said!.
What do I do with a grievance (one) listing multiple grievants (class action grievance)?
However, if it is to your benefit to handle more than one grievance in one grievance (one meeting one response, all issues and circumstances identical), you can ask the Department Personnel Officer to make an exception to the "rule". To do this, contact your Liaison Personnel Analyst.
A grievant has to file a separate grievance for each issue and remedy. Again, there may be different facts, time limits or different remedies for each issue. If you want to make an exception to this rule, contact your Liaison Personnel Analyst who will discuss it with the Personnel Officer.
What if I cannot respond to a grievance in the time limits allowed by the MOU?
The union representative says I cannot change a "past practice." Is this true?
That does not mean we should not try where the change has to be made for bussiness reasons. Ways to change a past practice include:
a. negotiating changes with the union,
If you want to know if you are dealing with a possible past practice, call your Liaison Personnel Analyst for some help.
What if I agree with the grievant? Management made a bad decision. How do I respond to the grievant?
You do not want to be granting grievances that contradict your bosses decisions unless they agree that the grievances should be granted. You are part of the management team, and sometimes you will have to deny grievances that you think should be granted or because you had nothing to do with the decision or action which led to the grievance.
If you have to deny a grievance that you had nothing to do with or disagree with, you have to respond the way your management wants you to respond. The worst thing you can say in a grievance response is, "It is out of my hands" or "Take it up with the Personnel Officer."
What do I do if, during a grievance meeting, the employee or the representative begins to taunt me,
yell at me, accuse me of wrong doing, use abusive language, or attempts to intimidate or threaten me?
You do not have to take any abuse in dealing with a grievance, and you do not need to allow any attempt to rush you for a decision.
Do I have to defend a management decision during a grievance meeting? Do I have to respond to the
grievance before the grievance meeting can end?
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