Employee Relations Policies
The University is committed to a fair and orderly resolution of work-related problems and has established policies and practices that support that commitment.
Supervisors are expected to use coaching, counseling and, if necessary, the Constructive Discipline Process to address performance problems and to consult with the appropriate Human Resources professionals for guidance.
Employees have available both informal means of resolving their concerns and formal grievance procedures. It is the University’s policy that no employee may be discriminated against or adversely treated for initiating or participating in a grievance proceeding.
An Overview of the Constructive Discipline Process
When work performance problems cannot be resolved through informal coaching or counseling, the supervisor should use the formal Constructive Discipline Process.
Constructive Discipline is a formal process in which the supervisor takes progressively serious steps with the intent of changing an employee’s behavior and bringing about the desired job performance. The basic steps are:
- Oral warning with a note to the supervisor's file for the employee
- Written warning
- Suspension without pay
- Termination of employment
The steps are usually taken in sequence until the problem is resolved or employment is terminated, though depending on the situation, steps may be repeated or skipped. For probationary employees, see Probationary Period. Constructive Discipline does not apply to serious misconduct warranting immediate termination or suspension. Examples of serious misconduct include theft or dishonesty, violence, or refusal to follow a legitimate work directive. Supervisors should review such serious cases with the Human Resources Officer or with the Office of Employee Relations before taking action.
Employee Complaints and Grievances
Often, the best way to resolve a problem is through direct conversation between the employee and supervisor. This can prevent small issues from growing into large misunderstandings or problems. The Office of Employee Relations can provide guidance to employees, supervisors, and Human Resources Officers on problem-solving approaches. The confidentiality of individual employees’ concerns is maintained unless the involvement of others is necessary to resolve the problem (the Office of Employee Relations will advise the employee in advance if this is the case) or unless the problem is of a nature that, by law, others must be involved.
A grievance procedure is available to all full-time and part-time regular employees who have passed the probationary period. The grievance procedure for Administrators and Professionals is described in Problem-Solving and Grievances. Those employees covered by collective bargaining agreements have grievance procedures described in their union contract:
Non-Union Service Staff not covered by a collective bargaining agreement should contact the Office of Employee Relations.
Employee Relations can provide guidance on the grievance process. This includes an overview of the role of the supervisor, Human Resources Officer, employee, and union representative; direction regarding providing information to the union and responding to issues discussed during the grievance meeting.