III-18
Faculty Grievance Procedures

A.     For Teaching Faculty

1.      Purpose
The purpose of this procedure is to assure fairness and consistency in faculty employee relations and to resolve misunderstandings as quickly as possible. No employee shall be discriminated against because he/she uses this procedure.
 

2.      Coverage
For purposes of this procedure, employees are full-time and part-time teaching faculty.
 

3.      Grievable Issues

a.       Disciplinary actions, including written warnings placed in employee's file, suspensions and discharges, where the employee questions the appropriateness of the stated cause except hearings conducted by the academic council under I, 6, VI, 3, h of the "Faculty Bylaws."

b.      Alleged violation, misinterpretation or inequitable application of university policy affecting the employee.

c.       Alleged discrimination against an employee because of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, veteran status or disability.

d.      Alleged sexual harassment as defined in III, 17 of the Handbook. (Any investigation resulting from claims of sexual harassment will involve the director of human resources.)

e.       Alleged violation of the professional boundaries policy as defined in III-16 of the Handbook. (Note: Students who wish to issue a complaint of the professional boundaries policy against a faculty or staff member should use the process identified in the Student Handbook for addressing such violations).

(7/02)

 

4.      Non-Grievable Issues

a.       Issues heard by the academic council under I, 6, VI, 3, h of the Faculty Bylaws.

b.      Termination related to: reduction in force or expiration of grants, failure to receive tenure and expiration of employment contracts.

c.       The content of published personnel policies and procedure.

 

5.      Procedure for Grieving Items listed above (General Grievance Procedure)

a.       Step One

1.)    Informal discussion with the employee's supervisor/department chair should always take place first in an attempt to resolve any problem. In some cases, input from a higher authority may be helpful.The employee and/or supervisor/department chair may wish to contact such a person.

2.)    In cases involving claims of sexual harassment, attempts to resolve complaints at an informal level shall be made by the director of human resources and the department chair of the employee making the complaint.

3.)    In the event that the department chair is involved in the complaint, a second person, selected by the provost/vice president for academic affairs, will assist in the investigation.

4.)    Investigation at this step will be conducted expeditiously.
 
 

b.      Step Two

1.)    If the aggrieved employee (grievant) is not satisfied with the disposition of the grievance at step one, he or she shall, within thirty days after the event giving rise to the grievance, submit a written statement of grievance to his/her department chair.

2.)    Upon receipt of the grievance at this stage, the department chair will notify the director of human resources who will contact the university legal advisor in order to help assure that the grievance procedure is followed carefully.

3.)    The department chair shall investigate and attempt to resolve the grievance. This investigation may include a meeting between the department chair, appropriate dean, the grievant, and any other appropriate personnel.

4.)    A written response shall be given the employee within two weeks after receipt of the written grievance by the department chairperson unless the employee agrees to an extension of this time period.
 

c.       Step Three

 

1.)    If the grievant is not satisfied with the disposition of the grievance at step two, or if no decision has been rendered within two weeks of the department chairís receipt of the grievance at step two, the employee may request the dean of the department chairís college or school to begin processing the grievance at step three.

2.)    If the grievance involves an allegation of discrimination based on race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, veteran status or disability, the dean shall notify the director of human resources who will contact the university legal advisor or other designated legal advisor, who shall then work within the process described with the dean on the adjudication of the grievance.

 

d.      Step Four

 

1.)    If the grievant is not satisfied with the disposition of the grievance at step three, or if no decision has been rendered within two weeks of the deanís receipt of the grievance, the employee may request that the provost/vice president for academic affairs begin processing the grievance at step four.

2.)    The provost/vice president for academic affairs, with the support of the director of human resources, will arrange for a hearing to be conducted by a three-member committee of employees, one member of which will be selected by the grievant, one by the provost/vice president for academic affairs. Both of these members shall select a third member from the current members of the academic council.

3.)    If the two members are unable to agree on the selection of a third member, they shall alternately eliminate names from the academic council until the last name, which person shall become the third committee member. First elimination is to be determined by the toss of a coin.

4.)    The committee selected above will select from among its members a chair by majority vote. If no member receives a majority, the member chosen from the academic council shall be chair. The chair, with support provided from the director of human resources, will be responsible for determining how the facts relative to the grievance shall be investigated. The chair will also determine whether a formal hearing is required. If such a hearing is held, the grievant may be accompanied and represented at the hearing by a university employee of his or her choosing. Only university employees may represent an employee in a grievance hearing. Reasonable provision will be made for other employees to appear as witnesses.

5.)    The investigation by the three-member committee should normally be completed within one month of its formation. Within three weeks of the completion of the investigation, the recommendation of a majority of the committee, along with their findings of fact, shall be submitted to the president.

6.)    The president, after reviewing the findings and recommendations and any other evidence considered relevant, shall make a final decision which will then be communicated to the grievant.

 

6. Grievance Procedure for Alleged Violation of the Professional Boundaries Policy

If a student complaint against a faculty or staff member cannot be resolved informally it may progress to the formal stage of the Sexual Harassment Grievance Policy outlined in III-18, A, 8). Faculty who are found to be in violation of the Professional Boundary Policy and who wish to contest the finding should follow the faculty’s general grievance policy (see III-18, A, 5).

7.      Possible Sanctions for Sexual Harassment Violations

a.       Harassment of any kind is not acceptable at the university. Should it be determined that a violation of the university policy on sexual harassment has occurred, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken. The disciplinary action will reflect the severity of the incident and any past sexual harassment offenses. Possible action shall include, but not be limited to written warning placed in the personnel file, reassignment of duties, suspension without pay, demotion, removal from a portion of assigned duties, appropriate professional counseling, and dismissal.

b.      All persons involved in investigations, proceedings or deliberations related to claims of sexual harassment are expected to keep confidential all information related to the claims.

c.       A person will be in violation of the university policy on sexual harassment if he/she knowingly files a false or malicious complaint of harassment. Such conduct may be pursued using the steps followed for a complaint of harassment; such conduct may result in corrective action, including dismissal.
 

8.      Grievance Procedure for Students Alleging Sexual Harassment by Any University Employee Teaching a Course

This procedure applies only in the case of a student who believes that he/she has been the victim of sexual harassment by any university employee teaching a course. A student who believes that he/she has been the victim of sexual harassment by another student will use the judicial process as identified in the Student Handbook http://www.elon.edu/students/handbook/. (Note that investigations resulting from claims of sexual harassment against an employee teaching an Elon course will involve the director of human resources.)
 

a.       Informal Procedure: Discussion with Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students

1.) A student who believes that he/she has been the victim of sexual harassment by any university employee teaching a course should report the incident to the office of the vice president for student life/dean of students. The vice president of student life/dean of students, or his/her designee, will meet with the student and investigate the complaint.

2.) In the event that the vice president for student life/dean of students, or his/her designee handling the complaint, is involved in the complaint, a second person, selected by the provost/vice president for academic affairs, will assist in the investigation of the complaint.

3.) The investigation at step one will be conducted expeditiously.

3.)If the complaint cannot be resolved informally at step one, the student has the option to take subsequent steps making a formal claim as identified in the various university employee policy and procedure manuals.
 

 

b.      Formal Procedure – Step One

1.) If the aggrieved student (grievant) is not satisfied with the disposition of the grievance at the informal level, he or she shall submit, within ninety days after the event giving rise to the grievance, a written statement of his/her grievance to the provost/vice president for academic affairs.

2.) Upon receipt of the grievance at this stage, the human resources director will notify the university's legal advisor in order to help assure that the grievance procedures are carefully followed

3.) The provost/vice president for academic affairs, or his/her designee, along with the director of human resources, shall investigate and attempt to resolve the grievance. The investigation may include a meeting of the supervisor/department head, provost/vice president for academic affairs, director of human resources, and any other appropriate personnel.

4.) Within two weeks after receipt of the written grievance, a written response will be given to the student by the provost/vice president for academic affairs unless the student agrees to an extension of this time period.

 

 

c.       Step Two

1.) If the grievant is not satisfied with the disposition of the grievance at step one, or if no decision has been rendered within two weeks of the provost/vice president for academic affairs’ receipt of the grievance, the student may request that the provost/vice president for academic affairs begin processing the grievance at step two.

2.) The provost/vice president for academic affairs, with the support of the director of human resources, will arrange for a hearing to be conducted by a three-member committee composed of students and faculty. One member of the committee will be selected by the grievant and one by the provost/vice president for academic affairs. Both of these members shall select a third member from a pool of students and faculty selected by the provost/vice president for academic affairs

3.) If the two members are unable to agree on the selection of a third member, the two members shall alternately eliminate names from the panel until the last name, which person shall become the third committee member. First elimination will be determined by the toss of a coin. Equal numbers of representatives from each category (students and faculty) will be selected by the provost/vice president for academic affairs to comprise the pool of hearing board members.

4.) The committee will then select from among its member a chairperson by majority vote. If no member receives a majority, the member chosen from the pool of hearing board members shall be the chairperson.

5.) The chairperson, with support provided from the director of human resources, will be responsible for determining how the facts relative to the grievance shall be investigated. The chairperson will also determine whether a formal hearing is required. If such a hearing is held, the grievant may be accompanied and represented at the hearing by another student or employee. Reasonable provisions will be made for university employees to appear as witnesses.

6.) The investigation by the committee should normally be completed within one month of its formation. Within three weeks of the completion of the investigation, the recommendation of the majority of the committee, along with their findings of fact, shall be submitted to the president of the university.

7.)The president, after reviewing the findings and recommendations and any other evidence considered relevant, shall make a final decision which will then be communicated to the grievant.

 

B. For Administrative Staff with Faculty Rank, and
Academic Support Staff with Faculty Rank

The grievance procedure for all non-teaching staff personnel employed by the university can be found in the Elon University Staff Manual, Section VIII, “Grievance Procedure.”

(7/03)