EEO & HR Policy Compliance has established, as a part of the Informal Grievance Program, a 4-step process to resolve allegations of discrimination.
- Complete the Form
Intake consists of the Grievant, the individual alleging an adverse action has been taken, completing the Request for Informal Grievance Inquiry form. This form must be completed and submitted in a timely fashion (15 calendar days from the date of the alleged discriminatory act or omission and 10 calendar days in the case of termination). Submit forms to the Department of Equal Employment Opportunity & HR Policy Compliance. The Grievant may be asked by EEO & HR Policy Compliance to provide additional information supporting his/her allegation(s) of discrimination.
- Consultation/Informal Grievance Meeting
A member of the EEO & HR Policy Compliance Office will discuss the allegations with the Grievant - which will normally be scheduled within 10 calendar days of the receipt of the request. The follow up discussion(s) with the Respondent will be scheduled within a reasonable time following the Meeting with the Grievant.
During this meeting, circumstances surrounding the cause for the grievance, the relief the Grievant is seeking, and all issues of the grievance will be examined. These discussions are designed to provide the EEO & HR Policy Compliance team member with a full understanding of the issues and to collect any materials related to the grievance. Both parties are advised to provide all documentation related to the grievance during these discussions.
If it appears that the grievance can be resolved at this stage, the EEO Associate will prepare documents, outlining the terms of an agreement and have both the Grievant and the Respondent sign said agreement. The Executive Director of EEO & HR Policy Compliance will sign the final version of this document and return a copy to the Grievant and Respondent.
If the grievance cannot be resolved at this stage, an Informal Grievance Hearing will be scheduled.
- Informal Grievance Hearing
The Informal Grievance Hearing is a method of investigation designed to both clarify the issues and develop a complete, objective and impartial record of the facts and allegations. An EEO & HR Policy Compliance staff member will serve as a Facilitator. The Informal Grievance Hearing is a non-adversarial process, which will provide a full and fair opportunity for each participant to present facts relating to the allegations while also maximizing the Facilitator’s ability to resolve the issues of the complaint. Participants in the Informal Grievance Hearing will usually be:
- The Grievant;
- The Respondent;
- Designated Assistants; and
- EEO & HR Policy Compliance.
Occasionally, official observers from the EEO & HR Policy Compliance Office attend for training and quality assurance purposes. Usually all of the above participants will be present during the entire process. All statements will be made a part of the official record. To insure the accuracy of the record, the Informal Grievance Hearing may be tape-recorded. However, these recordings will only be used to assist the Facilitator in preparing an accurate record and will be destroyed once the Facilitator has completed the investigation.
The typical Informal Grievance Hearing begins with the Facilitator making introductory remarks outlining the procedure, identifying the issues of the grievance, and generally setting the stage for opening statements. The Grievant then makes his/her opening statement, giving his/her view of the matters giving rise to the grievance followed by the Respondent's opening statement. Following this interchange, the Facilitator questions the Grievant and Respondent. Next, the Grievant and Respondent are provided an opportunity to ask questions of each other regarding relevant issues. The Facilitator may then wish to ask further questions of either party. The Grievant and Respondent are each then allowed an opportunity to make a Summary Closing Statement. The time allotted for these statements will generally be limited to no more than 15 minutes, but may be adjusted to accommodate both parties, if time permits. This brings to a close the hearing portion of the investigation.
The process is informal and formal Rules of Evidence do not apply. Supporting documents may be placed in the record at any time during the process by either party. The Informal Grievance Hearing will be under the control of the Facilitator and the participants are expected to cooperate fully during the process. Argumentative, abusive or hostile conduct from either party or any of the participants may result in the hearing being terminated, with the reason for termination being made a part of the record.
Resolution of the issues surrounding the grievance is the goal of the Informal Grievance Program. If, during the Informal Grievance Hearing, the parties can reach a mutually acceptable agreement, a member of our office will prepare documents outlining the terms of the agreement and have both the Grievant and Respondent sign the agreement at the Hearing. The Executive Director of EEO & HR Policy Compliance will follow up with a notice formally closing the grievance.
If the parties do not reach a mutually acceptable agreement during the Hearing, the Facilitator will further investigate the grievance after the conclusion of the Hearing. Once the investigation and all relevant actions are complete, the Grievant and Respondent will be notified of the outcome of the Informal Grievance Process.