“Complaint Resolution”

Policy Supersedes Effective
#801 7/1/98
1/1/2001
8/1/2003
8/1/2005
7/1/2008
7/1/2011
9/1/2012

ASUCLA has an ‘open door’ policy, and encourages its employees to discuss their work place concerns immediately with their supervisor or manager. At times, however, employees are more comfortable first discussing their concerns with the Human Resources Division. Often, meetings with Human Resources focus on how an employee can directly resolve her/his concerns.

Employees are encouraged to discuss their unresolved employment concerns with the Human Resources Office as soon as possible, since Formal Review of an employee’s concerns is subject to various timelines (see “Formal Review”, below).

Employee Complaint Resolution Procedures

ASUCLA’s Employee Complaint Resolution Procedures are designed to facilitate the resolution of employee concerns arising out of employment or termination of employment.

Employees with concerns shall attempt to resolve them by following each of the steps outlined in the Complaint Resolution Procedures under “Informal Review” and “Formal Review”.

Eligibility

All student employees are eligible for Informal Review of any work place concerns.

Student employees who have completed 13 months of consecutive employment on pay status may also request Formal Review of concerns if not resolved through the Informal process, with the exception that those who voluntarily terminate are not eligible.

Individuals in stipend assignments at ASUCLA are eligible for Informal Review of any concerns arising out of their assignment, but are not eligible for Formal Review.

Scope

Concerns about specific actions alleged to have adversely affected an employee’s existing terms or conditions of employment, or alleged violation of ASUCLA policies/procedures, may be addressed through the Informal Review process.

Formal Review under ASUCLA’s Grievance Procedures applies to complaints about:

  • Corrective suspensions, demotions, pay decreases, dismissals, and written performance warnings pertaining only to such actions.
  • Medical separation.
  • Hours of work, overtime, shift differential.
  • Reprisal for using or participating in the complaint process.
  • Alleged violations of ASUCLA’s policies on Non-discrimination or Sexual Harassment pertaining only to discriminatory application of policies listed above in this section.

Informal Review

Step One:   Employee attempts to resolve concerns with immediate supervisor/manager.
If not resolved ….
Step Two:   Employee requests review by Division and/or Human Resources Managers or Directors.
Step Three:   Employee requests review by Executive Director

Formal Review

Eligible employees whose concerns are not resolved after taking all of the steps in the Informal Review process may request Formal Review of employment matters:

Step Four:   Employee submits Request for Formal Review.
If accepted ….
Step Five:   Administrative Review or Hearing

Submitting a Request for Formal Review

A Request for Formal Review of employment matters must be submitted on a completed “ASUCLA Request for Formal Review” form. ASUCLA’s “Request for Formal Review” form can be obtained at ASUCLA’s Human Resources Office, or on the “S” drive “Shared” directory from WORD under: “Forms” > “HR” > “Complaint Resolution Form”.

The employee must describe on the form:

  • The specific actions that are requested for review.
  • The date each specific action occurred.
  • Any provisions under ASUCLA policies/procedures alleged to be violated.
  • The manner in which they were violated.
  • How the employee was adversely affected.
  • The remedy requested.
  • If they choose Administrative Review or Hearing.

The Request for Formal Review must be submitted to ASUCLA’s Human Resources Division within 30 calendar days after the date on which the employee could be expected to know of the event or action of the complaint, or within 30 calendar days of the date of separation, whichever occurs first. If the complaint alleges a series of policy violations or pattern of management actions that are subject to review under this policy, the complaint must be filed within 30 calendar days after the most recent policy violation or management action.

A Request for Formal Review is considered “submitted” on the date it is postmarked, the date it is personally delivered, the date it is faxed or the date it is e-mailed.

The Human Resources Division shall respond to the Request for Formal Review no later than 15 calendar days from the date the Request for Formal Review is received. ASUCLA may identify and require additional detail needed from the employee. If the employee does not provide the additional detail within the timeframe established, the incomplete claims will not be accepted for review. The Human Resources Division shall accept the request or inform the employee of ineligibility no later than 15 calendar days from the most recent correspondence.

The Human Resources Division shall advise appropriate department and division management that a Request for Formal Review of the employee’s concerns has been submitted and whether it was accepted or deemed ineligible.

Appeals

If an employee’s Request for Formal Review was deemed ineligible, the employee may petition in writing to ASUCLA’s Executive Director for a review of the following only:

  • If the complaint is timely.
  • If the complaint is within the scope of this policy.
  • If the dismissal or closure of the complaint is due to the employee’s failure to participate.

The petition shall include copies of the Request for Formal Review and related documents, and shall be filed within 20 calendar days of the date that the employee’s Request for Formal Review was deemed ineligible.

An appeal is considered “filed” on the date it is postmarked, the date it is personally delivered, the date it is faxed or the date it is e-mailed.

The Executive Director shall respond to the appeal in writing no later than 15 calendar days from the date the appeal is received, accepting or informing of ineligibility.

If the Executive Director determines that the Request for Formal Review is ineligible, the employee may appeal to the ASUCLA Board of Directors within 20 calendar days of the date that the employee received the Executive Director’s written decision.

An appeal is considered “filed” on the date it is postmarked, the date it is personally delivered, the date it is faxed or the date it is e-mailed.

ASUCLA’s Board of Directors shall respond to the appeal in writing no later than 15 calendar days from the date the appeal is received, accepting or informing of ineligibility.

If ASUCLA’s Board of Directors determines that the Request for Formal Review is ineligible, the employee may appeal to the Vice President – Human Resources (or designee) at the University of California Office of the President within 20 calendar days of the date that the employee received ASUCLA’s Board of Directors written decision.

An appeal is considered “filed” on the date it is postmarked, the date it is personally delivered, the date it is faxed or the date it is e-mailed.

The Vice President – Human Resources (or designee) at the University of California Office of the President has final authority for interpreting this policy.

Administrative Review

If the Request for Formal Review was accepted and the employee chose Administrative Review:

The Human Resources Division will meet with the employee to discuss the employee’s statements regarding the complaint. This meeting will occur within 15 calendar days of the letter that confirmed acceptance of the Request for Formal Review.

The Human Resources Division will then attempt to address the employee’s concerns through:

  • Fact finding, including interviews with supervisors, managers, witnesses and other appropriate parties, and review of relevant documentation.

A written decision will be prepared by the Human Resources Division and appropriate management, and will be sent by registered mail to the employee’s home address no later than 21 calendar days from conclusion of the Administrative Review meeting. The decision shall be final and binding.

Appeals

If the employee does not agree with the written decision, they may appeal in writing to the Executive Director within 20 calendar days of the date that the written decision was received by the employee.

An appeal is considered “filed” on the date it is postmarked, the date it is personally delivered, the date it is faxed or the date it is e-mailed.

The Executive Director shall respond to the appeal no later than 15 calendar days from the date the appeal is received.

If the employee does not agree with the written decision of the Executive Director, they may appeal in writing to the ASUCLA Board of Directors within 20 calendar days of the date that the written decision was received by the employee.

An appeal is considered “filed” on the date it is postmarked, the date it is personally delivered, the date it is faxed or the date it is e-mailed.

The Board of Directors shall respond to the appeal no later than 15 calendar days from the date the appeal is received. Their decision will be final and binding.

Hearing

If the Request for Formal Review was accepted and the employee chose Hearing:

Hearings shall be conducted by a Hearing Officer from the American Arbitration Association. The Human Resources Division will provide the employee with a list of 5 Hearing Officers, from which one will be chosen by the process of alternating elimination, with the employee making the first of the eliminations. This will be done at a meeting between the employee and the Human Resources Division, which shall take place within 21 days following receipt of the employee’s submitted request for hearing.

Hearing fees are borne equally by the parties, except that recording and stenographic fees are borne by the requesting party unless both parties agree otherwise in advance.

If the employee does not wish to pay hearing fees, the hearing shall be conducted by an assigned University Hearing Officer.

Individual complaints of 2 or more employees may be included in one hearing when the complaints arise from the same action and when it is agreed upon, in advance, by the employees and the appropriate member of management.

Both the employee and ASUCLA are provided the opportunity to be represented throughout the hearing process by legal counsel or Campus Human Resources. Each party may bring one representative to the hearing or any meeting throughout the hearing process. The employee must include in their letter of request for hearing advance notice of the name, address and telephone number of their representative.

Except by mutual agreement of the parties, only issues that were accepted for formal review may be introduced at the hearing. The parties shall attempt to stipulate in writing to the Statement of Issues to be submitted for review at the hearing.

Each party will provide the other with relevant materials and names of all witnesses who are to be introduced at the hearing. This material shall be provided at least 10 calendar days prior to the hearing.

The standard of proof will be the preponderance of the evidence. In cases of corrective action or termination by ASUCLA, ASUCLA will bear the burden of proof and will present its case first. In all other cases, the employee will bear the burden of proof.

Offers of settlement or statements made in the course of settlement discussions shall not be admissible.

The hearing shall be closed to the general public. Attendance will be restricted to the parties directly involved including those on the witness list. In addition, another Human Resources representative may also be present.

The hearing will be recorded and a copy of the recording will be made available subject to payment of the cost by the requesting party. In addition, either party may make provisions for a stenographic report of the hearing, subject to payment of the cost, or the parties may agree in advance to share the expense of a stenographic report.

The Hearing Officer will conduct the hearing to determine the facts and whether the action portrayed in the complaint was in violation of ASUCLA policies/procedures. If the complaint involves corrective action or dismissal, the Hearing Officer will also determine whether the management action was in accordance with applicable laws/regulations. The Hearing Officer shall have no authority to depart from or otherwise modify ASUCLA policies/procedures, issue subpoenas, or order stenographic records.

The Hearing Officer will submit a report to the Executive Director, Human Resources Director and complainant within 30 calendar days following the close of the hearing.

The report will describe:

  • Each incident or management action stated in the complaint.
  • Each issue under submission.
  • The positions of the parties.
  • The findings of fact and policies/procedures violations, if any.
  • A recommendation for resolution of each of the issues of the complaint.

The Hearing Officer shall not recommend any remedy that exceeds restoring to the employee pay, benefits, and/or rights lost as a result of the action taken, less any compensation from other sources.

Unemployment payments and Workers Compensation payments for permanent disability are not considered as compensation when determining the amount of the remedy. No interest shall be earned or paid on any amount restored to the employee; nor will the remedy include payment of attorney’s fees or costs incurred by the employee. Compensation shall not be granted for any period of time resulting from an extension of time requested by or on behalf of the employee.

Time Limits

The Human Resources Director may approve reasonable extension of any of the stipulated timelines. The employee and appropriate management will receive written confirmation of such extensions.

Any time limit that expires on a Saturday, Sunday, administrative holiday or other day off observed by ASUCLA shall be extended to the next regular business day.

Pay Status during the Complaint Process

An employee may be granted reasonable time off with pay during scheduled working hours to attend meetings convened by ASUCLA management to consider a complaint, or to attend a hearing. An employee will be on pay status for time spent testifying at a hearing if participating as a witness, and for time spent meeting with management relative to the investigation and resolution of an employee complaint. Other time spent relative to the complaint will be without pay.

Withdrawal of a Complaint

In agreement with ASUCLA, an employee may withdraw their complaint in writing, in whole or in part, at any time.

Failure to Participate

If an employee fails to participate in a timely manner in key aspects of the review process, ASUCLA may consider the complaint resolved and closed based on the last ASUCLA response.

Key aspects of the review process include (as applicable), but are not limited to, selection of a hearing officer, scheduling of and attendance at the hearing and responding on a timely basis to communications from ASUCLA representatives.

The employee will be notified in writing when their complaint is dismissed or closed due to failure to participate in the process. The employee may appeal the decision to dismiss or close the complaint to the Executive Director.

Conflict of Interest

If an employee has concerns about a conflict of interest on the part of the hearing officer and/or decision- maker, the employee should promptly raise those concerns with ASUCLA Human Resources. ASUCLA will determine whether an actual conflict of interest exists. In situations where it is determined that the hearing officer and/or decision-maker has an actual conflict of interest that would prevent them from serving impartially, a different hearing officer and/or decision-maker will be designated according to the Hearing procedure.

Retaliation

It is a violation of ASUCLA policy to retaliate against any employee for using or participating in the Complaint Resolution process.