(Approved by UMGC President on July 1, 2017)
Purpose and Applicability
This policy establishes an employee's right to file a Grievance. This Policy applies to UMGC Overseas Staff employees on Regular and Contingent III Status.
Working day: Monday through Friday, regardless of an employee's established work schedule and excluding days on which the applicable UMGC Division is closed.
Grievance: Any cause of complaint arising between an employee and UMGC on a matter concerning discipline, alleged discrimination, promotion, assignment, suspension, demotion, separation from employment, notice of termination, rejection on probation, interpretation or application of UMGC Policies, rules or departmental procedures over which UMGC has control.Assignments to job groups shall be made in accordance with the FLSA's and implementing regulations' definitions and standards for designating positions as Nonexempt or Exempt.
Need for a Grievance Process
UMGC Divisions recognize that legitimate problems, differences of opinion, complaints, and Grievances may develop in the daily relationship between UMGC as an employer and its employees. It is the responsibility of all supervisors, administrators, managers, faculty and employees to establish and maintain a work climate within which an employee dispute or Grievance will be promptly identified, presented, discussed, and given fair and timely consideration.
The UMGC Division management and employees have an obligation to make every effort to resolve employee relations problems as they arise.
In any case where efforts at resolution fail, a Grievance may be taken to higher authority consistent with this Policy.
If a Grievance is submitted, the parties shall make every effort to resolve the Grievance at the lowest possible level of the Grievance process.
Decisions shall be both prompt and definitive.
Department Heads shall provide employees with information regarding the channels of communication and Grievance rights in that Department.
The employee shall have the right to representation at any Step of the Grievance process.
Each employee shall have the right to make known a problem or complaint without the fear of coercion or reprisal. During any stage of a Grievance or other administrative or legal action that concerns employment by an employee, the employee may not be subjected to coercion, discrimination, interference, reprisal or restraint by or initiated on behalf of UMGC solely as a result of that employee's pursuit of a Grievance or other administrative or legal action that concerns UMGC employment.
An employee may not intentionally take or assist in taking an act of coercion, discrimination, interference, reprisal, or restraint against another employee solely as a result of that employee's pursuit of a Grievance or other administrative or legal action that concerns UMGC employment. An employee who violates the provision of this subsection shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Consistency with Other Laws and Policies
No decision shall be made at any Step of the Grievance process, which conflicts with or modifies any applicable UMGC policy or procedures approved by the President or the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland (USM), any applicable statute, or any applicable administrative regulation issued under appropriate statutory authority.
Employees may not file or continue to pursue a Grievance on any matter that is the subject of:
A previous complaint filed by an employee subject to the Title 5 of the State Personnel and Pensions Article, of the Annotated Code of Maryland, Subtitle 2 (Equal Employment Opportunity Program) or Subtitle 3) (Maryland Whistleblower Law) regarding facts and circumstances raised in the previous complaint;
Any issues subject to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 or UMGC's Sexual Misconduct Policy;
Any issues subject to any other UMGC policy intended to protect the rights of employees that provides a specific complaint procedure; or
A previous complaint filed under another UMGC or applicable USM policy intended to protect the rights of employees regarding facts and circumstances raised in the previous complaint.
Any issues that are not grievable by law, including issues pertaining to the general level of wages, wage patterns, fringe benefits, or other broad areas of financial management and staffing.
Nothing in this section shall prohibit an employee from filing a complaint in accordance with the appropriate law or UMGC policy or from filing a Grievance regarding an issue not specifically decided in an earlier complaint process.
Any party who elects to use this Grievance process for the resolution of a problem shall be presumed to agree to abide by the final disposition arrived at in this Grievance process, and the final disposition shall not be subject to review under any other policy or process within UMGC.
Representation of the Employee
An employee may be represented at every Step in the Grievance process as follows:
At any point in the Grievance procedure, the employee may elect to obtain, change, or dismiss a representative by providing written notice of name of the employee's representative (Representative) to the decision-maker at the current Step of the Grievance process. An employee may not be represented by more than one individual at any given time during the Grievance process.
If the employee obtains, changes or dismisses the Representative during the course of the Grievance process, the employee will not be permitted to return to a previous Step in the Grievance procedure or otherwise delay the Grievance.
An employee designated as a Representative in any informal or formal stage of the process shall not suffer any loss of pay for investigating, processing or testifying in any Step of the Grievance procedure. If an employee represents him/herself, the employee will not suffer any loss of pay for testifying in any Step of the Grievance procedure but may not use work hours to investigate or process his/her Grievance.
A Grievance must be filed in writing on the applicable Employee Grievance Form. Eligible Europe and Asia employees may find the applicable grievance form on Engage.
Employee Grievance Forms shall be available in UMGC's Office of Human Resources and on the UMGC website.
The employee must sign the Employee Grievance Form at each Step of the Grievance process. The employee or the Representative shall submit the form to Office of Human Resources or the Department Head with a copy to the Office of Human Resources.
The employee who filed the Grievance is responsible for keeping a copy of the Grievance Form submitted by the employee at each Step of the process for possible future reference.
At Step One and Step Three, after the conference is held, the decision- maker shall provide the Office of Human Resources with his/her written decision. At each Step of the Grievance process, The Office of Human Resources shall deliver a copy of the decision to the employee who filed the Grievance in person, to the employee's last known address via a delivery method that allows for delivery confirmation and/or to the employee's last known email address with a method that allows for delivery confirmation.
The Office of Human Resources shall maintain copies of all Grievance Forms received, any evidence submitted to the decision-maker for consideration during the conference, and decisions rendered at each Step of the Grievance process in accordance with UMGC's applicable records retention policies and procedures.
Rules and Standards for Proceedings
Similar Grievances may be consolidated and processed together as a single issue. Where a number of individual Grievances have been reduced into a single Grievance, not more than three employees selected by and from the group may be excused from work to attend a Grievance meeting called by the Department Representative at Step One, and not more than five such employees at Steps Two and Three unless, at any Step, prior permission is granted by the person hearing the Grievance.
Each Step of the Grievance procedure shall be processed as quickly as practicable within the specified time limits.
Failure to request that a Grievance proceed to the next Step of the process at any Step constitutes acceptance of the decision. UMGC's failure to timely respond to a Grievance constitutes a denial of the Grievance at that Step. By mutual agreement of the parties, the time limits and/or Steps may be waived.
Any question concerning the timeliness of a Grievance or whether a complaint is subject to the Grievance procedure shall be raised and resolved promptly, unless the decision-maker for that Step of the Grievance process determines that the decision shall be deferred pending a conference or hearing on the merits.
Requests to proceed to the next Step of the Grievance process shall be timed from the employee's receipt of the written opinion of the decision-maker or from when such opinion is due, whichever comes first.
At each Step of the Grievance process, the decision-maker for the Grievance may exclude incompetent, irrelevant, immaterial, and unduly repetitious evidence or witnesses.
All Grievance hearings shall be open hearings unless either party requests that the hearings be closed.
At any Step of the Grievance procedure, either party may require that witnesses be excluded from the hearing room until called to testify.
The original Grievance that has been considered on the merits will be considered de novo, in its entirety, at each successive Step of the Grievance process. De novo review means that the decision-maker at each Step in the Grievance process will make an independent determination of the issues, without deference to the conclusions made at an earlier Grievance Step. A Grievance going forward on a procedural issue will be remanded to the lowest appropriate Step of the Grievance process (i.e., where the procedural error is to have occurred) to be heard on the merits if the procedural dispute is found in favor of the employee who filed the Grievance.
Unless granted permission from the employee's designated supervisor, an employee shall not engage in Grievance activities during work hours.
UMGC shall grant release time from normal work schedules to the employee who filed the Grievance and all witnesses to attend Grievance conferences and hearings. Expenses incurred, in connection with attendance by employees at Grievance hearings shall be attributed to the employee's Department.
Grievance Process for Overseas Staff Employees on Regular Status
Grievances must be initiated within thirty (30) calendar days of the action(s) giving rise to the Grievance, or within 30 calendar days of the employee having reasonable knowledge of the actions giving rise to the Grievance.
If, following informal discussion with the supervisor, a dispute remains unresolved, the Grievance process is available.
There are three Steps in the Grievance process:
Step One: Department Representative
An aggrieved employee and/or the employee's designated representative may present a Grievance in writing to the Department Head or Designated Representative (hereinafter known as the "Department Representative"). Within five (5) Work -Days after receipt of the written Grievance, the Department Representative shall hold a conference with the aggrieved employee and/or the employee's Representative.
Within five (5) Work Days after the conclusion of the conference, the Department Representative shall render a written decision.
It is the Department Representative's responsibility to keep superiors informed of the status of each Grievance and, as necessary, to request guidance, advisory committees, or other assistance in reaching a decision.
The Department Head of the Office of Human Resources for the respective UMGC Overseas Division or designee shall be available to serve as a resource to answer questions by either the employee or Department Representative. However, this shall not relieve the Department Representative from the responsibility of issuing a written decision at Step One of this process.
Step Two: The Department Head of Human Resources or Designee
If the dispute is still unresolved or the aggrieved employee is dissatisfied with the decision at Step One, the aggrieved employee or representative may submit an appeal in writing to the Department Head of Human Resources or designee within five (5) working days after the employee's receipt of the Department representative's written decision at Step One or, if no decision was issued, within five (5) working days from when the decision was due to be issued.
The Department Head of the Office of Human Resources for the respective UMGC Overseas Division or designee shall hold a conference with the aggrieved employee and/or the employee's designated representative within ten (10) Work-Days of receipt of the written appeal and shall render a written decision within fifteen (15) Work Days after the conclusion of the conference.
Step Three: The President or Designee
In the case of an unresolved Grievance at the conclusion of Step Two, the aggrieved employee shall have the right to submit an appeal to the President or designee. The appeal must be submitted within ten (10) Work Days after the employee's receipt of the written decision from the Department Head of the Office of Human Resources for the respective UMGC Overseas Division.
Grievance Process for Overseas Contingent III Staff
Grievances by Contingent III employees must be initiated within thirty (30) calendar days of the action involved, or within thirty (30) calendar days of the employee having had reasonable knowledge of the actions giving rise to the Grievance.
The Vice President for the respective UMGC Overseas Division or designee shall hold a conference with the aggrieved employee within ten (10) Working Days of receipt of the written Grievance and shall render a written decision within fifteen (15) Working Days after the conclusion of the conference.
The Vice President for the respective UMGC Overseas Division or designee's decision shall be final and cannot be appealed.
The UMGC President has designated the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) to administer this policy; to develop procedures as necessary to implement this policy; to communicate this policy to the UMGC community; and to post the policy and any applicable procedures on the UMGC website.
UMGC OS 28.00: Policy on Grievances for Overseas Regular and Contingent III Staff