Chapter 5: Personnel05:06:10 Support Staff Grievance
(TBR Guideline P-111)
The following procedure is to be used for support staff employees who are demoted, suspended without pay, or terminated. Standard grievance forms shall be made available to support staff at each work site, but no grievance may be denied because a standard form has not been used.
- Support staff” means employees who are not faculty, executive, administrative or professional staff.
- Grievance” means a complaint about one (1) or more of the following matters:
- Demotion, suspension without pay, or termination for cause; or
- Work assignments or conditions of work which violate statute or policy.
- Time for Filing
A grievance must be initiated within fifteen (15) working days after the employee receives notice or becomes aware of the action which is the basis for the grievance. If the employee is not satisfied with the decision at any step, he/she must carry the grievance forward to the next step within fifteen (15) working days after receiving the written decision. If the employee does not carry the grievance forward within fifteen (15) working days, the grievance procedure shall be terminated and the grievance disposed of in accordance with the last written decision. For purposes of this procedure, the term working days” refers to Monday through Friday.
- Testimony, Witnesses and Representation
At every step, the employee may testify and present witnesses and materials in support of his/her position. The testimony of an employee, given either on his/her own behalf or as a witness for another employee, will not subject an employee to retaliatory action. At every step, the employee may be accompanied by an employee representative. At the discretion of the panel chair, additional employees from the unit may be allowed to attend the employee panel hearing conducted as the final step.
- Steps of Review
Step 1--Immediate Supervisor:
- Within fifteen (15) working days after the employee receives notice or becomes aware of the action which is the basis for the grievance, the employee completes a Grievance Form (which may be obtained from the office of Human Resources), submits it to the office of Human Resources, and provides a copy to his/her immediate supervisor.
- Within fifteen (15) working days after receipt of the Grievance Form, the immediate supervisor and the employee meet and discuss the grievance in a face-to-face meeting.
- The supervisor completes a written decision within fifteen (15) working days after the face-to-face meeting. If the supervisor fails to respond or if the decision is not satisfactory to the employee, the employee may carry the grievance forward to Step 2.
Step 2--Next Higher Level of Management:
- Within fifteen (15) working days after receiving the written decision at Step 1, if the employee is not satisfied with the result of Step 1, the employee must notify the office of Human Resources in writing that he/she wants further review. Within fifteen (15) working days after receiving written notice that the employee wants further review, the office of Human Resources schedules a face-to-face meeting for the division head/vice president and the employee to discuss the grievance.
- Within fifteen (15) working days after the face-to-face meeting, the division head/vice president issues a written decision that includes specific reasons for the decision.
- Within fifteen (15) working days after receiving the written decision at Step 2, if the decision is not satisfactory, the employee can elect to have either a grievance hearing before a panel of employees or a hearing under the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (“TUAPA”). The employee must notify the office of Human Resources in writing whether he/she wants a hearing before an employee panel or a hearing before an administrative judge. For an employee panel, the office of Human Resources will select the panel members, convene the hearing, and arranges for the grievance to be heard. For a hearing before an administrative law judge, the procedure in Paragraph C, below, must be followed.
- The employee grievance panel may include staff non-exempt employees, staff exempt employees, or a combination of both exempt and non-exempt employees. The panel members representing the unit where the grievance originates may not serve on the grievance panel.
- The grievance panel and the grievance hearing shall be governed by the procedures as set out in TBR Guideline P-110 Employee Grievance/Complaint Guideline.
- The grievance panel shall hear the grievance within fifteen (15) working days after the date on which the employee submits his/her written request to the office of Human Resources. The decision of the institutional panel or commission is subject to review by the President.
Step 4--Review by the President:
The recommendation of the grievance panel will be forwarded to the president. Within fifteen (15) working days, the president or a designee will notify the grievant of the final decision.
- Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act Hearings
The following shall apply to contested case hearings conducted under Title 4, Chapter 5:
Hearings conducted under Title 4, Chapter 5 shall be heard by (i) a hearing officer or administrative judge employed by the Administrative Division of the Secretary of State’s Office, (ii) a hearing officer or judge designated by the institution from the administrative, professional staff; or (iii) a hearing committee appointed by the president or technology center director from the administrative, professional staff and/or appropriate employees. The institution has sole discretion to decide whether to exercise option (i), (ii), or (iii). The hearing officer or panel shall be selected as follows:
- In any case where a hearing pursuant to TUAPA procedures is required, the president shall determine, at his or her discretion, whether the hearing shall be held before a hearing officer or a hearing committee.
- Hearing officers shall normally be appointed by the president from the administrative or professional staff of an institution. Upon request from the president, the Chancellor may appoint a hearing officer in any case, either from within or without the institution. Contested cases may also be conducted by an administrative judge from the Administrative Procedures Division of the office of the Secretary of State. An institution may submit a request for an administrative judge to the office of General Counsel.
- A hearing committee may be appointed by the president from the administrative, professional staff and/or appropriate employees or students at the institution. The person appointed as chairperson of the committee shall be deemed to be the hearing officer for purposes of presiding at the hearing.
All proceedings shall be conducted according to the parameters set forth at T.C.A. § 4-5301 et seq., and TBR Policy No. 1:06:00:05, Uniform Procedures for Cases Subject to the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. Attorneys’ fees and costs shall not be recoverable by the prevailing party. The complainant/employee shall bear the burden of proof.
- Other Requirements
- The Board of Regents shall provide an annual report summarizing grievance activities of the previous year to the education oversight committee.
- Each institution shall include information regarding the grievance procedure in employee orientations.
View the Support Staff Grievance Form
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