University of California, Riverside

Human Resources



Policy 70: Complaint Resolution


UCR Local Procedure 70: COMPLAINT RESOLUTION — PROFESSIONAL
AND SUPPORT STAFF, AND MANAGERS AND SENIOR PROFESSIONALS,
EXCEPT SALARY GRADES VIII AND IX
November 26, 2013

This local procedure is in the process of being updated to align with the revised systemwide policy. In the meantime, if there is a conflict between the systemwide policy and this local procedure, the systemwide policy will take precedence. Please contact Employee and Labor Relations for guidance.

  1. RELATED POLICIES AND REFERENCES
    1. Personnel Policy 70 — Complaint Resolution
  2. DEFINITIONS
    1. Administrative Review (PSS): One of three possible options available at Step II if an employee appeals the Step I decision.
    2. Administrative Review (MSP I-VII): An appeal at Step II of the Step 1 decision.
    3. Appeal: A request for a review of a decision.
    4. Career Appointment: An appointment established at a fixed or variable percentage of time at 50 percent or more of full-time that is expected to continue for one year or longer. Contract and limited appointments are not career appointments.
    5. Complaint: A written claim by an employee regarding a specific management action(s) that meets the criteria in Section III.C.1.a. or III.C.1.b of University of California Policy PPSM 70 – Complaint Resolution.
    6. Complainant: An employee who makes a written claim regarding a specific management action(s) that meets the criteria in Section III.C.1.a. or III.C.1.b of University of California Policy PPSM 70 – Complaint Resolution.
    7. Conflict of Interest: For purposes of this policy, a situation where a factfinder, University hearing officer
    8. and/or decision maker has a bias or personal interest in the outcome that would prevent him/her from serving impartially.
    9. Employee: For the purposes of this policy, an “employee” is defined as an active employee or a former employee who was involuntarily separated.
    10. Factfinder: A person appointed by local procedures to determine whether the material allegations of a complaint are supported by the preponderance of the evidence.
    11. Make Whole Remedy: Restoration of University pay, University benefits, and/or rights provided under University policy that the employee could have been awarded if the employee prevailed at a Step II Hearing (PSS) or Step III Fact-finding (MSP I-VII) under this policy.
    12. Remedy: Relief that addresses the adverse effect of the management action that was reviewed under this policy.
  3. PROCEDURES
    1. Filing
      1. To file a request for formal review, the complaint must be submitted to Employee and Labor Relations, 1223 University Ave., Suite 200, Riverside, CA 92521, or via email to grievances@ucr.edu within 30 calendar days after the date on which the employee knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the event or action which gave rise to the complaint, or within 30 calendar days after the date of separation from university employment, whichever is earlier.
      2. The Director of Employee & Labor Relations (ELR) or designee will review the complaint for compliance with the filing requirements in Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM) 70 – Complaint Resolution and UCR implementing procedures. Within 15 calendar days of the date on which the complaint was received by ELR, the complainant will be notified in writing whether or not the complaint has been accepted for review, which issues will be reviewed and whether it qualifies for review through Step II or III of the complaint resolution process. If the Director of ELR or designee determines that the complaint does not contain sufficient detail to process, ELR will notify the complainant of the additional detail needed. The complainant will have five (5) business days from the date of the notification to provide the additional information, or the incomplete claim will not be accepted for review.
      3. Attempts at informal resolution do not extend the 30-day filing rule unless an extension has been granted formally in writing prior to the deadline.
      4. The complaint must be presented in writing, on a form provided by ELR.
    2. Review Process – Professional and Support Staff
      1. Step I:

        Upon acceptance of a formally filed complaint, ELR shall transmit a copy of the complaint to the appropriate university official for response. Within 15 calendar days of the date that the complaint was provided to the official, that official shall submit a written response to ELR. ELR shall transmit the university official's response to the employee. This decision shall be final unless the employee initiates a further review in accordance with Step II below.
      2. Step II:

        If any issues accepted for review at Step I remain unresolved, complainant may file a written notice of appeal to Step II. The written notice of appeal must be on a form provided by ELR and submitted within 10 calendar days of the University’s Step I decision. It must also indicate the option complainant has chosen, either administrative review or fact-finding.

        When any unresolved issue that was accepted for review at Step I alleges a policy violation eligible for review at Step III, an employee in a career appointment may request to proceed directly to Step III. Such requests must be submitted in writing on the PPSM Grievance Form - Professional and Support Employees at the time of the appeal to Step II. The Director of Employee and Labor Relations or designee will respond within 15 calendar days granting or denying the request. If the request is denied, the review at Step II will continue.

        If the employee selects administrative review, ELR will forward the appeal to the appropriate dean or vice chancellor. Within 15 calendar days of the date that the complaint was provided to the dean or vice chancellor, that official shall submit a written response to ELR. ELR shall transmit the university’s response to the employee. This decision shall be final and binding unless the employee is eligible for a further review in accordance with Step III below and initiates the review within the applicable time period.

        If the employee selects fact-finding, the Executive Vice Chancellor shall designate a factfinder who shall take whatever steps are reasonably necessary to investigate the facts, and render a written report. [The University reserves the right to use a non-University fact finder in lieu of a University factfinder].

        The report and relevant documentation that was reviewed by the factfinder in making the findings shall be transmitted to ELR within 45 calendar days of the date that the complaint was provided to the factfinder. The report shall contain the following information: statement of the issues being grieved; positions of the parties; findings of fact; and policy violations, if any. ELR will forward the report for a final and binding decision to the appropriate dean or vice chancellor, who shall take into consideration the factfinder’s report and provide reasons for accepting, modifying, or denying the requested remedy.

        ELR shall forward the final decision and the factfinder’s report to the employee, the employee’s representative (if any), and the department head.
      3. Step III:
        1. If the complaint is eligible for review at Step III and the complainant did not elect fact-finding at Step II, the complainant may file a written notice of appeal to hearing as described below, on issues remaining unresolved that were accepted for review at Step I, . The written appeal must be on PPSM Grievance Form - Professional and Support Employees and received by ELR within 10 calendar days of issuance of the Step II decision.
        2. The complainant may elect to have her/his case heard by a university-appointed hearing officer, or by a hearing officer from the American Arbitration Association (AAA). University-appointed hearing officers serve without cost to the complainant and are appointed by the Executive Vice Chancellor. The university reserves the right to appoint a University hearing officer who is not an employee of the university.
        3. If an employee elects a non-University hearing officer, the hearing officer’s fees are shared equally by the university and the employee. ELR shall furnish the employee and the department with a list of seven (7) prospective hearing officers from the local office of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The parties shall select the hearing officer by alternately striking names from the list. The choice of the first strike shall be decided by the toss of a coin.
        4. Scheduling of the Hearing: ELR shall coordinate the time and place of the hearing. Once a hearing has been scheduled, postponements will only be granted for good cause (i.e., unforeseen/unanticipated circumstances). Costs related to cancellation or postponements are borne entirely by the requesting party.
        5. Hearing Record: A single tape recording or stenographic report of the hearing shall be arranged by ELR, who shall be the custodian of the original hearing record and of all documents introduced at the hearing. If ELR chooses not to record the hearing by stenography, the employee may choose to do so, but will be responsible for the stenographer’s appearance fee unless the parties agree in advance to share the expense. Any party requesting a transcript will be responsible for the fee for that transcript.
        6. Observers: ELR Director and his/her designee shall have the right to observe the proceedings. Other observers shall not be permitted, except upon the mutual agreement of the parties to the proceeding. Observers shall not participate in the proceeding.
        7. Report of Hearing Officer: The written decision of the hearing officer shall be transmitted to ELR, who shall provide copies of the decision to the parties.
    3. Review Process — Managers and Senior Professionals
      1. Step I:

        Upon acceptance of a formally filed complaint, ELR shall transmit a copy of the complaint to the appropriate university official for response.

        Within 15 calendar days of the date that the complaint was provided to the official, that official shall submit a written response to ELR. ELR shall transmit the university official's response to the employee. This decision shall be final unless the employee initiates a further review in accordance with Step II below.
      2. Step II:
        1. If any issues accepted for review at Step I remain unresolved, the complainant may file a written notice of appeal to Step II. The written notice of appeal must be on the PPSM Grievance Form - Management and Senior Professionals and submitted within 10 calendar days of the university’s Step I decision.
        2. The appeal will be forwarded by ELR to the appropriate dean or vice chancellor for review and a written response. Within 15 calendar days of the date that the complaint was provided to the dean or vice chancellor, that official shall submit a written response to ELR. ELR shall transmit the university's response to the employee. This decision shall be final unless the employee is eligible for, and initiates, a further review in accordance with Step III below.
      3. Step III - Fact-finding
        1. Issues Subject to Evidentiary Fact-finding: For complaints eligible for review at Step III, the Executive Vice Chancellor shall designate a factfinder. The university reserves the right to appoint a university factfinder who is not a University employee. In evidentiary fact-finding, each party shall have the right to appear personally before the factfinder, to present evidence, and to examine and cross-examine witnesses under oath or affirmation. Evidence may be oral or documentary.
        2. Each party shall, upon request, provide the other with copies of materials to be introduced at the evidentiary fact-finding hearing, and the names of witnesses who will testify on the party’s behalf. To the extent possible, such materials and names of witnesses shall be exchanged at least ten (10) calendar days prior to the fact-finding hearing.
        3. Scheduling of the Hearing: ELR shall coordinate the time and place of the evidentiary fact-finding hearing. Once a hearing has been scheduled, postponements will only be granted for good cause (i.e., unforeseen/ unanticipated circumstances).
        4. Hearing Record: A single tape recording or stenographic record shall be arranged by ELR, who shall be the custodian of the original hearing record and of all documents introduced at the hearing. The parties may agree in advance to share the expense of a stenographic record.
        5. Observers: The ELR Director and his/her designee shall have the right to observe the proceedings. Other observers shall not be permitted except upon the mutual agreement of the parties to the proceeding.
        6. Factfinder’s Report: The fact-finding report shall contain the following information: statement of the issues accepted for review; positions of the parties; findings of fact; and policy violations, if any. The report shall be transmitted to the ELR within 45 calendar days after the conclusion of the fact-finding. ELR will forward the report to the person in the next higher level of authority in the reporting hierarchy for a final decision, who shall take into consideration the factfinder’s report and provide the reasons for accepting, modifying, or denying the requested remedy. ELR shall forward the final decision and the factfinder’s report to the employee, the employee’s representative (if any), and the department head.
        7. ELR shall forward the final decision and the factfinder’s report to the employee, the employee’s representative (if any), and the department head.
    4. General Issues (PSS and MSP)
      1. Representation:

        When an employee decides to be represented, she/he shall furnish in writing the name, business address, email address and telephone number of the representative to ELR. Changes in representation shall also be made in writing to ELR.

        A person designated as a managerial, supervisory or confidential employee shall not represent a non-supervisory employee. Non-supervisory employees shall not represent managerial, supervisory or confidential employees.

        Complainants and their representatives (if covered under Personnel Policies) will be provided with reasonable amounts of paid release, subject to advance approval from the employee's and/or employee representative's supervisor to participate in hearings and meetings convened by the University to consider the complaint. Approval shall be made on an operational needs basis and shall not be unreasonably denied.
      2. Remedy:

        If the complaint is sustained in whole or in part, the remedy shall not exceed restoring to the employee the pay, benefits or rights lost as a result of the violation of the policy or policies, less compensation from employment or awards arising from this issue. No interest shall be earned or paid on any amount restored to 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. Remedies also do not include payment for attorney fees.
      3. Settlement Agreements:
        1. Offers of settlement, or statements made in the course of settlement discussions, shall not be admissible.
        2. The terms of settlement of complaints shall be subject to approval in advance by ELR. Such settlement agreements normally shall be reduced to writing and shall be filed with the records of the complaint.
      4. Deadlines established by the local implementing procedures can be extended by ELR upon written request of either party. Deadlines which fall on a day which is not a campus business day will be extended until the next business day.
      5. At the sole discretion of ELR, individual complaints of two (2) or more employees may be included in one hearing when the complaints arise from the same action. Similarly, all complaints from an employee which relate to a single incident or issue may be included in one (1) hearing.
      6. Issues raised in a complaint which are not found to be timely or within the scope of the complaint process are not subject to review in the complaint process. Such issues may be raised by the complainant in support of his/her case, but admissibility of these issues is at the discretion of the hearing officer and there can be no ruling on these non-reviewable issues.
      7. Proof of Service shall be the method used in delivering all notices related to the complaint process that are time-driven actions.
      8. Complainants will be informed of the identity of the factfinder, University hearing officer and decision maker. If the complainant believes that a conflict of interest exists, she or he must inform the Director of ELR within three (3) business days. The Director of ELR will review and make a determination regarding whether to designate a different individual.
  4. RESPONSIBILITIES
    1. The Director of ELR or designee is responsible for all determinations regarding scope and timeliness, for informing complainants of those determinations, and for the administration of the complaint resolution process.
    2. The Executive Vice Chancellor is responsible for the appointment of hearing officers and factfinders.

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