Saint Martin’s University encourages the resolution of grievances on an informal basis whenever possible. Staff members should discuss the problem with his/her immediate supervisor. If a staff member does not feel comfortable reporting their concern to their supervisor, or for any reason, they have the option of reporting it to the next level administrator or to the Office of Human Resources.

Most grievances and on-the-job conflicts can be settled in conversation between the staff member and his/her supervisor. However, when a complaint cannot be resolved informally, the University provides for a formal review which will seek a fair and timely resolution. This shall serve as the primary University procedure for the resolution of job-related disputes. It is not intended to circumvent the normal channel of communications, nor to set aside the “open door policy” for employees established by supervisors and administrators.

Some complaints are not subject to this grievance procedure. Excluded from this policy are complaints concerning: (1) wages and salaries; (2) performance related dismissals during the trial service period; (3) dismissals of temporary employees; (4) terminations and layoffs related to reductions in force, loss of funding or the expiration of temporary or externally funded grants or contracts; (5) challenges to University policies; (6) termination due to falsification of application (or resume) for employment and other employment related documents; (7) harassment, including sexual harassment and discrimination; (8) gross misconduct: the most common examples of such offenses include but are not limited to:

  • Violence or vandalism on the job
  • Fighting on the job
  • Stealing company property
  • Drunkenness or use of drugs on the job
  • Gross insubordination
  • Serious safety violation threatening others’ health or safety
  • Sabotage of company business

Grievance procedure steps

  • Step one: informal oral report

    In many cases, disputes over the application or interpretation of policy or conflicts with coworkers can be resolved through communications within a particular department or work area. The staff member can initiate this step in a variety of ways:

    1. The staff member with the concern should go to the person with whom he or she has a disagreement and try to resolve the issue by discussing it with that person.
    2. The staff member with the concern can bring the matter to the attention of the immediate supervisor or next level executive administrator, explaining the nature of the problem and the relief sought. The supervisor should respond within three (3) business days, if possible.
    3. A staff member may seek the advice and assistance of the Chief Human Resource Officer at any time. The Chief Human Resource Officer will advise the staff member on how the resolution may be achieved during the discussion or within three (3) business days, if possible.

    In the event the issue is harassment (including sexual harassment) or discrimination based employees may go directly to one of the Title IX designated officials and/or the Chief Human Resource Officer/Title IX Coordinator report the incident (verbally or in writing). The Chief Human Resource Officer/Title IX Coordinator will initiate an investigation.

    If the informal procedure fails to resolve the grievance, and the staff member wishes to continue the matter, the staff member must begin the steps of the formal procedure no later than 14 calendar days after the receipt of the Chief Human Resource Officer’s response.

  • Step two: Formal written report

    The formal written grievance must be filed within 14 days of the supervisor’s written response at Step one. If the issue is not resolved through the discussion stage in Step one, the staff member may submit a formal written grievance to their supervisor and the Office of Human Resources. The written complaint should include an explanation of the problem, all related facts, a summary of the staff member’s actions or attempted resolution, and a description of the desired remedy.

    Upon receipt of the staff member’s written statement, the Chief Human Resource Officer, or designee, will:

    1. Advise the staff member’s supervisor of the grievance and determine if the Step one procedure was complied with. (If the Step one procedure was not followed, the Chief Human Resource Officer or designee may refer the staff member back to Step one unless the Chief Human Resource Officer determines that such referral is not likely to resolve the matter.)
    2. Schedule a meeting with the staff member, the staff member’s supervisor, and the executive administrator (if necessary) to gain more information on the issue. The meeting should be held promptly (if possible within 14 calendar days of receipt of the staff member’s written statement).
    3. Determine if the investigation should include meetings with other individuals. If more input is needed, the investigation will commence.
    4. Prepare a written summary of findings, based on the preponderance of the evidence, and any recommendation on corrective action deemed appropriate to parties involved in the grievance.
    5. In the event the issue is harassment (including sexual harassment) or discrimination based employees may go directly to one of the Title IX designated officials and/or the Chief Human Resource Officer/Title IX Coordinator report the incident (verbally or in writing). The Chief Human Resource Officer/Title IX Coordinator will initiate an investigation.
  • Step three: appeal

    The grievance appeal must be filed within 14 days of the written decision of the Chief Human Resource Officer, at Step 2. If the staff member is not satisfied with the decision of the Chief Human Resource Officer, the staff member may make a written appeal to the Provost. Upon accepting the appeal, the Provost, and/or Chief Student Affairs Officer, will review the investigation documentation and may let the original outcomes stand or if new information is discovered that is significant enough to alter the original decision reopen the investigation. Only one appeal is permitted. Appeals will be considered if the justification is due to:

    • Failure on the part of the investigator to consider relevant information.
    • Significant procedural error on the part of the Chief Human Resource Officer, the investigator or Title IX Coordinator.
    • New information is discovered that is significant enough to alter the original decision.

    The decision on appeal will be made within a reasonable time (within 30 days.) The Provost will notify the staff member involved, Chief Human Resource Officer and, if appropriate the Title IX Coordinator, in writing of the decision. The decision of the Provost will be final.

  • Remedies

    At each step in the grievance process, the University may fashion a remedy to the staff members involved that is consistent with his/her authority. A staff member should exhaust the remedies available in the University grievance procedure prior to instituting any proceedings regarding the subject matter of the grievance in any state or federal court or agency. If, prior to or subsequent to commencing a complaint under the University grievance procedure, a staff member files a claim regarding the subject matter with a state or federal court or agency, the University reserves the right to discontinue the grievance proceedings. Furthermore, if the staff member gets an answer at any step of the procedure and does not ask for further review of the grievance within the specified time limit, it will be assumed that he/she is satisfied. As a result that particular grievance will not be considered any further.

  • Representation

    A staff member is entitled to be accompanied by a representative of his/her choice at any stage of the grievance procedure. The representative may be present to provide emotional support to the staff member but may not participate in the process. Note taking is allowed, but tape recording of the meeting is prohibited. If the staff member intends to be represented by an attorney, he/she must advise the Chief Human Resource Officer at least 48 business hours prior to the scheduled meeting. The attorney will not be permitted to speak on behalf of the staff member but may sit in support and observe. Saint Martin's University reserves the right to schedule the meeting with the staff member’s attorney to discuss the grievance procedures and the role of the attorney.