Policy 32a - Resolution of Grievances, Members of the Association of Employees of the University of Ottawa (AEUO)

Approved Administrative Committee 1699.3

RESOLUTION OF GRIEVANCES, MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF EMPLOYEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA (AEUO)

OBJECTIVES

1. The objectives of this policy are:

  • a) to set out effective formal procedures for AEUO members to resolve grievances that arise from actions or omissions by a person or by persons employed by the University of Ottawa in the application or the interpretation of policies, procedures and official directives affecting employment;
  • b) to ensure that non-unionized members of the support staff may obtain a prompt and equitable settlement of their complaints, without fear of reprisal or discrimination.

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLE

2. This policy is designed to give the parties concerned an opportunity to find one or more viable solutions to disputes arising in the workplace. To that end, the parties agree that grievances must be dealt with in good faith throughout the process. The parties also recognize the usefulness of meetings and informal discussions between employees and their supervisors as a way to resolve matters without resorting to a formal grievance.

ELIGIBILITY

3. With the exception of support staff members completing their start-of-employment probation and support staff members whose position is excluded from AEUO (these employees are generally governed by Policy 32b), all AEUO members are eligible to submit a formal grievance under this policy.

DEFINITIONS

4. Arbitration is the final stage in resolving a grievance. It is a quasi-judicial process where a third party (the arbitrator) having no association with the University hears the grievance and renders a decision.

Internal Grievance Committee is a joint, three-member committee: one (1) member is appointed by AEUO, one (1) member is appointed by the Administrative Committee, and one (1) member is chosen at random from among five persons on a pre-established list negotiated by the parties every two years. The persons on the list may be active or retired employees of the University of Ottawa but, for the sake of impartiality, must not be or have been involved in the dispute in any way. The Internal Grievance Committee considers, at the second level, all grievances concerning the application or interpretation of University policies, procedures and official directives. It makes its recommendations to the Administrative Committee.

Grievance means a written complaint on the Presentation of Grievance form, by a member or a group of members of the non-unionized support staff for the purpose of protesting an action or omission by a person or by persons employed by the University of Ottawa in the application or the interpretation of policies, procedures and official directives affecting employment.

Collective grievance refers to a group of non-unionized members of the support staff who wish the resolution of the same grievance. These employees must present the grievance through a single spokesperson. In this case, along with the Presentation of Collective Grievance form, the grieving employees must include a letter containing each of their names and signatures.

Policy grievance refers to a challenge by the AEUO or the University on the general interpretation of a policy, a procedure or official directive.

Mediation is an effort to resolve a dispute between two individuals through measures proposed by the parties concerned with the assistance of a third party chosen to act as a facilitator. Mediation is one of the avenues of redress available for resolving a grievance, and it can be used at any stage of the dispute-resolution process. Both parties must consent to it being tried as a settlement mechanism, but, it is recognized that not all complaints or grievances can be settled through mediation. The mediator is chosen by mutual agreement of the parties.

Non-unionized member of the support staff means employees of the University of Ottawa who are in regular positions and who are members of the AEUO.

REPRESENTATION OR ASSISTANCE

5. A grievor, at his or her discretion, may be represented or assisted at any step of the grievance process by a person of his/her choice. Such a person may be an elected member of the AEUO. In the event that the grievor does not wish to be assisted or represented, he may, if he wishes, invite a neutral third party who may act as an observer or offer assistance. However, under no circumstances may the assistant, representative or the neutral third party be the immediate superior of the grievor or any person with decision-making authority at the first, second and third levels of the grievance process.

When there is representation, assistance or observation, a representative of the Human Resources Service also attends the meetings to discuss resolution of the dispute.

DECISION LEVELS

6. This policy provides for an informal step of dispute resolution, followed by no more than three decision levels, as follows:

  • a) Informal step: a meeting with the immediate superior.
  • b) First level: the Dean if it is a faculty or school, the Director, if it is a service, or the Chief Librarian if the Library Network is concerned, as the case may be. When an employee reports to the Dean of a faculty, or to the Director of a service or to the Chief Librarian, the grievance is presented to their superior. When a member of the support staff reports to the Rector, to a Vice-Rector or the Secretary of the University, or to an Assistant or Associate Vice-Rector, the grievance is presented to the second decision level.
  • c) Second level: If the grievance concerns the application or interpretation of University policies, procedures and directives, the Internal Grievance Committee considers the grievance and make its recommendation to the Administrative Committee. For a policy grievance or a grievance concerning a dismissal, a suspension or a financial penalty, the matter goes before the Administrative Committee, which serves as the first level of presentation.
  • d) Third level: an arbitrator, as provided by this policy.

PRESENTING A GRIEVANCE

7. Grievances must be presented according to the steps and provisions of this policy.

8. The remedy sought must relate directly to the original grievance. Each decision level considers only remedies that relate to the grievance.

INFORMAL STEP

9. Eligible support staff members who have a grievance to be presented must first discuss it with their immediate superior, in the presence of their representative if they wish and specifying the remedy sought. If the matter cannot be resolved to the grievor's satisfaction, the member may then present a formal grievance by giving notice to the Manager, Employee Relations, Human Resources Service and to AEUO.

10. The grievance is considered as the last avenue of dispute resolution available to employees. The spirit of this policy calls for every other possible avenue of dispute resolution to be explored in good faith before employees file a grievance.

FIRST LEVEL

11. The grievor must complete the Presentation of Grievance, following the instructions on the form, include all grievance-related documentation in his possession, cite the policy, procedure or directive (and clauses) under which the grievance is filed, sign the form, and submit the package to the first level (or to the second level, depending on the nature of the grievance or the immediate superior concerned) within fifteen (15) working days of the incident giving rise to the grievance, or within fifteen (15) working days of the moment when the incident giving rise to the grievance first becomes known.

12. The date and time the grievance is received is entered on the form, and a copy is given to the grievor.

13. The person responsible for dealing with the grievance at this level determines the nature of the remedy sought by the employee, ascertains the course of action taken by the University in similar circumstances and the remedy granted, and consults the Director of Human Resources Service to determine how similar cases have been settled.

14. The person responsible for dealing with the grievance at this level hears the facts of the case and ensures that the employee has given a complete version of the events from his or her perspective. He or she conducts an investigation to uncover all relevant facts and to study relevant documents. This person also ensures, as far as possible, that confidentiality is maintained throughout.

15. The person responsible records the findings of the investigation in a memorandum, setting out the positions of the parties concerned (that is, the relevant supervisor and the employee) and explaining the parties' positions and the statements of witnesses if any; he or she also ensures that the file contains all the documentation, in case the grievor brings the matter to the next decision level. Subsequent consideration of the grievance is based on evidence in the file. The parties nonetheless receive any new, relevant facts or documents submitted during later stages so that they can respond to them, if necessary.

16. The person responsible communicates his or her decision to the grievor, in writing, and sends a copy to both the grievor's representative and the persons listed on the form, within five (5) working days of receiving the form. The decision is written on the form.

SECOND LEVEL

17. If the grievor does not receive any reply to the grievance at the first level, or if the grievor receives a reply and is not satisfied with the decision, the grievor may appeal the decision to the second level within ten (10) working days of receiving the first-level decision, or within fifteen (15) working days of filing the grievance at the first level if there has been no reply, unless other time limits have been agreed on as stipulated in this policy. In this event, the grievor shall complete the Appeal of Decision form and submit it to the Secretary of the University, in accordance with the procedure set out on the form.

In the case of a policy grievance or a grievance concerning a dismissal, a suspension or a financial penalty, where the grievance must be presented to the Office of the Secretary and the case is dealt with by the Administrative Committee as the first decision level, the grievance shall be presented within fifteen (15) working days of the incident that gave rise to the grievance, or within fifteen (15) working days of the moment at which the incident that gave rise to the grievance first became known.

Grievances concerning the application or interpretation of University policies, procedures and directives

18. If the grievance concerns the application or interpretation of University policies, procedures or directives, the Internal Grievance Committee considers the matter and makes its recommendation to the Administrative Committee.

19. The Internal Grievance Committee is formed no later than five (5) working days after the Office of the Secretary receives the grievance, and a hearing is convened no later than ten (10) working days after the grievance reaches the Office of the Secretary.

20. Giving due consideration to the time limits set out in this policy, both parties involved in the grievance may meet with the Internal Grievance Committee. The employee may be represented by someone of his or her choosing. At the request of the grievor, the Committee will meet with the persons involved or having relevant information. Once the process is complete, the Committee writes a brief report and makes a recommendation to the Administrative Committee.

21. Each member of the Internal Grievance Committee has one vote and cannot abstain from voting. To stand, recommendations of the Internal Grievance Committee must be supported by at least two (2) of its members. The Grievance Committee submits its recommendation to the Administrative Committee, which studies it within the next seven (7) working days.

22. Giving due consideration to the time limits set out in this policy, the Administrative Committee reserves the right to meet with the employee before making its decision. The employee must be accompanied by someone of his/her choosing. The Legal Counsel of the University may be asked to take part in this meeting as an observer and a resource person.

23. The Secretary informs the grievor of the Administrative Committee's decision, in writing, within ten (10) working days of the Internal Grievance Committee's recommendation, also sending copies of the decision to the persons listed on the form.

Policy grievances or grievances concerning a dismissal, a suspension or a financial penalty

24. Policy grievances or grievances concerning a dismissal, a suspension or a financial penalty go directly to the Administrative Committee. The Committee meets with the employee before making its decision, but in keeping with the time limits in this policy. The employee must be accompanied by someone of his or her choosing. The Legal Counsel of the University may be asked to take part in this meeting as an observer and a resource person.

25. The Secretary of the University informs the grievor of the Administrative Committee's decision, in writing, no later than ten (10) working days after receiving the form; the Secretary sends copies of the decision to the persons listed on the form.

THIRD LEVEL

26. As a rule, the parties agree to resort to a single arbitrator. Should the parties be unable to agree on an arbitrator, one of the parties asks the Administrative Committee to appoint an arbitrator. The parties must meet no later than five (5) working days after the Appeal of a Grievance form reaches the Office of the Secretary, to agree on the choice of arbitrator.

27. When a grievor receives a decision and is not satisfied with the outcome, he or she may, within ten (10) working days of receiving the decision from the previous level, file an appeal to be heard by an arbitrator. To do so, the grievor must complete the Appeal of a Decision form and submit it to the Secretary of the University for study by an arbitrator, as set out on the form.

28. A formal hearing is held before the arbitrator and those involved in the grievance. The deliberations and decisions of lower levels are not considered, but all grievance documents submitted at previous levels may be.

29. At the conclusion of the hearing, the arbitrator makes a final ruling and communicates the decision, in writing, to the Secretary of the University within thirty (30) calendar days of the hearing date.

30. The Secretary of the University sends the arbitrator's decision to the parties concerned.

31. The arbitrator's decision is final.

32. The Secretary establishes, with the approval of the AEUO Executive, a list of arbitrators qualified to hear arbitration cases. The University and AEUO enter into a memorandum of agreement that sets out the terms and conditions governing arbitrator appointments. Members of the Board of Governors, students and employees of the University may not be among the five persons listed.

33. The arbitrator may not amend in any way the written by-laws, policies and procedures of the University. He/she must hear both sides of the case and either issue an award upholding or overturning the decision of the University vis-à-vis the employee's grievance.

34. In their rulings or decisions, arbitrators may include a requirement that the grievor be compensated for lost salary or wages.

35. Arbitrators' expenses and fees are shared as follows:

  • a) for dismissals, suspensions or demotions, the expenses and fees are paid by the University;
  • b) for grievances concerning the application or interpretation of University policies, procedures or directives, and where the Administrative Committee rejects the recommendation of the Internal Grievance Committee, the expenses and fees are paid by the University;
  • c) for grievances concerning the application or interpretation of University policies, procedures or directives, and where the Administrative Committee accepts the recommendation of the Internal Grievance Committee, but the grievor decides to appeal the decision to the third level, the expenses and fees are shared by the grievor and the University, unless the arbitrator rules the grievance frivolous and orders a different sharing of costs;
  • d) for policy grievances, and where the Administrative Committee dismisses the grievance but the arbitrator allows the grievance, the expenses and fees are paid by the University;
  • e) for policy grievances, and where both the Administrative Committee and the arbitrator dismiss the grievance, the expenses and fees are paid by AEUO.

WITHDRAWAL OF THE GRIEVANCE

36. Grievors may withdraw their grievance at any time; however, they must notify the Human Resources Service of this in writing after the first level, and the Secretary of the University at the second and third levels. In this event, the immediate superior informs any other authorities involved that the grievance has been withdrawn. If the grievance is withdrawn at the third level and arbitrator costs have been incurred, these are shared evenly by the University and the grievor.

37. Unless the Vice-Rector, Resources authorizes an extension, when grievors fail to file the grievance by the deadlines given in this policy-at any level- the grievors are deemed to have abandoned the grievance and lose the right to have the matter studied further,

REPRISAL PROHIBITED

38. No reprisals must be taken against employees who file a grievance.

39. Persons performing management functions or serving in a confidential capacity are expressly forbidden from trying, through intimidation, threat of dismissal, or any other threat, to cause employees to abandon a grievance or refrain from exercising their right to file a grievance as set out in this policy.

EXCEPTIONS

40. If the grievor or the respondent needs to be exempted from a time limit, the authorities and other persons involved must be notified at least two (2) working days before the deadline in question. The two parties may agree on a new deadline.

41. Exceptions to this policy are not allowed.

Published April 2, 2003

(Human Resources)

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