Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Policies-11

1.19 Appeals

The following appeal procedures for presenting concerns and complaints regarding employment-related matters are available to University personnel whose appointments are not "subject to the pleasure of the President" or otherwise "at will" appointments and who have completed their probationary period.

 

1.19.1 NON-TERMINATION CASES

The following appeal procedure for presenting concerns and complaints regarding employment-related matters other than termination is available to University personnel whose appointments are not "subject to the pleasure of the President" or otherwise "at will" appointments and who have completed their probationary period.

  1. The staff member must first discuss the concern or complaint with his/her immediate supervisor within five working days following the date the staff member first becomes aware of, or should have become aware of, the concern or complaint.

  2. Failing resolution by this informal discussion, the staff member may file a formal appeal. The appeal must be initiated no later than fifteen working days following the date the staff member first becomes aware of, or should have become aware of, the concern or complaint.

  3. To initiate a formal appeal, a statement setting forth the concern or complaint must be prepared and submitted on an established Appeal Form available from the Labor Relations Department.

This procedure is not designed to address concerns relating to position classification or to resolve complaints alleging sexual harassment or discrimination due to race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age sexual orientation, marital status, or handicap, or to effect resolution of position classification matters.

Complaints alleging sexual harassment or discrimination in terms of employment are processed in accordance with proceedings defined under Executive Order 84-1, Discrimination Complaint Process, while position classification matters are resolved with Position Classification Review proceedings.

Procedure

Level I: The staff member shall, within the five working days referred to in paragraph 1,discuss the complaint with his/her immediate supervisor. Within five working days from the time the informal complaint is brought to the supervisor's attention, the supervisor shall review the matter and meet with the staff member to discuss resolution.

Level II: If the matter is not resolved at Level I, the staff member may, within the fifteen working days referred to in paragraph 2, reduce the matter to writing on the Appeal Form and present it to the department/division head. Within ten working days of receipt of the Appeal Form the department/division head shall review the matter and meet with the staff member to discuss resolution.

The department/division head will provide a written response to the staff member within ten working days after the discussion.

Level III: If a Level II written response is not issued within the prescribed period, or if the staff member is not satisfied with the response, the staff member may, within ten working days of the day the Level II response was or should have been provided, appeal in writing to his/her division senior vice president. If the unit does not report to a senior vice president, the staff member may request the President to designate an individual to hear the appeal. The appeal must include copies of the initial Appeal Form and all subsequent documents in the matter, and may include other pertinent information the staff member wishes to submit.

The division senior vice president or he President's designee shall review the matter and may direct that additional meetings take place between the affected staff member and appropriate supervisory personnel

Within thirty calendar days of receipt of the Level III appeal, the division senior vice president or President's designee will provide a written response to the staff member. The decision of the senior vice president or President's designee is final.

General Conditions

Alternate Procedures

The University shall not be required to process a complaint through this appeal procedure when a substantially similar complaint has been filed or adjudicated in any other forum.

Time Standards

Any decision rendered pursuant to this procedure and not timely appealed by the aggrieved staff member ill become the final decision in the matter. f a University representative does not reply to a staff member's appeal action within the prescribed time, the staff member may proceed to the next level. With the written consent of both parties, designated time limits may be extended.

 

1.19.2 TERMINATION CASES FOR PERSONNEL WHOSE APPOINTMENT IS NOT "AT THE PLEASURE"

This Appeals Procedure provides the exclusive means by which an employee who does not serve at the pleasure of the President or his/her designee, and who is not in initial probationary status, may challenge a dismissal for unsatisfactory performance or misconduct. As the University is engaged in interstate commerce, the Arbitration provision of this policy is governed by and enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act.

The University reserves in its sole discretion the right to reorganize or reduce its staffing or to release employees in response to economic, programmatic, organizational or other business considerations. Therefore, this Appeals Procedure shall not apply to any employee affected by a reduction in force.

Any employee covered by this section, who is dismissed for unsatisfactory performance or misconduct, may appeal that decision under this police within five working days after receipt of a written notice of release. The Appeal must be in writing.

The written Appeal shall be delivered to the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources (hereafter referred to as the Assistant VP), or, in the absence of the Assistant VP, to the designee of the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and shall state in detail the reasons why the dismissed employee believes the decision was unjustified, and shall refer to any University policy that the employee believes supports the Appeal. The appealing employee shall also attach any documentation in his or her possession supporting the Appeal.

The Assistant VP shall, within five working days after receipt of the written Appeal, refer the Appeal to the appropriate department head or designee, who shall file a written Reply to the Appeal and return it to the Assistant VP within ten working days after receipt of the Appeal. The Reply shall refer to any University policy that supports the decision.

Thereafter, the Assistant VP shall confer with the department head and other relevant members of the management staff to determine whether it would be productive to schedule a meeting with the dismissed employee (and such persons within the University management as the Assistant VP and the department head deem appropriate) in an effort to resolve the Appeal. If the Appeal is not resolved at this level to the satisfaction of the dismissed employee, the Assistant VP shall refer the Appeal to a Neutral Arbitrator for resolution, provided the employee agrees to pay one-half of the cost of the Arbitrator.

Neutral Arbitration

The University shall designate one or more persons certified by the National Academy of Arbitrators, American Arbitration Association, or similar arbitrator societies to serve as a Neutral Arbitrator on such terms as the Arbitrators and the University shall determine. In each Appeal, only one Neutral Arbitrator shall hear and decide the matter.

When an Appeal has been referred to a Neutral Arbitrator, the Assistant VP shall provide the Arbitrator with copies of the Appeal and the Reply. The employee shall be provided with a copy of the Reply and may, at his or her expense, be represented by a lawyer or other advocate during any proceeding occurring after the Appeal has been referred to an Arbitrator. The Arbitrator shall confer with the dismissed employee (or the employee's advocate, if one has been retained) and a representative of the University, and determine the scope of evidence which may be presented by the parties, as well as the witnesses who will be allowed to give testimony, and schedule a hearing date.

In scheduling and conducting the hearing and in deciding what evidence shall be allowed, the Arbitrator shall bear in mind that the intent of this Appeal Procedure is to provide an informal forum in which a challenged dismissal decision can be quickly considered and conclusively resolved. The Arbitrator shall establish such rules governing the arbitration as are appropriate but may, upon his or her own initiative, call only the Assistant VP and the appealing employee to give testimony

Standard of Review

In cases involving either a dismissal for unsatisfactory performance or a dismissal for misconduct, it is the duty of the Arbitrator to determine whether the University dismissed the appealing employee in good faith. A decision made in "good faith" means a decision reached honestly and without a fraudulent, deceitful or unlawful purpose.

Unsatisfactory Performance Cases

In arriving at his or her decision whether the University dismissed the employee in good faith in unsatisfactory performance cases, the Arbitrator may consider the nature of the performance in question, the nature of the employee's job and responsibilities, and the University policies and practices in force at the time the decision was made, but the Arbitrator may not substitute his or her judgment for that of the University regarding the propriety of the relevant policies and practices, modify these, establish other standards of performance, or reclassify the dismissal as one based upon misconduct rather than performance reasons.

If the Arbitrator finds that the University did not determine in good faith that the employee's performance was unsatisfactory, then the Arbitrator may order the employee reinstated, with or without back pay (less any interim earnings, including unemployment compensation), on such terms as the Arbitrator shall deem equitable under the circumstance, giving due regard to the rights of employees not involved in the Appeal. The Arbitrator is not authorized to award any other relief to the prevailing employee, but the Arbitrator may make an advisory recommendation to the parties regarding alternate dispositions.

If the Arbitrator finds that the University determined in good faith that the employee's performance was unsatisfactory, the Arbitrator shall sustain the dismissal.

Dismissals Involving Misconduct

In arriving at his or her decision whether the University dismissed the employee in good faith, the Arbitrator may consider the nature of the misconduct in question, the nature of the employee's job and responsibilities, the character of the University's "business," and the University's policies and practices in force at the time the decision was made, but the Arbitrator may not substitute his or her judgment for that of the University regarding the propriety of the relevant policies and practices, modify these, establish other standards of conduct, or reclassify the dismissal as one based upon performance reasons rather than misconduct.

If the Arbitrator finds that the University did not discipline the employee in good faith, then the Arbitrator may order the employee reinstated, with or without back pay (less any interim earnings. including unemployment compensation), on such terms as the Arbitrator shall deem equitable under the circumstances, giving due regard to the rights of employees not involved in the Appeal. The Arbitrator is not authorized to award any other relief to the prevailing employee, but the Arbitrator may make an advisory recommendation to the parties regarding alternate dispositions.

If the Arbitrator finds that the University disciplined the employee in good faith, the Arbitrator shall sustain the dismissal. If the Arbitrator finds that the University disciplined the employee in good faith, he or she may not reduce the penalty.

Written Opinion

As soon as possible after the hearing is concluded, the Arbitrator shall give a short written opinion explaining the decision. The decision of the Arbitrator shall be final and binding upon the appealing employee as well as the University. The decision shall not have precedential value in any other Appeal.