PERSONNEL PROCEDURES FOR UC IRVINE STAFF MEMBERS

Complaint Resolution

Procedure 70: Complaint Resolution - Professional and Support Staff (PSS) and Managers and Senior Professionals (MSP) I-VII

Responsible Office: Human Resources
Revised:
April 2013

A. References

University of California Policy

Personnel Policies for Staff Members

  • Policy 12, Nondiscrimination in Employment
  • Policy 31, Hours of Work
  • Policy 32, Overtime (Non-Exempt Employees Only)
  • Policy 33, Shift and Weekend Differential (Non-Exempt Employees Only)
  • Policy 60, Layoff and Reduction in Time from Professional and Support Staff Career Positions
  • Policy 62, Corrective Action--Professional and Support Staff
  • Policy 64, Termination of Career Employees--Professional and Support Staff
  • Policy 65, Termination of Career Employees--Managers and Senior Professionals, Salary Grades I through VII
  • Policy 66, Medical Separation
  • Policy 70, Complaint Resolution
  • Policy 71, Resolution of Concerns--Managers and Senior Professionals, Salary Grades VIII and IX

UCI Administrative Policies & Procedures

  • Section 700-17, Guidelines for Reporting and Responding to Reports of Sex Offenses
  • Section 700-18, Guidelines for Reporting and Responding to Reports of Discrimination and Harassment

Contacts: Labor and Employee Relations, Human Resources (949) 824-4257
Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (949) 824-5594
University Ombudsman (949) 824-7256

B. Authority and Responsibility

The Director of Labor and Employee Relations, Campus Human Resources, is responsible for the administration of these procedures for employees in campus departments. The Manager, Labor and Employee Relations, UCI Medical Center Human Resources, is responsible for developing and administering procedures for employees in Medical Center departments. Managers, supervisors and employees at the Medical Center may obtain a copy of the procedure from UCI Medical Center Human Resources.

C. Guidelines

  1. Process Summary
    1. Prior to filing a formal complaint, the employee shall attempt to resolve the issue(s) with the employee's immediate supervisor and/or department head, as appropriate. This process may include the use of the University Ombudsman, the UCI Campus Mediation Program, and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (OEOD).
    2. If attempts to resolve an issue are unsuccessful, a formal written Policy 70 complaint may be filed. Complaints must be filed within 30 calendar days of knowledge of the event or action that gave rise to the complaint. A written decision by the department head will be provided to the employee. Formal complaints of discrimination or sexual harassment may be filed with OEOD and are subject to the procedures outlined in UCI Administrative Policies and Procedures, Section 700-17 and Section 700-18.
    3. If the issue remains unresolved, the employee may request further review by the appropriate administrator (including, but not limited to, Vice Chancellor, Associate Vice Chancellor, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Dean and Assistant Dean). Either party may request that a factfinder be appointed to investigate the complaint and issue a report. Allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment will be referred to OEOD. The employee is responsible for filing the complaint with OEOD. A written decision from the Vice Chancellor will be provided to the employee.
    4. Eligible issue(s) remaining unresolved may be submitted for review by a hearing officer.
  2. General Provisions
    1. Prior to filing a Policy 70 formal complaint, the employee shall attempt to resolve the complaint with the employee's immediate supervisor and/or manager, as appropriate. Such an attempt will not extend the 30 calendar day deadline for filing a written request for formal review. All parties are encouraged to use available resources to assist in the informal resolution.
    2. The following options are available if the parties agree to a more structured process prior to filing a formal complaint:
      • 1) The Office of the University Ombudsman provides an informal, neutral means for employees, supervisors and managers to resolve concerns or discuss issues. Use of the University Ombudsman does not extend the time limits of this procedure.
      • 2) The UCI Campus Mediation Program, administered by the Office of the University Ombudsman, is an informal, voluntary program through which a mediator can assist staff to resolve a complaint in the workplace. Participation in the UCI Campus Mediation Program does not extend the time limits of this procedure.
        • a) To retain eligibility for review of the complaint under this procedure, the employee must file the formal complaint in accordance with Section C.1.b., above.
        • b) The employee may request a written extension of the time limits for processing a Step I complaint that has been timely filed until the end of the mediation process or for 30 calendar days, whichever comes first.
    3. Upon receipt of a formal complaint, Director of Labor and Employee Relations in Human Resources will determine:
      • 1) Whether the complaint is within the scope of Policy 70;
      • 2) Whether the complaint is timely; and/or
      • 3) Whether the complaint provides the required information. If the complaint is incomplete, yet was timely filed, the Human Resources Labor and Employee Relations unit shall grant up to 15 calendar days to allow the complaint to be corrected and resubmitted.
    4. If a complaint is rejected based upon the determinations above, the employee will be notified in writing, including the reason for the rejection. If the employee decides to appeal this decision, the appeal must be received by the Vice President-Human Resources, Office of the President, within 20 calendar days of the date of the campus decision.
    5. Once a complaint has been filed on a timely basis and accepted by the Human Resources Labor and Employee Relations unit, requests to extend subsequent timelines may be granted by that unit. Requests for extensions must be made in writing and must state the reason for the extension and the number of days requested.
    6. Complaints of two or more employees, or two or more complaints on the same incident, issue, or course of conduct, may, at the sole discretion of the Director, Labor and Employee Relations, be included in one review.
  3. Hearing and Factfinders
    1. Factfinders and campus hearing officers will be appointed by the Director of Labor and Employee Relations in Human Resources.
    2. Non-University hearing officers will be selected by mutual agreement between the parties.
      • 1) In the absence of agreement, Human Resources will obtain a panel of prospective hearing officers from either the American Arbitration Association or the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
      • 2) The non-University hearing officer's fee and all fees incurred in obtaining a list of hearing officers shall be borne equally by the University and the employee, with the exception of costs related to cancellation or postponement. These shall be borne entirely by the requesting party.

D. Complaint Review Procedure-Professional & Support Staff

  1. Step I: Formal Review
    1. The complaint must be submitted in writing to the Human Resources Labor and Employee Relations unit on the Step I: Request for Formal Review form. The complaint must be filed within 30 calendar days after the date on which the employee knew, or reasonably should have known, of the event or action that gave rise to the complaint.
    2. In addition to the requirements stated in Policy 70 Step I, the employee must:
      • 1) State the date(s) of the event or action giving rise to the complaint;
      • 2) List the name, address, and telephone number of the employee's representative, if any;
      • 3) List the date(s) of attempted informal resolutio; and
      • 4) Sign the complaint form.
    3. When a complaint includes allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment, the Director of Labor and Employee Relations may place the complaint in abeyance. When those issues are alleged, the employee may elect to substitute the campus Sexual Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedure or the Discrimination Complaint Resolution Procedure for attempted resolution with the employee's immediate supervisor or manager. These procedures are administered by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.
      • 1) If the Sexual Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedure or the Discrimination Complaint Resolution Procedure is substituted for informal resolution with the employee's immediate supervisor or manager, and the complaint is timely filed under that Procedure, the final date for filing a formal complaint under Policy 70 will be 15 calendar days from the date a decision is issued under the applicable OEOD procedure.
      • 2) When both parties mutually agree, a complaint previously filed under the Sexual Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedure or the Discrimination Complaint Resolution Procedure may proceed directly to Step II of Policy 70.
    4. The complaint and requests for extension of time shall be filed in one of the following ways:
      • 1) In person:

        University of California, Irvine
        Human Resources
        Labor and Employee Relations unit
        111 Theory, Suite 200, Irvine

      • 2) Via United States mail to:

        University of California, Irvine
        Human Resources
        Director of Labor and Employee Relations
        111Theory, Suite 200
        Irvine, CA 92697-4600

      • 3) By fax to:

        Director of Labor and Employee Relations
        Human Resources
        (949) 824-9131

    5. If the complaint is accepted, it will be forwarded to the department head. If the department head is also the immediate supervisor, the complaint will be forwarded to the next higher level of authority.
    6. The department head or next higher level has 15 calendar days from the date of the letter transmitting the complaint to respond in writing. The department head's response shall be addressed to the employee via Human Resources.
  2. Step II: Administrative Review
    1. The employee has 15 calendar days from the date of the letter transmitting the department head's response to request further review by the appropriate administrator (including, but not limited to, Vice Chancellor, Associate Vice Chancellor, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Dean and Assistant Dean). This request must be submitted in writing to the Human Resources Labor and Relations unit on the Step II: Request for Further Review form.
    2. For issues not subject to hearing at Step III:
      • 1) Either party may request that a factfinder be appointed to investigate the complaint and review findings of fact.
      • 2) If a factfinder is requested, the appropriate administrator will provide a written decision, with copies of any relevant documents that were not part of the original complaint, to the employee via Human Resources within 15 days of the receipt of the factfinder's report. The appropriate administrator's decision shall be final for all issues not subject to hearing at Step III.
      • 3) If a factfinder is not requested, the appropriate administrator will provide a written decision, with copies of any relevant documents that were not part of the original complaint, to the employee via Human Resources within 30 days of the receipt of the appeal to Step II.
    3. For issues subject to hearing at Step III:
      • 1) If a factfinder is requested, the appropriate administrator will provide a written decision, with copies of any relevant documents that were not part of the original complaint, to the employee via Human Resources within 15 days of the receipt of the factfinder's report.
        • a) If the University has requested a factfinding review at Step II, the appropriate administrator's written decision to the employee will be accompanied by a Step III: Request for Hearing form.
        • b) If the employee has requested a factfinding review, the appropriate administrator's decision will be final and binding and not subject to a Step III hearing.
      • 2) If a factfinder is not requested, the appropriate administrator will provide a written decision, with copies of any relevant documents that were not part of the original complaint, to the employee via Human Resources within 30 days of the receipt of the appeal to Step II.
  3. Factfinding
    1. The factfinder will conduct a review and will present the findings in writing. Each party to the complaint will be given the opportunity to present all information relevant to the complaint directly to the factfinder.
    2. The factfinder will determine the facts based on the written submissions of each party.
    3. The factfinder's written report shall include:
      • 1) a clear statement of the issue(s) under review,
      • 2) the alleged violations of policy, if any,
      • 3) the positions of the parties,
      • 4) a brief summary of the information received,
      • 5) the findings of fact, and
      • 6) the applicable personnel policies.
    4. The factfinder's written report should not include any recommendations or remedies.
    5. The factfinder's written report, including any relevant documents that were not part of the original complaint, will be presented to the appropriate administrator via Human Resources within 45 calendar days of the date of appointment as a factfinder.
    6. The appropriate administrator will provide a written decision to the employee via Human Resources within 15 calendar days of receipt of the factfinder's report.
  4. Step III: Hearing
    1. Unless the employee has requested a factfinding review at Step II, alleged violations of the following policies are eligible for a Step III hearing:
      • Policy 12, Nondiscrimination in Employment, pertaining only to an alleged discriminatory application of a staff policy issue listed below
      • Policy 31, Hours of Work
      • Policy 32, Overtime
      • Policy 33, Shift and Weekend Differential
      • Policy 60, Layoff and Reduction in Time from Career Positions, pertaining only to notice, order of layoff, recall, or preference for reemployment
      • Policy 62, Corrective Action, pertaining only to temporary or indefinite within-range salary decrease, corrective demotion, suspension without pay, and written warnings pertaining to such actions
      • Policy 64, Termination of Career Employees-Professional and Support Staff , and written warnings pertaining to such actions
      • Policy 66, Medical Separation
      • UC Policy 2.210, Absence from Work Policy, provided that the complaint alleged violation of one of the following sections of that policy:
        1. Vacation Leave (Section III.B.), except with regard to scheduling
        2. Sick Leave (Section III.C.)
        3. Leaves Related to Life Events (Section III.D.1-10)
        4. Military Leave, Civil Duty, and Service Leaves (Section III.E.)
        5. Holidays (Section III.H.)
      • Reprisal for using the complaint resolution process.
    2. The employee may appeal a Step II decision on an eligible issue to a hearing officer for a final and binding decision.
    3. The Step III: Request for Hearing form must be received in Human Resources within 15 calendar days of the date of the letter transmitting the appropriate administrator’s decision. The request must set forth the issues of the original complaint not resolved at previous levels of review.
    4. The Director of Labor and Employee Relations in Human Resources will make the necessary arrangements for the selection of a hearing officer.
    5. The hearing shall be recorded by the University if no stenographic record is agreed to by the parties in advance.
      • 1) The recordings are for the use of the hearing officer and shall remain the property of the University.
      • 2) Expenses for stenographic services will be borne by the party requesting such services, unless both parties agree otherwise in advance.
    6. Unless both parties otherwise agree, the hearing shall be closed to everyone other than the hearing officer, the employee, the employee's representative, the department head/designee and/or supervisor, the department's representative, a Human Resources representative, and the person designated to record the hearing.
    7. Witnesses shall be excluded from the hearing except when testifying.
    8. Except by written mutual agreement of the parties, only issues that were accepted for review in the formal complaint may be introduced at the hearing. In addition, the parties shall attempt to stipulate in writing to the statement of the issues to be submitted for review at the hearing.
    9. Each party shall, upon request, provide the other with copies of the materials to be introduced at the 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 seven calendar days prior to the hearing.
    10. The hearing officer shall provide a written decision to the employee, via Human Resources, within 30 calendar days of the close of the hearing. The written decision shall be final and binding.
    11. The hearing officer is limited to restoring the pay, benefits, or rights lost as a result of the policy violation described in the complaint, less compensation from any sources that mitigate the loss. A hearing officer may not award interest. The hearing officer may not add to, delete from, or otherwise modify the provisions of Staff Policies. The hearing officer does not have the authority to issue subpoenas or order a stenographic record.
    12. Human Resources will provide each party with a copy of the decision and a copy of the materials upon which the decision was based.
  5. Representation
    1. When an employee elects to be represented, the employee must submit the name, address and telephone number of the representative in writing to the Director of Labor and Employee Relations. Notification of changes in representation must also be submitted in writing to the Director of Labor and Employee Relations.
    2. An employee shall not have more than one representative.
    3. An employee or agent of an employee organization that represents non-confidential employees shall not participate in the handling of complaints on behalf of confidential employees.
    4. Supervisors shall not represent non-supervisory staff members. Non-supervisory staff members shall not represent supervisory staff members.
    5. Time spent by the employee and/or the employee's representative in preparing a case shall be during non-working hours and without pay.
    6. Requests by an employee and/or the employee's representative for reasonable amounts of paid time off to resolve or present a formal complaint shall be submitted in writing to the appropriate University official. Approval to participate in hearings and meetings convened by the University shall be made on an operational needs basis and shall not be unreasonably denied.
  6. Settlement Agreements

    Settlement Agreements must be approved in advance by the Director of Labor and Employee Relations, as well as other appropriate University officials.

E. Review Process–Managers & Senior Professionals grades I-VII

The review of a complaint made by an MSP employee will follow the process outlined in UC Personnel Policy 70.K. The written complaint must be submitted to the Human Resources, Labor and Employee Relations unit.

When a complaint includes allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment, the Director of Labor and Employee Relations may place the complaint in abeyance for a period not to exceed 60 calendar days. The complainant must be notified in writing of this action. In addition, an extension may be granted if extenuating circumstances exist. If a complainant raises issues such as a conflict of interest or representation, the Director of Labor and Employee Relations will resolve those issues.

F. Timelines

Timelines shall be adhered to, unless the employee or the University has requested an extension and the extension has been approved in writing by Human Resources.

  1. An extension will establish a new timeline by adding the number of days granted to the existing timeline.
  2. Complaints not appealed within the time limits at any step will be considered resolved on the basis of the preceding University response.
  3. Failure of management to respond within the time limits shall be a basis for the employee to appeal to the next step.

G. Applicability

This procedure applies to Professional and Support Staff (PSS) and Managers and Senior Professionals (MSP) salary grades I- VII. Employees in a bargaining unit that has an exclusive representative (union) are covered by the applicable provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.