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Grievance Procedures: What are the steps typically found in a grievance procedure?
A grievance procedure is a means of internal dispute resolution by which an employee may have his or her grievances addressed. Most collective bargaining agreements include procedures for filing and resolving grievances. ... Grievances are brought to the employee's immediate supervisor.
A grievance is generally defined as a claim by an employee that he or she is adversely affected by the misinterpretation or misapplication of a written company policy or collectively bargained agreement. To address grievances, employers typically implement a grievance procedure. The grievance procedure may also be part of a collective bargaining agreement.
A grievance procedure is a means of internal dispute resolution by which an employee may have his or her grievances addressed. Most collective bargaining agreements include procedures for filing and resolving grievances. Within a union environment, the processes will typically involve the employee, union representatives and members of the employer’s management team.
Grievance processes may differ somewhat from employer to employer and under various collective bargaining agreements. However, most will have certain general processes in common.
Grievances are brought to the employee’s immediate supervisor. This may be either an informal process or the beginning of the formal process. Generally, there will be a requirement that the grievance be submitted in writing using a grievance form to your union. Usually, the supervisor and the union representative will review the grievance to determine whether it is valid. Also, most grievance procedures will require that the submission occur within a specified timeframe following the event or incident. [Usually 120 days]
Three possible outcomes may occur at this stage of the process:
The next step typically involves the next level of supervisor in the company hierarchy. In most union environments, the employee will be represented by the union and is not present in the review process. A failure to resolve the grievance will lead to the next step in the grievance process.
The third step in the process will lead to a review by a higher level of company management and potentially a higher-level union representative. Ultimately, the grievance may reach the highest levels as set forth by the contract.
If the grievance remains unresolved through the highest levels of management within the company, many procedures include a provision by which an outside arbitrator may be called in to resolve the issue. Senior leaders from both sides are typically involved in the arbitration process.
An effective grievance procedure provides employees with a mechanism to resolve issues of concern. The grievance procedure may also help employers correct issues before they become serious issues or result in litigation.
In order to first file a grievance you must obtain knowledge of the city rules and regulations, your agencies policy and procedures, your specific respected contract, and your specific job task standards as per its official OCB/OLR job description. It would behoove you to obtain tangible copies of all of the aforementioned before you embark on a grievance.
Never shoot-from-the-hip when filing a grievance always gather all your information before hand. It is also good idea to have strategy about filing grievance.
Documenting is the key, as continuing to document during the entire grievance process is crucial as well.
Document with all the of the W's-
1- WHO was involved?
Get the names of everyone involved in the grievance members, supervisors and Witnesses.
2- WHEN did it happen?
This may be maybe straight forward, if there was a single incident, or more complicated, if your grievances involves issues that have happened over time.
3- WHERE did it happen?
Get the exact location where the incident or the incidents occurred. Location can be particularly important if your grievance involves witnesses.
4- WHY is it a violation?
What contract language, work rule[s], past practices or laws were violated?
5- WHAT happened and what is the remedy?
Have a detailed explanation prepared to use during grievance meetings. Make a note of information you need to get. The remedy should include everything it will take to make th employee whole in every way.
If the case involve witnesses, make sure you have their names, phone numbers and addresses. Try to get a statement from them as soon as possible, to prevent management from pressuring them into changing their story. For important cases, get signed written statements and if possible have them notarized.
You must first know
1- if it is a contract violation
2- is it a violation of federal state or local or provincial law
3- is it a violation of employee rules of policies
4- is a violation of fair treatment
Keep in mind the most grievances only go back a 120 days from the first day that you initiate and file a grievance. Therefore you can't put in a grievance today and say that you've been doing the job for the Last 5 Years and think you got to get paid for it it doesn't work that way. Grievances go back usually a 120 days and go forward from the date you filed it.
Check what your union to see how far they go back in their grievance process.
Every grievance procedure is different so it's important to check your contract for the exact steps in your procedure.
Some dangers in following grievances are:
1- missing the time limit for filing
2-give me management all your information and getting no information and returned
3- you may not have all the facts yet
4- a poorly-written grievance
9 out of 10 times management violates their own rules & regulations, and or your contractual agreement.
Keep your grievance simple:
A good grievance answer three basic questions:
1- What happened or failed to happen?
2- Why is the situation a grievance?
3- How should employer correct the situation?
Key phrases to use in your grievance:
Always include these phrases
"Any other articles that apply and not limited to"
You may find out later that you have another part of the contract that has been violated keep the doors open.
"Made whole in every way and not limited to "
Use this with the remedy you are requesting in case you forgot to include something that becomes important later management will want to limit the remedy don't help them.
"Cease and Desist"
Cease and desist remedy is also pertinent as It will prevent the violation[s] from continuing to occur in the future.
An arbitrators decision is binding, therefore it can not be appealed. I do not suggest using the grievance process in cases of disciplinary, but rather an article 78 procedure via OATH if your title is eligible for such, due to the fact that you can appeal an adverse OATH decision to higher courts.
Once you have completed the step 3 process or whatever terminology your grievance process states before arbitration, members should know that if you lose at your step hearing the hearing before an arbitration hearing, it is up to the union to decide if they want to take it to an arbitration hearing. If they do not decide to take it to arbitration they are supposed to let you know in writing.
Employees/ union members should know that if the union decides not to proceed to arbitration, that it does not end there. Employee/ the union member can file an improper practice.
I will outline that process on the improper practice page along with pertinent information and the official guide book.
**Keep various copies of everything for your records.
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