Faculty Handbook: Grievance procedures
In 1988, following a mandate to all State System institutions from the State Board of Higher Education, the OSU Faculty Senate approved new grievance procedures. There have been minor revisions since then. The procedures are published in their entirety below. Numbers refer to the Oregon Administrative Rules.
- The University encourages the resolution of grievances through informal means and discussion in keeping with the collegial atmosphere of a university. The University is also committed to a formal procedure for consideration of grievances that are not resolved through informal processes.
- The procedure set out in this rule is available to any unclassified employee with faculty rank as defined in this rule and in the rules of the State Board of Higher Education.
- This grievance procedure may be used to hear any complaint by a faculty member that he or she was wronged in connection with compensation, tenure, promotion or other conditions of employment, or that his or her rights were denied as to reappointment. "Other conditions of employment" shall include, but not be limited to, violations of academic freedom, nondiscriminatory employment practices and discriminatory employment practices including sexual harassment, and laws, rules, policies and procedures under which the institution of higher education employing the academic employee operates. Disciplinary sanctions are imposed in accordance with OAR 580–021–0320 and shall not be subject to this grievance procedure.
- The University may elect not to proceed with a grievance if the grievant also seeks resolution in another forum.
- If the grievance concerns a matter to which contested case procedures apply, the grievant may elect to use the procedures in OAR 576–002–0020 to 576–002–0055.
Definitions and Mail Requirement
- "Days" as used in this rule shall mean calendar days.
- "Presentation of the Grievance" as used in OAR 580–021–0050 means receipt of the grievance by the dean, director or unit executive officer as specified in OAR 576–050–0025.
- "Faculty Mediator" is an academic employee with faculty rank chosen by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. Emeritus faculty shall be eligible to serve as the Faculty Mediator.
- "Faculty Grievance Committee" is a committee of five academic employees with faculty rank chosen by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and charged with the responsibility for hearing faculty grievances in accordance with these procedures. Any person with faculty rank may submit nominations to the Executive Committee for consideration. The Executive Committee shall choose at least one female and one minority member. Three members shall constitute a quorum. The Executive Committee of the Senate shall select a chair.
- "Faculty Rank" means faculty ranks as defined in the rules of the State Board of Higher Education and includes faculty without rank but with professional title.
- All appeals, decisions, or recommendations referred to in this rule shall be sent by U.S. Mail or University campus mail.
- Prior to filing a formal grievance a faculty member is encouraged to discuss the grievance with his or her supervisor (or dean, director, unit executive officer or Affirmative Action director). The immediate supervisor shall respond to the grievant within fifteen (15) days.
- The Affirmative Action Office must be notified of any grievance alleging discrimination, including sexual harassment. The Affirmative Action Director, if so requested by the grievant, will investigate any grievance alleging discrimination and attempt to help the parties resolve the issue.
- The faculty member or the chair of the Grievance Committee, with the faculty member’s concurrence, may request the Faculty Mediator to review and attempt to resolve all other grievances, including those the Affirmative Action Director determines not to be valid claims of discrimination.
- The Mediator may meet with the grievant and take what action he or she considers appropriate in attempting to resolve the grievance, including interviewing or consulting other persons. The Mediator and all parties to the grievance shall keep the mediation process confidential to the extent possible under law. Statements made in mediation shall not be admissible in a grievance hearing.
- Nothing in this rule shall require a faculty member to use informal grievance procedures before filing a formal written grievance, provided that a faculty member must notify the Affirmative Action Office of all claims of unlawful discrimination, including sexual harassment, before filing a written complaint.
Initiation of Formal Procedures
- If a grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the grievant at the informal stage, or if the grievant chooses to bypass the informal stage, the grievant may file a formal written grievance. A grievance shall be filed with the dean, director, or executive officer in charge of the administrative unit, except: a) where the grievant is a department chair in which case the grievance shall be filed with the Provost and Executive Vice President; or b) where the grievant alleges sexual harassment against the person in charge of the administrative unit, in which case the grievance shall be filed with the next higher administrator.
- The grievant shall file a copy of the written grievance with the Legal Advisor in the Office of the President. The formal grievance must be filed within sixty (60) days of the time the faculty member knew or by reasonable diligence should have known of the acts which gave rise to the grievance. Therefore, discussion or mediation at the informal stage should be initiated as soon as possible. The University shall extend the sixty (60) day filing requirement if the grievant is pursuing the complaint at the informal level and it appears that additional time would be beneficial in resolving the grievance. Extension by the University shall be in writing by the Legal Advisor.
- The written grievance must contain the grievant’s name and address, the date and nature of the act or omission which gave rise to the grievance, any rule, policy or procedure alleged to have been violated or misapplied, and the remedy requested by the grievant.
- The dean, director, unit executive officer, or the respective designee shall send a written decision to the grievant within twenty (20) days of receipt of the grievance.
Appeal to the Faculty Grievance Committee
If the decision of the dean, director, or unit executive officer is not satisfactory to the grievant, the grievant may file a written appeal with the Faculty Grievance Committee within ten (10) days of receipt of the written decision, stating why the response at the previous level is deficient. This step is optional with the grievant. The grievant may bypass the committee and file the appeal directly with the President.
- The Committee shall send to the grievant a written notice of the time and place of the hearing at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing.
- At the committee hearing the faculty member shall present his or her case first, followed by the person or persons who are the object of the grievance. Thereafter the faculty member shall have an opportunity to respond.
- Each party shall have a right to call and examine witnesses, to introduce exhibits or other documents. The members of the committee may question any witness and may call additional witnesses.
- If the grievant so chooses he or she may be accompanied by or represented at the hearing by any other person.
- Either party may provide for and obtain a sound recording of the hearing.
- The hearing shall be open to the public at the option of the grievant to the extent allowed by law. However, deliberations of the Grievance Committee shall not be open to the public or the parties.
Decision by the Committee and Appeal to the President
- The committee’s decision shall be made in the form of a written recommendation to the President. It shall be based only upon evidence presented at the hearing. The recommendation shall include a description of the complaint, the evidence the committee collected, and its conclusions and recommendations for disposition of the case. The recommendations shall be sent to the grievant, to the President and to the dean, director or executive officer in charge of the unit out of which the grievance arose within sixty (60) days of receipt of the appeal to the committee.
- The President or his or her designee shall review the decision of the committee and the President shall deliver a written decision to the grievant, to the Grievance Committee and to the dean, director or unit executive officer in charge of the unit out of which the grievance arose within thirty (30) days of receipt of the committee’s recommendation. Prior to issuing a decision the President, or designee, may interview any person concerning the grievance to supplement the record whether or not the person testified at the hearing, provided that the decision shall list each person so interviewed. In addition the President or designee may review any documents, provided that the decision shall identify any such documents that were not introduced at the committee hearing. The grievant shall be informed of any additional information obtained by the President and given seven (7) days to respond. If the President rejects or modifies the recommendations of the committee, the reasons shall be stated in the decision.
- If the grievant chooses to appeal the decision of the dean, director, or unit executive officer directly to the President, the President shall proceed to review the matter and reach a decision as set out in 576–050–0035 (2), provided that all persons interviewed and all documents reviewed must be identified in the decision. The President shall issue a decision within thirty (30) days of receipt of the grievant’s appeal.
- The decision of the President shall be final except as provided in OAR 576–050–0035(5).
- If the grievance is directed at the President as the immediate supervisor of the grievant or at the President in his or her administrative capacity (as contrasted to appellate capacity), the grievant may appeal to the Chancellor of the Oregon University System as provided in OAR 580–021–0050(10).
Effect of Time Limits
If the University fails to respond within the time limits at any step in this grievance process, the grievant may appeal to the next step.
An individual filing a grievance in good faith or otherwise participating in any of the actions authorized under these grievance rules shall not be subject to retaliatory action of any kind by any employee of the University, the Oregon University System, or the State Board of Higher Education.
Not later than two years from the adoption of these rules, the Provost and Faculty Senate Executive Committee shall jointly appoint a faculty committee to review the effectiveness of this grievance procedure and to recommend any changes.
Effective February 25, 2002