Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Following publication of our latest Authorized Replace discussing the statewide surge of office security grievances, we’ve acquired many questions relating to which grievance process provisions deserve rapid consideration to greatest put together for a possible grievance. Whereas every district’s grievance process might comprise procedures or provisions distinctive to itself, there are just a few core provisions that must be included inside all grievance procedures for functions of offering a good, efficient, and environment friendly grievance course of.
The primary grievance process part deserving of rapid consideration is the definitions part. It’s crucial to obviously outline the people eligible to invoke the process, limiting use of the grievance process to solely particular person staff, versus a category of grievants or a union consultant. Whereas the process ought to allow the employer to mix grievances which might be related in nature, the combining of grievances must be solely reserved to the employer and never be interpreted as permitting a bunch of staff to file a “class motion” grievance.
Additionally it is necessary to obviously outline the scope of what constitutes grievable self-discipline, termination, and office security violations. For instance, a grievance process ought to explicitly determine which sorts of employment actions represent grievable self-discipline and which employment actions don’t (e.g., counseling periods and efficiency enchancment plans are non-disciplinary actions that shouldn’t be topic to the grievance process). Terminations must be outlined to exclude actions reminiscent of layoffs. Likewise, the relevant security requirements for evaluating a office security violation must also be clearly outlined inside the process (e.g., any violation of the district’s security and well being program developed below Wis. Admin. Code. SPS § 332.203). These clear definitions will permit the district, staff, and an neutral listening to officer (“IHO”) to obviously perceive what’s and isn’t inside the jurisdiction of the grievance process.
One other grievance process part that must be instantly reviewed is the scope of the IHO’s authority. Faculty districts ought to take into account the next in how they need an IHO to preside over a listening to:
the IHO’s means to dismiss premature or in any other case procedurally faulty grievances
the usual of evaluate the IHO shall apply to office security or self-discipline grievances
whether or not the principles of proof are to be strictly adopted throughout a listening to
whether or not a listening to should happen or whether or not written submissions may very well be accepted in lieu of a listening to
whether or not the listening to have to be closed or open to the general public
whether or not the direct testimony of scholars can be permitted
different related concerns
Districts must also determine inside the process who selects the IHO and when that choice is to happen. Implementing these tips will present a cleaner and simpler course of for all concerned; nonetheless, districts should make sure that the rules are workable inside the assemble of a grievance process. For instance, districts ought to keep away from implementing a “simply trigger” commonplace for a office security grievance, as a result of that commonplace is incompatible with the details and circumstances giving rise to security grievances and should trigger a grievance process to develop into ineffectual.
As well as, Wis. Stat. § 66.0509(1m) requires that the varsity board is the final stage of enchantment and signifies the board’s determination must be the ultimate determination below the process. The evaluate by the varsity board must be restricted to the file established earlier than the IHO, shouldn’t contain a listening to, and must be held in closed session.
Lastly, districts might want to take into account inserting a cost-sharing requirement into grievance procedures, reminiscent of requiring the worker and employer to every pay fifty-percent of the price of an IHO ought to an worker enchantment a grievance to that step of the method. Price-sharing provisions might be useful in minimizing the variety of grievants who enchantment their grievance all through the grievance process, as many grievants might not really feel strongly sufficient to enchantment their respective grievance to an IHO in the event that they need to share within the prices of doing so. These provisions additionally help with offsetting a district’s prices, particularly if office security grievances have been filed by quite a few staff.
We encourage college districts to proactively deal with these and different provisions inside their grievance procedures, each internally and with counsel, to make sure their district is greatest positioned to restrict its grievance process to solely authentic grievances and to deal with these authentic grievances in an efficient and environment friendly method.