Human Resources Policy Manual

<<  Section 8: Work-Related Issues and Appeal Process  >>

    1. Work Related Issues
    2. Appeal Process - Overview
    3. Appeal Advisors
    4. Appeal Process - Eligibility
    5. Appeal Process - Steps

Effective July 1, 2015

  1. Work Related Issues and Appeal Process
    1. Since most work-related complaints and issues can be settled in conversation between the staff member and the supervisor, staff are encouraged to resolve any problem by presenting the issue to the immediate supervisor. An earnest effort is to be made to resolve these issues as promptly as possible.
    2. If the staff member considers it to be appropriate, a conversation may be scheduled with the department head (or designee) or a representative of the school/divisional human resources office or human resources manager instead of the staff member's supervisor. Consultation with a representative of the human resources office or human resources manager is available to the staff member or supervisor at any point in the process. All parties are encouraged to involve a representative of the school/divisional human resources office or human resources manager when appropriate.
    3. The supervisor is responsible for bringing any issue involving suspension or termination to the immediate attention of the school/divisional human resources office or human resources manager. If the staff member after discussing the issue with the supervisor is still dissatisfied with the response he/she received, the appeal process is available.
  2. Appeal Process - Overview
    1. The University's Appeal Process is designed to provide prompt and orderly resolution to issues arising in the course of employment. An appeal can be submitted by completing an appeal form that is available in the school/divisional human resources office or from the human resources manager or on the Forms page of this site. The appeal should identify the issue and the requested resolution. A copy of the appeal should be sent to the school/divisional human resources office and to the designated human resources manager
    2. If the staff member has any concerns before filing a formal appeal and would feel more comfortable discussing the matter with someone other than the supervisor,the staff member can contact a representative of the school/divisional human resources office, human resources manager, or an appeal advisor.
    3. Please remember that no one, including a supervisor, manager, or staff member, is permitted to engage in retaliation or any form of harassment directed against a staff member who files an appeal.
  3. Appeal Advisors
    1. The university provides trained human resources staff to serve as appeal advisors. The role of the advisor is to provide information to staff members who may be considering filing an appeal, and to supervisors/managers who receive an appeal. An appeal advisor listens and helps the involved parties understand the appeal process and procedures.
    2. An appeal advisor is not an advocate, does not offer advice for resolution of the appeal, neither encourages nor discourages the filing of an appeal, and does not accompany the staff member or supervisor to any meeting or serve as a spokesperson.
    3. A list of appeal advisors can be found in the A-Z HR Staff directory.
  4. Appeal Process - Eligibility
    1. Eligible staff members who can use the Appeal Process include regular full and part time staff who have successfully completed the introductory period. Full and part time staff during the introductory period, bargaining unit employees, and casual and limited staff are not eligible to use the Appeal Process.
    2. A staff member who claims he or she has not been treated in accordance with the university's policies and procedures may utilize the University's Appeal Process to provide prompt and orderly resolution to those disputes.
    3. A staff member who claims that he/she was "constructively discharged", forced to resign and/or does not accept an offer to resign in lieu of discharge may file an appeal.
    4. Issues that cannot be pursued under the Appeal Process:
      •      Concerns pertaining to the general level of wages, wage patterns, fringe benefits, or other broad areas of financial management and staffing (e.g. department restructure, reduction in force) are not permitted to be pursued under the Appeal Process.
      •      Issues involving staff performance appraisals are not considered eligible to pursue in the Appeal Process, unless the appraisal represents an alleged violation of JHU policy.
      •      Performance improvement plans and/or verbal counseling cannot be pursued under the Appeal Process.
      •      Voluntary resignations initiated by a staff member are not eligible to be pursued under the Appeal Process.
    5. An allegation of discrimination based upon race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, veteran status, marital status or any occupationally irrelevant condition cannot be pursued under the Appeal Process, but can be presented to the Office of Institutional Equity for consideration. Visit the Office of Institutional Equity for more information on discrimination complaints.
  5. Appeal Process - Steps
    1. The Appeal Process consists of three steps, starting with the supervisor in most cases, then moving to the department head or designee, and then to a university-wide committee that makes a recommendation to the vice president for human resources who renders the final decision. If the staff member disagrees with any response he/she receives at each step of this process, the appeal can be presented to the next step. It is the responsibility of the staff member to present the appeal to the next step in writing within five (5) work days following receipt of the response.
    2. No response can be made at any step of the Appeal Process that conflicts with or modifies an approved University policy; or that is contrary to any law or any contract to which the University is a party.

    Step One: Supevisor

    1. Eligible staff members have the right to present an appeal in writing to the supervisor within ten (10) work days of the issue or within ten (10) work days of the staff member having reasonable knowledge of the issue. An appeal involving suspension or termination must be submitted in writing directly to the department head or designee, Step Two of the Appeal Process, within five (5) work days following the staff member`s receipt of notice of the suspension or termination.

      Note: In those instances where an issue results from the decision of the supervisor, the staff member has the option of waiving Step One of the Appeal Process and proceeding to Step Two. When the staff member elects to waive Step One, the appeal is to be presented in writing to the department head or designee within ten (10) work days of the issue or within ten (10) work days of the staff member having reasonable knowledge of the issue.
    2. Within five (5) work days after receipt of the written appeal, the supervisor will provide the staff member a written response to the appeal with a copy to the school/divisional human resources office or human resources manager. If the issue involves an alleged violation of law or University policy, the supervisor must discuss the matter with a representative of the school/divisional human resources office or human resources manager before responding in writing to the staff member. Should the supervisor need additional time to investigate the issue, the staff member must be advised in writing of the date the written decision will be provided.
    3. If the supervisor does not respond within five (5) work days and does not inform the staff member that additional time is needed to investigate, the staff member can present the appeal in writing to the department head or designee, Step Two, within five (5) work days from the date the decision was due.
    4. If the staff member is not satisfied with the supervisor's decision, the appeal can be submitted in writing to the department head or designee, Step Two, within five (5) work days of the date of the supervisor's decision.

    Should the staff member fail to present the appeal within five (5) work days, the case will be considered settled.

    Step Two: Department Head or Designee

    1. If the staff member is dissatisfied with the written response received from the supervisor, the staff member may request, in writing, review of the matter by the department head or designee. The appeal to Step Two must be submitted within five (5) work days of the supervisor's decision.
    2. Within ten (10) work days after receipt of the written appeal, the department head or designee will provide the staff member a written response with a copy to the school/divisional human resources office or human resources manager. Any proposed response from the department head or designee at this step should be discussed with a representative of the school/divisional human resources office or human resources manager before a written response is made to the staff member. Should the department head or designee need additional time to investigate the issue, the staff member must be advised in writing of the date the written response will be provided.
    3. If the department head or designee does not respond within ten (10) work days and does not inform the staff member that additional time is needed to investigate the appeal, the staff member can present the appeal in writing to the Vice President for Human Resources, Step Three of the Appeal Process, or to the school/divisional human resources office within five (5) work days from the date on which the response was due.
    4. If the staff member is not satisfied with the department head's or designee's decision, the appeal can be submitted to the Vice President for Human Resources, Step Three of the Appeal Process, or to the school/divisional human resources office within five (5) work days of the department head's or designee's decision.
    5. Should the staff member fail to present the appeal within five (5) work days, it will be considered settled.

    Step Three: Vice President for Human Resources

    1. If the staff member is dissatisfied with the written response received from the department head or designee, a written request for review of the appeal may be submitted to the Vice President for Human Resources. The request must be submitted to the Vice President for Human Resources within five (5) work days from the date on which the department head's or designee's decision was due.
    2. An Appeal Panel will be convened to consider the issue. Membership will include three university staff members, including a panel chairperson, who is designated by the Vice President for Human Resources, and two individuals from the University community. The staff member has the right to choose one panel member from the available pool of eligible participants and the Chair of the panel will choose the other participant.
    3. The members of the Appeal Panel will interview the staff member and management representative(s), review the documentation and speak with any other individuals the panel deems necessary to investigate the appeal.
    4. Following the panel's review, a recommendation will be submitted to the Vice President for Human Resources, who will issue the final decision of the University. Note, while an objective of the appeal process at Step Three is to investigate the issue and provide a timely response from the Vice President for Human Resources, it should be understood that each case is reviewed on its own merits, and the time it takes to complete a thorough and objective review will vary based on the complexities and issues presented by the appeal.
    5. As a general principle, the goal will be for the panel to present a report and recommendation to the Vice President for Human Resources within approximately ten (10) work days from the date of their final deliberation. The Vice President for Human Resources will communicate a final decision to the Panel Chair within the next seven (7) work days, and the Panel Chair will communicate this decision to the parties involved within three (3) work days from receiving the decision from the Vice President for Human Resources.