As a service to staff member, personnel are available to advise and assist the staff member who have a question, problem, or complaint about working conditions. Most concerns can be resolved by informal discussions between the parties involved. The Human Resources Head is available to counsel any staff members who have grievances. Fair and prompt consideration will be given to any personal concern or dissatisfaction about employment. The Human Resources Unit should be contacted if a person feels there has been employment discrimination due to race, color, origin, religion, gender or qualified disability. The following steps are suggested to resolve questions of employment dissatisfaction:
Talk to your unit head first. To ensure that employment problems are resolved effectively, the staff member should discuss the area of concern with his or her immediate unit head. If necessary, continue up the ladder.
If the question is not resolved at this level, the employee may request an appointment to discuss the problem with the appropriate person at each administrative level up to and including the President.
A formal hearing may be requested. If a complaint is not resolved through informal procedures, then a written grievance may be filed to provide for hearings before a committee or for reviews at various management levels.
b. Formal Complaint
A formal complaint is defined as the dissatisfaction that occurs when a staff member believes that any condition of his/her employment is unjust, inequitable, a hindrance to effective operation, is creating a problem or is leading to denial of promotion. Suspensions, demotions, or discharge from employment shall be considered as formal complaints, but shall be considered as basis for appeal. Salary increases, job classifications, and fringe benefits are matters determined during budget deliberations and are not considered items for formal complaint. The formal complaint procedure does not apply to action taken during the staff member’s probationary period or to action taken under the Reduction of Work Force Policy or the non-renewal of an individual’s appointment.
Meetings and investigations shall be conducted during the staff member’s regular working hours whenever possible. At any step or level of the review procedures, the Human Resources Head may elect to arbitrate a decision to resolve the situation or make a recommendation to the President. In addition, the Human Resources Unit shall serve in the capacity of an information gathering and advisory person. Each step or level should occur in a timely manner to be determined by the Human Resources Unit. The Human Resources Head may choose to appoint a committee to make recommendations to him/her regarding individual complaints.
The staff member shall present the facts in writing to his/her supervisor, sending a copy to the Human Resources Unit. A formal complaint must be in writing and contain the following:
A clear and detailed, signed statement of the complaint
The specific remedial action or relief sought
A summary outlining with whom the points of dissatisfaction were discussed and with what results
The reason(s) why remedial action or relief is sought.
At any time the staff member receives an unsatisfactory reply or fails to receive a reply, he/she has the right to submit the complaint to the next level from the previous supervisor. The supervisor at this level shall review all of the facts of the case and the decision rendered by the previous supervisor, and then renders a decision in writing to the staff member. At each level, a copy of the reply to the complaint must be forwarded to the Human Resources Unit. This procedure shall be followed when applicable through the levels of progression. The decision of the Human Resources Head shall be final at this time unless, the Human Resources Head opts at his/her discretion to make a recommendation to the President for decision, in which case, the President’s decision shall be final. An appeal’s provision must be made beyond the Human Resource Head’s Decision and prior to the President’s final decision. Staff members may contact the Human Resources Unit for additional information regarding grievance procedures.
AFU acknowledges that the staff members have the right to raise concerns and have them addressed promptly and appropriately. Complaints are handled objectively and with sensitivity. The most desirable outcome in cases of complaints is the determination about whether there has been any unsatisfactory or inappropriate practice or action. This determination must be done as early as possible and in the fairest and most objective manner possible. This analysis of complaints aims at the implementation of any necessary changes designed to bring about better educational or administrative outcomes, as appropriate, the achievement of reconciliation between the parties and the establishment of a renewed confidence in the staff member. This procedure identifies the means of handling, in a fair, equitable and effective manner, the actions that are to be taken when any staff member files a complaint.
Complaints and Appeals Policy:
Complaints and appeals will be settled, in a fair, equitable and effective manner using the procedures listed below. AFU ensures that each complaint or appeal and its outcome is recorded in writing; each appeal is heard by an independent person or panel; and each appellant has an opportunity to formally present his or her case; and is given a written statement of the appeal outcomes, including reasons for the decision. It acts upon the subject of any complaint found to be substantiated. It is the policy of AFU that receipt of complaints, whether received from within AFU or externally, will be handled promptly and effectively and the complainant will receive a response within a reasonable timeline.
Note: It is essential that accurate records be maintained throughout each stage of the process.
Complaints may be received internally from staff members by a variety of means, verbally, in writing or by mail to the President’s office. The President distributes the complaints to staff members to solve. The staff members receiving the complaint will:
Respond directly to the complainant, within five (5) working days, indicating that the issue will be investigated.
Forward the communication to the relevant AFU member to investigate the issue, prepare response and organize a meeting to discuss the complaint.
The relevant parties and complainant must meet and discuss the matter, and, if possible, resolve the dispute within 20 working days after the complaint has been received. If the complaint has been made directly to the President or his/her representative, the President must exercise judgement and determine whether to attempt an informal resolution or immediately commence the formal resolution procedure.
Following the meeting, the relevant staff members will provide a written response to the complainant detailing any actions that have been, or will be, taken to resolve the issue.
In the event that it is determined that there are no grounds for the complaint; the complainant will be advised in writing why no further action is to be taken. If the complainant is not satisfied with this decision, he/she may request an independent review. This request must be in writing and must include: details of the complaint, actions that have been taken to attempt to resolve the matter, reasons why the complainant is not satisfied with the determination.
If the complaint has been resolved at this stage all records are to be retained, including details of the actions taken to resolve the issue completed using the Complaints/Appeal Record of Correspondence