Policies and Procedures

Skip Navigation LinksC0101Ap Procedures for Employee Complaint Resolution - Discipline, Workplace Safety, and Termination


DEFINITIONS:

 

"Complainant" is defined as an employee of the College who has a "complaint" as defined in this procedure.

"Complaint" is defined as a dispute concerning the application of the College's policies regarding an employee's discipline, workplace safety or termination. No complaint shall be processed under this policy unless it is in writing and contains all of the following:

  1. The name and position of the complainant
  2. A clear and concise statement of the complaint
  3. The issue involved
  4. The relief sought
  5. The date the incident or alleged violation took place
  6. The specific section(s) of the policy/policies or workplace safety rule alleged to have been violated; and
  7. The signature of the complainant and date

"Working Days" for purposes of processing a complaint, are defined as Monday through Friday.  Weekends, holidays, and days when the College is closed are excluded. The time within which an act is to be done under this policy shall be computed by excluding the first day and including the last day.

 "Discipline" means oral reprimands (where a written record of the reprimand is placed in the employee's file), written reprimands, suspension, or demotion. Discipline does not include any other employment action or decision, including, but not limited to, performance reviews, work plans, or corrective actions.

"Termination" means discharge from employment.  Termination does not include a voluntary quit, completion of seasonal employment, completion of temporary assignment, completion of contract or adjunct assignment, temporary or permanent total or partial elimination of a position, retirement, job abandonment, termination of employment due to medical condition (subject to applicable law), lack of qualification or license, non-renewal of an employment contract governed by Wis. Stat.§ 118.22 or any other cessation of employment not involving involuntary termination of an employee meeting the definition of "Complainant."

"Workplace Safety" means those conditions related to physical health and safety of employees enforceable under federal or state law, or College rule related to: safety of the physical work environment, the safe operation of workplace equipment and tools, provision of protective equipment, training and warning requirements, workplace violence and accident risk.

"Impartial Hearing Officer (IHO)" means a neutral third party and shall be consistent with state statutes.

 GUIDELINES:

  1. This policy may be revised, updated, or repealed at any time.
  2. A complaint shall be considered waived and no action shall be required by the College if the complaint is not filed or appealed within the designated timeline.  No party or decision-maker shall have the authority to modify this requirement.
  3. Complainants and the College are allowed representation of their choosing, for any hearing before an IHO or the District Board during this process, but Complainants must promptly notify the College if they will be represented and by whom.

An employee's formal complaint must be in writing and signed by the employee.  The Complaint Resolution Form can be obtained online or from Human Resources. The complaint must include:

  1. The name and position of the complainant
  2. A clear and concise statement of the complaint
  3. The issue involved
  4. The relief sought
  5. The date the incident or alleged violation took place
  6. The specific section(s) of the policy/policies or workplace safety rule alleged to have been violated; and
  7. The signature of the Complainant and date

STEP 1:  The Complainant shall initiate the written complaint using the Employee Complaint Resolution Form with his/her immediate supervisor within ten (10) working days of the incident that gave rise to the complaint.  The supervisor will meet and discuss the matter fully with the Complainant and provide a written response to the complaint within ten (10) working days of receipt of the written complaint, and shall advise the Complainant of the individual to whom he/she may appeal.  Complainants may be accompanied by a representative of their choosing (including a fellow employee) and supervisors may include a Human Resources representative in the meetings. The Complainant may contact HR directly and if both parties agree, STEP 1 can be waived.

STEP 2:  In the event the matter is not satisfactorily resolved at Step1, the Complainant may submit a written appeal to the appropriate individual identified by his/her immediate supervisor within ten (10) working days of receiving the Step1 response.  If the College is aware of other similar complaints, the College may consolidate those matters and process them as one complaint.  To initiate the appeal, the Complainant must submit:

  1. A copy of the formal complaint.
  2. A copy of the supervisor's response
  3. A written statement of his/her reason(s) for disagreeing with the supervisor's response.

This individual will investigate as appropriate, will meet to discuss the matter fully with the Complainant and other relevant parties, if applicable, and will provide a written response to the Complainant within ten (10) working days of receipt of the written materials set forth in 1, 2, and 3 above.  Complainants may be accompanied by a representative of their choosing (including a fellow employee) and supervisors may include a Human Resource representative in the meetings.

STEP 3:  If the Complainant believes the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved at Step 2, he/she may submit a written appeal to the Vice President-Strategic Effectiveness and/or the Employment, Benefits and EEO Manager within ten (10) working days of receiving the Step 2 written response.  All information and documentation from the initial complaint and previous appeals must be included. 

The appeal will then be referred to an impartial hearing officer (IHO) The IHO will be designated by the College.  Any fees/costs incurred by the (IHO) will be paid by the College.  The IHO will convene a hearing in the manner the IHO determines necessary.  The IHO shall have the authority to administer oaths, issue subpoenas at the request of the parties, and decide if a transcript is necessary.  The IHO may require the parties to submit complaint documents and witness lists in advance of the hearing to expedite the hearing.  The burden of proof shall be carried by a preponderance (weight) of the evidence.  In termination and discipline cases, the College shall have the responsibility of going forward.  In workplace safety cases, the complainant shall provide the parties a written decision.

The IHO may only consider the matter presented in the initial complaint filed by the Complainant.  The IHO shall have no power to add to, subtract from, or modify the terms of the District Board policy or rule that forms the basis for the grievance, nor any authority to suspend the application of any policy, rule, or provision of this complaint procedure.

STEP 4: Either party may appeal an adverse determination from Step 3 to the Western Technical College District Board by filing a written appeal to the President within ten (10) working days of receiving the Step 3 written response.  All information and documentation from the initial complaint and previous appeals must be included.

  1. The appeal will then be referred for final review to the College's District Board.  All appeals that are directed to the District Board will be reviewed in closed session unless otherwise required by law.  The Vice President-Strategic Effectiveness and/or the Employment, Benefits, and EEO Manager will present the District Board with all relevant documents.  The District Board shall, within thirty (30) days after submission of the appeal, schedule the review of the IHO decision.
  2. The Complainant will have the opportunity to be present.  The Complainant may also choose to be accompanied and/or represented by a representative of his/her choosing.
  3. If a meeting is requested, the Complainant and the College will have the opportunity to meet with the District Board to explain the complaint, review the proceedings before the IHO and to state their respective positions on the complaint.  Neither the Complainant nor the College may present additional witnesses, nor may either party question individual District Board members.  If a meeting is not requested, the District Board shall review the evidence from the hearing before the IHO and the decision of the IHO.  No new evidence may be offered at this step in the procedure.
  4. The District Board will make the final decision on the submitted complaint.  The determination of the District Board will be final and binding.  This is the final step in the process.

EXCLUSIVE REMEDY

This procedure constitutes the exclusive process for the redress of any employee complaints as defined herein.  However, nothing in this complaint procedure shall prevent any employee from addressing concerns regarding matters not subject to the complaint procedure with the administration, and employees are encouraged to do so.  Matters not subject to the complaint procedure that are raised by employees shall be considered in a manner deemed appropriate by the Administration and/or District Board.


Approved November 15, 2011