Workplace Conflict: Formal Complaint Process

Type: 
Procedure
Category: 
Human Resources
Department: 
Human Resources
Phone: 
(541) 463-5583
Primary Contact: 
Dennis Carr
Contact Email: 
Responsible Executive Authority: 
Chief Human Resources Officer
Purpose: 

This procedure outlines the formal complaint process to be followed when filing a formal complaint. The procedure describes time lines, decision-making process, record-keeping requirements, and post-complaint review.

The College supports and promotes a respectful work environment for all employees. If workplace conflict occurs, employees are encouraged to work informally with their colleagues, manager, and Human Resources to resolve the issues involved. If informal resolution is not successful employees have access to the following formal complaint process.

Narrative: 

The college supports and promotes a respectful work environment for all employees.  If workplace conflict occurs, employees are encouraged to work informally with their colleagues, manager, and Human Resources to resolve the issues involved.  If informal resolution is not successful employees have access to the following formal complaint process. 

Purpose

The formal workplace conflict complaint process is designed to resolve problems, issues or complaints that cannot be resolved informally through working with the appropriate manager(s) and Human Resources.  Although the process is confidential, if specific people are identified as potential causes for workplace problems, they will be notified of the specific issues or complaints.  If there is a specific complaint, the complainant's identity cannot be withheld from the person they are identifying as the source of a problem.  

Note: Workplace conflicts that allege violations of employment laws, equal educational opportunity laws or affirmative action violations (or College policies related to these laws) will be referred to the College's Discrimination and Harassment complaint process. Conflicts that involve potential violations of collective bargaining agreements will be handled pursuant to the terms of the agreement.

Timelines

The formal complaint procedure is set up to take no more than 30 working days. To have remedy under this formal complaint process, complaints must be filed within six months of the last incident.  Complaints filed more than six months after the last incident will not be accepted.

Impartial Decision Makers

Complainants who do not feel that they have access to impartial decision makers under the procedure outlined below should immediately notify Human Resources of their concerns.

In the event that the college president or a vice president is identified as the source of the problem, the Chief Human Resources Officer will arrange to have an impartial replacement designated for the purposes of this procedure.

Record Keeping

A Report that summarizes all formal complaints and informal reports by type of incident, and the relationship of those involved is summarized and presented to the Lane Board of Education annually in the Treatment of Staff Report.  No information that would identify the parties involved will be included in this report.

How to File a Formal Complaint

Step 1:  The complainant completes a written complaint using the Workplace Conflict: Employee Formal Complaint Form.

Step 2:  The complainant submits the written complaint to the Chief Human Resources Officer or a Human Resources Manager.  

The Chief Human Resources Officer/Human Resources manager will sign and date the written complaint to document the date of receipt and will distribute the written complaint to the investigating vice president.  

A copy of the formal complaint procedure will be attached to the complainant's copy of the written complaint.

Step 3:  The investigating vice president provides written notification of the complaint to the person or persons identified in the complaint and their department administrator. If the department administrator is identified as part of the conflict or problem, notification will go their immediate supervisor. 

All parties who are notified about the problem or complaint will be provided a copy of the written complaint and the attached written statement of complaint within five working days of the day the complaint is received in the investigating vice president's office.  Any sanctions resulting from this complaint will be applied only after the complaint has been fully investigated as described in the following steps.  During this process, the complainant and all parties identified as sources of the problem are not to contact each other about the complaint, unless this is arranged as part of the resolution.  

Retaliation against the complainant is expressly forbidden.  Sanctions will be applied for all violations of this rule.

Step 4:  The investigating vice president undertakes a complete and full review of the complaint. The vice president may, in her sole discretion, designate an administrator of her choice to be the decision-maker for a particular matter.  In that case the designated decision maker will take the role of the vice president in the formal complaint process. The vice president or designated decision maker will investigate the issue, problem or complaint.  In some circumstances an additional investigator may also be designated. That person's role will be limited to fact finding.  Decisions about findings will remain the responsibility of the investigating vice president or designated decision maker.

Individuals having first-hand knowledge of the incidents involved will be interviewed. Other evidence will be reviewed as determined appropriate by the vice president or designated decision maker. If an additional investigator is involved then that person will produce an executive summary of the facts for the vice president.  If additional investigation is required, there may be an extension of up to 10 working days beyond the 20 working days provided for investigation.  Everyone involved will be notified if this is the case. Statements of parties to the complaint will be kept as confidential as possible.

Step 5:  The investigating vice president or designated decision maker will notify the complainant and all persons identified as sources of the complaint or problem of the findings in writing. The written findings will include recommended steps to resolve the workplace conflict to restore a respectful work environment for all involved employees.

Written notice of findings will be provided within 20 working days of the date of receipt of the Complaint Form by the college in Step 2. The notice of findings will include an explanation of the basis for the vice president's or designee's decision and will be kept as confidential as possible.  Copies will be distributed only to those individuals who have a legitimate need to know the results.  After notification is completed, the vice president or designee will forward the official complaint file to Human Resources.

Follow Up: Post-Complaint Review

Six weeks after the closure of the complaint the vice president or designated decision maker will review the results with the involved parties to check that the resolution steps have been followed and that a respectful environment has been restored.

Six months after the closure of the complaint the vice president or designated decision maker will review the results with the involved parties to ensure that there is no further conflict and that a respectful environment is continuing.   

Date Adopted: 
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Date Last Reviewed: 
Thursday, July 1, 2010