2.1.11 Staff Grievance Policy
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 22.10
This Guide Memo outlines the policy to resolve staff employee complaints at Stanford through a formal grievance process and is designed specifically for regular employees as defined in the "Applicability" section. The Staff Grievance Process is intended to supplement, not replace, routine and informal methods of responding to and resolving employee complaints.
Employee complaints covered by the Staff Grievance Process include written corrective actions that are placed in an employee’s personnel file (e.g., written warnings) and involuntary terminations (including layoffs) only. The Staff Grievance Process does not apply to employee complaints regarding other issues such as performance appraisals, Performance Improvement Plans, compensation/benefits or job classifications. Information regarding resources to address workplace concerns can be found in the Address Concerns section of the Cardinal at Work website.
Applies to all regular employees as defined in Guide Memo 2.2.1: Definitions.
It does not apply to:
- Trial period employees (see Guide Memo 2.1.15, Trial Period)
- Casual or temporary employees
- Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, found at Labor Relations & Collective Bargaining.
- Academic Staff – Research (see Research Policy Handbook)
- Academic Staff – Teaching (see Research Policy Handbook)
- Academic Staff – Libraries (see Policy Manual for Academic Staff-Libraries)
- Senior staff (see Guide Memo 2.1.14)
- Faculty (see Faculty Handbook)
If a trial period, casual, or temporary employee who is involuntarily terminated has concerns and/or feedback regarding their employment, they may contact the local Human Resources Office or University Human Resources/Employee & Labor Relations.
1. Informal Resolution
Regular and effective communication between supervisors and employees reduces the likelihood of misunderstanding and conflict. Stanford University expects and encourages supervisors and employees to communicate openly and regularly so that the interests of the employee and the university are best served. To support this commitment, the university has this Staff Grievance Process and resource offices such as the local Human Resources Office, University Human Resources/Employee & Labor Relations, the Faculty Staff Help Center and the Office of the Ombuds to assist employees in resolving employee complaints.
Before initiating Step 1 of the Staff Grievance Process, the employee is strongly encouraged to make at least one informal attempt to resolve their concerns. If the employee feels uncomfortable in attempting to do this by him/herself, assistance is available through the local Human Resources Office, University Human Resources/Employee & Labor Relations, the Faculty Staff Help Center, or the Office of the Ombuds.
2. Formal Staff Grievance Process
If the employee is unsuccessful in resolving their complaint informally, they may file a formal grievance with University Human Resources/Employee & Labor Relations. The Staff Grievance Process and other information is located in the Grievance/Appeal Processes section of the Cardinal at Work website.
3. Representation and Support
The employee will act as their own representative at each step in the Staff Grievance Process.
b. Support Person
In the case of a grievance that is heard by a Grievance Advisory Board, the employee may choose to have a support person accompany them to the grievance hearing. The employee may select any one university employee who:
- is not employed as an attorney
- is both willing and able to attend the hearing without impairing their own work duties, and
- receives their supervisor's approval
c. Outside Representation
The Staff Grievance Process does not allow for outside representation of any kind at any step of the process. If at any time before or during the Staff Grievance Process the employee chooses to elect action related to the grievance issue(s) outside of the internal process (such as filing a charge with the EEOC, California Civil Rights Department, other administrative body, or a lawsuit), the Staff Grievance Process will be terminated without any decision being reached.
4. Time Frames
All times frames indicated in the Staff Grievance Process are computed in calendar days unless noted otherwise. All parties involved in the Staff Grievance Process must adhere to the time frames specified. Exceptions to this rule will be handled on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the Vice President of Human Resources (or designee). The period of the Winter Close is excluded from the time frames.
University Human Resources/Employee & Labor Relations have primary responsibility for administering and coordinating the Staff Grievance Process. In addition, University Human Resources/Employee & Labor Relations is the primary source of assistance for employees and supervisors who have questions or concerns pertaining to the Staff Grievance Process.
6. Protection Against Retaliation
No adverse action may be taken against any employee because of their good faith participation in the Staff Grievance Process. An adverse action is any action that materially affects that individual’s terms and conditions of employment.