3. Grievance Procedure
3.1: Definition of Grievance
3.2: Time Limits
3.4: Confidentiality of Grievances
3.5: Employee Protection
3.6: Employee Rights and Representation
3.7: Association Involvement in Grievances
3.8: Hearings and Conferences
3.9: Withdrawing Grievances
3.1 DEFINITION OF GRIEVANCE
A “grievance” shall mean a complaint by an employee or the Association that there has been an alleged violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of any provision of this Agreement.
3.2 TIME LIMITS
A. The term “days” when used in this procedure shall be as defined in 1.1C.2.
B. The failure of an employee or the Association to act on any grievance within the prescribed time limits will act as a bar to any further appeal, and an administrator’s failure to give a decision within the prescribed time limits shall permit the grievant to proceed to the next step. The time limits, however, may be extended by mutual agreement.
C. Since it is important that grievances be processed as rapidly as possible, the number of days indicated at each level will be considered as maximum, and every effort should be made to expedite the process. However, when mutually agreed upon, the time limits may be extended.
D. If the Association, the Superintendent and the administrator directly responsible agree, Levels I, II, and III of the grievance procedure may be bypassed and the grievance brought directly to Level IV.
The primary purpose of the procedure set forth in this Section is to secure an early and equitable solution to the problems of the parties. The Board, the Administration, and the Association will make every effort to cooperate in the investigation of any grievance.
3.4 CONFIDENTIALITY OF GRIEVANCES
Except as is necessary, proceedings shall be kept informal and confidential. All documents dealing with the processing of a grievance shall be filed separately from the personnel file of the grievant and marked “CONFIDENTIAL”.
3.5 EMPLOYEE PROTECTION
An employee who participates in these grievance procedures shall not be subjected to discipline or reprisal from any source because of such participation.
3.6 EMPLOYEE RIGHTS AND REPRESENTATION
A. Any employee has a right to be represented in the grievance procedure; however, such employee shall be present at any grievance discussion when the administration and/or the Association and/or the employee deems it necessary. When the presence of said employee at the grievance hearing is requested by either party, illness or other incapacity of the employee shall be grounds for any necessary extension of grievance procedure time limits.
B. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as limiting the right of any employee having a grievance to discuss the matter informally with any appropriate member of the administration and having it adjusted, provided they use the prescribed channels.
C. The Board acknowledges the right of the Association’s grievance representative to participate in the processing of a grievance at any formal level, and no employee shall be required to discuss any grievance if the Association’s representative is not present.
3.7 ASSOCIATION INVOLVEMENT IN GRIEVANCES
A. In any instance where the Association is not represented in the grievance procedure, the Association shall be notified of the final disposition of the grievance, which disposition shall not be in conflict with any of the terms or conditions of this agreement.
B. Final disposition of the grievance alleged by the Association to be in conflict with this agreement shall be grievable by the Association.
C. Should any grievant choose to drop a grievance at Level II, III, or IV, for whatever reason, the Association shall, if it wishes, continue the grievance as an Association grievance.
3.8 HEARINGS AND CONFERENCES
Provisions for Attendance:
Hearings and conferences under this procedure shall be conducted at a time and place which will afford a fair and reasonable opportunity for all persons to attend, including witnesses entitled to be present, and insofar as possible, will be held after school hours, or during non-teaching time of personnel involved. If it becomes necessary that such hearings and conferences must be held during school hours, all employees whose presence is required shall be excused, with pay, for that purpose.
Number of Association Representatives at Arbitration
When arbitration hearings are scheduled during regular school hours, the Association may designate two persons to be in attendance plus witnesses necessary to conduct the hearing. The two Association representatives shall be excused with pay for that purpose.
3.9 WITHDRAWING GRIEVANCES
A grievance may be withdrawn at any level without establishing precedence.
Forms for filing grievances are attached in Appendices C.1, C.2, C.3, and C.4.
A. Level I:
A grievance at Level I must be filed within 90 days after the complainant had or should have had knowledge of the incident. Within 90 days after the complainant had or should have had knowledge of the incident, an attempt shall be made to resolve any problem in informal discussions between the complainant and his/her immediate supervisor. The complainant, within the 90 day limit, shall indicate in writing that a written response is requested within 10 days.
B. Level II:
1. If the problem is not resolved or no decision has been rendered within 10 days after the request for a written response, the grievant may submit a grievance to his/her Association Representative and/or the Association Grievance Committee member and immediate supervisor within 10 days.
2. The written grievance should state the nature of the grievance, should note the specific clause or clauses of the agreement allegedly violated, and should state the remedy requested. The immediate supervisor shall be responsible for calling a meeting at a time mutually acceptable to the grievant and his/her Association Representative or Grievance Committee member, within 10 days after receipt of said grievance. The grievant shall notify the principal no later than two days before the scheduled meeting of the attendance of a Grievance Committee member instead of the Association Representative. Upon such notice, the principal may bypass this level and shall so indicate in writing to the grievant within one day of such notice and send this grievance to Level III without responding to the grievance itself. If a Level II grievance meeting is held, the parties present shall jointly sign and date the Level II form, and the immediate supervisor shall render a written decision on the grievance to the parties involved, and to those parties listed on the Level II form, within 10 days following the meeting.
C. Level III:
1. If the problem is not resolved or no decision has been rendered at Level II, the Grievance Committee of the Association shall, within 20 days of the date that the Level II decision was or should have been rendered, make a judgment on the merits of the grievance.
2. If the Grievance Committee decides that the grievance has merit, it shall refer a Level IV grievance in writing to the Superintendent within 25 days from the date the Level II decision was or should have been rendered.
D. Level IV:
Within 15 days after such written grievance is filed, the grievant, representatives of the aggrieved, the principal or other administrator and the Superintendent or his/her designee, shall meet to resolve the grievance. The Superintendent or his/her designee shall file an answer within 15 days
after the meeting. This answer shall include reasons for the decision. Each party shall have the right to include in his/her representation such witnesses and counsel as it deems necessary to develop facts pertinent to the grievance.
E. Level V:
1. Appeal to Arbitration: If the grievance is not resolved or no decision has been rendered within the prescribed Level IV time limits, the Association may submit the grievance to arbitration within 90 days from the date of the Superintendent’s response.
2. Selection of Arbitrator: The arbitration shall be conducted under the Voluntary Labor Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA).
3. Binding Arbitration: The arbitrator shall not have power to alter the terms of this agreement. The arbitrator could recommend any award such as financial reimbursements or other remedies as he/she judges to be proper to make the grievant whole.
4. Costs: Each party shall bear the full cost for its representation in the arbitration. The cost of the arbitration shall be divided equally between the parties.
5. Transcripts: If either party requests a transcript of the proceedings, that party shall bear the full cost of the transcript. If both parties order transcripts, the cost of the two transcripts shall be divided equally between the parties.