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Human Resources

Grievances

Date: January 2007

Policy: Bowdoin College strives to ensure equitable treatment of employees in all matters of employment and is committed to prevent discrimination against any employee on the basis of age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, creed, ancestry, national and ethnic origin, physical or mental disability. Any employee has the right to present any personal concern or grievance regarding employment at the College and have it considered on its merits.

Preferably, problems may be handled on an informal basis between staff members and supervisors. However, if a problem is not resolved on an informal basis, the College provides other avenues for addressing the problem. One avenue is for a staff member to consult with one of the Workplace Advisors about the problem. A second option is for the staff member to follow a more formal internal grievance process which has been established by the College for the orderly resolution of all concerns related to conditions of employment or alleged discriminatory policies, procedures or acts. Because resolving problems internally benefits both the employee and the College, no external parties may participate in this process. For grievances involving harassment, refer to the Freedom from Harassment policy for alternative procedures available to address such problems.

Step I. 
Any staff member who wishes to utilize the grievance process should file a written grievance notice with his/her department head within ten (10) calendar days of the event or application of policy. The notice should include in reasonable detail those acts or occurrences which are being questioned, the reason for the grievance, any documents or other information which should be considered, and the remedy or redress being requested. The employee should forward a copy of the complaint to Human Resources.

The department head will respond in writing after investigation and consideration of the matter. This response should be provided to the employee as soon as possible, but in any event no later than fourteen (14) days after receipt of the original grievance notice by the department head. A copy of the response should be forwarded to Human Resources. If the grievance is being filed against the department head because of an action or application of policy by the department head, the staff member may initiate the grievance at Step II. If the grievance is being filed against a senior officer because of an action or application of policy by the senior officer, the staff member may initiate the grievance at Step III.

Step II.
If the issue is not resolved to the staff member’s satisfaction, a written appeal may be submitted to the appropriate senior officer within ten (10) calendar days after the date of the response. A copy of the appeal should be forwarded to Human Resources.

The senior officer to whom the department head reports will review the matter and investigate the circumstances, or will appoint a designate to conduct an investigation and report findings and recommendations to the senior officer. The senior officer will then provide the staff member and the department head with a written determination as soon as possible, but not later than thirty (30) days after receipt of the appeal by the senior officer. A copy of the determination should be forwarded to Human Resources.

Step III. Should the issue still not be resolved to the satisfaction of the staff member, a final appeal may be submitted to Human Resources within ten (10) calendar days of the date of the determination by the senior officer. The Director of Human Resources will forward all written statements to the President, who may render a final decision or, at his/her discretion, appoint a Grievance Committee consisting of no more than three members. The Director of Human Resources shall serve in an advisory capacity on any committee appointed by the President. The President or the Committee shall investigate and render a written decision as soon as possible, but no later than ninety (90) days after receipt of the appeal by the President. This decision is final.

The College takes grievances very seriously. The filing and response times outlined above are intended to provide resolution in a reasonable time frame, but also allow for a thorough review of the facts.