Date: March 2022
Policy: Bowdoin College complies with applicable provisions of federal and state laws that prohibit unlawful discrimination in employment, admission, or access to its educational or extracurricular programs, activities, or facilities based on race, color, ethnicity, ancestry and national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, place of birth, genetic predisposition, veteran status, or against qualified individuals with physical or mental disabilities on the basis of disability, or any other legally protected statuses.
Preferably concerns are handled between staff members and supervisors through ongoing dialogue before elevating to a higher level. However, if a mutually agreeable resolution cannot be achieved, the College provides other avenues for addressing unresolved issues.
In order to get thoughts and guidance on how to address an issue, staff members may choose to consult with a Workplace Advisor or take advantage of the College’s Cigna Employee Assistance Program.
Staff members may also choose to discuss the matter with Human Resources (HR) with the goal of helping the employee and/or supervisor develop strategies toward a successful outcome.
Also available to staff members is the ability to initiate a more formal internal grievance process that has been established by the College for the timely resolution of all concerns related to conditions of employment or alleged discriminatory policies, procedures or acts. The College recognizes that staff members have the right to file complaints with various federal and state agencies however this internal procedure has been established with the expectation that it will provide an effective means of promptly resolving grievances without the necessity of involving others outside of the College Community. In that sense, external parties may not participate in the internal grievance process.
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 grievance notice 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 with the expectation of 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.
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 with the expectation of 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.
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 Vice President of Human Resources will forward the grievance materials 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 to review the matter and recommend a decision to the President. The Vice President of Human Resources shall serve in an advisory capacity on any committee appointed by the President. The matter shall be investigated and a written decision rendered as soon as possible, but with the expectation of no later than ninety (90) days after receipt of the appeal by the President. This decision is final.
For grievances involving harassment, refer to the Freedom from Harassment policy for alternative procedures available to address this specifically.
The College takes grievances very seriously. The filing and response times outlined above are intended to provide resolution in a reasonable time frame and also allow for a thorough review of the facts.