The purpose of the grievance system is to settle grievances as quickly as possible to assure efficient work operations and maintain positive employee morale.
- Employees should pursue, if possible, an informal resolution of their complaints, utilizing all available avenues within their department before filing a formal, written grievance.
- Department Heads and supervisors are encouraged to work with employees to resolve grievances informally. Efforts at informal resolution are unrelated to the formal grievance procedure and do not extend the time limit(s) included in the procedure.
These procedures apply to all employees (not volunteers) of the County, including but not limited to employees of the Flood Control District and the Juvenile Probation Department. These procedures do not apply to the employees of the Sheriff’s Department or Community Supervision & Corrections. These procedures do not apply to former employees.
“Grievance” means a claim by an employee that he was adversely affected by a violation, misinterpretation, misapplication, or disparity in the application of a specific law, ordinance, resolution, written or unwritten policy, or rule regarding wages, hours of work, or conditions of work.
a. Examples of grievable matters include, but are not limited to:
· Misapplication of a salary ladder;
· Misinterpretation of a department mandatory overtime policy;
· Disparity in the application of a department shift bidding policy;
· Violation of the County compensatory time policy.
b. Examples of matters that are not grievable include, but are not limited to:
· Employee performance evaluations that are not directly
related to wages;
· Written reprimands;
· Promotion decisions, unless covered by a salary ladder.
If at any point in the grievance process the Department determines that the subject of a grievance is not grievable as defined above, the Department notifies the employee in writing before the next applicable deadline.
Employees may appeal that determination to the Grievance Resolutions Committee by submitting a copy of the Department’s written notice to the County Grievance Coordinator within 5 working days of receiving it. The County Grievance Coordinator or her designee has 5 days from receipt of the appeal to set a meeting date of a panel of the Grievance Resolutions Committee. The Committee evaluates the issue and issues a written response. If the Committee determines that the issue is grievable, then the grievance resumes at the point it left off. If the Committee determines that the issue is not grievable, the grievance process ends. The Grievance Resolutions Committee’s decision is final.
The grievance procedure does not apply to allegations of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. Discrimination allegations are handled under Section 19 Non-Discrimination Policy.
Employees may not file grievances based upon their termination from employment.
GENERAL PROVISIONS FOR FORMAL GRIEVANCES
- Employees must use the Grievance Forms provided by the County.
Form 100 - Employee Grievance
Form 200 - Supervisor Response
Form 300 - Appeal To Grievance Coordinator
Form 400 - Appeal To Department Head
Form 500 - Appeal To Grievance Resolution Committee
- Employees must follow each of these steps in the order given. If a supervisor, Grievance Coordinator, Department Head, or Appropriate Authority fails to respond within the time limits set forth herein, the employee may take the next step in the procedure.
Time limits begin on the first working day after the applicable occurrence,
filing, appeal, response, or recommendation. Working days to not include weekends or County Holidays.
Employees receive their usual rate of pay for time spent during normal working hours in the grievance proceedings.
Employees may represent themselves or be represented by someone else when presenting a grievance.
Commissioners Court appoints the County Grievance Resolutions Committee.
Each Department Head designates a Grievance Coordinator for the purpose of handling appeals in compliance with Step 2 of the procedure for filing employee grievances. This designation should be communicated to all employees within the department.
PROCEDURE FOR FILING EMPLOYEE GRIEVANCES
Employees must follow these steps in the order given. Do not omit a step. If a supervisor, Grievance Coordinator, Department Head, or Appropriate Authority fails to respond within the time limits set forth herein, the employee may take the next step in the procedure.
- The employee retains a copy of the grievance and the supervisor places a copy in the employee's personnel file. All copies should note the date that the grievance was filed and the date and time that the supervisor received the grievance.
- Employees may get the forms from their Department’s Grievance Coordinator, from the Office of Human Resources & Risk Management or via the HRRM website.
Step 1- Supervisor
In order to be considered, a grievance (other than an allegation of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability) must be filed in writing using County Form 100 with the employee's supervisor within 5 working days from its occurrence. The forms should not be used by former employees. Grievances complaining of a termination are automatically denied at the time of filing.
The supervisor has 5 working days from receipt of Form 100 to investigate, meet with the grievant, and respond in writing on County Form 200.
If the grievance involves allegations of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability, then the supervisor MUST:
- Refer the grievance to the Director of the Office of Human Resources & Risk Management for handling as required under the law, and
- Notify the employee in writing of the referral.
Step 2– Department Grievance Coordinator
- Employees may appeal the supervisor’s determination by filing a written appeal on Form 300 with the Department Grievance Coordinator within 5 working days of receiving the Form 200.
- The Department Grievance Coordinator has 5 working days to investigate, meet with the grievant, and respond in writing using County Form 300.
Step 3– Department Head
- Employees may appeal the Department Grievance Coordinator’s determination by filing a written appeal on Form 400 with the Department
- Head within 5 working days of receiving the Form 300.
The Department Head has 5 working days to investigate, meet with the grievant, and respond in writing using County Form 400.
Step 4 – Grievance Committee
- Employees may appeal the Department Head’s determination by filing a written appeal on Form 500 with the County Grievance Resolutions Committee Chairperson/Coordinator within 5 working days of receiving Form 400.
- The appeal must:
- be made in writing, and
- state the reason for the appeal, and
- pertain to the original grievance filed, and
- include all written responses pertaining to the specific complaint, and
- include the signature of the aggrieved employee and the name of the employee's representative, if any.
- The Committee Chairperson/Coordinator schedules a hearing within 5 working days from receipt of the appeal. The Resolutions Committee reviews and carefully studies the employee's complaint. Each party may present evidence. Upon hearing the grievance, the Resolutions Committee votes to adopt a response and recommendation.
Step 5– Appropriate Authority
· Either the employee or the Department Head may appeal the Grievance Resolutions Committee’s determination to a governing body other than Commissioners Court that has appropriate supervisory authority over the Department Head, if one exists, and has established a grievance procedure. For Juvenile Probation employees, the appropriate authority is the Juvenile Board. The appealing party must submit a written appeal with the County Grievance Coordinator within 10 working days of receiving the Grievance Resolutions Committee’s determination. The appeal must state the reason for the appeal and specify whether appealing party wants it to be heard at a public hearing or in Executive Session. The County Grievance Coordinator places the appeal on the appropriate agenda.
· In accordance with all applicable laws, the appropriate authority considers the grievance and takes whatever steps it deems necessary under the circumstances.
Step 6 – Commissioners Court
- Either the employee or the Department Head may appeal the determination made in the highest applicable step described above to Commissioners Court by filing a written appeal with the County Grievance Coordinator within 10 working days. The appeal must state the reason for the appeal and specify whether the appealing party wants it to be heard at a public hearing or in Executive Session. The County Grievance Coordinator places the appeal on the Commissioners Court Agenda.
In accordance with all applicable laws, the Commissioners Court considers the grievance and takes whatever steps it deems necessary under the circumstances.