VII - 8.00 - USM POLICY ON GRIEVANCES FOR EXEMPT AND NONEXEMPT STAFF
(Approved by the Board of Regents, February 28, 1992; Amended
February 21, 2003)
I. PURPOSE AND APPLICABILITY
This policy establishes the employee's right to file a
grievance, and applies to Regular Status Exempt Staff employees
(applies only to UMB, UMBC, UMBI, UMCES, UMCP, UMES, UMUC, AND
USM Office), and Regular Status Nonexempt Staff employees
The following terms and definitions shall apply for purposes of
"Working Day" - means Monday through Friday regardless of any
employee's actual work schedule, and excluding days on which the
institution is closed, regardless of work schedule.
"Grievance" - means any cause of complaint arising between an
employee and employer on a matter concerning discipline, alleged
discrimination, promotion, assignment or interpretation or
application of Institution or University System rules or
departmental procedures over which Institution or University
System management has control. If, however, the complaint
pertains to the general level of wages, wage patterns, fringe
benefits or to other broad areas of financial management and
staffing, it is not a grievable issue.
A. The University System of Maryland (USM) recognizes that
legitimate problems, differences of opinion, complaints, and
grievances may exist in the daily relationship between the USM as an
employer and its employees. It is the responsibility of all
supervisors, administrators, managers, faculty and employees to
establish and maintain a work climate within which an employee
problem or complaint will be promptly identified, presented,
discussed and given fair, timely consideration.
B. The institution's management and each employee have an
obligation to make every effort to resolve employee relations
problems as they arise. In any case where this effort fails, an
appeal may be taken to higher authority, including neutral advisory
arbitration. Decisions shall be both prompt and definitive.
C. Each University System employee shall have the right to make
known a problem or complaint without the fear of coercion or
reprisal. The employee also has the right to representation at any
step of the grievance procedure.
D. No decision shall be made at any step of the grievance procedure
which conflicts with or modifies any policy approved by the Board of
Regents of the USM with any applicable statute, with any
administrative regulation issued under appropriate statutory
authority, or which otherwise delimits the lawfully delegated
authority of USM officials unless prior approval has been obtained
from the responsible official.
E. No employee may file or continue to pursue a grievance on any
matter that is the subject of a complaint under Title 5 (Employee
Rights and Protections), Subtitle 2 (Equal Employment Opportunity
Program) or Subtitle 3 (Maryland Whistleblower Law) of the State
Personnel and Pensions Article.
IV. GRIEVANCE FILLING AND PROCEDURE
A. Grievances must be initiated within 30 calendar days of the
action involved, or within 30 calendar days of the employee having
had reasonable knowledge of the act. (Time limits may differ for
some appeals and special actions as provided in the Policy on Appeals
and Special Actions for Classified Employees.)
B. Appeals within the grievance procedure shall be timed from the
receipt of the written opinion of management, or from when such
opinion is due, whichever comes first.
C. If, following informal discussion with the supervisor, a dispute
remains unresolved, the grievance procedure is available. There are
three steps in the grievance procedure:
1. Step One - Department Representative (Dean, department head or chairperson)
a. An aggrieved employee and/or the employee's designated
representative (hereinafter known as the "Employee Representative")
may present a grievance, in writing, to the Dean, department head,
chairperson or designated representative (hereinafter known as the
"Department Representative"). Within 5 working days after receipt of
the written grievance, the Department Representative shall hold a
conference with the aggrieved employee and/or the Employee
b. Within 5 working days after the conclusion of the conference the
Department Representative shall render a written decision. In the
event the aggrieved employee is not satisfied with the decision, the
employee may appeal in writing to the next step within 5 working
c. It is the responsibility of the Department Representative to use
judgment in keeping superiors informed of the status of each
grievance and, as necessary, to request guidance, advisory committees
or other assistance in reaching a decision.
d. The Institution Director of Human Resources/Personnel or
designee shall be available to serve as a resource to answer any
questions by either the employee or the employer. However, this
shall not relieve the Department Representative from the
responsibility for issuing a written decision at Step 1 of this
2. Step Two - The Institution Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Designee
a. If the dispute is still unresolved, the aggrieved employee or
Employee Representative may appeal to the CEO or designee. The
appeal must be submitted to the Institution Director of Human
Resources/Personnel or designee within 5 working days after the
receipt of the written decision at Step 1, who shall determine the
appropriate forum for the hearing based upon the nature of the
grievance as indicated below:
(1) Institution issues are issues which affect only a specific
institution. These issues may include, but are not limited to,
application of a department or institution policy, procedure or
practice; administrative actions such as reprimands and, where
applicable, suspensions, charges for removal, involuntary
demotions and rejections on probation. Grievances involving
institution issues will be heard by the Institution CEO or
(2) Systemwide issues are issues which may affect more than one
institution in the USM. These issues may include, but are not
limited to, the general policies of the USM and broad classification
issues not limited by law, regulation or policy. Grievances
involving systemwide issues will be heard by the Chancellor or
b. In either case, the CEO or designee, or the Chancellor or
designee, shall hold a conference with the aggrieved employee and/or
employee's designated representative within 10 working days of
receipt of the written grievance appeal and shall render a written
decision within 15 working days after the conclusion of the
3. Step Three - The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) or Arbitration
a. In the case of any unresolved grievance between an employee and
the Institution or the USM, the aggrieved employee, after exhausting
all available procedures provided by the USM, shall have the right to
submit the grievance to either arbitration or to the Chancellor, who
may delegate it to the OAH. In either case, the appeal must be
submitted within 10 working days after the receipt of any written
decision pertaining to that grievance and issued by the institution
b. In the event of arbitration, the parties shall select an
arbitrator by mutual agreement. If the parties are unable to reach
mutual agreement, an arbitrator shall be supplied by the American
Arbitration Association (AAA) using AAA procedures. Any fees
resulting from arbitration shall be assessed by the Arbitrator
equally between the two parties.
c. In either case, the Chancellor or Administrative Law Judge, as
appropriate, shall make the final decision which shall be binding
upon all parties.
V. OTHER PROCEDURES
A. A grievance may start with a complaint or request by a Regular
Status Staff employee.
B. It is the responsibility of the head of each organizational unit
to assure that each employee understands the channels of
communication and appeal, specifically who is the dean, department
head or chairperson or their designees.
C. An employee may be represented at every step of the grievance
procedure. At any point in the grievance procedure, the employee may
elect to obtain, change, or dismiss a representative by providing
written notice of same to the person hearing the grievance. However,
such action in no way allows the grievant to return to a previous
step in the procedure or to delay the grievance at the current step.
D. Employee grievance forms shall be available in the institution
Office of Human Resources/Personnel. It is essential that the
institution grievance form be used.
E. A grievance must bear the signature of the employee or the
employee's representative at each step of the procedure.
F. It is the responsibility of each party to the grievance
procedure, at each step of the procedure, to duplicate the grievance
form prior to filing it with the employer or returning it to the
employee, and to retain one copy of the form for possible future
G. A record of each grievance and its disposition shall be
furnished to the employee involved. A file copy of each grievance
shall be maintained at the last step at which the grievance was
processed, and an additional copy shall be filed with the Institution
Human Resources/Personnel Office which shall be available to the
employee or the employee's representative.
H. Upon the formal or informal initiation of a grievance, an
employee designated as an employee representative shall not suffer
any loss of pay for investigating, processing or testifying in any
step of the grievance procedure. Release time from normal work
schedules is to be granted to the grievant and all witnesses to
attend grievance hearings. Expenses incurred in connection with
attendance by employees at grievance hearings shall be borne by the
I. No employee shall leave an assigned post of duty to engage in
grievance activities without the knowledge of and permission from the
employee's designated supervisor.
J. Similar grievances may be consolidated and processed together as
a single issue. Where a number of individual grievances have been
reduced into a single grievance, not more than three employees
selected by and from the group may be excused from work to attend a
grievance meeting called by the responsible administrator at Step 1,
and not more then five such employees at Steps 2 and 3 unless, at any
step, prior permission is granted by the person hearing the
K. The hearing officer may exclude incompetent, irrelevant,
immaterial and unduly repetitious evidence or witnesses.
L. All grievance hearings shall be open hearings unless either
party requests that the hearings be closed.
M. At any step of the grievance procedure either party may require
that witnesses be excluded from the hearing room until called.
N. Every effort shall be made by both parties to resolve the
grievance at the lowest possible level.
O. Each step of the grievance procedure shall be processed as
quickly as practicable within the specified time limits. The full
time limits should not be used if the grievance can be adequately
processed in a shorter period. Failure to appeal at any step
constitutes acceptance. Failure to answer is a denial to which an
appeal can be made. By mutual agreement of the parties, the time
limits and/or steps may be waived.
P. The original grievance or appeal that has been considered on the
merits will be considered de novo, in its entirety, at each
successive step of the grievance procedure. A grievance or appeal
going forward on a procedural issue will be remanded to the lowest
step to be heard on the merits if the procedural dispute is found in
favor of the grievant.
Q. Any question concerning the timeliness of a grievance or whether
a complaint is subject to the grievance procedure shall be raised and
resolved promptly, unless the person hearing the grievance or appeal
determines that the decision on a motion to dismiss will be deferred
pending a hearing on both the merits and the motion.
R. In cases of appeal to an arbitrator, each party will be
responsible for any expense incurred in the preparation and
presentation of its own case, and for any record or transcript it may
S. Any party who elects to use this grievance procedure for the
resolution of a problem shall be presumed to agree to abide by the
final disposition arrived at in this grievance procedure, and the
final disposition shall not be subject to review under any other
procedure within the USM.
Each Chief Executive Officer shall identify his/her designee(s) as
appropriate for this policy; shall develop procedures as necessary to
implement this policy; and shall forward a copy of such procedures to
State Personnel and Pensions Article, Section 5-209, October 1,
13-1A-01 through 06 of the Education Article, Annotated Code of
Maryland 1990 Cumulative Supplement (Chapter 325 of the Laws of
UM Personnel Policies and Rules for Classified Employees,
Section IX, Grievances and Appeals, Page IX-1.
UM Personnel Policies and Rules for Associate Staff, Section H
Employment Standards for Associate Staff, Grievances and
Appeals, Page 16.