Administrative Manual - 210 Employee Concerns and Grievances
210 Employee Concerns and Grievances
It is the policy of JSA to provide a means for employees to seek information and discuss matters of concern and to obtain fair and objective answers to their questions, issues, and complaints. Employees have the right and responsibility to report concerns related to fraud, waste, abuse, ESH, workplace, or management concerns. While encouraging informal discussions and resolutions to complaints, it also is the policy of JSA to provide a formal grievance process.
- EMPLOYEE CONCERNS - GENERAL PROCEDURE
- Employees who have issues or complaints about work-related matters are strongly encouraged to seek resolution through the internal issues and grievance process, which includes informal discussion and formal grievance.
- If an employee has a complaint about an environmental, health, or safety condition, he/she should inform her/his supervisor immediately. The employee's supervisor should contact the respective ESH subject matter expert or ESH&Q AD for guidance/resolution. He/she also may refer to the JLab Environment, Safety and Health Manual, Chapter 2310 ES&H Concern Resolution for information on a formal process for resolving ES&H concerns. This chapter also explains the DOE Concern Resolution Process.
- If an employee believes he/she has been subjected to discrimination (including sexual harassment) in the workplace, he/she should inform the Employee Relations Manager immediately. The Employee Relations Manager shall ensure that any allegations of discrimination are investigated. A request for an investigation should be addressed to the Employee Relations Manager in writing and include specific references to the allegation along with the requested remedy.
- JLab's Employee Concerns Program (ECP) provides a risk-free way to anonymously and confidentially report activities that may involve unsafe, fraudulent, unethical, or otherwise inappropriate behavior in violation of JLab's policies, Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct. In all cases, bringing the concern to the attention of the first-line supervisor is the preferred method to resolve these issues. Management is often the Point of Contact (POC) for the issue in question and possesses the knowledge and/or resources to promptly address the situation. However, since this is not always possible, the ECP offers an easy and effective alternative.
Complaints may be filed by phone or by accessing the Employee Concerns Website 24 hours a day.
- The JLab Employee Concerns Hotline is 1-888-296-8301
- The Employee Concerns Website is http://www.jsaecp.ethicspoint.com
- INFORMAL RESOLUTION
- When an employee has a question or concern about working conditions, job safety, rate of pay, payroll classification, or other matters pertaining to his/her employment at JSA, he/she should consult with his/her immediate supervisor.
- When an employee seeks such counsel, the supervisor shall address the inquiry promptly, and provide the appropriate requested information or attempt to solve the problem in a professional, reasonable, and timely manner.
- In addressing employee issues, supervisors and employees may seek the assistance of the Employee Relations Manager whenever necessary.
- Most employee issues can, and should, be solved at the immediate supervisory level.
- Before filing a formal grievance, the employee shall discuss the issue informally with the immediate supervisor. The employee may discuss the issue with a second-level supervisor or the Employee Relations Manager if there is reason to believe that the nature of the issue could lead to reprisal.
- FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCESS
- If a satisfactory informal resolution of an issue, complaint or problem fails, employees have the right to file a formal grievance.
- The formal grievance process is classified as PERSONNEL SENSITIVE. This means that only those individuals directly involved in the grievance shall have access to information concerning the grievance. This is not an anonymous process.
Any JSA/JLab employee may file a formal grievance regarding alleged reprisals or retaliation for reporting acts of discrimination, or environmental, health, or safety conditions. Additionally, after efforts at informal resolution have been unsuccessful, any JSA/JLab employee may file a formal grievance for resolution of any issue, complaint, or problem regarding a specific management action which adversely affects the employee's terms and conditions of employment. These actions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Alleged improper application of JSA policies and procedures.
- Salary action.
- The specific contents of a performance appraisal, where evidence indicates arbitrary or capricious management actions.
- Formal corrective action, such as written warnings, suspension, or dismissal (except as a result of failing to complete a probationary period satisfactorily).
- Treatment considered unfair by an employee, such as coercion, reprisal, harassment, or intimidation.
- An employee wanting to submit a formal grievance may first seek assistance from the Employee Relations Manager in preparing a written grievance statement. The statement shall describe specifically the grievable issues, how the employee was adversely affected, and what resolution(s) to the situation the employee proposes.
- The employee shall submit a written grievance statement to the Human Resources & Services Manager no more than 20 working days from learning of the action prompting the grievance.
- Should the Human Resources & Services Manager be directly involved in the grievance issue, the grievance statement may be submitted to another senior manager or an Associate Director. Acceptance of a grievance by another manager in this circumstance must have the concurrence of the Director of the Laboratory, who may consult with legal counsel.
- The Human Resources & Services Manager (or his/her substitute in a circumstance such as described in c.
above) shall determine whether the issues raised are grievable in accordance with JLab policy.
- If the Human Resources & Services Manager or his/her substitute believes the statement is incomplete it may be returned to the employee with a request for additional information.
- If the Human Resources & Services Manager or his/her substitute declares the issue non-grievable, the employee may request that the decision be reviewed by the Associate Director of the employee's division.
- If the Associate Director agrees that the issue is non-grievable, the Human Resources & Services Manager or his/her substitute shall so advise the employee in writing, with a concurrence signature by the Associate Director.
- On agreement that the issue is grievable, the Human Resources & Services Manager or his/her
substitute shall choose one of the following next action steps:
- Direct the Employee Relations Manager to investigate the issue by interviewing all parties involved to ascertain and report in writing on the facts;
- Investigate the issue personally by interviewing all parties involved to ascertain the facts;
- Designate a Review Panel to investigate, ascertain the facts, and report back in writing on the issue. Such panel shall be composed of JSA/JLab staff not directly involved with the employee or his/her management chain and able to gather and analyze data objectively.
- The role of these investigative parties is to review and determine the facts of the grievance case; they shall not make any value judgments regarding arguments made by the grieving employee or the respondents. It is also important that they refrain from issuing a formal opinion, rendering a judgment, or offering a resolution or settlement based on the merit of the context/substance of the arguments presented. Such actions are not the role of the Investigators or Review Panel in such a process. Human Resources & Services Manager shall review the reports of the investigative parties to ensure guidelines have been met.
- Each person involved with the grievance shall have an opportunity to meet with and present information directly to the Employee Relations Manager, the Human Resources & Services Manager and/or Review Panel. The Employee Relations Manager, the Human Resources & Services Manager and/or the Review Panel also may call for joint interviews to gather information, if deemed appropriate.
- Following any of the investigatory methods above, the Human Resources & Services Manager or his/her substitute shall discuss and summarize the findings of the investigation and his/her recommendations for resolution to the appropriate Associate Director or his/her designee.
- The Associate Director or his/her designee shall respond in writing to the employee and, if appropriate, to others directly affected.
- This process, from the time the Employee Relations Manager, the Human Resources & Services Manager or his/her substitute, or a Review Panel receives the charge until a written response is sent to the employee from the Associate Director or his/her designee, shall take no longer than 10 working days.
- The employee shall respond in writing to the Associate Director's/designee's communication, indicating acceptance or rejection of the Associate Director's/designee's decision within 10 working days of having received the response.
- If the employee does not accept the decision of the Associate Director/designee, he/she may continue the review by requesting in writing, within 10 days of receipt of the Associate Director's/designee's written response, that the Director of the Laboratory review the grievance package.
- The Director shall review the written documentation and may meet with the employee, the Human Resources & Services Manager or his/her substitute, the Review Panel and any other staff members with pertinent information to
discuss the grievance.
- The Human Resources & Services Manager or his/her substitute and/or the Employee Relations Manager may be present at the meeting and the employee may request that a co-worker be present.
- The Director shall issue a written decision on the grievance within 10 working days of receiving the written request to review the grievance. Copies shall be provided to all affected parties, including Human Resources.
- The decision of the Director is final.
No employee participating in the formal grievance process shall be subjected to any reprisal or retaliation for using the process.
- Such actions may include, but are not limited to: verbal threats, harassment, withholding salary increases or special assignments, assignment of lower-level work, or informal or formal corrective actions unrelated to bona fide, documented performance deficiencies or misconduct.
- If an employee believes he/she has been subjected to any reprisal or retaliation, he/she should inform the Employee Relations Manager or the Human Resources & Services Manager immediately.
Time limits for compliance may be extended if necessary due to absence or other substantive reason. Requests for extensions must be in writing and approved by the Human Resources & Services Manager.
- Record Keeping
A complete file of grievance proceedings shall be maintained in the HR&S Department, separate from the employee's official personnel file. Grievance files are classified PERSONNEL SENSITIVE.