Faculty and Staff Grievance Procedures

Introduction

Bentley is committed to providing its employees with a positive work environment in which issues can be resolved in a timely manner. The purpose of this procedure is to establish a fair, orderly and speedy resolution of disputes relating to employment at Bentley.

This procedure does not apply to those concerns, complaints or inquiries involving harassment or discrimination or those that pertain to faculty appointment, evaluation, promotion, tenure and termination. In those cases, an employee should refer to the Equal Employment Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy. This procedure also does not apply to employee annual evaluation ratings or merit increases, should they occur. In these cases, faculty should refer the matter to their dean and staff to their manager.

Please note that members of Local Union No. 877 of the International Union of Operating Engineers are covered by the grievance procedures agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement between Bentley and the Union.

Informal Resolution

Faculty and staff who have concerns about work-related conditions or management decisions are encouraged to first discuss their concerns with their immediate manager. Regular and forthright communication between staff and managers reduces the need for more formal review and is in the mutual best interest of both Bentley and its employees. Managers are expected to provide a supportive environment that fosters open communication related to work life at Bentley and are encouraged to resolve work problems and grievances in the immediate work environment whenever possible.

If the problem is not resolved with the immediate manager, or if the employee is not comfortable bringing the complaint to the immediate manager, the employee may choose to discuss the situation with the next manager in the reporting line. Alternatively, an individual may discuss a problem and seek help from the Office of Human Resources or Bentley's Ombudsperson.

If the complaint is against a student and is not resolved directly with the student, an employee should seek assistance from the Office of the Dean of Students. Such complaints may also be taken to the Campus Police, when appropriate.

Formal Grievance Procedure

When direct discussions and informal procedures have been exhausted, or if an employee believes the matter has not been satisfactory resolved, employees may file a written grievance. If the employee elects to file a written grievance, he/she should file the grievance with the Office of Human Resources. A copy of the written grievance will be forwarded to the Vice President for the department of the employee against whom the grievance is filed and the General Counsel. If the grievance is filed against a Vice President, a copy of the written grievance will be forwarded to the President and the General Counsel. If the grievance is filed against the President, a copy of the written grievance will be forwarded to the General Counsel and the Chairman of the Board.

The Vice President, or his/her designee, will work in collaboration with the Executive Director of Human Resources, or his/her designee, and the General Counsel to determine the manner in which matter is to be investigated and documented as set forth below. If the grievance is made by or against the Vice President, the President will assume, or appoint a designee to assume, the role of the Vice President under these procedures.

The written grievance should be filed promptly using the Faculty and Staff Grievance Form, and preferably within two months of the event to which it refers,

  1. Description of the alleged facts and date(s) of the incident(s)
  2. Summary of steps you have taken in an attempt to resolve the problem
  3. Name of the person(s) thought to be responsible for the alleged event(s)
  4. Name(s) of any corroborating witnesses
  5. Other facts considered to be pertinent to the case

After an employee has filed a written grievance, the following procedure will apply:

  1. The Vice President and the Executive Director of Human Resources and the General Counsel, or their designees, (hereinafter the "Investigatory Team"), will meet as quickly as possible, normally within ten working days of receipt of the written complaint. The Vice President will notify the accused that a complaint has been filed, and provide the accused with a copy of the complaint.
  2. The Investigatory Team will determine whether direct negotiation remedies have been exhausted, whether the facts warrant further consideration and whether a formal internal investigation is necessary. If an investigation is initiated, the Investigatory Team will develop a plan for how any investigation will be conducted and assign an individual to conduct the investigation; the person conducting the investigation may be the Executive Director of Human Resources, a Human Resources Business Partner, internal General Counsel, or in extenuating circumstances external Counsel. All investigation plans will begin by conducting initial meetings with the person(s) aggrieved and the person grieved against. The Investigatory Team will then determine any additional witnesses and/or other appropriate individuals that should be interviewed, which may or may not include the people suggested by the person(s) aggrieved and grieved against. The investigation plan may also include a review of relevant files and other supporting material. Every reasonable effort will be made to conclude the investigation promptly.
  3. The Investigatory Team will expeditiously consider the facts of the case, make a final decision and take whatever action they feel is warranted. The person leading the investigation shall keep both parties informed on a timely basis of the status of the complaint and the timetable for resolving it. Every reasonable precaution will be taken to ensure the confidentiality of information obtained during the investigation.
  4. The final action of the Investigatory Team constitutes the formal completion of the grievance procedure. The final action is communicated to involved parties as it relates specifically to them. The documents relating to the grievance and investigation will be retained by the Office of Human Resources.
  5. Disputes between or among the Investigatory Team concerning the grievance will be resolved by the General Counsel.
  6. Any request for exceptions to the foregoing should be addressed to the President.

Conciliation/Settlement

Pursuit of the informal or formal grievance procedure does not prohibit the grievant and the respondent from entering into conciliation, with or without assistance from the Office of Human Resources, or from reaching a mutually agreeable compromise or settlement of a dispute prior to the completion of the process. Such settlement shall be reported to the Office of Human Resources by the parties.

Confidentiality

Every reasonable effort will be made to protect the privacy and confidences of all parties, consistent with and subject to Bentley's need to investigate the complaint and/or implement any disciplinary action.

Conflicts of Interest

No individual who has participated in or witnessed the alleged conduct which is the subject of the grievance shall serve as an investigator or decision maker in the grievance proceedings.

Duty of Good Faith

Bentley prohibits any member of the Bentley community from knowingly or recklessly bringing a false complaint of institutionally sanctionable conduct against another member of the Bentley community. Any such action can lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion.

Protection Against Retaliation

Bentley will not allow any form of retaliation against individuals for exercising rights in good faith under this grievance procedure or for cooperating in the investigation of grievances. Anyone found to be engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion.

Important Disclaimer

These grievance procedures may be modified at any time by Bentley with the approval of the President.

Updated December 2011