Dispute Resolution Process and Grievance Procedure
The University of Texas at Austin encourages direct communication between supervisors and employees to promptly resolve workplace concerns. While the university has a formal grievance procedure, you're encouraged to use conflict resolution services to resolve differences. The best and most lasting solutions and resolutions are those created by the people directly involved.
The university provides a fair and efficient process for you to present and resolve complaints and grievances arising out of the employment relationship. The Grievance Policy requires employees with disputes to first try conflict resolution before beginning the grievance procedure. The dispute resolution process helps:
- Increase the parties’ satisfaction with the solutions,
- Develop positive and effective communication between you and your supervisor, and
- Preserve the ongoing working relationship
You may, on an individual basis, present complaints and grievances concerning your conditions of work and may include matters relating to:
- A problem or dispute with your supervisor;
- A disagreement with the rating or content of your performance appraisal;
- The level or content of a corrective action document; or
- The application of a university policy, or a department’s practice or procedure.
The grievance policy prohibits retaliation against an employee who has brought a complaint or grievance pursuant to this policy or against an employee who has participated in a review of the complaint or grievance by a faculty member, staff member, or administrator. Retaliation is subject to disciplinary action.
Employee complaints regarding suspension without pay, demotion, or disciplinary dismissal are processed pursuant to the HOP Section 9.49, Section IV. Procedure For Appealing Disciplinary Actions. Allegations of illegal discrimination are forwarded to the Office for Inclusion and Equity for processing.
Filing a Complaint
Should you want to proceed with a complaint, you have ten university business days from the date of the incident giving rise to your dispute to file a complaint. You must file your complaint with the Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Office in writing using the Dispute Resolution Process Complaint Form. Please contact the office to get a copy of the form. The complaint form requires you to identify the basis and facts of your dispute, how you have tried to resolve your dispute, and your desired resolution. You may provide relevant documents or other information pertinent to the matter.
Prior to filing a written complaint, you are encouraged to contact the office to schedule an appointment. The dispute resolution officer will help you sort through your issues to bring clarity to your concerns and discuss your options and resources available to address your situation. Once options and approaches are explored you may decide to handle the issue on your own using the approaches discussed, not take any action, to seek mediation or a facilitated process with the other party, or begin the grievance process by filing a written complaint.
The Dispute Resolution Process
The dispute resolution process is a participatory and creative process and is required prior to filing a grievance to a decision maker. By working through a problem-solving process, it increases your satisfaction with the outcome of the complaint process, helps preserve an ongoing working relationship, and helps open opportunities for future workplace success.
In the complaint process, the dispute resolution officer, as an impartial third party, will consult individually with you and with your supervisor to gather relevant information, identify both of your issues and interests, and explore options for resolution. The DRO may consult with management, if needed. A facilitated discussion may be helpful to allow for understanding and decision making on how to move forward. The DRO is not the decision-maker in the complaint process or an advocate for any party to the dispute– employee or management.
Once the dispute resolution process is closed, should you not be satisfied with the outcome of the dispute resolution efforts, then you may pursue the formal grievance procedure. You have ten university business days from the date that the complaint is closed to file your grievance. Grievances are filed through the Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Office to the appropriate university official as set forth in the Handbook of Operating Procedures, Grievance Policy. The Dispute Resolution Process and Grievance Procedure Flowchart [PDF] provides a visual for following the steps in the policy.
The office tracks general information regarding all grievances at the university for the purpose of recommending systemic changes that may provide better communications and working relationships between employees and management. The grievance and all decisions or responses relating to it shall be a part of the employee's departmental personnel file.