The University of Texas at Austin encourages direct communication between supervisors and employees to resolve workplace concerns. To facilitate this,the Office of Conflict Management & Dispute Resolution offers voluntary, confidential workplace mediation services as an alternative to filing a formal grievance. The best and most lasting solutions and resolutions are those created by the people directly involved.
Under the grievance policy, 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 try alternative dispute resolution (ADR) prior to beginning the grievance procedure.
The grievance policy can help address:
- Disagreements over the rating or content of your performance appraisal;
- Disagreements over the level or content of a corrective action document; or
- Misapplication of university policy or a department’s practice or procedure that impacts an individual’s employment.
Employee complaints regarding suspension without pay, demotion, or disciplinary dismissal are processed pursuant to the Policies and Procedures for Discipline and Dismissal of Employees. Allegations of illegal discrimination are forwarded to the Office for Inclusion and Equity for processing.
The grievance policy prohibits retaliation against a current 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.
Filing a Complaint
Step 1: Under the Grievance Procedure, employees have 10 university business days from the date of the incident giving rise to your dispute to file a complaint.
Step 2: All employees must meet in person with the Dispute Resolution Officer to be eligable to file a formal grievance.
Step 3: You must file your complaint with the Office of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution in writing using the Dispute Resolution Process Complaint Form provided by the Dispute Resolution Officer.
The Dispute Resolution Officer will help you clarify your issues and discuss available options and resources. Once options and approaches are explored you may decide to handle the issue on your own, not take any action, seek mediation or a facilitated process with the other party, or begin the grievance process by filing a written complaint.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Process
The alternative dispute resolution process is a participatory and creative process and is required prior to filing a formal grievance. This process increases satisfaction with the outcome, helps preserve an ongoing working relationship, and opens opportunities for future workplace success.
In the complaint process, the dispute resolution officer, as an impartial third party, will consult individually with the parties to gather relevant information, identify both of your issues and interests, and explore options for resolution. A facilitated discussion may be helpful to allow for understanding how to move forward. The DRO is not the decision-maker in the complaint process or an advocate for any party to the dispute.
Once the dispute resolution process is closed, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of the dispute resolution efforts, then you may pursue the formal grievance procedure. You have 10 university business days from the date that the complaint is closed to file your grievance. Grievances are filed through the Office of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution 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 grievance and all decisions/responses are a permanent part of the employee's departmental personnel file.