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Workplace Practices: Dispute Resolution Procedure
Date approved:
May 2011
Approved by:
Date to be reviewed:
April 2012
Reviewed by:
Chief of Staff/Vice President
Date revised:
Revision number:
Compliance Committee:
As Scheduled


Because Wheeling Jesuit University is dedicated to fostering the dignity of each person, the University provides a vehicle for employees to present employment-related issues to administration for timely resolution. No employee should hesitate to seek redress of grievance or fear retaliation for doing so.


2.1 Eligible employees may use the dispute resolution procedure to resolve employment, performance and work-related behavioral complaints and concerns. The procedure is not available where (i) the complaint is subject to external agency process or venue, (ii) the employee has been suspended or discharged, or (iii) the employee has retained an attorney, filed a lawsuit or complaint with an external agency or threatened to do so.

2.2 Definitions

  1. "Eligible" - Active, non-probationary, employees in staff or administrative positions.
  2. "External Agency" - Any federal, state or local regulatory compliance organization established to address employment-related concerns.
  3. "Open Door Policy" - The first step in the Dispute Resolution process. The University encourages employees and supervisors to resolve issues in this manner.
  4. "Written Complaint" - The second step in the Dispute Resolution process where employees reduce their issues to writing.
  5. "Dispute Resolution Panel" - A panel of up to three members selected at-large, none of whom are associated with the mployee or the department, or who may be associated with the immediate cause of the issue or may be the beneficiary of the decision.

2.3 Procedure

  1. Open Door Policy: The University encourages employees and their immediate supervisors to meet informally to resolve issues. The goal is to encourage active problem solving/dispute resolution at the lowest level possible. If the dispute is resolved at this level the University will be satisfied provided the resolution is in compliance with University policies.
  2. Written Compliant: Employees who are dissatisfied with the results of the Open Door meeting may reduce their complaint to writing wherein they must specify: 1.) the nature of the complaint, 2.) the policy or procedure that has allegedly been violated, and 3.) the remedy being sought. The written complaint should be provided to the level above the employee's immediate supervisor (Department Head) within one (1) week of the Open Door meeting. The Department Head will arrange a meeting with the employee and other, associated, parties and issue a written response back to the employee within two (2) weeks of the date the written complaint was submitted.
  3. Dispute Resolution Panel: If the employee remains dissatisfied, the employee will again place, in writing, the reasons the employee disagrees with the Department Head's response and forward it along with the initial written complaint and the Department Head's written response to Human Resources within one (1) week of the Department Head's written response. The Chief of Staff/University Vice President will select a Dispute Resolution Panel and will provide the Panel with copies of the documentation submitted by the employee and relevant University policies or procedures. The Dispute Resolution Panel will review the information and either:
    • Base their decision entirely on the written information presented to them; or
    • Convene a hearing where the employee is provided an opportunity to appear and present the specifics of the case.
The Panel will proceed with its hearings informally and in private, keeping its proceedings confidential and resolving by majority vote if necessary any issues relating to procedural matter or to its ultimate findings. The Panel will render a decision in writing within three (3) weeks of receipt of the information from the Chief of Staff/University Vice President. Its decision will be final.

2.4 The time frames described above will be closely adhered to and, in the event they cannot, the individual responsible for the level where the delay occurs will communicate in writing to the employee the reason for the delay and the new date.

2.5 The University will endeavor to schedule hearings at a time not in conflict with the employee's scheduled work hours; however, if that is not possible, work time expended by the employee at the hearing will be considered as time worked.

2.6 Referral

  1. Specific complaint procedures may apply to Equal Employment Opportunity, harassment, and Affirmative Action issues. Complaints may be referred for resolution under other applicable procedures.
  2. Complaints concerning faculty members may be referred to the CHief Academic Officer for resolution under the procedures applicable to faculty. 

2.7 No Retaliation

The University prohibits retaliation against any employee who initiates a complaint or participates in an investigation of a complaint under this policy.

2.8 At-Will

Nothing contained within this policy shall change an employee's at-will status or otherwise limit the University's right to terminate employment at will.


The Director of Human Resources has the authority to change, modify or approve exceptions to this policy at any time with or without notice and with the approval of the University President.


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