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Email: hr@wju.edu
Phone: 1-304-243-8152

Workplace Practices: Dispute Resolution Procedure

Date approved:
May 2011
Approved by:
Date to be reviewed:
Feb. 2015
Reviewed by:
President of the University or his/her designee
Date revised:
Jan. 2014
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, work-related, or disciplinary complaints. The procedure is not available where (i) the complaint is subject to external agency process or venue, (ii) the employee has been 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. "General Dispute Resolution" - Specific for issues covering employment (filling positions, bidding, etc), performance (issues in and around the performance appraisal), or work-related complaints (schedules, duties, etc).
  5. "Disciplinary Dispute Resolution" - A formal review of discipline issued to an employee.
  6. "Written Appeal" - The second step in both the General and Disciplinary Dispute Resolution process where employees reduce their issues to writing.
  7. "University Review" - Documented incidents and discipline up to and including suspension is subject to appeal and review by the President or his / her designee, generally the Executive or Senior Vice President of the University.

2.3 Informal Procedure

Open Door Policy: The University encourages employees and their immediate supervisors to first meet informally to resolve issues related to employment, performance, work-related complaints, and discipline. 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 existing University policies and procedures.

2.4 Formal Procedure

General Dispute Resolution [issues related to employment, performance, and work-related complaints] and Disciplinary Dispute Resolution [issues related to discipline]:
2.4.1 Step 1 - Written Appeal: 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 their 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 Human Resource Department within one (1) week of the Open Door meeting.
  • In General Dispute Resolution cases, the Human Resource Department will arrange a "fact-finding" investigation wherein a Human Resource representative will interview the employee, witnesses, and the immediate supervisor.
  • In Disciplinary Dispute Resolution cases, a trained, neutral, third-party, will conduct the "fact-finding" investigation.
The results of the investigation will be submitted in writing to the Human Resource Department. Human Resources will issue a written response back to the employee within two (2) weeks of the date the investigation is concluded.

2.4.2 Step 2 - University Review: If the employee remains dissatisfied, the employee will again place, in writing, the reasons the employee disagrees with the Human Resource Department's response and forward it along with the initial written complaint to the University President or his/her designee within one (1) week of the Human Resource Department's written response. The President or his / her designated representative will conduct a "fact-finding" investigation if one has not been completed in Step 1. If one has been completed, the president or his / her designee will review the steps of the case, the fact-finding report, and the results to insure that due process has been followed, policies are adhered to, and the results are consistent with similar cases. The President or his / her designee will issue a written response upholding the discipline or remanding it to the employee's immediate supervisor or Human Resources for reconsideration. The decision of the President or his / her designee will be final.

2.5 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.

2.6 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 Executive or Senior Vice President of the University.


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