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

Workplace Practices: Dispute Resolution/Grievance Procedure

Date approved:
May 2011
Approved by:
William Rickle, S.J.
Date to be reviewed:
July 2016
Reviewed by:
President of the University or his/her designee
Date revised:
Aug. 2015
Revision number:
Compliance Committee:
As Scheduled

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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 / grievance 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 Employees" - Active, non-probationary, full time 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 Disputes" - 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. "Corrective Discipline Disputes"- Specific for corrective discipline issued to an employee.
  6. "Compensation Disputes" - Specific for issues regarding an employee's compensation (rate of pay, deductions, or FLSA designation).
  7. "Written Grievance" - The second step in the Dispute Resolution process where issues are placed in writing.
  8. "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.

2.3 Informal Procedure

Open Door Meeting: The University encourages employees and their immediate supervisors to meet informally to resolve general disputes, corrective discipline disputes, and compensation disputes. The goal is to encourage active problem solving / dispute resolution at the lowest level possible. If the dispute is resolved at this level University senior leadership will be satisfied provided the resolution is in compliance with existing University policies and procedures. All General and Corrective Discipline Disputes must first complete the Informal Grievance Procedure; Compensation Disputes may immediately proceed to the Formal Grievance Procedure.

2.4 Formal Procedure

General Disputes (issues related to employment, performance, and work-related complaints) and Disciplinary Disputes (issues related to employee corrective discipline):

2.4.1 Step 1 - Written Grievance: Employees who are dissatisfied with the results of the Informal Grievance Procedure or those who have compensation disputes may express their grievance in writing specifying: 1.) the issue at the center of their complaint, 2.) the policy or procedure that has allegedly been violated, and 3.) the remedy being sought. The written appeal must be delivered to the Human Resource Department within five (5) business days of the date of the Open Door meeting or the date the alleged compensation error was discovered. The Human Resource Department will arrange a "fact-finding" investigation wherein a Human Resource representative or a neutral third party will interview the employee, witnesses, and the immediate supervisor. Human Resources will issue a written response back to the employee within two (2) weeks of the date the written appeal was received in Human Resources.
NOTE: Whenever a compensation dispute is entered in Step 1, the investigation will not continue beyond two (2) pay dates after the alleged error was reported. If the allegation proves to be correct, the employee will be immediately reimbursed for all improper deductions or made whole with respect to improper compensation. If the allegation proves to be incorrect, a written response will be returned to the employee.
2.4.2 Step 2 - University Review: If the employee remains dissatisfied, the employee may appeal, in writing, the reasons the employee disagrees with the Human Resource Department's response from Step 1 and forward it along with the initial written grievance to the University President or his designee within five (5) business days of the Human Resource Department's written response. The President or his designee will review the initial discipline, the employee's written grievance from Step 1, and the response from Human Resources in Step 1 to ensure that due process was followed, policies were adhered to, and the results are consistent with similar cases. The President or his designee will issue a written response within two (2) weeks of receipt of the request for review upholding the discipline or remanding it to either the employee's immediate supervisor or Human Resources for reconsideration. The decision of the President or his designee is 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 notice of an extension and the new date the response will be delivered. There may be only one (1) extension per step and no extension may exceed two (2) weeks.

2.6 Referral

  1. Specific complaints may also apply to Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, or Title IX. Employees may also refer their complaints to those outside agencies for resolution per their 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 grievance or participates in the investigation of a grievance 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 President or his designee.



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