Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who can file a grievance?
Any person hired for permanent employment for a full or part-time position, including probationary employees, can file a grievance.
2. What is grievable?
A grievance may be filed to address a violation, misapplication, or a misinterpretation of the statutes, policies, rules or written agreements applicable to the employee regarding classification, compensation, terms and conditions of employment, employment status, discrimination, harassment, favoritism, or any action, policy or practice constituting a substantial detriment to or interference with the effective job performance of the employee, or the health and safety of the employee.
3. What is not grievable?
The grievance procedure cannot address issues relating to pensions, public employees insurance, retirement, or any other matter in which the authority to act is not vested with the employer.
4. How long do I have to file a grievance?
A grievance must be filed with the President’s office within 15 days of the grievable event, or within 15 days of the date the employee learned of the grievable event, or within 15 days of the most recent occurrence of a continuing practice giving rise to a grievance. Failure to file within the time lines, which are set by law, will generally result in dismissal of the grievance.
5. What if an informal resolution is offered?
If you are interested in mediation or other avenues of resolution, you should either pursue those alternatives quickly so that a grievance may be timely filed, or file the grievance and request that it be held in abeyance for a period of time to allow for a possible settlement.
6. How does the procedure work?
The current procedure, passed by the legislature in 2007, consists of three levels. The grievance is filed at level one with the chief administrator of the institution. On the grievance form the employee must indicate whether a conference or hearing is requested. A hearing must be scheduled by the President’s office within 15 days of receipt of the grievance. A conference must be scheduled within 10 days of receipt.
7. What is the difference between a hearing and a conference?
A conference is an informal meeting between the employee and the President’s designee, along with any other individuals who may have relevant information, to discuss the issues raised, exchange information, and attempt to resolve the grievance.
A hearing is a recorded proceeding in which the grievant is entitled to be heard and present evidence. The administration is represented by a member of the General Counsel’s office. The formal rules of evidence do not apply, but both parties may present documents and examine and cross-examine witnesses.
A written decision must be issued for either a conference or hearing within 15 days, which for purposes of the grievance procedure do not include Saturday, Sunday, official holidays and any day the workplace is legally closed.
8. What if the decision is not favorable?
Within 10 days of receiving the level one decision, the grievance may be appealed to level two. At this point, the matter is processed by the Grievance Board, an external, independent, state agency. Level two requires the parties to participate in either mediation or private arbitration. If the matter is not settled by mediation, an appeal may be filed to level three, at which time an administrative law judge will conduct a hearing, or review the grievance based on the record.
9. Are there any exceptions to this process?
An employee may proceed directly to level three upon the agreement of the parties, or when the employee has been discharged, suspended without pay, or demoted or reclassified resulting in a loss of compensation or benefits.
10. Can employees file as a group?
A grievance may be filed by one or more employees on behalf of a group of similarly-situated employees if those employees indicate in writing his or her intent to join the grievance. Not all employees who join a group grievance are required to participate in the grievance proceedings.
11. Can grievances be consolidated?
Individual grievances involving the same issue may be consolidated at the request of the parties, or by the hearing officer.
12. What if another employee files a grievance that may affect my job?
If a grievance is filed, and the outcome may adversely affect you, your interest will generally be represented by the institution. However, you may ask to intervene and become a party to the grievance.
13. Should I be concerned about retaliation for filing a grievance?
Retaliation/reprisal is specifically prohibited by the grievance statute and any person found engaging in such activity is subject to disciplinary action for insubordination.
14. Do I need to be represented by a lawyer, or be a member of an employee group to file a grievance?
It is not necessary to be a represented by an attorney or organization to file a grievance. Employees may represent themselves, be represented by an employee organization, fellow employee, attorney, or any other person he/she designates, with the exception that an individual may not be represented by a supervisor who evaluates him/her.
15. Where can I get a grievance form?
The grievance statute, procedural rule and grievance form with directions may be found online at http://pegboard.state.wv.us/ or by contacting the office of the Chief Grievance Administrator at 293-9230.
16. Where do I send the completed form?
One copy should be sent to the
Public Employees Grievance Board
1596 Kanawha Boulevard, E.
Charleston, WV 25311
and one copy sent to the
Chief Grievance Administrator
West Virginia University
PO Box 6201
The completed form may be sent to the Grievance Board and the Chief Grievance Administrator by U. S. Mail or hand delivered between the hours of 8:15 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. It may not be sent by interdepartmental mail or by e-mail.