JSU Staff Handbook

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6.3.5 Grievance Hearing Procedures

A.      Request For and Scheduling of Hearing
After the procedures set out in the preceding sections have been completed, and if those steps have not led to a mutually satisfactory settlement of the problem, either the complainant or the subject may make a written request for a hearing to the person identified above in policy 6.3.4, subpart “A,” (“Persons to Contact”).  The person requesting a hearing must agree to disclose any relevant documents to the Committee.  The hearing will be conducted within 60 working days from the date that the written request for hearing was actually received by the appropriate person or agent thereof, and a Committee will be established to conduct an administrative hearing.  The notice of hearing will be mailed or hand delivered to both the complainant and the subject no later than five working days before the hearing (although more notice is recommended) and shall include the date, time, and location of the hearing. 
 
B.      Selection of the Committee.
If the subject of the grievance is a student, the Vice President for Student Life may select a Committee, if any, and determine the need for a hearing or other procedure in a manner consistent with the Student Handbook.  The following paragraph applies where the subject is a faculty or staff member rather than a student.  
 
The Committee will be composed of either three or five individuals selected randomly from a pool of persons, which shall be called the Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination Committee Pool (“Pool”).  The pool will include both faculty and staff in equal proportion.  The faculty individuals will be those individuals currently selected by the procedures set forth under the Faculty Grievance Procedure, or, if no group is formed at the time of the request for a hearing under this Policy, the procedures for selecting faculty for the Faculty Grievance Procedure will be used to identify those faculty members to be included in the Pool.  An equal number of staff employees will be selected and placed into the Pool along with the faculty members.  From the Pool, three or five persons will be selected randomly to form the Committee, which shall include at least one faculty member and one staff member.  If a selected individual has a conflict and is unable to participate, another member will be drawn from the Pool.  Selected individuals should notify the appropriate individual (the person identified in policy 6.3.4, subpart “A”) as soon as they are aware of their availability or unavailability.  The persons selected for the Pool must notify their supervisor or Dean of their participation, and receive a commitment from such individual that they will be available to participate.  Supervisory personnel should not discourage participation unless a hardship would result or an apparent conflict of interest exists.  If a member of the pool is drawn who has already served on a Committee in a grievance during the preceding six months, that person may ask for an alternate name to be drawn as a replacement.
 

C.  The Hearing

The Committee must ensure the following:

  1. The complainant and the alleged offender understand that they may bring an advisor of their choice to the hearing.  The University has no obligation to incur any expense in connection with an advisor’s participation.  This advisor may be an attorney, a faculty member, another staff member, a relative, or a citizen-at-large.  If the parties wish to have legal counsel present at the hearings, they must also inform the chairperson of the Committee at least three days prior to the hearing.  The advisor may address the Committee only with the consent of the chairperson.
  2. The complainant and respondent must submit all documentary evidence to the Committee Chair at least three business days prior to the hearing.  Documentary evidence provided will be available for review upon scheduled appointment by Committee members as well as the complainant and alleged offender prior to the hearing, but such documents will not be allowed to leave University premises.
  3. The complainant and the respondent are responsible for ensuring that any witnesses that they wish to provide information are available and present at the hearing to do so.  The Committee has within its discretion to call witnesses or request documents at any time, but does not have authority to compel attendance (or a subpoena power).
  4. The hearing is closed because of the sensitive nature of the information involved.  A representative of the division identified in policy 6.3.4, subpart A of this Policy, a representative of the General Counsel, and an individual responsible for recording the hearing may be present.  The necessity of a recording, and the type of recording, will be made by the decisional authority with consultation of the General Counsel on a case-by-case basis.  The EEO/Affirmative Action Officer may also be present, and will orientate the participants or answer questions in regard to the hearing process.  This individual may also advise the committee but will not participate in the committee’s executive session or decision.
  5. A majority vote carries, and negative votes will have the opportunity (but not requirement) to prepare a minority report for the records.
  6. Retaliation against the person seeking relief, the complainant, or any advisor is prohibited and subject to disciplinary action.
  7. Both parties will have equivalent opportunities to present their information.
  8. Only one witness appears before the Committee at a time.  The complainant and subject may be present during the witnesses’ testimony.
  9. Every witness is instructed not to discuss the hearing.
  10. Only evidence germane to the allegations may be presented at the hearing. The chairperson of the Committee makes decisions of admissibility of documents and testimony subject matter.  The Chairperson is selected by the Committee during the hearing orientation session or meeting which occurs prior to the start of the hearing.
  11. Fairness and consistency are exercised in recommending corrective action.
  12. Hearings are to take place on regular work days during working hours.
  13. The Committee shall state its findings and recommendations in writing to the appropriate person as identified in policy 6.3.4, Subpart A, within 10 calendar days of the close of the hearing.
  14. The Executive Director of Human Resources or Vice President of Academic Affairs may implement additional grievance hearing procedures in furtherance of this Policy for the purpose of improving fairness or efficiency.
  15. The General Counsel’s Office shall interpret and make recommendations regarding such procedures, which shall not be inconsistent with this Policy.

D.  Record Retention.
Due to the sensitivity of the information involved, any documents pertaining to the employee’s and/or student’s allegations will be transferred to and maintained in confidential files under the supervision of the Executive Director of Human Resources (for nonacademic employees), the Vice President of Academic Affairs (for academic rank employees), the Vice President for Student Life (for students), or the Vice President for Business and Finance (for non-employees).  These confidential files are disclosed only to necessary University officials who have been so designated by at least one top-level administrator, such as an area vice president, the Executive Director of Human Resources, the General Counsel, or the President.  A record showing the use of the files will be maintained, and sexual harassment incidents involving students are incorporated into a confidential file in the office of the Vice President for Student Life.  The file may be destroyed after two years from the student’s departure from the University.  Where litigation has been instigated, files will be kept throughout that process.