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Grievances and Formal Appeals

Whenever possible, the University prefers to resolve workplace conflicts informally through discussion or mediation. There are also several different means of formal grievance or appeal at the University, depending on what type of employee you are (SPA, EPA Non-Faculty) and the issues being appealed.

SPA Grievance Policy

Last year, the NC General Assembly made changes to the State Human Resources Act. As a result, all UNC System institutions now must have the same grievance policy. The effective date of the new policy is May 1, 2014. Click to review the new UNC System SPA Employee Grievance Policy.

The University allows SPA permanent employees to grieve a wide range of issues (see policy for details). Employees have 30 calendar days to file a grievance from the date of the incident that they are grieving.

  • Step 1 in the process is a review and written response from the employee’s work unit (generally, 2nd or 3rd level supervisor of the employee).
  • If the employee appeals the response, Step 2 in the process is a hearing. The employee and a representative of the employee’s management (generally his/her direct supervisor or 2nd-level supervisor) present their information to a panel of three volunteer SPA permanent employees.
  • The panel reviews the materials presented and writes a report and recommendation to the Chancellor, who then makes the final decision for the University on the issue.
  • Certain issues can be appealed to the State’s Office of Administrative Hearings after the completion of the internal process (see policy for details).

By State regulation, the grievant cannot be represented by an attorney during the internal process. However, grievants are allowed to have a support person (a fellow University employee) to assist them in preparing their grievance materials. For matters appealed to the State’s Office of Administrative Hearings, the grievant is allowed to retain counsel at their own expense. Go to policy.

SPA Performance Appeals

The University allows SPA permanent employees to appeal overall ratings of Good, Below Good, or Unsatisfactory on their annual performance appraisals. Mid-cycle reviews and individual principal function ratings are not appealable. Performance appraisal appeals are administered through the SPA Grievance Policy. Go to policy.

SPA Career Banding Dispute Resolution Process

This separate appeals process allows SPA employees with career status (24 months of continuous service with the State) to appeal salary decisions made by their immediate supervisor/manager. Salary decisions based on availability of funding are not eligible for consideration. Go to policy.

Salary decisions that are eligible for consideration must be based on one of the following in conjunction with a promotion, reassignment, demotion or career banding salary adjustment as defined in policy:

  • Amount of salary increase is less than appropriate amount as determined through pay factors
  • No salary increase has been granted when applicable pay factors would support an increase
  • Employee competencies have been inappropriately evaluated

The employee must file a Career Banding Dispute Resolution Form with the Office of Human Resources Classification and Compensation Department within 30 calendar days of notification of a career banding salary action by their manager. The Classification & Compensation Department will screen the appeal for eligibility. If eligible it is forwarded to to the next level of management or other designated decision-maker in the department if appropriate. The decision must be communicated by the higher-level decision maker(s) to the employee and OHR, ensuring that resolution is completed, within 60 calendar days of the employee’s appeal.

EPA Non-Faculty Grievance Policy

The University allows EPA Non-faculty permanent employees to grieve lack of cause for dismissal, violation of first amendment rights, violation of policy that has affected the employee’s employment status, lack of notice for end of appointment, and prohibited harassment and discrimination. Go to Policy.

  • Complainants have 30 calendar days from the aggrieved incident to file the complaint.
  • Step 1 in the process is a review and written response from the employee’s work unit (generally, 2nd or 3rd level supervisor of employee).
  • If the Complainant appeals the response, Step 2 of the process is a hearing to a panel of three volunteer EPA Non-Faculty employees.
  • The panel writes a report and recommendation to the Chancellor, who makes the final decision for the University.
  • Appeals of the Chancellor’s decision are sent to the Board of Trustees for review and decision. No additional appeal materials or presentation from the grievant or management is made to the BOT; the Board bases its decision on the materials already provided during the process.

Complainants are allowed to have a support person (a fellow University employee) to assist them. The grievant cannot be represented by an attorney during the internal process with the exception of cases of discharge for cause, in which the grievant can retain and be represented by counsel at their own expense. In such cases, University Counsel will represent management.

Administrative Review for Harassment/Discrimination Complaints

Any employee or student who believes that s/he has experienced prohibited harassment or discrimination at the University may file an administrative complaint with the Equal Opportunity / ADA Office on campus. The Equal Opportunity / ADA Office staff will work with the employee’s management to investigate the complaint and issue a formal report. Complaints must be filed with 180 calendar days of most recent event of alleged prohibited harassment or discrimination; however, to preserve grievance rights to the issue, the employee must file the complaint within 30 calendar days of the event. Go to Policy.