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5.4 Problem Resolution Procedure

5.4.1 Open Door Standard

Procedure Statement

The College consistently strives to maintain a work environment that is based on openness, collaboration, and respect. To accomplish this, the College outlines an Open Door Standard for employees.   

PURPOSE:

The purpose of the Open Door Standard is to encourage open communication, feedback, and discussion about any matter of importance to an employee.  Through this policy, the College relies on supervisors and managers to establish working environments that support respect and inclusion for all employees at all times.

SCOPE:

This policy applies to all Ithaca College employees.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • SUPERVISOR/MANAGER
    • Actively communicate the Open Door Standard with employees.
    • Keep employees regularly informed of College policies, and news through verbal and written communication.
    • Give careful consideration to suggestions and complaints made by employees.
    • Provide timely feedback to employees when questions, comments, concerns, and suggestion are raised.
    • Be available and ensure that employees know the best way to contact you.
    • Know that the College has a zero tolerance practice for retaliation.
  • EMPLOYEE
    • Employees are encouraged to discuss work related and peer engagement questions, comments, concerns, and suggestions with their supervisor/manager.
    • Maintain a fair and objective perspective of all grievance matters.
    • Know that the College has a zero tolerance practice for retaliation.

5.4.2 Problem Review Procedure

Procedure Statement

A fundamental principle of sound employee relations is the maintenance of clear and open channels for the expression of employee complaints. The College provides employees with a formal complaint procedure to provide a record throughout the process and thereby protect against retaliatory and/or arbitrary decisions or other unfair treatment.

PURPOSE:

The purpose of the Problem Review Procedure is to establish a process to resolve complaints and problems that cannot be addressed in the Open Door Standard (5.4.1).

SCOPE:

This procedure applies to all complaints raised by Ithaca College employees.  The policy responds to work-related problems that an employee believes to be unfair, inequitable, discriminatory, or a hindrance to an effective work environment.  The procedure is not designed to propose changes in College policy.

PROCESS:

Filing a Complaint

Employees may file a formal complaint.  Employees are encouraged to file formal complaints within 30 consecutive days after the prompting incident. The formal procedure should be used without concerns of potential retaliation. The Problem Review Procedure identifies steps in which a complaint may be processed. (See PROBLEM REVIEW PROCEDURE STEPS.)

Every effort will be made to ensure that complaints, once submitted under the Problem Review Policy, are handled in a timely manner.  Once a complaint is formally submitted, the College will work to resolve the complaint in a fair, effective, and efficient manner.

COMPLAINT TYPES AND PROCEDURES:

  • DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS: Discrimination complaints are complaints that are filed by an employee which allege/suggest discriminatory behavior against the complaining party based on that party’s age, disability, familial status, national origin, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or military status. Employees are requested to contact their HR Business Partner to report discrimination complaints. The HR Business Partner will coordinate with the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and complaints involving discrimination will be resolved per the guidelines stated section 2.7 of the Ithaca College Policy Manual, “Guidelines for Resolving Discrimination Complaints”.
  • SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINTS: Sexual harassment complaints are complaints that are filed by an employee involving allegations of workplace sexual harassment as described in section 2.6 of the Ithaca College Policy Manual, “Policy on Sexual Harassment”.  Complaints involving Sexual Harassment will be resolved per the guidelines stated in the “Policy on Sexual Harassment”.
  • ALL OTHER COMPLAINTS: All other complaints, including any other work-related problems that an employee believes to be unfair, inequitable, or a hindrance to an effective work environment may be pursued through the Problem Review Procedure Steps.
  • COMPLAINTS FALLING INTO MORE THAN ONE CATEGORY: If any aspect(s) of an employee’s complaint alleges discrimination or sexual harassment, then the particular aspect(s) of the complaint will be resolved pursuant to the applicable policy.  When it is feasible to separately resolve independent aspects of the complaint, then remaining aspects that are not based on discrimination or sexual harassment will be resolved pursuant to the Problem Review Procedure Steps.

PROBLEM REVIEW PROCEDURE STEPS

Step 1: Initiating the Problem Review Procedure

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • EMPLOYEE
    • To initiate the Problem Review Procedure, employees are required to submit a complaint statement, in writing, to their immediate supervisor and their respective HR Business Partner within 30 days of the issue of complaint.
      • Required information for the complaint statement include: date of the occurrence, name of all parties involved in or witness to the complaint, attempts made to remedy the problem, relevant facts of the incident that support the complaint basis, and the remedy or corrective action that is requested.
  • COLLEGE
    • The employee’s immediate supervisor will initially respond to the complaint statement, in writing, in a timely fashion, which may propose a current resolution or may indicate that an interim solution will require input from the Office of Human Resources.
    • The Office of Human Resources will review the complaint and the supervisor’s initial response and provide a response directly to the complainant to propose the next steps to resolve the stated concerns.
    • The Office of Human Resources will work to resolve the complaint in a fair, effective, and efficient manner. Through collaboration with the employee and other stakeholders, the Office of Human Resources will identify valid concerns and proceed to take the appropriate action toward resolution.
    • At the conclusion of its review, the Office of Human Resources will respond to the employee to confirm the final resolution.

Step 2: The Appeals Process

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • EMPLOYEE
    • If an employee would like to appeal a status decision that was made, then the employee must submit a written appeals letter to the Vice President of Human Resources within 10 days of the final written decision status notice that was determined by the Office of Human Resources.
      • Required information includes the following: 1) the original complaint statement 2) HR’s written response or resolution statement 3) a written notice stating the reason that the employee is dissatisfied with the review.
  • COLLEGE
    • The Vice President of Human Resources will assemble all applicable resources to resolve the issue of complaint.
    • Upon reaching a closing and final decision, the complainant will be provided with a written report outlining the determination.

Questions regarding this policy may be directed to the Office of Human Resources.

NOTE: Faculty members may also refer to Volume IV of the Ithaca College Policy Manual for terms and conditions of faculty employment.

Last Updated: May 2021