GRIEVANCE AND APPEAL PROCEDURES
The purpose of these procedures is to provide an opportunity for you to solve any differences through a reasonable and fair review process. These procedures would involve any complaint you might have against your supervisor or any other complaint directed against TMUS. (Student grievances involving faculty or Student Life appear in the Student Handbook. Grievances involving only faculty members appear in Section 8.4 of the Faculty Handbook.)
You are exhorted to be discerning in the matter of distinguishing various types of grievances. The following is a partial list of the types of problems which could be encountered:
Doctrinal: Only those problems which appear to be denials of the doctrines affirmed in TMUS’s Doctrinal Statement should be viewed as doctrinal grievances.
Hermeneutical: Problems relating to the interpretation of individual texts, the use of “proof texts” (even in the Doctrinal Statement), and personal opinions about the implications or applications of certain texts, which in no way involve denial of the doctrines affirmed in TMUS’s Doctrinal Statement. It is especially important to distinguish this point from the previous point.
Personal: Problems relating to individual habits, interpersonal relationships, styles, methods, including grievances against your supervisor, etc.
Procedural: Problems relating to general administrative policies or to the smooth operation of the institution.
Institutional: Problems relating to policies, procedures, wages, benefits, workload, working conditions, discipline, dismissal, etc.
Moral: Problems relating to any conduct viewed as illegal, unethical, not in conformity with TMUS’s standards (as illustrated throughout this Handbook), or unbecoming a Christian.
Guarantee of Non-reprisal
TMUS realizes there are circumstances in which an employee may feel reluctant to discuss issues involving a supervisor or other high ranking officials of the institution. These procedures have been designed as an attempt to apply biblical principles, especially those of Matthew 18:15-17. It is the desire of TMUS that you try to resolve your grievances at the lowest possible level and in a procedure that is as expeditious as possible. In addition, it is very important that you realize you may use both the informal and formal grievance procedures without fear of reprisal. You are not responsible for investigating the activity or for determining fault or corrective measures. Appropriate management officials are charged with these responsibilities.
Examples of illegal or dishonest activities are violations of federal, state or local laws; billing for services not performed or for goods not delivered; fraudulent financial reporting; forgery, and other related illegal acts. If an employee has knowledge of or a concern of illegal or dishonest fraudulent activity by an agent of the University & Seminary, the employee must contact the Director of Human Resources. The employee must exercise sound judgment to avoid baseless allegations. An employee who intentionally or recklessly files a false report of wrongdoing is not a whistleblower (an employee who reports an activity of an agent of the University & Seminary that he/she considers to be illegal or dishonest) and is subject to discipline up to and including termination.
Whistleblower protections are provided in two important areas – confidentiality and against retaliation. Insofar as possible, the confidentiality of the whistleblower is maintained. However, identity may have to be disclosed to conduct a thorough investigation, to comply with the law and to provide accused individuals their legal rights of defense. TMUS will not retaliate against a whistleblower. Any whistleblower who believes he/she is being retaliated against must contact the Human Resources department immediately.
All reports of illegal and dishonest activities by an agent of the University & Seminary must be promptly submitted to the Director of Human Resources who is responsible for investigating and coordinating corrective action. Employees with any questions regarding this policy should contact the Director of Human Resources.
In the event the Director of Human Resources is suspected to be involved in any illegal or dishonest act or to have not taken appropriate action to investigate or take appropriate corrective action, employees must contact the President of the University & Seminary.
The Board of Trustee’s Property, Finance, and Audit Committee chair or the Chair of the Board of Trustees should be contacted in the event the suspected illegal or dishonest act involves the University President.
Informal Procedures (Preliminary)
1. If you hear rumors, accusations, or grievances against co-workers, whether originated by students, faculty, or staff, you must immediately refer such matters back to the accuser (grievant). At this point the matter is between the accuser and the accused; it is not the business of any third party.
2. If the grievant subsequently refuses to question or confront the person with whom he/she has the grievance, a third party, depending on the nature of the complaint, may have a responsibility to investigate, but certainly has the responsibility of confronting the grievant’s failure to deal rightly with his or her Christian brother(s) or sister(s).
3. If the previous discussions have not resolved the difficulty, and the conviction remains that substantial problems do exist, the grievant must take a third party along and discuss the problem again with the accused.
4. If there is still no satisfactory reconciliation of the difficulty, the grievant will meet with the departmental Vice President of the person with whom he/she has the grievance and the accused. If the grievance concerns institutional policy, this will be the first step in resolving the grievance. The Vice President of the department will make appropriate recommendations and/or decisions for resolving the concerns and may also recommend or require that the concerns be presented to the Director of Human Resources for resolution.
5. If there is still no resolution of the concern, the grievant and any accused party, along with the departmental Vice President of the person accused, will meet with the Director of Human Resources and request resolution. After careful investigation and consideration of the issues the Director of Human Resources will make decisions and take action as deemed appropriate. The matter will end at this point, unless the grievant chooses to file a formal grievance.
Formal Grievance Procedures
Occasionally, situations may arise in which you would feel the need of a procedure by which specific actions could be objectively reviewed by neutral parties. The formal grievance procedures have been developed so that you will be able to follow an orderly process when seeking resolution of serious concerns that have not been resolved using the informal procedures. It is important to note that, in all cases, resolution with the parties directly involved (as outlined in the informal grievance procedures) should first be attempted. Only when all informal attempts have been exhausted should the following procedures be initiated.
The formal grievance procedures outlined below and on the following pages are available to all employees.
Step One: If the grievance is not resolved by the informal procedure above, the grievant may file a formal Grievance Complaint, in writing, with the accused’s department’s Vice President. All Grievance Complaints must include a fully detailed and thorough explanation of the allegations and/or complaints involved and must be filed within 25 working days of the date on which the grievant knew or should have known of the action(s) or condition(s) which occasioned the grievance, or within 10 working days of any informal hearing and decision rendered under Section 10.15, #5. The involved Vice President shall respond to the grievant, in writing, within 10 working days.
Step Two: If the grievance is not resolved at Step One and the grievant desires to pursue the matter, the grievant may file the grievance with the Director of Human Resources within 10 working days of the Step One decision. The grievance must state the specific policy, regulation, or procedure alleged to have been misinterpreted, misapplied or violated, and the resolution requested. The Director of Human Resources shall investigate the grievance and respond to the grievant in writing within 10 working days.
Step Three: If the grievance is not resolved at Step Two, and the grievant desires to pursue the matter, the grievant shall file a written notice of appeal with the Sr. Vice President within 10 working days of the decision at Step Two.
Step Four: Within 15 working days of the receipt of the grievance, the Sr. Vice President shall call for the formation of an ad hoc committee of employees to hear the grievance and render a recommendation. The ad hoc committee of employees shall be made up of five members consisting of three members chosen by Human Resources, one member chosen by the grievant, and one member chosen by the Sr. Vice President. All five employee members shall have served at TMUS for at least three years, cannot be from the same department, and shall be spiritually mature.
Step Five: The committee shall provide opportunities for the grievant, Vice President, Director of Human Resources, and the Sr. Vice President to make oral and/or written presentations. The committee shall keep records of the proceedings. The committee’s deliberation will not be conducted under strict rules of legal evidence and therefore the committee’s disposition of the grievance will take the form of findings of fact and conclusions. A course of action shall be recommended to the Sr. Vice President within 15 working days after completion of the hearing.
Step Six: Within 15 working days after the recommendation of the ad hoc committee, the Sr. Vice President shall notify the grievant and the accused of his decision. The decision shall include a statement of the findings and conclusions supporting the decision. The Sr. Vice President’s decision shall be final.
The Sr. Vice President, at any time during the grievance process, may personally meet with the grievant (and/or the accused) in an attempt to reach an agreement or resolution. If no agreement or resolution is reached, the grievance process shall continue.
Report to the Employees (No Expectation of Privacy)
The decisions relating to any formal grievance are reported to the entire staff, in an official staff business session, by the Sr. Vice President or Director of Human Resources. Decisions relating to grievances settled by informal/preliminary procedures are reported to the staff only in written concurrence of the parties involved.