[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of East Bloomfield 7-29-1996. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the purpose of this chapter to provide a procedure whereby employees may resolve disputes or complaints concerning the terms or conditions of their employment.
The Town of East Bloomfield recognizes that every employee has the right to be treated fairly in matters arising from employment by the town; that each employee should have the opportunity to be heard fully any time his right to fair treatment has been violated; and that a carefully designed grievance process can help to reduce personnel dissatisfaction, increase morale, identify problems in the organization and increase the positive perception employees have of their employment with the town. Therefore, whenever an employee believes that he has been treated unfairly with regard to the terms and conditions of his employment, he may initiate proceedings as specified in this chapter in order to resolve those matters.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated.
- ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEE
- All permanent, probationary or regular part-time employees. "Regular part-time employees" are those who work 20 hours per week or more on a continuous basis for at least six months.
The grievance procedures set forth in this chapter are applicable only to eligible employees.
This grievance procedure shall not be used in addition to other grievance procedures as may be in effect through the governing jurisdiction. Under no circumstances shall more than one procedure be used to redress the same grievance, although use of this or other procedures does not preclude employees from seeking legal remedies as appropriate.
The town retains the right under applicable laws and regulations to direct employees in the performance of their duties; to take the necessary means to achieve the proper ends under emergency situations; and to hire, promote, transfer and assign employees as well as to suspend, demote, discharge or take disciplinary action against such employees for just cause.
This grievance procedure is not applicable to matters for which an appeal process is otherwise provided and may not be used in addition to or in replacement of those processes.
The scope of the employee grievance must:
Clearly define the situation in question through a written allegation of the specific wrongful act or situation, the harm done and the facts upon which it is based;
Arise out of an act or failure to act that directly relates to the working conditions of the eligible employee or to the employee's employment relationship;
Define a matter within the control of the department; and
State such relief sought that is within the power of the department to grant.
The grievance procedure established by the town consists of two steps for appeal, each of which must be utilized in turn before appeal is made to the next step, unless otherwise specified in this chapter:
Step One - Immediate Supervisor. An employee who believes that elements of his working environment are unsatisfactory and can be made more effective should take the following measures:
Discuss the specific problem with his immediate supervisor. A problem that results from a specific event or action must be presented within seven days. The supervisor's decision regarding the matter shall be rendered in writing to the employee within seven calendar days following the conference. The employee has the right to the presence of a representative of his choosing during this conference.
If the problem cannot be resolved through the conference and/or the employee wishes to document the grievance for further action, he may submit a formal written grievance to the Town Supervisor.
Step Two - Town Supervisor. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved in Step One, the problem may be presented, in writing, to the Town Supervisor on the designated form, together with a copy of all preceding responses, within seven days following the response of the employee's supervisor. The grievance must:
Be submitted within seven days following receipt of the immediate supervisor's response;
Include a copy of the immediate supervisor's decision and justification;
Specify the employee's grievance and the specific remedy requested; and
Provide a response to the immediate supervisor's decision within seven days of receipt.
The Town Supervisor shall meet with the affected employee and a representative of his choosing if so desired. A written response will be provided to the employee within seven days after receipt of the appeal from the employee.
Written responses to grievances. Written responses to grievances shall include the following:
Time limits. If a grievance is not processed by the aggrieved employee within the specified time limits provided in this chapter, the grievance shall be considered void. If the department fails to process a grievance within the time limits specified, the employee may initiate action by proceeding to the next step. However, employees are encouraged to make a reasonable attempt to determine the reason for the delay.
Time extensions. All times specified in this procedure are subject to scheduled vacations, sick leave or other authorized leave necessary for the proper conduct of departmental business. Additionally, involved parties may request one extension not to exceed seven days by providing written notice to the other parties prior to the expiration of the time limit established for that step.
Withdrawal of grievance. At any time during the grievance process, the employee may withdraw the grievance by making written notification of the withdrawal available to all parties involved in the grievance process.
Coordination of grievance procedures. The Town Supervisor shall designate an officer who shall coordinate the town's grievance procedures as established with these guidelines. This officer shall also be responsible for:
Once the department's grievance procedure has been exhausted, an employee and his representative have the right to explain and argue the grievance before an appeal panel. The panel consists of appointed representatives from the Town Board, a departmental representative who is responsible for explaining the department's position and any other town employee who the aggrieved employee may select as his representative. The hearing is informal and no record will be kept of the proceedings, although there is a right to cross-examination. Findings of the appeal panel shall be rendered within 15 days of the hearing and are binding upon all parties involved.