Grievance Procedure

The Affirmative Action Regulations by State Government require that Western Connecticut State University establish a system to process and resolve employee allegations of discrimination consistent with Chapters 67 and 68 of the Connecticut General Statutes. This requirement further stipulates that this system provide for the expeditious resolution of grievances, to assure that legal options for filing complaints with enforcement agencies are not foreclosed. The parameters for what this grievance procedure should include are also set forth in the regulations and are incorporated into the University's discrimination grievance procedure. The University's discrimination grievance procedure has been approved by the Commission as meeting compliance with the regulations.

In accordance with the regulations, where informal allegations have resulted in complaints to enforcement agencies, the plan shall provide information on the number of such complaints, investigating agency, whether such matter is currently pending, or the outcome thereof. The University does not unilaterally suspend or terminate an investigation or processing of internal complaints when the complaining party files a complaint with the CHRO and/or the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

All records relevant to employee grievances filed under Section 46a-68-46 of the Affirmative Action Regulations by State Government shall, be maintained by the Univcrsity for examination by the Commission. All records of grievance and dispositions thereof shall be maintained and reviewed on a regular basis by the Director of Multicultural Affairs and Afirmative Action to detect any patterns in the nature of the grievances. In accordance with the Regulations, records so retained shall be confidential except where disclosure is required by law. Access shall include, but not be limited to all documents presented or considered by the panel, should a panel be convened.

University employees regularly receive notice of the University's grievance procedure on an annual basis. Distribution takes place as an inclusion with the employee's paycheck, which ensures that all employees have been reached. In addition, all new employees receive notification of the grievance procedure as part of the initial Affirmative Action orientation process.

PROTECTION FROM ADVERSE ACTIONS - All employees shall be free from all restraint, interference, coercion, or reprisaI on the part of their associates, supervisors and all others in making any complaint or appeal, in serving as a representative for a complaint, in appearing as a witness, or in seeking information. The above principles apply with equal force after a complaint has been adjudicated. Should these principles be violated, the facts shall be brought to the attention of the Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer by the aggrieved party, his/her representative, or any person affected. The Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer shall bring all such situations to the attention of the President and Associate Vice-President of Human Resources for confidential discussion, review, the potential for early proactive intervention and appropriate action.

FILING A COMPLIANT - A complaint may be filled by any employee, applicant, student or other person who believes that an employment/service practice at Western Connecticut State University has or will result in discrimination against him/her. A complaint of general discriminatory employment may also be filed. The complainant and respondent shall have the right to representation and shall be afforded due process. AII complaints received are initially assessed for 90-day filing timeliness from the alleged occurrence of the act of discrimination, and jurisdiction of the Affirmative Action Office to initiate an investigation of discrimination.

The respondent shall receive a copy of the written complaint when it's filed and the complainant shall receive a copy of the written response, if any. The time frame for such notifications shall not exceed five working days. Also, the complainant and the respondent, to the extent required by law, shall be notified of the outcome of the complaint.

The Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer may be contacted for confidential counseling regarding a particular matter, will provide confidential counseling as requested and necessary during the complaint process, and ensure prompt consideration of complaints filed.

All complaints are to be filed with the Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer by contacting: Carolyn Lanier, Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer, Western Connecticut State University, Old Main 101, 181 White Street, Danbury, CT 06810. lanierc@wcsu.edu. Initial contact may be made by calling (203) 837-8277.

Any person not able to file a complaint in the above manner because of a disability may use whatever method is accommodating to him/her.

IndividuaIs are advised of their legal options to file complaints with the Connecticut Cominission on Human Rights and Opportunities, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division and any other agencies, state, federal, or local that enforces laws concerning discrimination in employment.

All complaints received that may subject an employee to disciplinary action must be reported to the Associate Vice-President of Human Resources by the Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer and investigated, incorporating University personnel procedures into the investigation process. Any contested disciplinary action shall be pursued through the appropriate contract article or other external means of choice.

The Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer shall personally investigate and/or oversee all discrimination complaints filed with the University.

The Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer is required by law to investigate all discrimination complaints filed against the University. As part of the investigation process mediation may take place at the supervisory or department head level under the guidance of and with occurrence from the Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer, who will oversee the investigation process and who may also elect to mediate a complaint. The Director of MulticuItural Affairs and Affirmative Action shall have full access to University records, resources, and staff in the mediation, investigation, and resolution of complaints.

If, after investigation of a complaint, the Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer has reasonable cause to believe that an act of discrimination may have taken place, or has the potential to take place, such findings shall be brought to the attention of the President and Dean of Human Resources for review and corrective action, as appropriate. The Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer is charged, in this regard, to conciliate and/or bring closure to the matter in a manner that eliminates the discriminatory act in question.

If, after investigation of a complaint, the Director of MulticulturaI Affairs and Affirmative Action does not have reasonable cause to believe that an act of discrimination may have taken place, or has the potential to take place, the complaint shall he advised of this finding, in writing, and provided advisement again of his/her right to legal options to file complaints.

After investigation, the procedure provides for a hearing by a panel, which is comprised of an individual who is not a constituent of either party and a constituent of each party, who will make recommendations to the President. If the President accepts a recommendation, the recommendation shall be implemented as soon as practical. The Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Diversity Officer is responsible for following up to ensure that the recommendation is implemented. Training shall be provided for those who serve on the panel. Time frames shall not exceed 90 days for filing, processing and resolution of such matters, time frames that are consistent with the Regulations for Affirmative Action by State Government.

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