150.020 – OPEN DOOR & GRIEVANCE POLICY

Update: November 2019

POLICY
Maine Media Workshops + College seeks to achieve and maintain good employee relations and harmonious working conditions. To attain such goals, Maine Media shall resolve grievances at the lowest level possible and respond promptly. The grievance process provides the mechanism for handling employee complaints regarding conditions of work, interpretation of policies and procedures, disciplinary actions or any other personnel matter related to their employment.

Supervisory Responsibilities & Informal Grievance Process
Supervisors are responsible for the management of employee concerns, problems, and complaints. Supervisors shall ensure that employee grievances are resolved in a timely manner. To resolve grievances informally, the supervisor shall meet with the employee to discuss their concerns. The supervisor should investigate the concerns before making a final decision. Upon reaching a decision, the supervisor shall meet with the employee to discuss the results. If the employee is not satisfied with the supervisor’s resolutions, the employee may file a formal written grievance with the departmental Director or President. The employee may appeal the Director’s decision to the President. The final decision of the President will be binding.

PROCEDURE
Formal Grievance Process

  1. An employee who wishes to formally request the resolution of an issue related to working conditions, supervision, co-workers, and other work-related matters shall submit a written grievance to their department Director. If that Director is the source of the concern, the employee shall submit the grievance to the President. This initial complaint must be submitted within twenty (20) working days of the situation that gives rise to the grievance.
  2. The Director has ten (10) working days to meet with the employee to discuss the complaint.
  3. After the meeting, the Director has ten (10) working days to gather data, conduct an investigation, determine the facts, consult with the Human Resource & Business Manager (if necessary), render a decision and submit the decision in writing to the Human Resource & Business Manager.
  4. Human Resource & Business Manager shall notify the employee, in writing, of the decision within five (5) working days from the day the decision is received in the Business Office.
  5. The employee shall notify the Human Resource & Business Manager, in writing, as to whether the decision is accepted or rejected, within ten (10) working days of receipt of the decision.
  6. If the decision is accepted by the employee, the Human Resource & Business Manager shall notify, in writing, all relevant parties of the decision within five (5) working days. A copy of this final decision will be placed in the employee’s master personnel file.
  7. If the issue is not resolved, the employee has an additional five (5) working days to submit the written grievance, along with any previously received Director responses, to the President (and to deliver a copy to the Director to whom the grievance was previously submitted).
  8. Upon receipt of the grievance, the President has ten (10) working days to meet with the employee to discuss the grievance. After the meeting, the President has ten (10) working days to determine the facts, render a final decision, and communicate that decision in writing to all parties and the Human Resource & Business Manager. The Human Resource & Business Manager shall ensure that the final decision is implemented and documented in the employee’s master personnel file. The final decision of the President will be binding.

Mediation
Mediation may temporarily halt the grievance process and is available to the employee and Maine Media at any time during the Grievance Process. The employee, supervisor, director or President may request a mediator by contacting the Human Resources & Business Manager. The Human Resources & Business Manager will coordinate the mediation. Once the first meeting is scheduled, the mediation occurs between the parties and the mediator, and the Human Resources & Business Manager is no longer the coordinator.

Legal Advice
Maine Media may wish to seek legal advice prior to making any decisions. Seeking legal advice may halt the grievance process.

Time Limits & Deadlines
With respect to all work related-concerns other than termination, an employee must file a grievance within twenty (20) working days from the date of the situation that created the concern; or, if the employee, without negligence, was unaware of the situation at the time that it occurred, the employee has twenty (20) working days from the date of awareness to file a complaint or grievance.

“Working days” refers only to those days Monday through Friday during which Maine Media is in operation, even though Maine Media conducts business on weekends.

Time Limits expire at 5:00 p.m. on the working day.

Prior to the expiration of a time limit, any party to a complaint or grievance may request an extension of that limit from the Human Resources & Business Manager. Extensions will be granted only when justified, will be for the shortest duration compatible with the justification, and will be communicated in writing to all parties by the Human Resources & Business Manager.

If an employee fails to meet a deadline, the complaint or grievance will be considered resolved on the basis of the last Maine Media response.

If any other party to a grievance fails to meet a deadline, the employee may take the grievance to the next step in the process.

An employee has ten (10) working days after termination to file a grievance related to the termination decision.

Confidentiality
Maine Media must protect the confidentiality of employee claims to the best of its ability. At the same time, Maine Media must conduct a prompt and an effective investigation. Therefore, it may not be possible to keep all information gathered in the initial complaint, such as interviews and records, completely confidential. All information gathered will remain confidential to the extent possible for a thorough investigation. In order to conduct an effective investigation, some information will be revealed to the accused and potential witnesses, but that information will be shared only on a “need to know” basis. There is never absolute confidentiality to any party involved in the investigation.

Interim Protection
The first consideration is the need to take immediate measures for the protection of the accuser and/or the alleged victim. Separating the alleged victim from the accused may be necessary to guard against continued harassment or retaliation. Actions such as a schedule change, transfer or leave of absence may be necessary. Maine Media and the accuser and/or alleged victim will work together to arrive at an amenable solution.

Other
The filing of a grievance does not stop or delay any decision or action of Maine Media or of any of its employees.

All documents related to a complaint or grievance shall be forwarded to the Human Resources & Business Manager. Those documents shall be retained at least until the grievance is resolved, and then in accordance with Maine Media’s records-keeping policies. Such documents include all requests, notifications, and responses that are referred to as “written” within this Policy.

No reprisals or retaliation of any kind shall be taken at any level against an employee for filing a grievance. If the employee suspects reprisal or retaliation, the employee should immediately make a report to the Human Resources & Business Manager.