Type of Policy
Administrative
Policy No
7.4
Last Revised
Review Date
Policy Owner
Human Resources
Contact Name
Ivy B. Gardner
Contact Title
Director of Employee Relations
Contact Email
ivy.gardner@ohr.gatech.edu
Reason for Policy

The policy is intended to outline the process to follow when filing an appeal due to a suspension without pay.

Policy Statement

This process may be used only in cases dealing with suspensions without pay.

Scope

Entities Affected By This Policy
All classified employees of the Georgia Institute of Technology are covered by this policy.

Who Should Read This Policy
All classified employees within the Georgia Institute of Technology should be aware of this policy.

Policy Terms

Provisional Status
An employee hired to fill a regular position shall serve the first six (6) months of employment in the University System on a provisional basis. An employee may be terminated at any time during the provisional period without a right of appeal.

Temporary Status
Employees who are not employed as "regular" employees are "temporary" employees. Institutions may hire temporary employees directly or may elect to obtain the services of temporary employees through outside organizations that provide temporary services. Temporary employees generally shall be employed for a period no longer than six (6) calendar months.

Procedures

Overview
The policy is intended to explain the appeal process for suspensions without pay.

According to the University System of Georgia's grievance policy, the following types of grievances are prohibited:

  • Investigations or decisions reached under the Institute's Harassment Policy
  • The issue underlying the grievance is a charge of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, disability or religion (see the Equal Opportunity Complaint Policy for more details).
  • The issues being grieved have been previously heard by an administrative panel at the institution.

Request for Hearing
The grievant must first seek an acceptable administrative resolution in writing within five (5) working days of the incident through one administrative level above the level of the supervisor who took the original employment action. If a satisfactory resolution of the grievance is not achieved, the grievant, within five (5) working days of notification by next level management, may request an appeal. Georgia Tech has partnered with EthicsPoint, Inc. to provide an enterprise-wide solution by which members of the Georgia Tech community may make such requests. The request must be made by completing an online form or by calling 1.866.294.5565 and having a neutral third party from EthicsPoint, Inc. transcribe the information. After submitting the information, you can then upload the documented proof of the denial and other attachments. Failure to follow these steps will constitute a waiver of the grievant's right to appeal.

Mediation of the issue may be attempted by the Office of Performance and Talent Management (PTM) in order to resolve the dispute. If a resolution cannot be effected, PTM will move forward with the grievant's appeal.

Should the grievant allege any form of race, age, sex, color, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability discrimination as a basis for the grievance the case will be immediately referred to an investigator within PTM for review. Upon written notification of a "no finding" disposition, PTM will automatically proceed with scheduling a hearing.

PTM will make every effort to schedule a hearing date within thirty (30) to forty-five (45) working days from the time that a grievant officially appeals to their office. Should extenuating circumstances exist for the grievant, s/he may submit a written request for the hearing to be scheduled beyond this period; however, no hearing for any reason will be scheduled later than sixty (60) working days from the time the grievant submits a written appeal to PTM. The grievant's failure to appear for a scheduled hearing within that time constitutes a waiver of the right to appeal. A grievant shall not be harassed, intimidated, or otherwise penalized for utilization of the appeal process.

Hearing Committee Selection
Hearing committee members are selected to hear only a single grievance. The committee will consist only of classified employees with at least six (6) months of service. The following employees may not serve on the committee:

  • Members of the Office of the President (including both direct and indirect reports)
  • Members of the staff of OHR
  • Members of the staff of the Office of Legal Affairs
  • Managers/Human Resources Representatives in the grievant's unit who may have a conflict of interest

The committee is composed of three (3) Georgia Tech employees. Two (2) employees are selected by PTM from a random computer generated pool of employees, similar in classification to the grievant. One (1) Human Resources Representative (HRR) is also selected by PTM. The HRR will serve as the Hearing Officer for the assigned case.

The Associate Vice President of Human Resources (AVP-OHR) will notify, in writing, the committee members who have been selected to serve and provide the hearing date, time, and place. Committee members may be excused from serving only if their request is sent to the PTM from the employee or the employee's supervisor and it is accompanied by a written statement of necessity of a bona fide illness or personal hardship.

Witnesses and Evidence
Evidence shall be limited to witness testimony and documentation that is directly relevant to the employment action in dispute.

The committee is not bound by the strict legal rules of evidence and may receive any evidence of probative value in order to determine the issues involved; however, every effort is made to obtain the most reliable evidence available. All substantive matters related to the admissibility of evidence or procedural matters are decided by the presiding Hearing Officer.

Witnesses for the hearing must be current employees of Georgia Tech, regular or temporary in good standing. Former employees, students, and others may submit a relevant affidavit subject to the approval of the Hearing Officer. The following groups of individuals may not serve as witnesses:

  • Students
  • Members of the staff of the Office of the President (direct and indirect reports)
  • Members of the staff of OHR
  • Members of the staff of the Office of Legal Affairs

The Hearing Officer may approve an exception to this rule if such witnesses are directly relevant to the issues raised by the grievance. Witnesses shall not be harassed, intimidated, or otherwise penalized for appearing at a hearing. The grievant and management representatives must obtain their own witnesses. Witnesses may elect not to participate.

A list of witnesses and a copy of any documentation must be submitted to PTM at least one (1) week in advance of the hearing date or at the Hearing Officer's briefing of the parties, whichever is later. Copies of the documentation are required at the hearing. Both parties are expected to provide copies of any approved documentation they intend to use at the hearing.

Advisors
The grievant may have an advisor present at the hearing who can communicate only with the grievant during the hearing. The advisor must be a current Georgia Tech employee, regular or temporary in good standing. This advisor cannot be an attorney, a student, a member of the Office of the President, a member of the staff of OHR, or a member of the staff of the Office of Legal Affairs. Management ordinarily may not have an advisor during the hearing.

Attorneys
The grievant cannot have an attorney present during the hearing unless the grievant is being charged with a crime. If the grievant receives approval to have an attorney present because of pending criminal charges, then Georgia Tech will also have a legal representative at the hearing.

Confidentiality
Public statements and publicity about the complaint shall be avoided and the confidentiality of the hearing shall be preserved to the greatest extent permitted by law.

Hearing Process
The parties involved will be required to attend a briefing no later than one (1) week prior to the hearing. The purpose of the briefing is to review the hearing protocol and answer any questions about the process. Failure to attend the briefing or any other scheduled meeting in support of the grievance process may result in immediate loss of appeal rights.

The grievant may present any relevant evidence upon approval by the Hearing Officer, including up to three (3) witnesses. The committee may request any other evidence, as well as interview any other employee, at its discretion.

Report of the Committee
The committee, after considering all relevant evidence, will make a recommendation in the form of a written report to the Chief Human Resources Officer for a final decision.

The committee's report shall be based on evidence brought forth at the hearing and all information in the grievant's official personnel file to the date of the incident or event which brought about the grievance. The grievant's entire personnel file will be available to the committee if requested.

The Chief Human Resources Officer will inform the grievant of the Institute decision in writing and advise the grievant of any further right to appeal.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities each party has in connection with Suspensions without Pay are:

Party Responsibility
Office of Performance and Talent Management Ensure compliance with policy and offer assistance with policy interpretation.