Number: HR 130
Department: Human Resources

Purpose

To provide a process for addressing employee complaints about performance evaluations, job assignments, compensation, corrective action, or any other terms and conditions of employment.

Scope

Applies to all employees of CWI.

Policy

It is CWI’s intent to create and maintain a work environment of stability and growth, where employees are respectfully treated, where performance is objectively measured, and where deficiencies are fairly addressed. CWI recognizes, however, that misunderstandings may arise or circumstances may occur when an employee believes that he/she has not been treated fairly or in accordance with CWI’s policies and procedures. Accordingly, this policy provides employees a process for addressing concerns and/or complaints about their employment at CWI.

A complaint by any employee who believes that he/she has been the victim of discrimination, harassment or retaliation prohibited by law or CWI policy shall be addressed and resolved in accordance with CWI’s Respectful Community Policy.

Neither this policy nor the guidelines set forth below create any due process or contract rights, express or implied, on behalf of any employee or limit or modify the at will nature of employment at CWI.

Guidelines

 A concern or complaint subject to these guidelines may relate but is not limited to:  relationships with colleagues, supervisors and/or students; communications; interpretations of policy; findings of policy violations, job duties and responsibilities; assignments; performance evaluations; compensation; work conditions; corrective actions and safety and environmental concerns

The timelines established below may be extended or waived for good cause or by mutual agreement.  In the event a deadline is extended by a CWI party receiving a complaint, that party shall notify the employee in writing of the reason for the extension and set a new deadline for when the employee may expect a response. Further, in order to provide a fair and efficient application of this policy, CWI reserves the right to modify the processes described below as necessary.

Informal Process

CWI promotes an “Open Door” environment for effective communications, giving employees the ability to address concerns, questions and ideas with their supervisor and through the supervisory chain.  If possible, employees should first informally discuss and attempt to resolve their concern with their direct supervisor immediately or as soon as possible following the situation giving rise to the concern.  If the employee is uncomfortable discussing the concern with his/her direct supervisor or, because of the nature of the concern, it would not be appropriate to do so, the employee may take his/her concern to the next level of supervision or directly to Human Resources.

Formal Process

If the concern is not or cannot be resolved informally, the employee may file a written complaint with his/her supervisor, or, in the alternative, with the next level supervisor or Human Resources if the complaint directly involves the employee’s supervisor. The complaint should include a statement of the issue, the facts related to the complaint and, if applicable, the identification of any individuals who may have relevant information concerning the complaint. 

Upon delivery of the complaint  to the appropriate party (“Responding Party”), the Responding Party should meet with the employee within 5 business days of receipt of the complaint to discuss the employee’s complaint. The Responding Party then has 10 business days to provide options for resolution or any other outcome, in writing, to the employee. The employee should notify the Responding Party, in writing, as to whether the issue has been resolved.  If so, no further action is needed.

If the employee is not satisfied with the recommended options or other outcome, the employee may take his or her complaint to the next level of supervision within 5 business days of receiving the response. This process should be repeated for each available higher level supervisor up to the level of Executive Vice President or Provost. At each level of supervision, the Responding Party has 10 business days to respond. Except as otherwise provided herein, the decision of the Executive Vice President or Provost shall be final. 

If the employee is uncomfortable taking his/her complaint to a supervisor or, because of the nature of the complaint, it would not be appropriate to do so, the employee may take his/her complaint to a higher level of supervision or to Human Resources. Similarly, CWI has the discretion to take the complaint to a higher level of supervision or to Human Resources. A complaint about or related to CWI’s Executive Vice-President or Provost should be taken directly to the College’s President or to the Vice President for Human Resources. A complaint about or related to the President should be taken to the Chairperson of CWI’s Board of Trustees or the Vice President for Human Resources. .

In those instances where the employee has taken his/her complaint to Human Resources, the decision of the Vice President for Human Resources shall be final. In those instances where the complaint relates to the Executive Vice President or Provost, the decision of the President shall be final. If the complaint is about or related to the President, the decision of the Chairperson of CWI’s Board of Trustees shall be final.

Appeals

Employees may appeal a final decision of the Executive Vice President or Provost within 10 business days of receiving the decision by submitting a written notice of appeal to the Vice President for Human Resources. However the basis for any such appeal shall be limited to the following grounds:

  • Previously unavailable and relevant information has become available;
  • A supervisor has failed to conduct a thorough review of the complaint;
  •  A supervisor issued an arbitrary response; or
  • The Responding Party has a conflict of interest or a substantiated bias that may reasonably influence the party’s judgment in the matter.

The Vice President for Human Resources may determine that the consideration of additional evidence is appropriate. He/she may also refer the matter back to the Executive Vice President or Provost for further consideration. Otherwise, the Vice President for Human Resources shall issue his/her decision within 10 business days of receiving the employee’s appeal. The decision of the Vice President for Human Resources shall be final. 

Separation from Employment

CWI recognizes that employees who have been discharged may take issue with their separation from employment. Unless otherwise provided by applicable CWI policy, employees who have been discharged may utilize this complaint procedure by submitting a written complaint to the Vice President for Human Resources within 10 business days of receiving notice of discharge. The complaint should include a statement of the issues, the facts related to the employee’s complaint and the identification of any individuals who may have relevant information concerning the complaint. The Vice President for Human Resources, or his/her designee, shall review or conduct an investigation of the complaint to the extent he/she deems necessary and within 15 business days of his/her receipt of the complaint, the Vice President for Human Resources shall issue  his/her decision in writing to the employee.  The decision of the Vice President for Human Resources generally shall be final. Individuals in positions equal to or above the level of Vice President, as identified in CWI’s organizational structure, should submit their complaint to the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees. The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees shall issue his/her decision within 15 business days of his/her receipt of the complaint.  The decision of the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees shall be final.

An employee may appeal the decision of the Vice President for Human Resources by submitting a written notice of appeal within 5 business days of the receipt thereof to the President.  However, the basis for any such appeal shall be limited to the following grounds:

  • Previously unavailable and relevant information has become available in which case the matter may be referred back to the Vice President for Human Resources for further consideration and/or investigation.
  • The Vice President for Human Resources has failed to conduct a thorough review and/or investigation of the complaint.
  • The decision of the Vice President for Human Resources is arbitrary.
  • The Vice President for Human Resources has a conflict of interest or a substantiated bias that may reasonably influence their judgment in the mater.

The decision of the President shall be final.

Complaint procedures regarding the termination or non-renewal of a contract for faculty members are set forth in CWI’s Separation from Employment Policy.

Retaliation

Retaliation against any employee for initiating or participating in CWI’s complaint procedures is prohibited. Thus, complaints made in good faith pursuant to this complaint process will not jeopardize any employee’s job status or working conditions. However, employees are expected to avoid pursuing complaints in ways that are disruptive to the workplace or their own work performance.  Commencement of this complaint process shall not affect the effective date of a discharge. However, should a determination be made that the discharge should be reversed, the employee may be reinstated with back pay.