Complaints and Grievances


  • Policy DGBA
    In an effort to hear and resolve employee complaints in a timely manner and at the lowest admin­istrative level possible, the board has adopted an orderly process that all employees must follow when bringing formal complaints and grievances. Employees are encouraged to discuss problems or complaints with their supervisors or an appropriate administrator at any time.

    The formal grievance process provides all employees with an opportunity to be heard up to the highest level of management if they are dissatisfied with an administrative response. Once all administrative grievance procedures are exhausted, employees can bring grievances to the board of trustees. For ease of reference, the district’s policy concerning the process of bringing com­plaints and grievances is reprinted as follows:

    Personnel – management relations
    Employee complaints/grievances
    Policy DGBA (Local)

    This policy provides employees an orderly process for the prompt and equitable resolution of grievances when a concern has not been resolved. The Board intends that, whenever feasible, grievances be resolved at the lowest possible administrative level. This policy shall not be constructed to create new or additional rights beyond those granted by Board policy or law.

    Definitions

    For purposes of this policy, “days” shall mean calendar days.

    The terms “complaint” and “grievance” shall have the same meaning. A grievance under this policy may include, but shall not be limited to, any of the following:

    Grievances concerning an employee’s wages, hours, or conditions of work.

    Specific allegations of unlawful discrimination in employment on the basis of sex (including allegations of sexual harassment), race, religion, national origin, age, or disability.

    Specific allegations of unlawful discrimination or retaliation on the basis of the employee’s exercise of constitutional rights.

    “Whistleblower” complaints.

    Other review processes

    Procedures and information regarding sexual harassment by other employees are found at DHC and information regarding federal nondiscrimination is found at DAA .

    An employee’s dismissal or nonrenewal may be the subject of a grievance under this policy only if the district does not otherwise provide for a review of the matter.

    The following are governed by other review processes and are not subject to this policy:

    Grievances regarding suspension of a contractual employee without pay: DF series

    Grievances regarding termination of an employment contract governed by Chapter 21 of the Education Code: DF series

    Grievances against a District peace officer: CKE

    Grievances regarding instructional materials: EFA

    Notice to employees

    The principal at each campus and other supervisory personnel shall ensure that employees under their supervision are informed of this policy.

    Confidentiality

    The district grievance process is a “quasi-judicial” process. Therefore, witnesses who speak are entitled to absolute immunity from civil liability for the things said during the grievance hearing. However, repeating defamatory statements outside the grievance process may result in litigation and liability.

    Therefore, all grievances shall be regarded as confidential, especially with respect to matters concerning students. The aspects of each grievance shall not be discussed with anyone who is not a party, or legal counsel to a party, of the grievance, or with anyone who does not have a valid need to know.

    Freedom from retaliation

    Neither the Board nor the administration shall unlawfully retaliate against any employee for bringing a grievance under this policy. [See DG ]

    “Whistleblower” complaints

    Employees who allege adverse employment action in retaliation for reporting a violation of law to an appropriate authority shall initiate a grievance under this policy within 15 days after the date the alleged violation occurred or the employee first knew of the alleged violation. The complaint shall first be filed in accordance with LEVEL TWO, below. Time lines for the employee and district set out in this policy may be shortened to enable the Board to make a final decision within 60 days of the initiation of the complaint.

    General provisions

    A grievance must specify the individual harm alleged. An employee is prohibited from bringing separate or serial grievances regarding the same event or action. All time limits shall be strictly complied with unless modified by mutual consent. Costs of any grievances shall be paid by the party incurring them.

    Consolidation

    When the Superintendent determines that two or more individual grievances are sufficiently similar in nature and remedy to permit their resolution through one proceeding, he or she may consolidate the grievances.

    Decisions

    Announcing a decision in the employee’s presence constitutes communication of the decision.

    Initiating grievance. Unless otherwise specified in policy, an employee shall initiate a grievance as provided at Level One, below.

    Level One

    An employee who has a grievance shall request a conference with the principal or immediate supervisor by submitting the grievance in writing on a form provided by the district. The form must be filed within 15 days of the time the employee first knew or should have known of the event or series of events about which the employee is complaining.

    The principal or supervisor shall hold the conference within seven days after receipt of the written request. The principal or supervisor shall have seven days following the conference within which to respond.

    Level Two

    If the outcome of the conference at Level One is not to the employee’s satisfaction or if the time for a response has expired, the employee may request a conference with the Superintendent or designee to discuss the grievance. The request shall be in writing on a form provided by the district and must be filed within seven days following receipt of a response or, if no response is received, within seven days of the response deadline.

    The Superintendent or designee shall hold the conference within seven days after receipt of the written request. The Superintendent or designee shall have seven days following the conference within which to respond.

    Level Three

    If the outcome of the conference at Level Two is not to the employee’s satisfaction or if the time for a response has expired, the employee may submit to the Superintendent or designee a request to place the matter on the agenda of a future Board meeting. The request shall be in writing on a form provided by the District and must be filed within seven days following receipt of a response, or if no response is received, within seven days of the response deadline.

    The Superintendent or designee shall inform the employee of the date, time, and place of meeting.

    The Superintendent or designee shall provide the Board with copies of the employee’s original grievance, all responses, and any written documentation previously submitted by the employee and administration. The Board is not required to consider documentation not previously submitted or issues not previously presented.

    The presiding officer may set reasonable time limits. The Board shall hear the grievance and may request a response from the administration. The District shall make an audiotape record of the Level Three proceeding before the Board.

    The Board shall then make and communicate its decision orally or in writing at any time up to and including the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.

    Closed Meeting

    If the grievance involves the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of the employee bringing the grievance, it may be heard by the Board in closed meeting unless the employee bringing the grievances requests that it be heard in public.

    Exception. However, if the grievance involves a complaint or charge against another District employee or Board member, it shall be heard in closed meeting unless an open meeting is requested in writing by the employee or Board member against whom the complaint or charge is brought.