- Report Published -
|Task Force Studying the Commonwealth's Grievance Procedure (SJR 135)|
|Task Force Studying Grievance Procedure|
|SJR 135 (Regular Session, 1994)|
|The task Force established to assess the effectiveness of the grievance procedure was comprised of individuals who were familiar with the state grievance procedure. These individuals were agency directors or managers, employees, and human resource officers and were either recommended by their agency head, professional association, or the Department of Employee Relations Counselors. After meeting for five months in 1993, the Task Force recommended changes to the grievance statute. These recommendations were incorporated into SB 408 (Ch.746) 1994 Session. Chapter 746 must be reenacted to become law. Senate Joint Resolution 135 continued the work of the Task Force through 1994 with the primary purposes of providing state employees with the opportunity to comment on the changes.|
Twenty hearings were conducted and extensive written comments from the state agencies were received. The Task Force thoroughly reviewed the comments and decided to recommend amendments to Chapter 746. The changes to the grievance procedure include:
1. Changes in the Management Steps - Under current law, an employee can initiate a written grievance on any issue, however, only those challenging grievable issues can proceed through the management steps and to a hearing before a grievance panel. Reenactment of Ch. 746 would permit an employee to proceed through the management steps on any written complaint, but would only permit grievable issues to proceed to an independent hearing. The management step process has been expedited to accommodate management's review of these complaints.
2. Determination of Grievability - The Director of the Department of Employee Relations Counselors will continue to rule on the grievability of an employee's written complaint. however, such a determination will not be made until after the employee and management have thoroughly discussed the issue in the management-step process. Unlike existing law, the Director's determination will not be subject to circuit court review.
3. Independent Hearing - Under existing law, all grievable issues may proceed to a hearing before a three-member panel. One member is appointed by the grievant, one by the agency and the third selected by the two or the circuit court. For termination grievances, the third panel member is a hearing officer. Reenactment of Chapter 746 will result in all grievances being heard by a hearing officer from the Supreme Court list. (Hearing officers interested in serving will be required to have additional training.)
4. Powers of the Hearing Officer - The powers of the hearing officers are those provided under the Administrative Process Act.