Section 5 - Conditions of Employment

Policy Number: 5.6 - APPEAL AND GRIEVANCE


 1. Policy: Lamar University's policy is to encourage and promote prompt, fair, and  equitable resolution of work-related issues. This policy and process have been established to resolve matters of disagreement regarding wages, hours of work, working conditions, performance evaluations, merit raises, job assignments, reprimands, or the interpretation or application of a rule, regulation, or policy. 

2. Purpose: This Lamar University policy aims to promote fair, efficient, and equitable solutions for problems arising out of the employment relationship and to meet the requirements of State and federal law.

3. Definitions:

Grievance: A formal written statement of a complaint arising from the employment relationship, together with a recommendation for resolution of the complaint.

Grievance Intake Officer: The Lamar University President's designee who accepts formal written grievances from employees or related to an employee's actions and refers the formal grievance to the administrator responsible for review and action.

Regular Employees: All part-time and full-time employees of Lamar University, including faculty, staff, and student workers. Building contractors and subcontractors are not considered regular employees.

4. Process:  

4.1 Grievances: Lamar University establishes this process for grievances concerning an employee's wages, work hours, or work conditions. This grievance process shall not involve formal hearings. Lamar University shall use this grievance process, in compliance with the TSUS grievance process, except for grievances pursuant to Faculty Grievances of Non-renewal or Termination of Employment or Termination and Due Process Procedures. 

4.1.1 Process: Every employee of Lamar University, individually or through a representative that does not claim the right to strike, shall be entitled to present grievances concerning such employee's wages, hours of work, or conditions of work to a Grievance Intake Officer designated by the President. Such grievances shall not involve formal hearings. 

4.1.2 Grievances involving allegations of discrimination: The Grievance Intake Officer shall refer such claims to the office specifically charged with hearing discrimination claims.

4.1.3 For all matters involving sexual misconduct, the Texas State University System Sexual Misconduct Policy controls.

4.2 A concern regarding a possible violation of the following TSUS policies should be handled in accordance with those policies: 

  • Equal Employment Opportunity (Section 4);
  • Prohibition on Harassment, Discrimination and Inappropriate Conduct (Section 12);
  • Workplace Accommodations (Section 13); and
  • HIV/AIDS in the Workplace (Section 14.4).

4.3 Employees will not be penalized or disciplined for their participation in the grievance process, whether on their behalf or behalf of another employee, if the actions are taken in good faith. 

4.4 This process is available to all regular employees. 

4.5 Lamar University may not, by contract, policy, or procedure, restrict a faculty member's right to present a grievance under the Texas Education Code, Title 3 Higher Education, Chapter 51 Provisions Generally Applicable to Higher Education. 

4.5.1 Lamar University may adopt a method for presenting, reviewing, and acting on a grievance filed under this State law's section.

4.6 Employment is "at-will," and nothing in this Section or the establishment of a grievance policy and process shall be construed as limiting or modifying the "at-will" status of employees or otherwise creating an entitlement to future employment. 

4.7 A grievance will not necessarily delay a disciplinary personnel action or other actions which may be related to the subject matter of the grievance. The President or his designee may suspend a grievance until related legal or enforcement agency actions have been resolved. 

5. Procedure:

5.1 All grievances should be discussed with your supervisor within ten workdays from the date of the issue. If your supervisor is the subject of your complaint, you should address it with their supervisor. 

5.2 If your supervisor does not satisfactorily resolve the complaint within ten workdays, you may present the complaint, this time in writing, within the next ten workdays for further consideration and action. File your report via the online Formal Grievance Form found at the LU Human Resources webpage.

5.2.1 The written complaint must be identified as a formal grievance and explain your specific concern(s), including;

  • Date(s) of action at issue pertaining to the grievance,
  • Thorough narrative of the events,
  • List any witnesses or parties involved and statement of anticipated testimony,
  • List related policies, procedures, or statutes that may apply,
  • List and provide documents that may support your claim,
  • List all grievances related to the issue,
  • Explain how and when you discussed the issue with your supervisor or their supervisor,
  • Include what you believe is a satisfactory resolution of the issue.

5.2.2 The Grievance Intake Officer will review the complaint for merit and determine the appropriate administrator for review and action.

5.2.3 A written confirmation will be provided to you within five workdays of receipt of the complaint via the link provided.

  • If the complaint is delivered to the Grievance Intake Officer outside of the online form, a written receipt will be sent within a reasonable time, not to exceed ten workdays.
  • A written decision will be provided to you within a reasonable time, not to exceed thirty calendar days, upon receipt of the complaint by the appropriate administrator.
  • Additional time may be granted by the Grievance Intake Officer if an investigation is warranted or if more time is requested by the administrator or other designee reviewing the grievance.

5.3 If you wish to appeal the decision of your filed grievance, you may provide the next level above a written appeal stating why you believe the initial decision is incorrect. 

5.3.1 An appeal must be submitted within ten workdays of receipt of the initial written decision.

5.3.2 A written decision will be provided to you by the final decision maker within a reasonable time, not to exceed thirty calendar days, following receipt of the appeal.

5.3.3 The appeal decision is final, whether a formal complaint or an appeal.

5.4 The written complaint and all decisions or responses regarding it will be placed in your Human Resources personnel file. 

5.5 Unprofessional Conduct: Unprofessional conduct is behavior that a reasonable person in a professional office setting would find inappropriate, rude, or offensive but does not meet the definition of unlawful harassment. It may include; 

5.5.1 Persistent attempts to humiliate someone through insults or name-calling, destructive innuendo and sarcasm, rumors and gossip, or intimidating behavior such as shouting, blocking someone's exit, or banging a desk.

  • Constructive criticism and legitimate supervisory actions relating to performance deficiencies or other workplace issues are generally not considered unlawful harassment or discrimination.

5.5.2 Failure to work efficiently or effectively. 

5.5.3 Insubordination.

5.5.4 Serious professional or personal misconduct; examples include but are not limited to:

  • Conduct involving moral turpitude that adversely affects the institution or the member’s performance of duties or meeting of responsibilities;
  • Failure to secure and maintain Federal, State, or local permits required in the discharge of teaching, research, or other professional duties, including failure to maintain appropriate documentation;
  • Willful destruction of Lamar University property or violent disruption of the orderly operation of the campus;
  • Violation of the System's ethics policy (Chapter VIlI of the TSUS Rules and Regulations), including acceptance or solicitation of gifts that might tend to influence the discharge of one's professional responsibilities;
  • Stealing and publishing as one's own the intellectual property of another;
  • Misuse or misappropriation of State property, resources, funds, including funds held by a faculty member as part of official duties;
  • Sexual harassment, as defined by Subparagraph 4.4 of Chapter VII of the TSUS Rules and Regulations, and,
  • Racial harassment as defined by Subparagraph 4.3 of Chapter VII of the TSUS Rules and Regulations.
  • Violations of any State or federal law or any provision of the TSUS Rules and Regulations substantially related to the performance of one's duties:
  • Conviction of a crime affecting the fitness of the employee to engage in teaching, research, service, outreach, or administration; and,
  • Falsifying the employee's professional or academic credentials.
5.5.5 Professional incompetence and/or neglect of professional duties;

5.5.6 Mental or physical disablement of a continuing nature adversely affecting to a material and substantial degree of the performance of duties or the meeting of responsibilities to the institution, or to students and associates;

5.5.7 Illegal use of drugs, narcotics, or controlled substances: An employee who, by a preponderance of the evidence, under TSUS Rules and Regulations, is found to have illegally possessed, used, sold, or distributed any drug, narcotic, or controlled substance, whether the infraction is found to have occurred on or off campus, shall be subject to termination, suspension or other discipline as determined by the President or the President's designee. 

  • That an employee is charged in a criminal case or is found "not guilty" therein, shall not be construed as prohibiting administrative enforcement of these Rules and Regulations.
  • If, in the judgment of the President or the Board of Regents, the best interests of the students or Lamar University so dictate, the employee may be immediately removed from contact with students and other employees, pending resolution of disciplinary proceedings.

5.5.8 Intentionally or knowingly violating any Board or administrative order, rule, or regulation, including the provisions of Chapter V, Subparagraph 2.134 of the TSUS Rules and Regulations. 

  • The employee is presumed to have knowledge of such Board or administrative order, rule, or regulation published in the TSUS Rules and Regulations or is a published policy of Lamar University.

5.5.9 Continually or repeatedly failing to perform duties or meet professional responsibilities of the employee's position; 

5.5.10 Failing to complete any professional development program or performance improvement plan successfully.

5.6 Prohibition on Retaliation: Lamar University will not retaliate, nor will it tolerate retaliation, against employees who report, assist in making complaints, or cooperate in investigations of harassment, discrimination, or inappropriate conduct under this policy. Retaliation is illegal and a violation of this policy, and any individual who is believed to have violated the prohibition against retaliation will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

5.7 False Complaints: False and malicious complaints, as opposed to complaints which, even if unfounded or in error, are made in good faith, will subject the individual making the complaint to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

5.8 Reporting: In order to stop illegal and offensive conduct, and to protect the victim, employees or applicants for employment who believe they have been discriminated against, harassed, or subjected to inappropriate conduct must report it as soon as possible.

5.8.1 Every person who reports a suspected violation will be treated professionally and respectfully. The report may be made to a supervisor, Vice President, Department Chair, Dean, or the Human Resources Department.
  • An employee does not need approval to contact a Vice President directly regarding a complaint made under this policy.
  • Under no circumstances is an individual required to make a report to the person accused of the policy violation.
  • Supervisors or Vice Presidents receiving policy violation reports will notify the President's Designee immediately.

5.8.2 Prompt reporting is essential. Early reporting and intervention can be one of the most effective methods of resolving actual or perceived policy violations. If Lamar University receives current information, the investigation process greatly benefits, as witnesses generally have fresher recollections of relevant facts.

5.9 Investigations: Allegations of harassment, discrimination, or inappropriate conduct will be thoroughly and promptly investigated. An investigation generally will include interviews with the parties involved and, where necessary, with individuals who may have observed the alleged conduct or may have other relevant knowledge. 

5.9.1 All Lamar University employees have a duty to cooperate in any investigation of alleged harassment, discrimination, or inappropriate conduct.

5.9.2 Deliberately providing false information or refusal to cooperate during an investigation is grounds for disciplinary action, including termination.

5.10 Confidentiality: If any employee or applicant for employment receives or provides information related to an investigation under this policy, they must keep all information confidential. 

5.10.1 Serious disciplinary action, including termination, may result from violating this confidentiality obligation.

5.10.2 Lamar University shall keep, to the extent possible, complaints made under this policy and the terms of their resolution confidential.

5.11 Corrective Action: Lamar University will take immediate and appropriate corrective action when it has determined that harassment, discrimination, or inappropriate conduct has occurred. 

MAPP 06.05.06 - Employee Grievances

Employee Grievance Form


TSUS Rules and Regulations

TSUS System Administration Personnel Policy Handbook

Texas Education Code §51.942 (SB-18)

Texas Education Code §51.960

Texas Government Code §554.002

Texas Government Code §617.005

SCOPE: STAFF Issued: 4/1/00

Revised: 2/21/03; 1/01/07

1. Purpose: To provide standard procedures whereby a staff member, with the exception of administrative staff member, may seek relief and satisfaction from disciplinary actions imposed by the supervisor.

2. Policy: It is the policy of Lamar University to afford staff members the opportunity for fair and prompt consideration of appeals and/or grievances, including allegations of discrimination.

3. Applicability: Regular staff members are eligible to use either the appeal procedure or the grievance procedure as defined herein. Probationary and temporary staff members including hourly paid student assistants, work study students, and other hourly paid employees, are eligible to use the grievance procedure, but are not eligible to use the appeal procedure, except in cases involving alleged discrimination under the law.

4. Definitions:

4.1 Appeal: An appeal is an employee's formal expression of dissatisfaction or disagreement with the following personnel actions: performance/disciplinary probation, demotion, decision making leave with or without pay, and/or discharge.

4.2 Grievance: A grievance is an employee's informal expression of disagreement or dissatisfaction with aspects of employment such as working conditions, hours of work, work environment, relationship with supervisor and other employees, or policies or decisions of the department considered by the employee to be inappropriate, harmful or unfair. Cases involving alleged discrimination under federal and state law and cases of alleged sexual harassment must also be reported directly to the Director of Human Resources.

5. Staff Member's Rights: No staff member shall be disciplined, penalized, restrained, coerced or otherwise prejudiced in his or her employment, in any manner whatsoever for exercising the rights or remedies provided for in this appeal or grievance policy. Employees who follow the appeal or grievance procedures shall be allowed time off from regular duties, with pay, for attendance at scheduled meetings and hearings. Employees, who use this policy procedure to purposely disrupt the operation of the work unit of the University, are subject to disciplinary action.

6. Management Rights: It is not the intent of the Appeal or Grievance Policy and Procedure hereby established to prohibit, or in any way obstruct, a manager or supervisor from prudently exercising his or her management rights. "Management rights" are defined as, but not necessarily limited to, the right of a manager or supervisor to hire employees within established University policies; set work schedules, lunch hours and breaks; assign work activities, transfer, promote or demote an employee to achieve optimum use of the employee's skills and talents; discipline or discharge an employee; redesign jobs to insure operational efficiency.

7. Grievance Procedure: The Director of Human Resources shall guarantee and insure that staff members subject to these procedures are afforded fair, equitable and expeditious review of matters of grievance. The decision of the appropriate vice president shall be final.

The grievance will process through the established administrative channels. When a grievance is presented, it should be presented in writing to the Director of Human Resources with a requested course of action.

Failure of an employee to process a grievance to the next step within the prescribed time limit will constitute abandonment of the grievance. Failure of management to give an answer within the prescribed time shall authorize the employee to proceed to the next step. Time limits include working days only. Any extension of the time limits must be approved by the Director of Human Resources.

7.1 A staff employee shall present in writing any matters of grievance to the Director of Human Resources. This should be done within five (5) working days from the grievable occurrence. Upon receipt of the grievance, the Director of Human Resources shall have the appropriate supervisor consider all of the facts of the case and report the decision in the matter in writing to the employee within three (3) working days after receipt of the grievance.

7.2 If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved in the eyes of the grieving, he/she may continue to have the grievance reviewed and adjudicated by each level of supervision in the regular administrative channel until the level of the vice president is reached. At each level above the first supervisor, the request for grievance review must be made by the grieving and should be submitted in writing within three (3) working days from the delivery of the decision of the lower supervisor. At each level, the supervisor shall review all the facts of the case and the decisions rendered by the lower supervisors, and then he/she should render a decision in writing to the grieving within three (3) working days after receipt of the grievance.

7.3 If the matter continues to be unresolved in the eyes of the grieving, he/she may then submit the grievance in writing to the appropriate vice president. This shall be done within three (3) working days after receipt of the decision of the lower supervisor. The Vice President shall conduct an investigation of all the events leading up to the grievance, he/she shall review all decisions rendered by lower supervisors, and he/she shall render the decision in writing as soon as possible after the investigation is complete (not to exceed thirty (30) days). The decision of the Vice President shall be final in all cases of grievance.

7.4 At any step or level of the grievance procedure, the Director of Human Resources may be requested by the grieving or the supervisor to serve as consultant to the grievance review. In such cases, the Director of Human Resources shall serve in the capacity of an information-gathering and advisory member only, and shall not have the power of making binding decisions.

8. Appeals: Staff personnel who have at least six (6) months of continuous service and who holds a staff position will have the right to appeal any matter of (1) performance/disciplinary probation, (2) demotion, (3) Decision making leave , or (4) dismissal from employment by the department or other administrative subdivision by whom the person is employed.

Each notice of (1) performance/disciplinary probation, (2) demotion, (3) Decision Making Leave, (4) dismissal from employment will be given to the affected staff employee in writing with a copy to be filed in the Office of Human Resources.

8.1 Procedure for Processing Appeals

8.1.1 A staff employee desiring to make an appeal following a probation, demotion, decision making leave period, or dismissal from employment will advise the Director of Human Resources or the Assistant Director in writing within five (5) working days of the action of his/her desire to initiate an appeal. The written request identify the reason(s) why the employee feels that he or she was treated unjustly or suffered discriminatory action.

8.1.2 The Human Resources Office shall determine if the notice of intent to appeal has been filed in a timely manner and if there is cause for appeal. The Director of Human Resources will work with the staff member and the management staff to assure a swift resolution of the appeal.

8.1.3 The regularly established administrative channels will be the route of all matters of appeal. The procedure shall be the same as for matters of grievance as stated in the grievance procedure until the matter reaches the level of the appropriate vice president.

8.1.4 The appellant shall be advised by the appropriate vice president of the appellant's right to select the method of the last state of appeal adjudication from the following options: Adjudication by vice presidential review as outlined in grievance procedure. Adjudication by hearing before an ADVISORY AD HOC APPEALS BOARD.

8.1.5. If so optioned by the appellant, the appropriate vice president will appoint an Ad Hoc Appeal Board composed of not less than three (3) members to serve as an advisory body to the vice president. The Ad Hoc Appeal Board will not have the power to make a decision or an agreement binding upon the University. The Ad Hoc Appeal Board will be composed of at least one (1) faculty member, one (1) administrative or professional staff and at least one (1) member from the classified personnel. One (1) member of the above categories will serve as Chairman Pro Tempore of the Appeal Board.

8.2 Rights of an Appellant

In presenting an appeal, each employee has the right to the following:

8.2.1 Be dealt with impartially and objectively.

8.2.2 Be free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal.

8.2.3 Be given a reasonable amount of time to prepare and present the case.

8.2.4 To seek advice and counsel from a legal counsel retained by the employee or supporting employee.

8.2.5 The Ad Hoc Appeal Board will be appointed as soon as possible after the receipt by the vice president of the option chosen by the appellant. The Director of Human Resources will serve as advisor to the Board and will make the necessary arrangements for a hearing room, secretarial assistance to the Board, and all other physical arrangements deemed necessary and proper.

8.2.6 It shall be the functions of the Ad Hoc Appeal Board to conduct hearings, investigations, and all other activities that will bring to light all of the facts of the case and to otherwise take whatever necessary actions to insure a complete, fair, and impartial hearing for the benefit of all parties concerned. After completion of all hearings, investigations, etc., the members of the Appeal Board shall meet in executive session to deliberate the findings and they will prepare and submit in writing to the vice president their recommendation for adjudication of the case.

8.2.7 The Vice President shall render his/her decision in the matter of appeal as soon as possible after the receipt of the findings and recommendations of the Ad Hoc Appeal Board, and shall take steps to notify the appellant accordingly.

8.2.8 In those rare instances in which there is no vice president within the normal administrative channel or if the area vice president requests to be removed from the decision-making role, the President may appoint any of the vice presidents of the University to hear the findings of the Ad Hoc Advisory Board, to render a decision and serve as the administrator of record.

8.2.9 The decision of the vice president will be binding unless the President decides to review the case for further consideration.

8.3 Scheduling and Notice of Hearings

The hearing officer contacts the employee filing the grievance either directly or through the Office of Human Resources, setting a date for an appeal hearing within the framework as stipulated in the University Human Resource Policy and Procedure Manual. The notice should include:

8.3.1 A statement of time, place, and nature of the hearing;

8.3.2 A short, simple statement of the grieved action and the requested resolution.

8.3.3 The hearing officer may grant one postponement at the written request of one of the parties. The hearing officer may grant an additional postponement if satisfied that the basis for the request justifies further delay. A postponement usually should not exceed two (2) weeks from the date of the previously scheduled hearing.

8.4 Filing of Document Before the Hearing

The following written information should be made available to the hearing officer before the hearing date.

8.4.1 A copy of the employee's written request and justification for a hearing.

8.4.2 A copy of any department documents recommending an adverse personnel action which precipitated the appeal.

8.4.3 A copy of all applicable documentation submitted by the supervisor and/or a copy of the personnel record upon which the adverse personnel action was based.

8.4.4 Any documents or written statements which the employee provides and wants made available at the hearing.

8.4.5 Any additional information or recommendation of the Office of Human Resources.

8.5 Conduct of Hearings

Appellate hearings will not be open to all University employees or the public. By consent of both parties, however, persons other than those listed below may be permitted to attend.

These persons present at the hearing may include:

8.5.1 The aggrieved employee

8.5.2 One or more department representatives, including the employee's supervisor or the person in the administrative structure who made the decision which resulted in the appeal, the Director of Human Resources or Assistant Director of Human Resources. Where there is more than one department representative, a spokesman is designated to serve in oral and written presentations.

8.5.3 Employees who are to appear as witnesses at the hearing. However, these employees will remain outside the proceedings until called by the chair.

8.5.4 Legal counsel or the employee representative may be present and give guidance and advice to the employee. This person may not address committee members, witnesses, or departmental representatives or be entitled to act in an advocacy role. An advocacy role will only be permitted if the administration uses legal counsel in such a role.

8.6 Hearing Schedule

The order of the hearing usually follows this schedule:

8.6.1 The hearing officer calls the meeting to order, states the purpose of the meeting, and identifies the employee(s) filing the appeal, the department and University representative(s), and other persons in attendance.

8.6.2 Presentation by the employee(s) and witnesses. During the presentation the employee will present reasons for requesting the appeal of the action and desired resolution.

8.6.3 Presentation by a representative of the department and witnesses.

8.6.4 Petitioner may present a rebuttal case.

8.7 Authority of Hearing or Administrative Officer

The hearing officer has the authority:

8.7.1 To exclude irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence and note any objections to evidence in the record.

8.7.2 To specify and enforce maximum time limitations on all phases of the hearings.

8.7.3 To invoke "the Rule" when determined appropriate, that is, excusing all witnesses from the hearing except when called to give testimony and cautioning them not to confer with one another concerning their testimony. Invoking "the Rule" does not require removal of the grieving or University/Department representative although they may be witnesses. However, they still may not confer with other witnesses concerning their testimony.

8.7.4 To receive documentary evidence in the form of copies or excerpts if the original is not readily available. To give the parties an opportunity to compare the copy with the original.

8.7.5 To take official notice of undisputed facts commonly known among the general public, such as historical events, courses of nature, and main geographical features. In addition, notice may be taken of generally recognized facts within the area of the hearing officer's specialized knowledge, such as the organization of the Department. Parties are notified during the hearing of the material officially noticed, including any staff memoranda or data. The parties will be afforded an opportunity to contest the material so noticed. The special skills or knowledge of the Department or University Campus may be used in evaluating the evidence.

8.7.6 To take any other action indicated to maintain decorum and to ensure a fair hearing.

8.7.7 To close the hearing after all evidence is heard. In considering the evidence, the hearing officer will determine the weight, reliability, and credibility of the evidence presented.

8.7.8 To reopen the hearing if appropriate after deliberation, to receive further information if deemed necessary. To conduct other investigations as needed necessary to reach an informed decision and recommendation.

8.7.9 To prepare a recommendation including the reasons for such a decision. The decision shall be based exclusively on the evidence presented and on matters officially noticed.