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Index > Operations Policies > Staff Problem Resolution Process

Staff Problem Resolution Process

Purpose

RISD is committed to providing a positive working and learning environment for all members of the community and encourages all staff members to treat each other with mutual respect. We acknowledge that work-related issues may arise, and it is our intent to resolve them promptly as they are brought forward. The RISD Staff Problem Resolution Process is designed to provide non-bargaining unit employees with a method of resolving matters concerning dissatisfaction with work-related issues at the college.

Definitions

Employee Problem Resolution Committee – this committee consists of five members:

  • the Vice President for Human Resources, who serves as Chair;
  • three members selected by the Vice President for Human Resources, including at least one staff member who is representative of the requesting employee's peer group and at least one full-time RISD faculty member; and
  • an employee of the college selected by the employee requesting the review.

Policy

While the majority of work-related issues experienced by employees can be resolved quickly, fairly, and informally at the level at which they arise, employees can request a formal review of the issue through the Staff Problem Resolution Process if their efforts to resolve the issue informally are unsuccessful.

An employee is encouraged to first discuss work-related issues informally with their supervisor, who should work with the employee to expeditiously resolve the matter. If the supervisor is unavailable or the employee believes that it would be inappropriate to discuss the issue with the supervisor, they should discuss the concern with the next level of management or a member of the Human Resources staff. If the employee remains unsatisfied with the outcome of these efforts, they may request that their issue be reviewed under the Staff Problem Resolution Process by following the procedure described below.

The Staff Problem Resolution Process is available for issues involving significant employment decisions that adversely affect the employee or the employee’s work conditions such as termination of employment, denial of a promotion or a benefit, or disciplinary action. The terms and interpretation of employment policies and benefit plans (as opposed to their application) are not matters covered under this process. The staffing or organization of a department or the allocations of its resources are also not reviewable under this process. Issues involving discrimination and/or harassment are handled under the RISD Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment Policy and should immediately be brought to the attention of a member of the Human Resources staff. When a question exists as to whether a particular matter is covered under this process, the Vice President for Human Resources, with either the Provost or Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration as appropriate, will make the final determination.

Retaliatory action of any kind, taken by any employee against any other employee as a result of that person seeking redress under this process, cooperating in an inquiry, or otherwise participating in this process, is prohibited. An employee’s use of these procedures will not prevent, limit, or delay appropriate disciplinary action or enforcement of a policy that may be in effect or called for.

Procedures

The employee must request initiation of the Staff Problem Resolution process within 10 working days of the incident/problem or the breakdown of informal efforts to resolve the issue. The request must be in writing and directed to the VP for Human Resources and should include a detailed description of the issue, including any pertinent documents or information and the relief sought. The request should also include the informal steps the employee has taken so far, who was involved, and the outcomes of those actions.

The Vice President for Human Resources, upon determining that the issue or concern falls within the scope of this process, will initiate an independent review conducted by a member of the HR staff. Fact finding will begin with a meeting with the employee, and may include such additional steps as conducting interviews, reviewing documents, and gathering information as appropriate. Human Resources will attempt to resolve the issue with all parties concerned within 10 working days following the receipt of the request. The outcome of the review will be communicated in writing to the initiating employee.

If the issue is not resolved to the employee’s satisfaction by the efforts of Human Resources, the employee may request to have the issue heard by the Employee Problem Review Committee. This request must be submitted in writing to the Vice President for Human Resources no later than 5 working days following issuance of the written outcome of the HR review. The employee Problem Review Committee will meet with the employee and anyone else it deems necessary to help resolve the issue, and will review written statements and other documentation that it deems relevant to the review. The committee will submit a written recommendation for resolution to the President of RISD, who will render a final and binding decision.

To the extent reasonably possible, discussions and information gathered about a matter reviewed under this process should remain confidential. The employee requesting the review will not be informed of any action that may be taken against another employee as a result of the review process, unless such action will directly affect the requesting employee. While Human Resources will do everything possible to resolve the situation appropriately, please be aware that RISD must respect the confidentiality of all parties involved.

Revision history

This policy was approved as of: 1/1/2014

Next scheduled review: 1/1/2025

Responsibilities

Issuing Office

Human Resources

Responsible Officer

Vice President for Human Resources

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Director of Employment and Employee Development

General Counsel

Staff Problem Review Committee