Classified Employee Problem-Solving Process (Policy 7440)

University Policy 7440

Download a Printable Version of Policy 7440

Effective Date

July 1995

Last Revision Date

December 2013

Responsible Party

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, (208) 426-1200

Human Resources, (208) 426-1616

Scope and Audience

This policy applies to all Classified employees.

Additional Authority

  • Idaho Code §67-5315(1)(2)
  • Idaho Code §67-5309(j)(n)

1. Policy Purpose

To develop a process for classified employees to discuss and resolve job-related issues.

2. Policy Statement

Boise State University encourages Classified Staff employees to utilize this Problem Solving Process for resolving non-disciplinary job related matters. Ideally, such matters should be resolved at the lowest management level possible within the university.

3. Definitions

3.1 Problem-Solving Process

Addresses non-disciplinary matters [these do not include job related issues defined as disciplinary; job related issues alleging unlawful discrimination or harassment; compensation issues, except as it applies to alleged university-wide inequities; termination during the entrance probationary period – Ref. §67-5309(j), §67-5315(1) and IDAPA and; or any matter set forth in Idaho Code §67-5315(2) (dismissals, demotions, suspensions and involuntary transfers)]. Generally requires an employee to meet with their immediate supervisor to resolve the matter; file for problem solving if the matter is not resolved; meet with upper-level management; and receive a final decision from the Provost, applicable Vice President, or the President. Is not applicable to non-renewal of appointments or contract renewal situations.

4. Responsibilities and Procedures

4.1 Problem-Solving Eligibility

Classified non-temporary benefit-eligible employees are eligible to use and may file under the Problem-Solving Process as defined by Idaho Code §67-5315(1). Department representatives are encouraged to call Human Resources for questions and advice to resolve non-disciplinary matters.

4.2 General Information

a. The Problem-Solving Process is a chain-of-command course of action that includes the following steps:

(i.) Meeting with the immediate supervisor

(ii.) Filing for problem-solving

(iii.) Meeting with the Dean or Department Director

(iv.)  Receiving a final decision from the Provost or Vice President (or designee).

b. If an employee fails to meet any time limits of the Problem-Solving Process, the problem will be considered resolved unless both sides agree to an extension. Time limits specified for requesting the next level of review cannot be extended except when the employee is absent from work due to illness or approved absence. The employee must request the next level of review on the first day the employee returns to work or the matter will be considered resolved.

c. Steps in the Problem-Solving Process and the time frames may be waived upon mutual agreement of the employee, supervisor and Dean or Director level. Internal time periods of the procedure may be extended when the employee, immediate supervisor, Director/Dean, Provost or appropriate Vice President is not available due to illness or other approved absence, but in no case longer than ten (10) working days after their return unless expressly agreed upon by both parties in writing.

d. Employees involved in the Problem-Solving Process are allowed reasonable time to participate in the process and are expected to keep their supervisor informed of any time away from their duties to participate in the process

e. Any number of employees may join in a single filing under the Problem-Solving Procedure.

f. If the filing alleges unlawful discrimination (e.g., sexual harassment or discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, or disability), it shall be referred to the EEO & Affirmative Action Office for review and application of appropriate university policies.

g. Problem-Solving Request forms may be requested from Human Resources.

4.3 Representation

a.  Employees may be represented by a person of their choosing at each step of the Problem-Solving Procedure, except the initial informal discussion with the immediate supervisor.

b.  Employees must notify the Employee Relations unit within Human Resources at least 24 hours in advance of a meeting if they intend to bring their representative.

c.  Employees are responsible for notifying representatives of the time and place for any meetings. The schedule limitations of the employee’s representative shall not unreasonably delay the process. The employee is responsible for compensating a representative and for paying the representative’s expenses.

d.  All costs and expenses associated with the representative are the responsibility of the employee.

4.4 No Retaliation

Employees may not be disciplined or otherwise prejudiced in  their employment for exercising their rights under the Problem-Solving Process. No supervisor or any other official of the university may retaliate against an employee who participates in their own or a co-worker’s Problem-Solving Process.

4.5 Problem-Solving Procedure

4.5.1 Step One – Meeting with Immediate Supervisor

a. Before filing for problem-solving, eligible employees must first make a reasonable attempt to meet with and resolve the matter(s) with their immediate supervisor.

b. Employees and supervisors are strongly encouraged to engage in an informal problem-solving meeting to identify the precise matter(s), discuss ways to resolve the matter(s) and, ideally, resolve the matter(s) at the lowest level possible.

c. If Step 1 did not result in resolution of the problem(s), an employee may proceed to Step 2 of this procedure.

4.5.2 Step Two – Filing for Problem-Solving

a. If an eligible employee seeking to utilize the Problem-Solving Process is unable to resolve the matter in Step One of the process, the employee must file for Problem-Solving in writing no later than ten (10) working days from when discussions with the immediate supervisor have not produced a satisfactory resolution.

b. The time limit for filing for Problem-Solving does not include days the employee is away from work due to illness or other approved absence. The ten (10) working day calculation does not include the day on which the problem occurred, but does include administrative leave.

c. Employees must file the Problem-Solving Request forms with their immediate supervisor within ten (10) working days and provide a copy to the Dean or Department Director and Human Resources. The university may accept a late filing; however, when filing after the deadline, the employee forfeits their right of review by the Idaho Personnel Commission (per the State DHR Appeal Process).

4.5.3 Step Three – Meeting with the Dean or Department Chair

a. Employees must meet with the Dean or Department Director no later than five (5) working days after filing for Problem-Solving. The Dean or Department Director will consult with the employee’s immediate supervisor to determine who  is best able to resolve the problem in this meeting with the employee. The Dean or Department Director may also take into account the employee’s preference (as requested in the Problem-Solving Request Form) when deciding who should be present. Since the goal is to resolve problems at the lowest level possible, the meeting may involve the immediate supervisor and any additional people who may be helpful in resolving the issue(s). The Dean or Department Director is responsible for scheduling the meeting and determining who should attend besides the employee and the employee’s representative, if any.

b. Employees will receive a written resolution from the Dean or Department Director no later than five (5) working days after the meeting. A copy will be sent to Human Resources.

c. Employees not satisfied with the proposed resolution may request, in writing, a review by the Provost or appropriate Vice-President no later than three (3) working days after receiving the Dean or Department Director’s resolution. To request a review the employee shall file the written request on the Problem-Solving Request Form and submit it to Human Resources and the Provost or appropriate Vice President. Human Resources will provide the Provost or appropriate Vice President a copy of the Problem-Solving written record.

4.5.5 Step Four – Final Decision and Appeals

a. The Provost, Vice President or designee may review the written record, and/or consult with the employee, immediate supervisor, Dean or Department Director, and any others to determine how best to resolve the issue(s). The employee will receive a final decision from the Provost/Vice-President or designee no later than five (5) working days after a request for review is submitted, or a meeting is held as determined by the Provost, appropriate Vice President or designee. A copy of the final decision will be sent to Human Resources, the Dean or Department Director and immediate supervisor.

b. Problem-Solving decisions are generally not appealable, but under certain conditions, a Classified employee may appeal Boise State’s decision to the Idaho Personnel Commission within thirty-five (35) days of receipt of the decision.

4.6 Optional Mediation Step

The department and employee may mutually agree to engage in mediation during the Problem-Solving Process. If both sides agree in writing, the other steps and time limitations (except for the initial ten (10) working day filing requirement) of the Problem-Solving Process will suspend pending mediation. The department and employee must agree upon a mediator. HRS shall assist by providing mediator names and coordinating this process. Mediation is impermissible unless both the department and employee agree in writing.

Revision History

July 1997; September 2004; December 2013

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