Most, if not all, school districts have an Employee Grievance procedure. This procedure is located in the Personnel section of the school district's Board Policy manual. This is the procedure that your school board put into place for you to use when you believe mistreatment has occurred.
ADVANTAGES OF FILING A GRIEVANCE:The grievance procedure forces the district to respond to the employee's concern, and within a certain number of days. This also ensures that the employee's complaint will not be swept under the rug or ignored by way of built in timelines. The grievance procedure provides a professional way for the employee to alert the district about what happened. When an employee uses the grievance procedure, he or she is following appropriate protocol. The procedure promises that there will be no retaliation towards the employee for filing a complaint. The grievance procedure consists of a series of steps that keeps the grievance moving without unnecessary delays. The final step is before the Board; however, not all districts allow a Board review. HOW LONG DOES ALL OF THIS TAKE? The deadline to file a grievance can vary between 10, 15, 25, or 30 working or calendar days from the incident or from the date the employee became aware of the incident. This varies among districts, so refer to the grievance procedure for this information. If the grievance is not filed before the deadline, you may not be able to file a complaint. Make sure you understand whether the “day” means working day or calendar day. A common scenario occurs when an employee is recommended for formal evaluation in April but waits until after school is out or the beginning of the next school year to protest. It’s too late. There are timelines built into the grievance procedure that drives every step in the process such as:
- number of days the teacher has to file a grievance
- number of days it takes to schedule a meeting - at each step of the grievance
- number of days in which the administrator must respond, after hearing the grievance
- number of days the teacher has to make a decision at each step – to accept or refuse the decision, withdraw the grievance, or move it forward
- The SCEA will help you identify what Board policies are applicable and help you prepare the grievance form. You will write a brief statement of your complaint and we will re-write it to present it in the best possible way. We will help you sort through your documents and evidence and organize your grievance.
- We'll coach you on what to say and do in the meeting.
- Some districts do not let the teacher have a Rep, friend, family member and so forth in the meeting. Many times, we are allowed in the meeting but are not allowed to participate. However, in those instances, we can communicate with you and give you guidance.