A Grievance Procedure is the process used when a trainee has a complaint against the training program. This might include concerns about supervision, evaluations, harassment, etc.An important piece of professional development includes appropriate handling of conflicts in interpersonal matters. It is expected that trainees will initially attempt to resolve disagreements or concerns internally (within the Center), and in an informal manner. When a conflict or dissatisfaction arises for trainees it is our belief that concerns should be addressed in a professional and straightforward manner with the person concerned. If the conflict is with a senior staff member or a supervisor, we recognize that this situation may feel too risky for a trainee to broach informally. The following bulleted guideline should be used when the grievance is regarding a supervisor, another staff member, or a complaint about the training program in general. In these situations or in circumstances where informal resolution has been attempted, but the trainee does not feel the issues have been fairly addressed or appropriately resolved, the trainee should follow these steps listed below.
- The trainee should address the person(s) with whom there is a conflict when possible, but if communication breaks down, then…
- The trainee should talk to their individual supervisor. If the concern is regarding the individual supervisor, and the supervisee doesn’t feel as if this person is approachable with the concern, then…
- The trainee should talk to the director of their particular program in order to process the concern and generate solutions. Trainees of all training cohorts are welcome to process their concerns with either member of Training Leadership (Training Coordinator or the Assistant Director of Training), but if the trainee’s concern is with both members of Training Leadership, then…
- The trainee should talk with the Director of Counseling Center. If the Director of the Counseling Center is unavailable or the complaint involves the Director, then the trainee should talk with another member of the Administrative Team (Director level staff)
- If all communication fails up to the level of the Director of the Counseling Center, then the Vice-Provost for Student Development, Health and Wellness could be involved
Process by Which Trainees Institute Grievance Procedures
A. If the trainee challenges an action taken by the Training Coordinator and/or the Associate Director of Training (and a conversation/processing has already happened by following the steps above), s/he must, within 10 working days of receipt of a written decision, inform the Training Coordinator and the Associate Director of Training in writing and explain the grounds for the challenge. The grievance must state that informal resolution was attempted and resulted in an unsatisfactory outcome. The grievance must also include the identity of the person whose decision is being appealed, provide a brief statement of the grounds for appeal (which at minimum should contain a list of alleged errors in the decision or decision-making process), should indicate what remedy is requested, be signed and dated by the person filing the appeal and include a copy of the decision being appealed.
B. The Training Coordinator and the Assistant Director of Training then meets with the Director of the Center, and reviews the appeal. After review of the appeal, the Director of the Center has the option of appointing another staff member to also review the appeal in order to have another perspective.
C. The trainee also has the option of requesting a grievance hearing. This hearing would be chaired by the Training Coordinator and the Assistant Director of Training. The Director of the Center also has the option to attend this hearing. The trainee would present the grievance in person, and would have the opportunity to process the grievance. Within 5 working days of the completion of the grievance hearing, the Assistant Director of Training and the Training Coordinator submits a decision to the Counseling Center Director, including any recommendations for further action.
D. Within 5 working days of receipt of the recommendation, The Director then makes a final decision regarding what action is to be taken regarding the appeal.
E. Once a decision has been made, the trainee, the trainee’s academic department, and other appropriate individuals are informed in writing of the action taken.
At any time a trainee may consult with a relevant person from their academic program (Advisor, Training Coordinator, etc.). We encourage trainees to seek assistance in a professional manner, and follow the ethical guidelines of their profession. We discourage the trainee from involving non-relevant or inappropriate persons in this matter (i.e., other trainees who are not involved in the situation, others whose involvement will not help remedy the situation). These guidelines are intended to provide the trainee a process to resolve perceived conflicts that may or may not be resolved by informal means. Trainees who pursue grievances in good faith will not experience adverse personal or professional consequences.