Marine Biological Laboratory
Policy No.G.1.8

Human Resources

Initiated by:Human Resources Manager
Approved by:Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees
Date:November, 1990

1.0Policy Statement:
The purpose of a grievance procedure is to provide a method for resolution of disagreements between employees of the MBL. These disagreements are generally over interpretation of policies and procedures in the work place. This policy also covers Affirmative Action, Discrimination and Sexual Harassment complaints. While the MBL will work to resolve all problems in a manner that is equitable to all parties, sexual harassment complaints may require the MBL to take a more active and aggressive role in the investigation of the circumstances and any complaint of this nature will take precedence over other grievances.


2.1All employees including scientific, non-scientific, probationary, part-time and temporary employees have the right to file a grievance. Grievances may be filed by an individual or by groups of employees who share a common problem.

2.2This policy applies to all grievances at the laboratory. Employees are invited to use the grievance process to seek a solution to any problem that arises out of their employment.

2.3Grievances may arise from the interpretation and application of the laboratory’s policies concerning wages and salaries, benefits, hours of work or working conditions. Employees who believe that they have been discriminated against on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual or affectional preference, disability or veteran status may file a complaint using this procedure. This procedure will also be used for non-specified affirmative action complaints, for sexual harassment cases and for other complaints or grievances assigned to the Human Resources Manager (HRM) by the Director of the MBL. Some issues such as personal problems with fellow employees may be difficult or impossible to resolve through the grievance procedure but a grievance may be filed for any reason.

2.4Use of the grievance process will not compromise the later right of an employee to pursue a grievance with external authorities.

3.0Time Limit
Most grievances should be reported to the Human Resources Manager within thirty calendar days of the occurrence of the events which are the basis for the grievance. He/she will attempt to resolve grievances regardless of when the events occurred but the Human Resources Manager has the discretion to disallow complaints based on events which occurred more than one year ago when so much time has elapsed that fair resolution using the procedure appears impossible.

4.0Grievance Procedure

4.1Many problems can be resolved through informal discussions. Employees with grievances should first discuss them with their immediate supervisor. If the grievance is not resolved satisfactorily within five working days or if for any reason an employee prefers not to discuss the grievance with the immediate supervisor, the employee should speak with the Human Resources Manager for advice about the best person with whom to speak.

4.2If the above efforts do not successfully resolve the grievance or if the employee prefers not to seek the above remedies he/she should contact the Human Resources Manager for assistance in achieving an informal conciliation. The Human Resources Manager will meet with the complainant and the person charged either together or separately in an attempt to resolve the grievance.

4.3Either party may be accompanied by a non-participating observer during meetings with the Human Resources Manager and during any other meetings held during the informal process. All individuals will be required to keep the proceedings of these meetings confidential.

4.4The grievance shall be considered resolved if a mutually acceptable agreement occurs between the complainant and the person who is the subject of the grievance.

4.5When informal conciliation efforts do not produce an acceptable resolution, or at any other time during the informal process, the complainant may submit a written grievance to the Human Resources Manager to initiate the formal hearing process.

4.6No employee shall file a complaint more than thirty working days after he/she has received notification from the Human Resources Manager that the informal procedure has not produced a resolution unless he/she has requested and received additional time. The Human Resources Manager is available to help an employee prepare the written complaint.

5.0Formal Hearings

5.1The Human Resources Manager shall provide a copy of the complaint to the person charged. He/she shall have five working days to respond in writing.

5.2When grievances involve personnel policies the Human Resources Manager shall be the “person charged” and the special arbitrator appointed by the Director shall have the normal responsibilities of the Human Resources Manager in the grievance procedure.

5.3If the complaint is still unresolved the Complainant may request a review of the complaint by an Ad Hoc Grievance Panel or a review by the appropriate Management person as determined by the Human Resources Manager in consultation with the employee filing the grievance. If the complaint involves a violation of a written policy or established practice, then either review would be viable.

5.4If no established practice or written policy exists, then it would be preferable to have a review by the appropriate Management person.

5.5If the complainant requests a review by an appropriate Management person, then the complaint will be reviewed and a decision made within ten working days of receiving the complaint. An appeal of this decision may be made to the Director.

6.0Panel Method
If a Panel is requested, it shall be composed of three members. In most instances the members shall be selected from among the employees of the laboratory but in exceptional circumstances a member who is not an MBL employee may be appointed to the Panel with the approval of both parties.

6.1The complainant and the person charged shall each submit a list of nominees to serve on the Panel. The Human Resources Manager shall contact the nominees and appoint one from each list if they agree to serve and if the impartiality qualification is satisfied. When there is no specific “person charged” the Director of the Laboratory shall nominate the panel member normally nominated by the person charged. The third member of the Panel shall be appointed by the Director or his/her designee.

6.1.1. The complainant and the person charged shall each have the right to veto one panel appointment.

6.1.2. No nominee to the panel should have any substantial prior knowledge of the grievance. If any nominee has knowledge of the grievance they should disclose this information to the Human Resources Manager who may dismiss the nominee if he/she believes that this knowledge will affect the ability of the Panel to reach an impartial determination on the case.

6.2The Panel shall select one member to serve as chairperson. The Human Resources Manager as non-voting secretary, shall be responsible for organizing the Panel and shall see that the business of the Panel is conducted. This may involve a preliminary meeting to discuss the procedures to be followed during the formal hearing process. The complainant and the person charged shall be provided with a written copy of any procedures developed by the Panel and the HRM.

6.3Each party will be allowed to present written testimony and witnesses. In most instances, at the discretion of the Panel, all oral testimony will be taken privately and kept confidential. Each party will be entitled to be accompanied by a non-participating observer.

6.4All proceedings shall be kept confidential.

6.5The Panel should meet within ten working days after the receipt of the response to the written complaint. Evidence presented during the hearing must be directly related to the grievance which is being heard. The Panel will make any decisions regarding admissibility of evidence. After all evidence has been received the Panel shall meet in closed session.

6.6Within ten days of the completion of the hearing the Panel shall submit its findings to the Director of the Laboratory. Each member of the Panel must issue or sign a written opinion.

6.7The Director or his/her designee may accept or reject the findings of the Panel or may ask the Panel for additional information or reconsideration.

6.8If the Director or his/her designee sustains the complainants grievance he/she shall, with appropriate consultation, determine what actions are necessary to resolve the problem(s) which led to the grievance. It is recommended that the Director take the appropriate action within 5 working days of receiving the findings of the Panel. If a longer time is necessary, the person filing the grievance should be notified of the delay.

6.9In all instances, the decision of the Director is final.

6.10There shall be no retaliatory action taken against an employee for initiating a grievance or otherwise participating in the grievance process.

6.11The Human Resources Manager reserves the right to interpret and make modifications at any point during the procedure if he/she feels that such modifications are necessary to assure that substantial justice is being served. Both parties shall be informed in writing of any such changes.

7.0Policy Clarification and Updates:
Policy clarification and updates are available from the Human Resources office.