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Student Employment Grievance Procedures for Student Employees, Graduate Assistants and Doctoral Fellows

UNIVERSITY POLICY STATEMENT:

Eastern Michigan University recognizes that misunderstandings may sometimes arise in the administration of its student employment policies. It is the policy of the University to provide student employees, graduate assistants and doctoral fellows with a formal process for resolving disagreements with their campus employer in order to provide all members of the University community with a positive and supportive work environment. The underlying intent of the policy is to encourage the resolution of any grievance at the lowest possible level of intervention.

UNIVERSITY PRACTICE:

Informal Resolution:

Most difficulties can be resolved through open, direct discussion among the parties involved. Students are therefore encouraged to communicate their job-related concerns to their direct supervisor. The student and the campus employer should work collaboratively to resolve the issue fairly and informally within the department.

Disputes that cannot be resolved informally may be submitted to the formal grievance process only if the student employee is alleging an incorrect interpretation or application of a published University Student Employment policy, procedure, or work rule. Claims of discriminatory treatment should be directed to the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action. 

Formal Resolution:

Step I for Student Employees: Meeting with the Director of Career Services

The student employee must complete and submit a Student Employment Complaint Form to Career Services Center Director’s Office within a reasonable time, not to exceed 10 (ten) calendar days, after the alleged incident occurs. Employee Complaint Forms and information are available at the Graduate School, , the Career Services Center and Student Conduct and Community Standards. 

Upon receipt of the complaint, the Director of Career Services (or his/her designee) will schedule an appointment with the student to discuss the dispute. The purpose of this meeting will be to confirm that informal resolution is not an option and to direct the student to appropriate resources for further assistance. If the matter is not settled, the Director of Career Services shall forward the complaint to Student Conduct and Community Standards and inform the student that he/she may enlist the assistance of the Office of the Ombudsman for advisement throughout the grievance process.

Step I for Graduate Assistants and Doctoral Fellows: Meeting with the Associate Dean of the Graduate School

The graduate assistant or doctoral fellow must complete and submit a Student Employment Complaint Form to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School within a reasonable time, not to exceed 10 (ten) calendar days, after the alleged incident occurs. Employee Complaint Forms and information are available at the Graduate School, the Career Services Center and Student Conduct and Community Standards. 

Upon receipt of the complaint, the Associate Dean (or his/her designee) will schedule an appointment with the student to discuss the dispute. The purpose of this meeting will be to confirm that informal resolution is not an option and to direct the student to appropriate resources for further assistance. If the matter is not settled, the Associate Dean shall forward the complaint to Student Conduct and Community Standards and inform the student that he/she may enlist the assistance of the Dean of Students for advisement throughout the grievance process.

Step II: Meeting with the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards

The Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards will review the complaint to evaluate whether the alleged violation falls within the purview of the Student Employment Grievance Policy. Complaints which do not allege an incorrect interpretation or application of a published University Student Employment policy, procedure, or work rule will not go forward in the process.

If the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards determines that the alleged violation falls within the purview of the Student Employment Grievance Policy, the Director will investigate the complaint. The investigation may include a meeting with the student grievant (and the student’s advisor), the student’s work supervisor and the head of the department against which the student is filing the complaint. After investigating the matter and within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the complaint, the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards will issue a written decision determining whether a University policy was violated and a proposed resolution. The student and employer will be provided with a copy of the decision. 

Step III: Appeal

If either the student or the employer thinks that the decision is unreasonable in light of the facts and evidence presented, either one may appeal the decision to the Student Employment Appeals Board (SEAB). The SEAB will consist of three (3) members and will be chaired by the Chief Justice of the Judicial Appeals Board. The Chief Justice will then select the other two members of the SEAB as follows:

  • IF THE APPELLANT IS A STUDENT EMPLOYEE – both members, one of which must be a student, will be selected from either the University’s Judicial Board or the Judicial Appeals Board.
  • IF THE APPELLANT IS A GRADUATE ASSISTANT - one member will be selected from either the University Judicial Board or the Judicial Appeals Board and a master’s level graduate student will be selected from the Student Government list of graduate students willing to hear student grievances. 
  • IF THE APPELLANT IS A DOCTORAL FELLOW - one member will be selected from either the University Judicial Board or the Judicial Appeals Board and a doctoral fellow will be selected from a list of names provided by the department head of an academic department different from that of the appellant's.

The appeal must articulate on what basis the Director’s decision is unreasonable and unsupported by the evidence and facts presented. The appeal letter, along with any supporting documentation, must be submitted to Student Conduct and Community Standards within five (5) calendar days after receipt of the decision issued by the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Student Conduct and Community Standards will then forward the appeal to the SEAB and provide a copy of the written appeal to the opposing party, who may then submit a written response to the SEAB within five (5) calendar days of receiving a copy of the appeal letter. 

The SEAB will promptly convene an executive session to review the written decision of the Student Conduct and Community Standards Director, the appeal letter, the opposing party’s response to the appeal letter, and any supporting documentation. The review will be limited to whether the decision was reasonable in light of the evidence and facts presented. A majority vote will be required for any decision made by the SEAB. Within five (5) calendar days of the executive session, the SEAB will issue a written decision upholding or modifying the Director’s decision. Decisions of the SEAB are final.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR IMPLEMENTATION:

The Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Managment is responsible for the overall implementation, administration and interpretation of the policy. The Director of the Career Services Center, the Associate Dean of the Graduate School, and the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards are responsible for the daily administration of this policy.

SCOPE OF POLICY COVERAGE:

This policy applies to all students working in on-campus student employment positions, to graduate assistants, and to doctoral fellows that are not covered by an established grievance procedure within their own work area.