5. Employee Relations

Section 5.  Employee Relations

 

5-1 Open Door Policy
5-2 Problem Referral Procedure



5-1 Open Door Policy

The College believes that employees should be an organization's most important resource. The College believes that open communication within an atmosphere of mutual trust is of prime importance to its employees. Realizing that effective communication is always a two way street, the College values employees' constructive opinions and suggestions. Because Wellesley College believes in team effort and an open atmosphere, it encourages an employee to meet and discuss suggestions, problems or concerns with management.

In most cases, talking with one's supervisor is the most effective way to deal with a problem or suggestion. However, an employee may discuss problems or suggestions with a higher level manager instead of, or in addition to, their supervisor. Usually, this would be a more senior level person in your area. (Human Resources can assist you in setting up these lines of communication). This open door policy is not a substitute for the College's policy against sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination.

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5-2 Problem Referral Procedure

For those employees who may wish to choose a more formal procedure may choose the process below. Employees who select this process should consult Human Resources of the decision.

The following Problem Referral Procedure has been developed to assist administrative staff members in resolving serious work-related problems. These are formal procedures which an employee can choose to take, or the employee may seek alternative problem solving mechanisms. Most workplace issues are resolved through direct and clear communication between the two parties. You should discuss such problems with your supervisor, who is the key person in all communications involving your work. However, there are times when support or consultation is needed and employees may choose to address their concerns through a less formal process. You may ask the Human Resources Office for advice and assistance. Other resources are the Employee Assistance Plan.

Should you choose the procedure below, you should use it within a reasonable time after the problem occurs.

Step 1: The staff member discusses the problem with the immediate supervisor. In most cases, a problem can be resolved satisfactorily at this point. A staff member who is not satisfied may present the problem in writing to the supervisor, advising that they are initiating the problem referral procedure as outlined in the handbook. The supervisor will consider the problem and typically will respond within 10 business days, unless the supervisor believes the circumstances warrant additional investigation.

Step 2: After considering the supervisor's response, should the staff member not feel that the problem is satisfactorily resolved, (or if the nature of the problem has precluded a discussion with the supervisor), the staff member may refer the problem in writing to the next appropriate level of management. The staff member should make arrangements to meet with the manager (or his or her designee). Except in cases in which the manager believes further inquiry is required, the manager will typically reply to the staff member within 10 business days of the meeting.

Step 3: Staff members who deem a manager's response unsatisfactory may refer the matter in writing to the Problem Review Committee through the Human Resources Office. This committee includes the Senior Staff member of the staff member's departmental area, the Director of Human Resources, and one other member appointed by the President. If the problem involves the Senior Staff member, the President will appoint another committee member.

The Review Committee typically consults with the staff member and other parties involved, and typically gives a decision within 15 business days after concluding its review. The decision of the Review Committee is final and binds all parties. The Committee will give the staff member a written record of the decision.

Performance reviews are exempt from this policy.

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HR values and respects confidentiality.