Complaints by Administrators and Staff
PDF Version: HR Complaints Policy
- Authority: C.R.S. § 23-54-102, et seq. (2019) authorizes the Trustees of Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) to establish rules and regulations to govern and operate the University and its programs. The Trustees retain authority to approve, interpret, and administer policies pertaining to University governance. The Trustees authorize the President of MSU Denver to approve, administer, and interpret policies pertaining to University operations.
- Purpose: This policy states the rights and responsibilities of University administrators and staff to address complaints as defined in this policy.
- Scope: This policy applies to University administrators and staff exempted from the State of Colorado personnel system in accordance with C.R.S. § 24-50-135.
- Responsible Executive: Chief Operations Officer
- Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
- Responsible Office: Human Resources
- Contact: Human Resources, 303-615-0999
III. Policy Statement
The most satisfactory procedure for resolving problems is discussion between the persons involved in the matter at the lowest level possible before filing any formal complaint. Such persons, and other affected individuals, should reason together to identify problems, develop understanding, and reconcile differences before they develop into formal complaints.
A Complaint Committee is available at any stage, including before a complaint is filed, to provide counsel and assistance to the employee. Use of the Committee is optional on the part of the employee.
Complaint Records shall be placed in the employee’s personnel file and held as confidential, to the fullest extent permitted by the Colorado Open Records Act. Meetings of the Complaint Committee shall be closed to all except committee members and the affected employee.
- Disciplinary actions, reassignment, and termination of administrators and staff are addressed in separate policies and procedures.
- Allegations of discrimination must be addressed to the University’s Equal Opportunity Office.
The University will not retaliate against a complaining individual for making a good-faith complaint under this policy. This policy shall not be used to bring frivolous or malicious complaints. Disciplinary actions may be taken against any person bringing a complaint in bad faith.
- “Complaint” means a claim by an affected professional employee of improper, unfair, or arbitrary treatment and is not a matter for which an alternative method of review is prescribed. This complaint procedure is intended to address complaints by professional personnel concerning treatment by supervisors acting in an official capacity. It is not intended to address disputes of any kind between professional personnel. However, assistance and guidance in resolving such disputes may be provided by the appropriate Complaint Committee.
- “Improper” means inconsistent with an established fact, or with a rule that is not a University policy.
- “Unfair” means unjustifiably biased or prejudiced.
- “Arbitrary” means without any rational basis.
- Matters of academic judgment relative to reappointment, tenure or promotion, post-tenure review, proposals, awards, grants, honors, and recognition, etc., are not subject to review.
- “Respondent” means the party who is alleged to have treated the complainant in an arbitrary, unfair or improper manner.
- General Requirements
- Failure at any step to communicate the decision in writing within the specified time limit shall permit the employee to proceed to the next step.
- Failure by an employee to give written notice of appeal to the next step within the specified time limits shall terminate the process and the case will be deemed closed.
- A complaint may be withdrawn at any time by the employee by filing a written withdrawal with the individual responsible for the step of the process that is active at the time.
- During any part of this complaint process, an employee may represent him/herself with or without an advisor, or may be represented by any other person except a person with legal or paralegal training.
- Prior to September 1 each year, the Office of Equal Opportunity shall prepare a report of the dispositions of all complaints initiated during the prior academic year. This report shall be prepared without names of the concerned parties and shall be submitted to the Staff Senate, the University Vice Presidents, and the President.
- Filing a Complaint
- Step 1
- A professional employee has 30 calendar days from the time the employee knew, or reasonably should have known, of the occurrence that gave rise to the complaint, to notify the respondent and initiate an informal discussion for the purpose of resolving the complaint.
- If the employee is dissatisfied with the results of the informal discussion, the complainant must file a written Notice of Complaint. The complainant is required to file the Notice of Complaint with the respondent’s supervisor (the Step 1 reviewer) and send a copy to the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity. Such Notice shall be filed no later than 60 calendar days from the date of the occurrence that gave rise to the complaint. The Step 1 Reviewer shall investigate the complaint and respond in writing to the complainant and the respondent within 30 calendar days after receipt of the Notice of Complaint.
- In the Notice of Complaint, the employee (the Complainant) shall include a comprehensive and detailed statement of the facts and circumstances that form the basis of the complaint, and shall include a statement of the remedies requested.
- Additional Steps
- In the event that the complainant is unsatisfied with the Step 1 reviewer’s response, the complainant may submit a written Notice of Appeal to the immediate supervisor of the Step 1 reviewer. In the Notice of Appeal, the complainant shall include a detailed statement of the errors and other deficiencies in the Step 1 reviewer’s response.
- The Notice of Appeal must be submitted no more than five working days after receipt of the Step 1 reviewer’s response to the complaint.
- The response to an appeal (Step 2) will be issued no more than five working days after receipt of the Notice of Appeal.
- No appeal is allowed beyond Step 2.
- Step 1
- Complaint Committee
- The Administrator and Staff Complaint Committee is to be a subcommittee of the Staff Senate. It will deal with administrator and staff grievances and complaints. It shall be composed of three members as follows:
- Elections to this Committee shall be conducted by the Staff Senate prior to the end of Spring Semester.
- Members shall be elected for a one-year term by the personnel from the area they are to represent.
- Terms of office shall commence on July 1 of each year.
- The Chair will be selected by the Complaint Committee at its first regular meeting.
VI. Policy History
- Effective: July 1, 2019
- Revised: This policy supersedes Chapter X of MSU Denver's Handbook for Professional Personnel, July 1, 2017; revised July 1, 2010.
- Enacted: February 2, 2005
- Review: This policy will be reviewed every three years or as deemed necessary by University leadership.