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How to Prepare an Effective Grievance

As a state manager, supervisor or confidential employee, you are excluded from the rank-and-file collective bargaining process.

But … you have rights. Legal rights.

You have a right to file various appeals with the State Personnel Board and the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). You also have the right to file a grievance within your department. As a member of the Association of California State Supervisors, you have the right to receive professional representation.

ACSS members are entitled to advice and counsel appropriate to the processing of a grievance or appeal by an ACSS labor specialist. The conduct and extent of such representation is governed by ACSS Operating Policy & Procedure file.

You and your ACSS labor specialist are entitled to a reasonable amount of state work time to prepare and present your grievance. If you have questions about a complaint or grievance, call ACSS at (800) 624-2137 and arrange to confer with your ACSS labor specialist.

Time Consideration
It is critical that you adhere to the strict deadlines when preparing and filing your grievance. If your problem is the result of a one-time, non-recurring employer action (example: you were docked for an absence and denied sick leave), then you have just 10 working days to file a written grievance of this particular employer action. After 10 days, your opportunity is lost.

In such a situation, you and your ACSS representative must make haste, using the phone and fax to collaborate in the filing of a grievance in the short time available.

If your problem deals with a recurring management action, however, you probably have ample time to research and write a grievance to be filed after management next repeats that particular action. Following each management action is a 10-day opportunity to grieve that action.

The grievance procedure permits you to grieve an issue via channels to the head of your department and thereafter, if you choose, to the director of CalHR. You should review the procedure and timeline before you proceed with the preparation of your grievance.

Most important, call ACSS and don't go through it alone!

Grievance Terms

Informal Discussion

The excluded employee or the employee’s representative shall discuss the grievance with the excluded employee’s immediate supervisor. If the grievance is not settled within five (5) work days, a written grievance may be filed.

Formal Grievance – Level 1

A formal grievance may be filed not later than ten (10) work days after the event or circumstances occasioning the grievance. The first level of review shall respond to the grievance in writing within ten (10) work days after the receipt of the formal grievance.

Formal Grievance – Level 2

The grievant may appeal the decision of the first level within ten (10) work days after receipt of the response or date response was due. Within fifteen (15) work days after receipt of the appealed grievance, the person designated by the appointing power as the second level of review shall respond in writing to the grievance.

Formal Grievance – Level 3

The grievant may appeal the decision of the second level within ten (10) work days after receipt of the response or date response was due to the appointing power or his/her designee. Within fifteen (15) work days after the receipt of the appeal, the appointing power or his or her designee shall respond in writing to the grievance.

Formal Grievance – Level 4

The grievant may appeal the decision of the third level within ten (10) work days after the receipt of the response or date response was due to the Director, Department of Personnel Administration or his/her designee.  Within twenty (20) work days the Director, or his/her designee shall respond in writing to the grievance.

Forms

The director shall prescribe a standard excluded grievance form and any additional forms to be used in processing grievances. 

Representation

The excluded employee and his/her representative, recognized by the Director in accordance with the provisions of Section 599.857, may be authorized a reasonable amount of work time, as determined by the appointing power and approved by the Director, to prepare and present a grievance.

Non-Merit Statutory Appeals

Disputes regarding appeals of layoff, appeals of transfer, petitions to set aside resignation, appeals for reinstatement after automatic resignation shall be filed in writing directly with the director. Such appeals shall be filed in accordance with specific time limits proscribed by applicable statute.

Such appeal may be assigned to a hearing officer for hearing or investigation. The hearing officer is the authorized representative of the director and is fully authorized and empowered to grant or refuse extensions of time, to set such proceeding for hearing, to conduct a hearing or investigation in every such proceeding, and to perform any and all other acts in connection with such proceeding that may be authorized by law or by this article.

Rehearing

Within thirty (30) days after service of a copy of the decision any party may file a written petition for rehearing with the Director. Within thirty (30) days after such filing, the Director shall serve a copy of the petition upon the other parties to the proceeding. 

Within sixty (60) days after service of the petition for rehearing, the Director shall either grant or deny the petition in whole or in part. Failure to act upon a petition for rehearing within the ninety (90) day period is a denial of the petition. If a rehearing is granted, the Director may rehear the case itself on all pertinent parts of the record of the prior hearing and such additional evidence and argument as may be permitted by the Director.

Decision Becomes Final When

Unless a proper application for rehearing is made, every decision shall become final thirty (30) days after service by the Director of a copy of such decision upon the parties to the proceeding in which the decision is rendered.