Guidelines & Procedures for Librarian General Grievance Hearings

Guidelines & Procedures for Librarian General Grievance Hearings

DISCLAIMER:  If there is a discrepancy between this electronic policy and the written copy held by the Policy owner, the written copy prevails.

Assistance with the completion of forms and the grievance process is available from the Secretary of the Senate

PROCEDURES LEADING TO ESTABLISHMENT OF HEARING COMMITTEES

1 When the Grievor completes the Request for a Formal Hearing and the Respondent completes the Primary Respondent’s Form, both parties must provide the names of three individuals who will comprise a nominated Hearing Panel and who will agree to serve on the Hearing Committee if selected. Panel members must be employees or retirees of the University. Each party will select one individual, from the Panel nominated by the other party, to serve on the Hearing Committee.

2 The Secretary of the Senate acknowledges receipt of the completed Request for a Formal Hearing. The Request for a Formal Hearing and supporting documentation, EXCEPT THE GRIEVOR’S NOMINATED PANEL MEMBERS, along with a blank copy of the Primary Respondent’s Form, are forwarded to the Primary Respondent, the person at the first administrative level having authority to dispose of the grievance.

3 Within 10 working days of the receipt of the request for a hearing, the Primary Respondent shall submit to the Secretary of the Senate the completed Primary Respondent’s Form. The Secretary of the Senate shall forward a copy of this reply to the Grievor EXCEPT THE PRIMARY RESPONDENT’S NOMINATED PANEL MEMBERS.

4 The Secretary of the Senate shall forward a complete copy of the Request for a Formal Hearing and the Primary Respondent’s Form to the Chair of the Faculty Grievance Panel.

If the Grievor and Respondent consent to the presence of the MUFA Observer, the Secretary of the Senate shall forward a complete copy of the Request for a Formal Hearing and the Primary Respondent’s Form to the President of MUFA and request the name of the Observer. This process shall not delay the start of the hearing.

5 The Secretary of the Senate shall forward a copy of the nominated Panel members to the Grievor and the Respondent. Within five working days of receipt of the lists, each party will select a name from the other’s list to serve on the Hearing Committee and will provide that name in writing to the Secretary of the Senate. The Secretary of the Senate will inform both parties and Faculty Grievance Panel Chair of the final composition of the full Hearing Committee including the name of the Observer if known. Copies of the Request for a Formal Hearing and the Primary Respondent’s Form, EXCEPT THE GRIEVOR’S AND RESPONDENT’S NOMINATED PANEL MEMBERS, shall be forwarded to the Hearing Committee members and the Observer.

6 The Secretary of the Senate arranges a convenient time and place for the first hearing. Once this has been decided, a formal Notice of Hearing is sent to the Grievor, Respondent, Hearing Committee and Observer.

7 The Grievance Hearing Committee shall be entitled to receive administrative support services from the Secretary of the Senate.

PURPOSE OF A HEARING

The purpose of a hearing is to provide the librarian with a prompt, objective and impartial adjudication of her or his grievance. The Hearing Committee is empowered to review the evidence, both written and oral, upon which the grieved action was based. The members of the Committee shall be the sole judges of the facts and shall render that decision which, in their judgement, reflects the relevant policy and circumstances.The hearing is limited to the adjudication of the matter specifically described in writing at the last or previous Stage of the grievance policy.

The decision of the Hearing Committee is binding on the parties, and is reported to the University Librarian, or Director of Health Sciences Library and Computing Services for implementation.

PROCEDURES FOR GRIEVANCE HEARINGS

Hearings are conducted in accordance with the principles of natural justice and the provisions of The Statutory Powers Procedure Act (S.P.P.A.). Termed “minimal rules,” these do not set out explicit procedures regarding the conduct of meetings or hearings but rather leave much to the discretion of the Hearing Committee. The main purpose of the “minimal rules” is to ensure that the Grievor receives a fair hearing and all parties have appropriate notice of hearings and opportunity to participate. The parties to the hearing may, by agreement, waive any of the requirements of the S.P.P.A. (Section 4, S.P.P.A.).The onus is on the Grievor to make his or her case, i.e., why the application of a duly enacted written policy or established practice affecting their employment has been unfairly applied.

1 Parties to the grievance should identify who, if anyone, will be acting as their counsel or advisor. Both parties may be represented by counsel, a lawyer, colleague, friend, etc. (Section 10, S.P.P.A.). Counsel does not have to be limited to one person. Each party is responsible for arrangements and the costs associated with representation.

2 The Hearing Committee shall decide, after giving the parties an opportunity to speak to the issue, whether the hearing shall be open or closed. The S.P.P.A. requires that all hearings be open (Section 9), except that a hearing may be closed when the Committee is of the opinion that intimate financial or personal matters would be disclosed (Section 9, 1[b] of the S.P.P.A.).

3 The Hearing Committee shall decide, after giving the parties an opportunity to speak to the issue, whether the dispute falls within the scope of a grievance as defined within the Definition clause of the General Grievance Policy for Librarians.

4 The Grievor or Respondent has the right to request information to be placed before the Hearing Committee. The Committee will review the information or may request information for review in order to determine, after giving the parties an opportuni ty to speak to the issue, that the information so requested is relevant to the grievance in question. The person or body holding the information shall release it to the Committee unless that person or body is otherwise precluded by law from divulging it. If the information is denied on the basis that the person or body holding it is precluded by law from releasing it, then the Grievor or Respondent may exercise her or his rights at law to compel the delivery of that information to the Committee.

Both parties shall be provided copies of all written information accepted as evidence by the Committee.

5 Both parties have the right to call, examine and cross-examine witnesses. The Hearing Committee may limit the cross-examination of witnesses to that necessary to elicit a full disclosure of the facts (Sections 10, 11 and 12, S.P.P.A.). If, during the course of the hearings, either party wishes to call additional witnesses they should inform the Committee and the other party prior to the hearing at which the additional witness or witnesses are to appear. Each party is responsible for arrangements and costs related to its witnesses.

6 The Hearing Committee may examine and cross-examine witnesses called by either party. It may request copies of documents mentioned in testimony.

7 The Hearing Committee should determine the procedure to be followed for the presentation of evidence. Either party has the right to present evidence and both parties must see any written evidence which is presented. (Sections 10 and 15, S.P.P.A.).

8 The Hearing Committee should determine the sequence in which evidence is presented. The following procedure is a natural sequence which the Committee may vary at its discretion:

  1. The Grievor presents the reasons for grieving and gives evidence in support of those reasons. In addition to the submission of documents, this would entail the calling of witnesses, and the examination and cross-examination of the witnesses by the Primary Respondent and the Hearing Committee. The Committee should feel free to ask questions at any time although it is probably best if it asks its questions at the end of the questioning of each witness by both parties.
  2. The Primary Respondent answers the allegations by way of an opening statement and then calls witnesses, if any, and/or submits written evidence to show the Hearing Committee why the grieved action was made and, in effect, to defend the grieved action.  The Grievor and the Committee have the right to cross-examine the witnesses called by the Primary Respondent.
  3.  The Grievor then has the opportunity to reply to the Primary Respondent’s evidence.
  4. The hearing(s) then conclude(s) with summation and argument by each party; first the Grievor and then the Respondent, with the Grievor having the right to again reply in argument, if necessary.

9 A hearing shall commence within 15 working days of the appointment of the Hearing Committee.

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

All hearings are recorded on tape. The Secretary of the Senate (or delegate) maintains a record of what is on the tape, corresponding to the digital counter, so that if any Committee member or party to the grievance wishes to locate certain testimony on the tape, this information can be located relatively quickly and easily. Committee members must, however, keep their own notes of the hearings if they wish to have a record of the testimony other than the tape recording.Documentation submitted to a Hearing Committee will be retained by the University for a period of seven years after the Committee has submitted the report containing its decision. It will then be destroyed, unless required for any legal proceedings external to the University which have been initiated during the seven-year period, in which case the material will be destroyed immediately after all legal processes have been exhausted.

FORMAT AND CONTENT OF REPORTS FROM HEARING COMMITTEES

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Committee must decide by majority vote whether the original decision is to be upheld. The Committee reports its decision in writing to the Grievor, Respondent, University Librarian or Director of Health Scien ces Library and Computing Services, and Observer. (Reports from closed hearings are confidential.) The report shall include a summary of the issues, the factual findings, the conclusions, and the decision with reasons.The University Librarian, or Director of Health Sciences Library and Computing Services, shall implement the decision promptly, and shall notify all those eligible to receive the Hearing Committee’s report of the implementation of the decision. Reports o f hearings held in open sessions will be available on request from the Secretary of the Senate.

The Hearing Committee shall not have jurisdiction to change any provision of a duly enacted policy of the University. The Committee may make recommendations for change as appropriate.

DOCUMENTS GOVERNING HEARING PROCEDURE

The following documents set out the basic procedures and principles which must govern all formal hearings under the General Grievance Policy for Librarians:

  1.  The Statutory Powers Procedure Act
  2.  Manual of Practice on Administrative Law and Procedure in Ontario under The Statutory Powers Procedure Act
  3.  General Grievance Policy for Librarians
  4.  Guidelines Concerning the Appointment and Deportment of MUFA Observers at Librarian General Grievance Hearings

Approved by the Board of Governors
March 27, 2002