To create and maintain a positive relationship with its employees, we must handle complaints, resolve conflicts, and help employees maintain their performance.

Use the links below to for information and policies related to potential employee issues.

Filing Complaints

We encourage all individuals to report a potential violation of the university’s policy with the following steps.

Sexual Misconduct/Harassment

If the complaint relates allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment, employees should refer to the Office of Title IX and Discrimination Resolution.

Office of Title IX and Discrimination Resolution

Formal Grievance Process

All other complaints should refer to the Formal Grievance process, designed to help employees address any areas of concern. The process promotes communication with the employee’s supervisor and establish expectations.

  • Step 1

    Step One is designed to allow for an informal dispute resolution. This step shall be addressed as an interest-based, collaborative problem-solving process between all parties with the purpose of preserving working relationships and resolving the conflict.

    1. Employees must first notify their supervisor/chair in writing of the intent to initiate the grievance process so both parties are aware that Step One of the process is about to commence. This notice must be provided within ten (10) working days after learning of the action or condition giving rise to the grievance. A thorough review of Step One requirements by both employee and supervisor/chair is highly encouraged.
    2. Within five (5) working days of the notice, the supervisor/chair, grieving employee, and department head or dean shall have a meeting to discuss the grievance and develop a written dispute resolution plan.

    If the dispute is with a coworker...

    Employee and supervisor/chair will discuss the matter with the coworker and his/her supervisor/chair in an attempt to informally resolve the conflict. Employees and supervisors/chairs engaged in the grievance process shall make reasonable efforts to resolve the issue efficiently and expeditiously.

    If the grievance involves an institutional policy or procedure...

    The grievant or the supervisor may request an explanation of the policy or procedure from the Human Resources Department.

    When to discuss with the AVP for People & Procurement Operations...

    In the event an employee’s grievance alleges discrimination involving issues related to wages, hours of employment or conditions of work, including work performance-related issues, and are based on race, creed, ancestry, marital status, citizenship, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other criteria prohibited by law or policy, the employee must discuss the problem with the AVP.

  • Step 2

    If a resolution is not reached in Step One, the employee may submit his/her grievance in writing on the Grievance Statement Form to the AVP within five (5) working days after completing Step One. Upon receipt of the Grievance Statement Form, HR will conduct an investigation within (15) working days. At the conclusion of the investigation, the AVP will issue a written response within fifteen (15) working days.

    Grievance Form

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Resolving Issues

Supervisors and employees are encouraged to use the informal dispute resolution measures to resolve any conflict. Supervisors have the ability to use disciplinary actions to help employees understand the the issue.

Informal Dispute Resolution

Communicate the Issue. The parties should speak and listen with the goal of understanding the issue that needs to be addressed and to help facilitate consideration of the interests of all participants.

Identify Interest. Determine what concerns underlie each person’s position and define the problem in terms of the interests of all parties.

Generate Options. Create a non-threatening environment and generate ways to solve the problem that will meet all interests.

Evaluate Options. Evaluate the options in terms of their consequences and how they will meet all participants’ interests.

Develop a plan. A plan should be agreed upon to implement a solution to the problem. The plan should identify specific steps to resolving the problem, assign responsibilities, and provide mechanisms for dealing with problems in the future. This plan shall be in writing and provided to all parties.

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Disciplinary Actions

A progressive approach by supervisors is generally recommended (but not required) to allow for better employee understanding of the issue. All staff employee disciplinary actions must be documented, normally by using the Special Performance Evaluation (SPE) Form (or comparable as to content) to document the reason for the disciplinary action.

Sam Houston State University is an “at will” employer. Staff employees serve without fixed term and at the pleasure of the President or his/her delegates and regardless of their length of service do not have vested rights for continued employment. All personnel actions are reviewed to ensure Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) compliance.

These actions include, but not limited to:

  • Problem-Solving and Open Dialogue

    The mildest type of disciplinary action can increase understanding, reduce workplace tension, and open up communication. The objective of the meeting should be to come up with solutions to help resolve concerns before they progress further.

  • Oral Warning

    The employee should clearly understand the gravity of the action and that the warning is disciplinary in nature. When presenting a corrective talk the supervisor should point out the error/problem(s), explain how to correct it, and come to an understanding with the employee about what is expected in the future. The Special Performance Evaluation (SPE) Form (or comparable as to content) will be completed and kept in the supervisor’s file to document the conversation.

  • Written Warning

    When an oral warning fails to achieve the desired improvement in performance or behavior or when in the supervisor’s sole judgment the nature of the offense makes its use appropriate, the supervisor may issue a written warning. A Special Performance Evaluation (SPE) Form (or comparable as to content) is used to issue a written warning. The Human Resources Department should be contacted for assistance in preparing a written warning and a representative of the Human Resources Department may be present if desired by the supervisor when the warning is presented to the employee. The written warning should be a forewarning of potential actions; be clear, focused and complete; be based upon facts that have been fully investigated; be consistent and applied equally to all; and it must not violate an employee’s civil rights. The written warning must be signed by the employee and supervisor and should reference all previous oral warnings. The employee’s signature is an acknowledgement and does not denote agreement with contents of the SPE. The completed Special Performance Evaluation (SPE) Form will be kept in the supervisor’s file for future reference.

SPE Form Read Policy