ACC’s Employee Grievance process will ensure:
- a timely and clearly communicated process
- issues brought forth by employees are addressed at the appropriate organizational level
- relevant expertise and consideration of the input of those impacted by the decisions
- accountability at all levels and in all phases of the grievance process
ACC will provide a fair, equitable, and timely process to address grievances. The Employee Relations Officer (ERO) will provide oversight for the grievance process. Grievances will be managed in conjunction with the supervisor, or other designated employees that will hear and respond to the initial grievance or subsequent appeal(s). These procedures are administrative and are not legal proceedings, but rather internal College processes designed to effectively resolve workplace concerns that do not rise to the level of unlawful prohibited conduct. Workplace concerns should be resolved amicably at the lowest level possible.
I. General Provisions for the Employee Grievance Processes
- Informal Resolution: Employees are encouraged to attempt to resolve workplace concerns informally before filing a grievance. Such concerns should be expressed as soon as possible to allow early resolution at the lowest possible administrative level. This should be done by discussing issues directly and professionally with all relevant parties. Informal resolution does not extend any deadlines for filing a grievance, unless by mutual written consent between the grievant and ERO.
Employees may consult the Office of the Ombudsperson for additional information on informal resolution. The formal grievance process will inquire if an informal resolution has been attempted.
- Formal Resolution of a Grievance: Any ACC employee (hereafter referred to as the “grievant”) may choose to initiate a grievance as articulated under this administrative rule.
Submitting a Grievance: An employee who wishes to request the formal resolution of a workplace concern shall submit a grievance on the form provided by the College through the online Maxient reporting portal.
The grievance must include the date of the decision or action giving rise to the grievance, the nature of the workplace concern, specific facts and details concerning the complaint, and the remedy or resolution requested by the grievant. Requested relief may not be changed after the Level One conference.
Employees are encouraged to include as much documentation as possible with the initial grievance filing. If the employee does not have copies of these documents at the time the grievance is filed, they may be presented at the conference that occurs at the first level of the process. After this initial conference, no new documents may be submitted by the employee unless the employee did not know the documents existed before the conference, or for other good cause established in the next level of the process.
- Time Limits and Deadlines
- A grievance must be filed within 15 College business days of the date the employee first knew of the decision or action giving rise to the grievance. The ERO will dismiss a grievance or appeal that is untimely and not filed within the stated deadline. A grievant may appeal the dismissal by seeking review in writing to the ERO within 10 College business days from the date of the written dismissal notice. An appeal of dismissal on the basis of timeliness will start at the level at which the complaint was dismissed. Such appeal shall be limited to the issue of timeliness and not the merits of the grievance.
- The ERO can make decisions regarding timeline flexibility within the process in extenuating circumstances. The grievant will be informed if the timeline is modified.
- If a supervisor fails to provide a response to the Level One grievance within the stated timelines and without an extension granted by the ERO, the grievance will be heard by the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor, or their designee, within 10 College business days.
- Grievances will be addressed at the lowest level possible. Employees are encouraged first to seek an informal resolution of a workplace concern directly with the relevant individuals prior to filing a grievance.
- All employees are required to cooperate with the grievance process, provide truthful information, and respond in a timely manner. Providing misleading or intentionally false information during a grievance process may subject the employee to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Employees that are part of a grievance process must be respectful and not engage in any disruptive conduct.
- A grievant may designate a representative by notifying the ERO within three College business days prior to a conference. If the employee designates a representative with fewer than three days’ notice to the College before a scheduled conference or hearing, the College may reschedule the conference or hearing to a later date in order to include the College’s legal counsel.
- The College shall make reasonable attempts to schedule conferences at a mutually agreeable time. If the grievant fails to appear at a scheduled conference for reasons that do not constitute an emergency and without reasonable notification, the College may hold the conference and issue a decision in the employee’s absence.
- Consolidation of Grievances
- When practical, grievances arising from related events should be addressed in one grievance. Employees are discouraged from filing multiple grievances that could have been addressed in a single grievance. The ERO has the discretion to dismiss grievances that contain the same subject matter of a previous grievance that has already been decided and appealed through the grievance procedures.
- When two or more grievances are sufficiently similar in nature, and timely filed, the ERO may consolidate them in a single grievance process.
- Costs Incurred
Each party shall pay its own costs incurred in the course of the grievance process.
- Grievance Record
The ERO will keep and maintain a record of each case and resolution per ACC policy and procedures. The grievance record will include the employee’s grievance, any documents submitted with the grievance or at the conference, any documents reviewed by the supervisor/ERO, and the decision issued. All cases will be tracked through the Maxient Software System. All records are subject to the Texas Open Records Act and other pertinent state and federal laws.
Recording by video or audio is not a part of the process. However, individuals who wish to record are asked to inform the College in advance.
II. Grievance Procedures
Step 1: Upon receiving a grievance, the ERO will review the grievance to determine if it is timely and that it contains the necessary information. If the grievance documentation is not complete, the ERO will notify the grievant and allow the grievant an opportunity to refile the grievance within the designated timeline for filing.
Step 2: Level One: Grievance Conference: Within 10 College business days of receipt of the grievance, a conference will be scheduled with the lowest level College employee or administrator who has the authority to remedy the workplace concern. In certain circumstances, the ERO has the discretion to assign the grievance to another appropriate administrator who has the authority to remedy the complaint. The ACC employee who hears a grievance is also referred to as “hearing officer”.
Reasonable time limits may be set for presentations during the conference. The ERO will refer grievances alleging a violation of law by a supervisor to an employee in that supervisor’s chain of command, or the grievance may be referred to Level Two.
Step 3: Grievance Outcome: In reaching a decision, the hearing officer will review the information provided by the employee and any other relevant documents or information the supervisor believes will help resolve the grievance.
Step 4: Notification of Outcome: The ERO will notify the grievant as to the outcome of a grievance within 10 College business days of the conference held by the grievant and the hearing officer. This notification will be sent in writing to the employee’s ACC-issued email address, except for when the grievant does not have access to an ACC-issued email address, and will summarize the grievance, identify any relevant documents reviewed, and set forth the basis of the decision for granting or denying the relief requested.
Step 5: Closure: The ERO may follow up with grievant and/or hearing officer to determine whether the implemented resolution was effective in addressing the concern and, if it was not, to provide support and resources to seek to make it effective.
If an employee is not satisfied with the outcome of a grievance as provided by the lowest level administrator/supervisor, an employee may file a written appeal of that grievance decision with the ERO within 10 College business days from the date of the email informing the grievant of the outcome of the grievance. Appeals must be submitted on the form provided by the College through the Maxient reporting portal.
- Level Two: Appeal to the Executive Vice Chancellor
Within 10 College business days of receipt of the appeal, a conference will be scheduled with the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor or their designee. Reasonable time limits may be set for the conference. In reaching a decision, the Executive Vice Chancellor will consider the information from the Level One record and the grievant’s statements during the conference. No new documentation may be submitted to the EVP unless the new information was not known by the employee, or was not available to the employee at the Level One conference, or for other good cause shown. Requested relief may not be changed after the Level One conference.
The ERO will notify the grievant as to the outcome of this appeal within 10 College business days of the conference held by the grievant and the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor or their designee. This notification will be sent in writing to the employee’s ACC-issued email address, except for when the grievant does not have access to an ACC-issued email address, and set forth the basis of the decision.
- Level Three: Appeal to Chancellor’s Designee
If an employee is not satisfied with the outcome of a Level Two grievance as provided by the Executive Vice Chancellor, an employee may file a written appeal of that grievance decision with the ERO within 10 College business days from the date of the email informing the grievant of the outcome of the appeal. Such appeals will be addressed by an ACC employee or third party as designated by the Chancellor, which may include hiring outside parties to hear this appeal.
The purpose of an appeal to Level Three is for the Level Three Hearing Officer to review the decision made at Level Two and make a recommendation to the Chancellor to either uphold, reverse, or remand the decision, in addition to any other recommendations that may be appropriate for the Chancellor’s review. The Level Three Hearing Officer does not conduct a new investigation and shall only review the documentation submitted in the grievance record and hear a presentation from the grievant. Such presentations may have reasonable time limits applied. No new documentation may be submitted at Level Three unless the new information was not known by the employee, or was not available to the employee at the Level One conference, or for other good cause shown.
The ERO will notify the grievant as to the Chancellor’s decision within 15 College business days of the hearing held by the Level Three Hearing Officer. This notification will be sent in writing to the employee’s ACC-issued email address, except for when the grievant does not have access to an ACC-issued email address.
The College will protect the individuals’ privacy in a grievance to the extent that it is practical and allowed by law and College policy. However, there may be times when disclosure of information is required. In all cases, efforts will be made to protect the privacy of individuals.
V. ERO Review of Grievance Process
On an annual basis, the ERO will complete a report concerning the state of the grievance process at the College, trends of resolution and outcomes, and any recommendations for improvement, if needed.
 The date and time of the conference must be scheduled, not held, within 10 College business days of receipt of the grievance. The conference can be held after the 10 College business day deadline if that is a mutually agreeable date and time.Back to Top