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Formal Appeal Process of Employee Discipline (9.54)

Formal Appeal Process of Employee Discipline (9.54) - Policies, Administrative, UWHC, UWHC-wide, Personnel

9.54

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Administrative (Non-Clinical) Policy
Category:
 UWHC only (Hospital Administrative-entity wide)  UWMF only (entity wide)
 UWHC Departmental (indicate name)  UWMF Departmental (indicate name)
 UWHC and UWMF (shared)
Policy Title: Formal Appeals of Employee Discipline
Policy Number: 9.54
Effective Date: June 1, 2015
Chapter: Personnel
Version: Revision
I. PURPOSE

A formal appeal process is a mechanism through which an employee may obtain prompt, objective,
orderly consideration and definitive action at an appropriate management level for a claim that a
University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority’s (UWHC) policy related to employee discipline
has been violated. The process has been designed to gain an employee's confidence that he/she may
pursue an appeal with respect, fairness, and objectivity.

The intent of the process is to supplement, not to suppress or replace alternative, less formal, channels of
communications. These alternatives for addressing an employee concern include, but are not limited to,
informal discussions with the employee's immediate manager/supervisor, the employee's director, or a
Human Resources Consultant (HRC) or Employee Relations Consultant (ERC) in the Human Resources
(HR) department (608-263-6500). It is important that employees are aware of these alternatives.

II. PERSONS AFFECTED

This policy applies to all UWHC regular, full-time and part-time employees exclusive of any subsidiaries,
affiliates, or operating units that have enacted separate policies for the subjects covered herein. It excludes
probationary employees, temporary employees, and all management personnel at the level of supervisor
and above. For Graduate Medical Education trainees, the process is outlined in their grievance
Appointment Information document.

III. POLICY
A. It is the policy of UWHC to encourage full discussion between a manager/supervisor and the
employee to ensure that all reasonable effort has been made to informally resolve an employee's
concerns regarding discipline. However, when an informal approach is not successful in resolving
an issue, an employee is entitled to present his/her concerns in a formal appeal to appropriate
management personnel and obtain an appropriate resolution, if warranted. The
manager/supervisor should advise the employee of the right to initiate a formal appeal and of the
time limits in which to do so. Also, written disciplines will include a notice detailing the
employee’s right to appeal and the time requirements for doing so. It is the employee's sole
responsibility to file a timely appeal.

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B. No employee is to be retaliated against for filing a formal appeal or participating in a meeting as
part of this process. Any employee may file a complaint about retaliation under this policy
directly to the Director, Employee Relations.
C. If an employee files an external complaint as allowed by federal, state or local law, or voluntarily
terminates his/her employment, including resignations pursuant to a written agreement, the
internal process as delineated in this policy shall not be initiated or continued.
D. Allegations that a disciplinary decision is discriminatory are excluded from this appeal process
and will be addressed through the procedures outlined in Hospital Administrative Policy 9.27-
Equal Employment Opportunity and Non-Discrimination.
E. When possible, appeal meetings should be held during the employee’s normal work schedule. An
employee’s participation in a scheduled appeal meeting is considered hours worked and shall be
compensated as part of regular working hours and paid accordingly.
F. An appeal may only be filed regarding disciplinary actions. Documented Verbal Reprimands are
excluded from this process.
G. The appeal process is confidential.
H. For discipline and/or termination involving extraordinary circumstances, such as but not limited
to, discrimination or harassment, major privacy violations, workplace violence, theft, drug
diversion, or other potential criminal activity, Step 2 (the Panel Review step) may be bypassed.
This determination to bypass Step 2 shall be made by Director, Employee Relations or his/her
designee.
I. The employee is responsible for ensuring that appeals to the next step of the process are filed
timely. If an employee fails to appeal to the next step within the required time limits, the appeal
will be considered closed and no further appeals will be allowed. However, the time periods may
be extended in writing for good cause at the request of the employee, management or Employee
Relations (ER).
J. The employee should be prepared to bring all supporting documents and information with
him/her to each step of this process.
K. Interpreters shall be made available as needed for employees to participate in this process.
L. ER is responsible for the interpretation of this policy, gathering of pertinent information,
maintaining records and advising all parties on procedural issues.
IV. PEER SUPPORT
A. Employees may request a UWHC employee act as peer support (peer) in an appeal meeting.
1. Non-employees, including attorneys, students and temporary employees, may not serve
as a peer. Additionally, relatives of the employee or supervisor/manager, or any other
person creating a potential conflict of interest, shall not serve as a peer.
2. Peers who have been released to attend an investigatory meeting are encouraged to
review the “Role of Peer Support Person” document, available on U-Connect prior to
attending the meeting. Managers should provide the peer a copy of the “Role of Peer
Support Person” document prior to conducting the appeal meeting.
3. The peer will be in a paid status to attend the appeal meetings and for thirty (30) minutes
preparation.
B. An employee’s selection of a peer may not unreasonably delay the scheduling of an appeal
meeting.
1. An employee who requests a peer should inform his/her manager of the designated peer,
and the peer must obtain permission from his/her manager to ensure that he/she can be
released from staffing to attend.
2. Primary responsibility for obtaining prompt peer release rests with the employee
requesting peer support. Employees are encouraged to consider several peer options in

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case their first preference peer cannot be released from staffing for operational reasons.
Managers may choose to assist with the peer release process to promote efficiency.
C. For operational reasons managers may need to deny requests for peer support and proceed with
the appeal meeting without a peer.
1. Prior to denying the release of a peer to attend the appeal meeting, the manager denying
the request should confirm this decision with her/his director, and if possible, check with
the manager of the appealing employee to see if rescheduling the appeal meeting is
possible.
2. For operational reasons, and in consultation with their directors, managers may impose
reasonable general limitations on the release time of employees serving as peers. (hours
per week per peer)
D. Employees and their peers will be granted thirty (30) minutes in advance of an appeal meeting to
prepare.
E. Peers at appeal meetings will not be retaliated against for participating in such meetings. Peers
should immediately report any concerns about retaliation to the Director, Employee Relations.
V. APPEAL PROCESS
A. Step 1: Manager, Director and ER/HR Consultant Review
1. This is the initial step for all appeals. Appeal rights for Letters of Reprimand end at the
conclusion of this step.
2. If the employee does not agree with the disciplinary decision, the employee may appeal
within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the disciplinary decision. The employee shall
complete the appropriate section of the Appeal Form to initiate the appeal, and the
Appeal Form must be received by ER within the seven (7) days.
3. ER shall forward the Appeal Form to the appropriate director. The department shall
schedule a meeting with the employee, the disciplining manager (attendance may be
mutually waived), director and ER/HR Consultant who was involved in issuing the
disciplinary decision within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the Form to discuss the
situation, give the employee full opportunity to explain the concern, and promptly and
objectively review the case.
4. The attendance of the disciplining manager is optional at this step and his/her presence
may be waived by mutual agreement of the parties.
5. Within ten (10) calendar days of the meeting, the director, in consultation with the
ER/HR Consultant, shall complete applicable section of the Appeal Outcome Form and
submit a copy to ER, the supervisor/manager and the employee.
B. Step 2: Panel Review
1. If the employee does not agree with the Step 1 decision, or if the ER/HR Consultant does
not respond timely, the employee may appeal within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of
the written decision or within seven (7) calendar days after it was due if not received. The
employee shall complete the Form, and it must be received by ER within the seven (7)
calendar day period.
2. The employee must include copies of all prior documentation from Step 1, as well as a
written statement explaining why the Step 1 decision was unacceptable with the Form.
3. The Panel members must be selected within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the
Form. The Panel shall consist of three members.
a. HR shall randomly (or through a rotation) select one member from the eligible
pool of employee panel members.
b. HR shall randomly (or through a rotation) select one, supervisor, manager or
director from the eligible pool of manager panel members.

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c. HR will designate an ER who has not been previously involved in the discipline
being appealed.
4. Employees shall apply to be in the pool of eligible panel members.
a. To be eligible, employees must have two years of service, an overall minimum
score of “3” on their most recent performance evaluation and not have received
any disciplinary action within the previous two (2) years.
b. If an employee fails to maintain the eligibility requirements (e.g., poor
performance rating, receive discipline, etc.) or breaches confidentiality, the
employee will be removed from the pool.
c. Individuals will be in the pool of eligible panel members for a maximum of five
(5) years.
5. Managers will release a panel member to accommodate this process. Selected panel
members may decline based on a conflict of interest, pre-scheduled time off or
unavailability due to operational or scheduling needs. The panel members will review
only the appealing employee’s name, job title, department and date(s) of incident prior to
the hearing in order to determine if a conflict of interest exists.
6. Once the panel members are identified, a hearing shall occur within thirty (30) days.
7. Prior to the Panel Hearing members shall receive training on the following topics: role of
a panel member, hearing procedures, progressive discipline, and confidentiality.
8. The hearing shall proceed as follows:
a. Up to twenty (20) minutes each for the employee and the supervisor/manager to
address the Panel.
b. Up to thirty (30) minutes for the Panel members to ask questions of the parties.
c. Up to ten (10) minutes each for the parties to summarize and conclude.
d. The Panel shall meet in private following the hearing. Additional time may also
be scheduled by the panel, if needed.
9. All records shall be provided at the time of the hearing by involved parties. Witness
testimony is not permitted; however, witness statements are allowed. ER shall maintain
all documents relating to the Panel Review step.
10. Within ten (10) days of the hearing, on behalf of the Panel, the ER/HR Consultant shall
complete the applicable section of the Appeal Outcome Form which will be provided to
the employee, the supervisor/manager, ER, and Panel members.
11. The Panel has the authority to sustain, overturn or reduce discipline. The Panel decision
shall be a majority decision.
C. Step 3: VP of Human Resources and Department VP (or designee) Review
1. If the employee does not agree with the Panel Review decision, or if the Panel does not
respond timely, the employee may appeal within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the
written decision or within seven (7) calendar days after it was due if not received. The
employee shall complete the appropriate section of the Appeal Form to initiate this
appeal. This Form must be received by ER within the seven calendar day period.
2. ER shall forward the Form to the VP of HR and the Department VP. The VP of HR and
the Department VP shall review the following materials:
a. Documents presented and reviewed at Steps 1 and 2,
b. Appeals forms and decisions issued at Steps 1 and 2,
c. Panel review summary document
d. Prior disciplinary letters
e. Investigatory documents and notes relating to the discipline being appealed (if
not included as part of the materials provided at Step 2).
These documents shall be provided no less than three business days in advance of the VP
meeting.

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3. The VP of HR and the Department VP have the option to schedule a meeting with the
employee.
4. Within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the appeal request, the VP of HR and/or the
Department VP shall complete the applicable section of the Appeal Outcome Form and
submit a copy to ER and the employee. This timeframe may be unilaterally extended as
needed, and the employee will be notified of the new deadline.
5. This decision is final and cannot be appealed further.
VI. MODIFICATIONS

This Policy creates no rights, contractual or otherwise. Statements of policy obtained herein are not made
for the purpose of inducing any person to become or remain an employee of UWHC, and should not be
considered "promises" or as granting "property" rights. UWHC may add to, subtract from and/or modify
this Policy at any time. Nothing contained in this Policy impairs the right of a non-represented employee
or UWHC to terminate the employment relationship at-will.

VII. REFERENCES

Hospital Administrative Policy 9.04-Work Rules: UWHC Authority
Hospital Administrative Policy 9.27-Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination
Hospital Administrative Policy 9.55-Non-Represented UWHC Authority Regular Employees:
Disciplinary Action
Appendix, Appeal Form
Appendix, Appeal Outcome Form

VIII. COORDINATION

Senior Management Sponsor: Vice President, Human Resources
Author: Director, Employee Relations

Approval Committee: Administrative Policy and Procedure Committee

SIGNED BY

Ronald Sliwinski
President & CEO

Revision Detail:

Previous revision: 122014
Next revision: 062018