Employees have the right to address concerns with workplace issues — like pay, work environment, behavior, and assessments — through a formal grievance process. You should never have to worry about retaliation because you exercised your right to file a grievance.
Informal Grievance Discussions
Many times, employment issues can be resolved informally, with a discussion or conference with supervisors and administrators.
Keep in mind, though, that informal resolutions are not required to be in writing, and your local policy’s rebuttal and grievance timelines are in full effect while trying to solve them informally.
Even if you’re not yet ready to file a formal grievance, you should:
- contact your local union or the Associate Membership Program service team for assistance and guidance
- document your informal complaint with your immediate supervisor
- request an informal conference to discuss
If your informal discussions don’t lead to the resolution you requested, then pursue the formal grievance procedure in consultation with your union representative.
Filing Formal Grievances
Neither your school board nor your district can retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint. Always check your district policy for the full grievance procedure and contact your union representative for assistance.
But here are some basics you should know:
- Grievances and appeals must be filed with the appropriate administrator or the Human Resources department. Please be sure to use the proper complaint form for your district. No new documents can be presented after the Level 1 conference.
- In policies, “days” are defined as business days or workdays.
- Typically, all grievances must be filed within 15 business days. All appeals must be filed within 10 business days. But check your board policy — DGBA (local) — for the accurate timelines.
Most district policies outline a three-level (or three-step) process once a grievance has been filed. As always, verify these specific timelines with your local policy and contact your union representative for assistance.
This first meeting takes place with your immediate supervisor within 15 days of submitting the district’s grievance form. All documentation related to your grievance must be presented at this meeting.
If you are not satisfied with the response, you must file an appeal within 10 business days with the appropriate administrator, superintendent, or district designee.
If you still are not satisfied with the resolution, file an appeal with the Board of Trustees within 10 business days. You will present your grievance to the board, which has the right to appoint a hearing officer. Their response must happen by the next regularly scheduled board meeting.
Documentation and Your Signature
At some point, you may receive a document or written reprimand that you don’t agree with. If it happens to you, you should still sign it; failure to do so could result in another reprimand or memo for being insubordinate.
If you do not agree with a document, you should check with your union representative on how to respond to certain documents. But here are some suggested steps:
- Sign it and write next to your name, “My signature indicates that I have received a copy but does not indicate that I agree with the content.”
- After receiving any document, you typically have up to 10 business days to write a response (your defense) and attach it to the original document. At the bottom of your response, you should include: “NOTE: Please attach this response to the original document and any copies filed.”
- You also have the right to file a grievance, but you should always contact your union representative before proceeding with a grievance.
If you are unsure about signing a document, call your local union or the Associate Membership Program. Also note, you should never sign a prepared confession, personal statement, or resignation letter without first consulting your union.
- Texas Education Code Sec. 11.171: School District Grievance Policy
- Texas Education Code Sec. 51.960: Grievance Rights on Certain Personnel Issues (higher education)