A. As part of the Commonwealth’s program of employee relations management, the Department of Human Resource Management shall develop a grievance procedure that includes not more than three successively higher grievance resolution steps and a formal hearing as provided in this chapter. However, grievances involving dismissals due to formal discipline or unsatisfactory job performance shall proceed directly to a formal hearing, omitting the grievance resolution steps, the face-to-face meeting specified in subsection D, and the agency head qualification determination specified in subsection D of § 2.2-3004.
B. Prior to initiating a written grievance, the employee shall be encouraged to pursue an informal complaint with his immediate supervisor. The supervisor shall have authority to resolve the complaint if it involves actions within his control.
C. An employee may pursue a formal written grievance through the grievance resolution steps if the complaint has been presented to management within 30 calendar days of the employee’s knowledge of the event that gave rise to the complaint. Employees’ rights to pursue grievances shall not be used to harass or otherwise impede the efficient operations of government.
D. Except as provided in subsection A, upon receipt of a timely written complaint, management shall review the grievance and respond to the merits thereof. Each level of management review shall have the authority to provide the employee with a remedy, subject to the agency head’s approval. At least one face-to-face meeting between the employee and management shall be required. The persons who may be present at this meeting are the employee, the appropriate manager, an individual selected by the employee, and an individual selected by the manager. Witnesses may be called by either party.
E. Absent just cause, all documents, as defined in the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, relating to the actions grieved shall be made available, upon request from a party to the grievance, by the opposing party, in a timely fashion. Upon such request a party shall have a duty to search its records to ensure that all such relevant documents are provided. Documents pertaining to nonparties that are relevant to the grievance shall be produced in such a manner as to preserve the privacy of the individuals not personally involved in the grievance. A party shall not be required to create a document if the document does not exist.
F. All time limitations prescribed in the grievance procedure, including, but not limited to, submission of an initial complaint and employee appeal of management decisions, shall be reasonable, specific, and equally applicable to the agency and the employee. Expedited grievance procedures shall be established for terminations, demotions, suspensions, and lost wages or salaries.
G. Within five workdays of the receipt of a written notice of noncompliance, failure of the employee or the agency to comply with a substantial procedural requirement of the grievance procedure without just cause may result in a decision against the noncomplying party on any qualified issue. Written notice of noncompliance by the agency shall be made to the agency head. The Director of the Department of Human Resource Management shall render all decisions related to procedural compliance, and such decisions shall contain the reasons for such decision and shall be final.
H. Grievances qualified pursuant to § 2.2-3004 that have not been resolved through the grievance resolution steps shall advance to a hearing that shall be the final step in the grievance procedure.
1995, cc. 770, 818, § 2.1-116.05; 1996, cc. 164, 869; 1999, cc. 703, 726; 2000, cc. 947, 1006; 2001, c. 844; 2003, c. 252; 2004, c. 674; 2012, cc. 56, 349, 803, 835.