A Short Grievance Formula


Know your power to adjust grievances.  You are the front line of management to your employees and make your own determinations.  A supervisor who openly relies on the judgment of others -- or who says he/she is making a decision because someone else told him/her to do so -- quickly loses the respect of those he/she supervises.  Of course, in many cases you will want to discuss the matter with your immediate supervisor.  You are entitled to this advice -- often you must have it!


Get all the facts, restate them and then settle grievances informally and quickly.  Be prompt in making whatever settlements you are able to make.  If you need advice, get it as quickly as possible.


Be sincere, sympathetic, fair and understanding.  You will enjoy the respect of all your work force if your impartiality and unprejudiced thinking is obvious.  Your conduct should always merit the approval of the workers.


Do not "bargain" grievance adjustments.  Be a fact getter, a decision maker and not a negotiator.  Judge each case on its individual merits.


Avoid the use of underhanded methods to "outsmart" grievants.  Be above any trickery. You are going to live a lifetime and your long-¬≠range reputation means a lot more than any temporary adjustment which smacks of deceit.  Don't adopt questionable expedients to appease grievants.


Your decision-making must be clear and definite.  Be tactful, especially in the event of a grievance denial.  It is natural to resent the denial of an alleged right or to be told that one is wrong.  Personalize the things that are good; de-personalize those that are bad.


Don't be afraid to admit when you are wrong.  This attitude encourages employees to admit their own errors.  Also, don't blame others for your mistakes.


You are responsible for carrying out your decisions after they are made and communicated to employees.  This follow-up disposes of the immediate grievance and often prevents the eruption of future grievances.


A Checklist for Grievance Handling


  1. Receive the Grievance Well

    Give the employee a good hearing.

    Listen - Don't interrupt.

    When the employee has finished, ask questions, but take no position.

    Take notes, KEEP RECORDS.

    Ask the employee to repeat his or her story.

    Then repeat the essentials in your own words.

  2. Get the Facts - All the Facts Available

    Learn the section of the contract allegedly breached.

    Ask questions requiring more than a "yes" or "no" answer.

    Ask advice if necessary.

    Check department policy and practices.

    Check previous grievance settlements for precedents.

    Check the experience of others in similar cases.

    Reach a preliminary decision in the case, but temporarily keep it to yourself.

  3. Take the Necessary Action

    Avoid confusion.

    Settle the grievance at the earliest moment that a proper settlement can be reached.

    Explain your position.

    Once it is made, stick to your decision.

    Make the corrections required by your decision, if possible.

    If necessary, pass all the facts to the next step or level.

  4. Follow-Up

    Make sure the action was carried out.

    Be alert to situations which might bring grievances.

    Correct such situations before a grievance is filed.

    Know your employees and their interests.

    Maintain an atmosphere promoting the highest morale.

    Constantly support management -- your management. (The team of which you are a part.)


Washington Parish School Board