EDR Forms and Resources
Workplace Conflict Consultation
To begin your grievance, you must complete the Grievance Form A and present it to the appropriate person (most often, your immediate supervisor). Fill out the data section at the top of the Form A.
Next, describe the issue(s) you are challenging in the section marked “issues.” A basic description of these concerns is necessary in order to allow management to fully explore and address the situation. If you need more space than the Form A provides to describe your concerns, simply write or type “see attached” on the Form A, then describe briefly but completely your concerns on separate sheet(s) of paper and attach it to the Form A.
Next, state the facts that support your claim. The more specific you are, the better. Again, feel free to use attachments (including supporting documents) if necessary.
Finally, state the “relief” you seek. The “relief” is what you hope to accomplish through the grievance process, in other words, the result you want. Remember that the grievance must be initiated within 30 calendar days of the event that forms the basis of the grievance (Grievance Procedure Manual §§ 2.2, 2.4).
The expedited grievance process is an accelerated version of the grievance procedure that can be used if your grievance involves a demotion, suspension, or any other loss of pay, including removals that do not qualify as “dismissals,” such as a layoff. (Grievance Procedure Manual § 3.4). It is not available for claims based on possible or potential losses of pay. For instance, if your grievance is based on your non-selection for a position with a higher starting pay than your current position, it would not qualify for the Expedited Process, although you could file under the regular procedure. However, the grievant and the agency may agree in any case to use the Expedited Process regardless of the issue being grieved. (Grievance Procedure Manual §§ 3.4, 8.4).
The expedited process has a single management step instead of the usual three steps. To initiate an expedited grievance, you should use a “Grievance Form A-Expedited Process.” The grievance form is then presented to the second step-respondent who must schedule a face-to-face meeting within 5 workdays of receipt of the grievance. Within 5 workdays of the meeting, the second step-respondent must issue a response. Within 5 workdays of the response, the employee may then request that the agency head qualify the grievance for a hearing.
On occasion, due to the small size of an agency or an employee’s relatively high level in an agency’s management structure, less than three resolution steps are available. In such cases, the number of steps may be reduced. Virginia law requires that the Commonwealth provide its eligible employees with “not more than three” successively higher resolution steps and one face-to-face meeting. Therefore, if you report directly to the agency head, for instance, then you will likely have a single step: a meeting with the agency head followed by his or her response. Once the response is received, you will have 5 workdays to request qualification for a grievance hearing.
Another situation where an employee could have fewer than three steps would be in a situation where formal discipline is issued by the individual who would otherwise serve as the agency’s second step-respondent. In such a case, the first and second step collapse into a single step. The grievance is initiated with the second step-respondent, who must within 5-workdays of receipt of the grievance, arrange and hold the second step fact-finding meeting. Within 5-workdays of the meeting, the respondent must provide a written response on the grievance and return it to the employee. The employee may then advance the grievance to the third step respondent.
The role of that individual is essentially one of supporter and counselor. The selected individual is not entitled to be an active participant in the second step meeting, although an agency is certainly free to allow such participation if it chooses. Unless permitted by the agency, the selected individual may not directly ask questions of the witnesses, make opening or closing arguments, answer questions on behalf of a grievant or in any other way directly participate in the meeting. (If the second step-respondent allows the grievant’s selected individual to participate, the second step respondent’s selected individual may also participate in the meeting to the same extent allowed for the grievant’s selected individual.)
On the other hand, however, for a grievant’s right to be accompanied by a person of his or her choice to be meaningful, the selected individual cannot be required to act merely as a silent observer. Rather, the individual selected by a grievant must be allowed the opportunity to interact with the grievant during the second step meeting, provided the interaction is not unduly disruptive or disrespectful of others present. Examples of appropriate interaction include conferring quietly or exchanging notes. Unless a grievant and her selected individual have refused to interact in an appropriate manner, they may not be forced to leave the meeting in order to engage in these interactions, but rather must be allowed to conduct these interactions throughout the course of the meeting and in the room in which the meeting is being held.
No, EDR is the neutral administrator of the grievance process, and represents neither employees nor agencies. Thus, EDR does not appear with employees at their second step meetings or hearings, nor does it otherwise “represent” employees. However, EDR consultants routinely provide information and guidance to employees and agency management throughout the grievance process via the EDR AdviceLine at 1-888-23-ADVICE (1-888-232-3842).
EDR Consultants provide general information on state law, policy, and dispute, but they do not provide legal advice. If you need legal advice, you must consult an attorney.
It depends. If the agency is closing the grievance based on the grievant’s failure to follow one of the grievance initiation rules (e.g., the 30 calendar-day filing rule) then management may notify the employee, using the “Form A,” that the grievance will be administratively closed due to noncompliance. The agency must also notify the employee on the “Form A” that the employee has the right to request a compliance ruling from EDR to overturn the closing of the grievance. Any such ruling request from the grievant to EDR must be made within 5 workdays of the notice of closure and be accompanied by a copy of the grievance record, complete with all attachments. (The original grievance record should be kept by the agency). The agency may raise noncompliance at any point through the agency head’s qualification decision. (See Grievance Procedure Manual § 6.2).
The other circumstance in which the agency may desire to close a grievance is in a case of abandonment (where the grievant fails to advance his or her grievance). An agency may not, however, close an allegedly non-compliant grievance without first seeking a ruling from EDR. Before seeking such a ruling, the agency must inform the grievant, in writing, of the noncompliance and allow the grievant 5 workdays after receipt of the written notice to correct the noncompliance. If EDR finds that the grievant is out of compliance, EDR will order the grievant to correct the non-compliance. If it is not corrected within the designated timeframe, the agency may close the grievance. (Grievance Procedure Manual § 6.3).