Rights of Appeal
A Faculty member may request, orally or in writing, the informal assistance of the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee (FSGC) in the resolution of grievances. The Chairperson of the FSGC may receive written grievances and/or requests for investigation. Such a request is not a prerequisite to the use of the grievance procedure set forth below, and the Faculty member may choose to file a formal complaint prior to the completion of the informal process. The FSGC, through its Chair or another designated member of the FSGC, may conduct negotiations between the grievant and other relevant persons.
A recommended course of action will include:
- Discussion with Administrator
Before filing a grievance with the FSGC, a Faculty member shall first review the complaint with the administrator one level above the level of the dispute in an effort to reach a resolution.
- Initiation and Processing of Complaints
If a resolution is not reached, the Faculty member grievant may inquire with the chair of the FSGC about the concern, or choose to file a grievance with the FSGC. Each grievant should file written notice of the grievance which should be submitted to the FSGC through its chair within a reasonable time frame after the events or actions of concern. Grievances based entirely on events or actions that occurred more than one year before the filing date will not be considered.
- Decision by FSGC on Proceeding
Within approximately six (6) weeks of receipt of the complaint, the FSGC will inform the grievant, in writing, whether it will proceed with the review, and if so, whether the FSGC will pursue informal means of resolving the grievance, undertake an investigation, or schedule a hearing. If the FSGC decides not to review the complaint, it shall give reasons. If it decides to proceed, it shall specify in writing where and when an investigation will proceed or when and where a meeting or hearing will be held. The Chair shall send a copy of this initial response to both the grievant and the respondent. The Chair shall ensure that the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed is (are) properly identified, that specific charges are included, and that the form of requested redress is included. The Chair shall inform the grievant that this written request, together with any supporting documentation, will be given to the person(s) grieved against in an attempt to support the clarification and resolution of the case. In like fashion, any documentation made available to the FSGC by the person(s) grieved against will be given to the grievant.
- Informal Resolution
If the FSGC pursues informal resolution, the Chair of the FSGC and/or designated member/s of the FSGC shall pursue negotiation, mediation, or other informal means. If the Chair or other FSGC members are unable to begin doing so within forty-five (45) working days after receipt of the grievance, the FSGC shall so notify the grievant in writing. If the FSGC determines that informal resolution is not likely to achieve resolution of a grievance, and the grievant so desires, the Committee will proceed to the investigation phase explained in the following section.
Procedures for the Conduct of an Investigation
The Chair shall inform each party of the names of the other parties and the nature of the complaint, if this was not already done at an earlier stage. The Chair will also advise the grievant and the respondent of the procedures in the grievance process.
The Chair will select three (3) members of an investigation subcommittee, consisting of members of the FSGC and/or individual Faculty appointed to serve as FSGC investigators by the Faculty Executive Board. The FSGC chair may serve as a member of the subcommittee. These three individuals will serve as a subcommittee for the purposes of investigating the complaint.
In the course of its investigation, the subcommittee shall interview the grievant, the respondent, and any other persons who, in the view of the subcommittee, may have relevant information. At the conclusion of the investigation, the subcommittee shall submit a written report to the FSGC. The FSGC may amend the report or accept it. The preliminary report will then be sent to both the grievant and the respondent.
The parties shall have ten (10) business days after receipt of the preliminary report to address the findings of the report. This may be in the form of a written response by either party or a request for a formal hearing by the grievant.
- A written response should state any disagreement with the committee’s findings and should not be longer than two (2) pages. The Chair shall arrange an exchange of responses between the grievant and respondent for informational purposes only. The lack of a response by a party shall be interpreted as acceptance by that party of the factual and interpretive information contained in the FSGC’s preliminary report.
- If the grievant wishes to pursue a formal hearing, a written request for a hearing must be submitted as part of the response to the FSGC’s preliminary report.
- If no request for a hearing is made at that time, the grievant has waived the right to a formal hearing, and the FSGC’s final report, together with any responses to it, shall be submitted to the President.
- The FSGC will make a report to the President within approximately ninety (90) days from the time a grievance is received.
- The President shall make a decision on the case and convey that decision in writing to the parties and to the Chair of the FSGC within twenty-one (21) days of receipt of the FSGC’s recommendations.
- If a party requests a formal hearing, the FSGC shall follow the procedures below, and no report shall be made to the President until that process is concluded.
Once considered by the FSGC, a grievance may not be reopened unless, in the judgment of the Chair, there is significant new evidence that was not available at the time of the FSGC’s decision. Future grievances will be reviewed without prejudice.
Procedures for Parties Presenting Cases before a Formal Hearing Committee
A formal hearing shall be authorized by the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee under the following circumstances:
- A grievant makes a written request for a formal hearing within ten (10) working days after receipt of the report of the FSGC concerning an investigation; or
- This Handbook or other Institute policies require a formal hearing by the FSGC.
A copy of the charges made by the grievant(s) will be provided to the respondent(s).
Formulation of a Formal Hearing Committee
A formal hearing is conducted by a committee consisting of four faculty members chosen from the Faculty and a Chair who is a member of the FSGC.
The Office of Human Resources of Georgia Institute of Technology will generate a list of twenty-four (24) potential members of the Formal Hearing Committee by a random selection from the membership of the Faculty. If the grievance pertains to redress of decisions related to Academic Faculty status such as rank or tenure, then the generated list shall consist of only Academic Faculty of appropriate rank and tenure status. The FSGC shall remove from the list of twenty-four (24) any persons who are: members of the FSGC, Executive Committee Liaison to the FSGC, parties to the grievance, or witnesses. The number shall then be restored to twenty-four (24) by random selection. This process shall be continued until a qualified list is selected. Prior to the formal hearing, the grievant and the respondent will meet with the Chair of the FSGC for the purpose of striking names alternately until four (4) members of the Formal Hearing Committee have been selected. The last two (2) names struck will become alternates. Members of the Formal Hearing Committee must have approval of the Chair of the FSGC to be excused from the assignment. An excused person will be replaced by an alternate. The Formal Hearing Committee shall be chaired by a member of the FSGC.
The FSGC shall not be responsible for dismissal hearings for tenured faculty members, or non-tenured faculty members before the end of their contract term, if any. A separate process, consistent with the Bylaws of the Board of Regents, is set out for such hearings in Section 3.1.10 under Provision for Dismissal Hearing Committee.
Presentation of Cases
The grievant(s) and the respondent(s) are normally expected to present their own cases. However, all parties may have an advisor present at the hearing, and, when justice requires, the Chair of the FSGC or the Chair of the Formal Hearing Committee shall authorize an advisor to present a case. On request, the Chair of the FSGC may appoint an advisor to assist a party or to present the case of a party. Attorneys may be advisors but may not present cases.
The Chair will establish a time limit for the entire proceedings as well as for its parts. Thus, the grievant(s) and the respondent(s) will be given a specified time for their brief opening statements, for presenting their cases, for cross-examination, for redirect examination, for rebuttal (by the grievant), and for closing statements. The agenda, with time limits, will be distributed by the Chair eight working days before the hearing.
The Chair will exercise authority to cut off "filibustering" or obvious repetition, and to enforce time limits.
Who May be Present for Formal Hearings of the FSGC
The hearing may be closed except to the members of the Formal Hearing Committee, the parties, and members of the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee. Advisors to parties, as heretofore described, may be present.
Order of Presentation
1. The grievant(s) and respondent(s) will make brief opening statements. Each statement shall lay out the general nature of the case, without presenting evidence.
2. Following the opening statements, the parties will present their cases with the grievant(s) making the first presentation(s). At this time any documents or testimony relevant to the case may be presented.
3. Each party will have the right of cross-examination directly after the presentation of evidence by each witness. Redirect examination will be permitted. No new evidence may be introduced during the cross- or redirect examination.
4. An opportunity for rebuttal will be provided to the grievant.
5. Each party may make a closing statement. This is an opportunity for summary and argument and not for the presentation of new evidence.
In general, any item may be presented as evidence so long as it is relevant and material. Each party shall prepare at least seven (7) copies of all material intended for use in the presentation: one (1) copy for each side and five (5) copies for the Formal Hearing Committee. The copies shall be provided with covers, in either notebooks or clasped folders. Lengthy materials, such as papers and publications, should be summarized or referenced if their contents are not specifically germane to the hearing. Material not included in the copies will not be admitted at the hearing.
The copy for the other party must be delivered to the Hearing Chair ten (10) working days before the hearing. The designated recipients of these copies should arrange to obtain them from the Hearing Chair no sooner than nine (9) working days before the hearing. Material which is not available at the time that the seven copies are delivered to the Hearing Chair may still be admissible as evidence, at the discretion of the Chair. In such a case, this new material will be distributed to all parties by the Chair prior to the hearing.
Rebuttal material and background documents need not be included in the distribution copies, but must be available for examination by the other side and the Hearing Committee during the hearing. Such items will be labeled as exhibits and will become part of the record.
Each party may call witnesses. Witnesses will be sequestered upon request of a party or by direction of the Chair. At least ten (10) working days before the scheduled hearing, each party shall provide the Hearing Committee Chair a list of witnesses who will be called and a list of witnesses who may be called. The other party should arrange to obtain these lists from the Hearing Chair no sooner than nine (9) working days before the hearing. The responsibility for notifying each witness resides with the party who has designated that witness.
The proceedings will be tape recorded or taken down by a court reporter. The tapes or the transcript will be the official record of the proceeding and will be preserved by the Secretary of the FSGC.
Recommendations to the FSGC
The Chair and the other four (4) members of the Formal Hearing Committee will prepare written findings and recommendations to be given to the full FSGC. The Chair of the FSGC shall submit the Formal Hearing Committee's report, together with any recommendations of the FSGC, to the parties, to the President, and to other administrators, as appropriate, normally within thirty (30) days of the hearing. In the transmittal letter, it should be stated that the recommendations are intended to aid the resolution of the case. The President shall make a final decision on the case and convey that decision in writing to the parties and to the Chair of the FSGC, normally within twenty-one (21) days of receipt of the FSGC recommendations