D. Grievance Procedure Steps and Time Allowances

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D. Grievance Procedure Steps and Time Allowances

   The following are the procedures and time allowances for the official grievance process. If the grievant fails to advance a grievance to any step within these time allowances, the grievance shall be considered discontinued by the grievant and the matter will be considered closed. However, time allowances may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties. 

   (1) Step 1. Presentation of Formal Grievance

  Within 15 workdays of the occurrence of the grieved action (or from the day the employee should have known about the action), the employee shall present a formal written grievance (using the official grievance form) to his/her immediate supervisor. The grievance shall contain a detailed statement of the grievance which indicates the issue involved, the relief sought, the date the incident or violation took place, if known, and the specific rule or policy involved.

   (2) Step 2. Decision-maker's Reply

   If the immediate supervisor is the person who made the decision causing the grievance, that supervisor may discuss it with the grievant. The supervisor shall prepare a written reply on the grievance form to the grievance within 5 workdays of receiving the grievance. If the immediate supervisor did not make the grieved decision, he/she shall note that fact on the grievance form, sign it, and forward it to the person who made the decision within 2 workdays, skipping any levels of intermediate supervision.

   The supervisor who made the original decision causing the grievance may discuss the grievance with the grievant, shall reply in writing (on the grievance form or an attachment) to the grievant within 5 workdays after  receiving the grievance, and shall be responsible for consulting with all necessary levels of  supervision in the preparation of the written response to the grievant.

   If a supervisor in Step 2 of the Grievance Procedure fails to respond to the grievant within the specified time periods, the grievance shall be considered denied, and the grievant may proceed with his/her grievance to the next step.

   (3) Appeal to the Administrative Office

    If dissatisfied with the decision‑ maker's reply, the grievant has 5 workdays from receipt of the reply to appeal the decision to the Administrative Office. The State Court Administrator, the State Probation Administrator or a delegated person in the Administrative Office shall issue a decision in writing to the grievant as soon as possible.

   (4) Appeal to the Supreme Court Personnel Board

   If the grievant wants to appeal the decision from the Administrative Office to the Supreme Court Personnel Board, that appeal using the grievance form must be filed with the chairperson of the Board within 5 workdays of receipt of the administrative decision. Upon receipt of the appeal, the chairperson shall provide written notification to the involved parties that an appeal has been filed. The written appeal to the Supreme Court Personnel Board must set forth alleged facts in sufficient detail for the Board to decide if a misinterpretation or misapplication of the Nebraska Supreme Court Personnel Policies and Procedures has possibly occurred and whether an evidentiary hearing is necessary. If the Board decides that the appeal does not meet these criteria, an evidentiary hearing may not be granted and the appeal will be dismissed without prejudice. If the appeal is dismissed without prejudice and the grievant wishes to amend the appeal, the amendment must be filed within 10 workdays of receiving notice of dismissal. Amended appeals not filed with the Board within the 10-workday limit will be dismissed.

   When a grievance appeal is properly submitted and the Supreme Court Personnel Board determines that the issue includes a possible misinterpretation or misapplication of the Nebraska Supreme Court Personnel Policies and Procedures, an appeal hearing will be scheduled. The chairperson of the Board shall notify all parties of the time and place of any appeal hearing. A copy of the appeal shall be provided to the affected staff member in the Administrative Office.

   The Supreme Court Personnel Board shall hold a hearing on as early a date as is possible or inform all parties that the issue is not grievable.

   The Supreme Court Personnel Board may order a pre-hearing conference prior to the grievance hearing to clarify the issues to be heard, the number of witnesses, the evidence to be  presented, and other procedural details determined by the Board; or the Board may issue a pre-hearing order requiring the parties to mutually resolve such matters prior to the hearing. Failure by either party to appear at a pre-hearing conference or to respond timely to a pre-hearing order may bind that party to the issues, witnesses, and evidence submitted by the opposing party, or to those established by the Board, which shall control the presentation of issues, witnesses, exhibits, etc., during the hearing. The Board shall designate which party shall go first in the presentation of evidence.

   The Supreme Court Personnel Board shall conduct the grievance hearing and rules of evidence shall not apply unless requested by either party.  Such request shall be made in writing at least 3 workdays prior to the holding of the hearing. The hearing shall be recorded on four-track audio recording equipment.

   Either party may present witnesses and/or written data. If either party wishes to use any employee of the Nebraska Court System as a witness in the presentation of his/her case, he/she shall request the Board, through the State Court Administrator or the State Probation Administrator, to require the attendance of the witness. The request for an employee's appearance must be submitted to the chairperson of the Board at least 8 workdays prior to the hearing. Notice of less than 8 workdays shall not guarantee employee attendance. A written requirement of attendance of an employee shall be prepared by the Administrative Office and sent to the employee whose attendance is required at least 4 workdays before the scheduled hearing. The Board may limit the number of witnesses either party may call to testify by considering relevancy of proposed testimony and whether or not it would be repetitious.

   Employees of the Nebraska Supreme Court who are required to attend an appeal hearing shall be granted time off from their assigned duties to appear. All hours of attendance, including travel time, shall be considered work time. Reimbursement will be made for allowable expenses. 

   The Supreme Court Personnel Board may request opening and/or closing statements from both parties in the grievance hearing. The parties may be requested to submit summary briefs at a mutually agreed upon date subsequent to the hearing.

   All parties involved with a grievance appeal hearing may present their cases either personally or through their authorized representative. Each party is responsible for any attorney costs incurred in presenting his/her case.

   In the event that one party fails to appear at the grievance hearing scheduled by the Supreme Court Personnel Board, a default judgment shall be entered unless the party who failed to appear shows good cause for having failed to appear within 5 workdays after the hearing date. The chairperson of the Board will provide written notification of a default judgment to all parties.

   At any time during the grievance procedure, the parties may reach a settlement and thereby terminate the process. The settlement must be in writing and is binding on both parties. The settlement must be signed by both parties and shall include a statement that neither party will pursue the matter further as long as settlement agreements are followed. At this point the grievance will be considered to be resolved. If either party fails to abide by the settlement, the violation may be grieved beginning at the local level. 

Amended 7-9-15.

Employee Formal Grievance Form