The Labor Relations Office (LRO) is responsible for advising management representatives on grievance administration and processing, and as such, questions about grievances are referred to the Labor Relations staff. The purpose of grievance and appeal procedures is to provide for the prompt review and resolution of grievable issues either formally or informally at the lowest possible level.

Major bargaining issues include but are not limited to:

  • Wages
  • Hours
  • Layoff process
  • Discipline
  • Probation
  • Overtime calculations
  • Health benefits
  • Retirement
  • Holidays

Pursuant to the laws and rules of the State, an employee shall use an Employee Contract Grievance (Std. 630) form or an Excluded Employee Grievance (Std. 631) form. Either form shall be filled out in its entirety and clearly and concisely explain the nature of the grievance. The grievance must list the specific articles(s) and section(s) of the contract allegedly violated, and the remedy sought.

Definitions

A grievance* is defined differently, depending upon whether it is presented by an excluded employee or a rank-and-file employee. The following definitions apply to regulations set forth in Article 21 of the California Code of Regulations, Employer-Employee Relations for Excluded employees.

Rank-and-File Grievance

A dispute of one or more employees, or a dispute between the State and the Union, involving the interpretation, application, or enforcement of the express terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Excluded Employee Grievance

A dispute of one or more excluded employees involving the application or interpretation of a statute, regulation, policy or practice which falls under the jurisdiction of the Director, California Department of Human Resources

Excluded Employee

An employee of the State excluded from or otherwise without exclusive representation under the Ralph C. Dills Act.

Excluded Employee Organization

An organization that represents members who are “excluded employees” under section 3526 through 3539 of the Government Code.

Supervisory Organization

An organization which represents members who are managerial, supervisory or “confidential” employees under sections 3513(g), 3527(e), 3529 through 3535 and 3538 of the Government Code.

Non-Merit Statutory Appeal 

An appeal:

  • of an involuntary transfer to a position in the same classification or an appropriate classification in a location that reasonably requires an employee to change his/her place of residence in accordance with sections 19994.2-19994.4 of the Government Code
  • of a petition to set aside resignation in accordance with section 19996.1
  • for reinstatement after automatic resignation (AWOL) in accordance with section 19996.2
  • of layoff in accordance with section 19997.14

*In contrast, a complaint is a dispute of the application or interpretation of a rule or policy NOT covered by the MOU.

Guidelines for Grievance Handling

I. The Informal Discussion

  1. Listen
  2. Take notes
  3. Ask objective questions: Make sure you understand what the grievance is
  4. Restate the grievance and the remedy requested
  5. Set time for response
  6. Always get back to the employee or provide response after discussion
  7. Contact the LRO if you have questions

II. Grievance Investigation

  1. Identify the violation (Contract Provision/policy or past practice)
    • What contract section/policy was violated?
    • Are other contract sections, past practices, policies or regulations the issue?
    • Was the grievance filed within the timeframes required by the MOU?
  2. Identify the important facts
    • List the facts that led to the grievance
    • Visit the work area
    • Question other employees, if appropriate
    • Get the date, time, and place the problem occurred
  3. Obtain all relevant records, i.e. personnel, counseling memos, etc.
  4. What are the possible solutions to this grievance?
  5. What is your decision?
    • Give your verbal/written answer to the grievant
    • Explain your decision
    • Make a record of what you did
    • Follow through to determine if agreed upon changes occurred
  6. KEEP STRICTLY TO THE ISSUE AT HAND
  7. Contact the LRO for advice

Grievance Procedure

Rank and File Employees

Refer to the appropriate bargaining unit contract for specific information regarding employee grievance procedures and time frame requirements. In brief, the following chain of command are followed to resolve a grievance:

Initial Grievance
Employee informally meets with supervisor to discuss disputed matter. If unresolved, employee files a formal grievance using the Employee Contract Grievance, STD 630 in accordance with employee’s MOU.

Level 1
Supervisor reviews formal grievance and makes a decision.

Level 2
If unresolved, Manager reviews formal grievance and makes a decision.

Level 3
If unresolved, applicable Deputy Director, with the assistance of the LRO, reviews grievance and makes a decision. The LRO frequently writes the decision.

Level 4
If unresolved, the California Department of Human Resources evaluates the matter and writes a decision.

Excluded Employees

Refer to the appropriate bargaining unit contract for specific information regarding employee grievance procedures and time frame requirements. In brief, the following chain of command are followed to resolve a grievance:

Initial Grievance
The excluded employee or the excluded employee’s representative shall discuss the grievance with the excluded employee’s immediate Supervisor. If the grievance is not settled within five work days, a written grievance may be filed.

Level 1
A formal grievance may be filed no later than ten work days after the event or circumstances triggering the grievance. The first level of review (Supervisor) shall respond to the grievance in writing within ten work days after the receipt of the formal grievance.

Level 2
The grievant may appeal the decision of the first level within ten work days after receipt of the response. Within fifteen work days after receipt of the appealed grievance, the Office Chief shall respond in writing to the grievance.

Level 3
The grievant may appeal the decision of the second level within ten work days after receipt of the response to the Deputy Director. Within fifteen work days after receipt of the appeal, the Deputy Director shall respond in writing to the grievance.

Level 4
The grievant may appeal the decision of the third level within ten work days after receipt of the response to the Director, California Department of Human Resources or his/her designee. Within twenty work days, the Director or his/her designee shall respond in writing to the grievance.

Non-Merit Statutory Appeals

Non-merit statutory appeals procedures may include the following steps:

  1. The following disputes shall be filed in writing directly with the Director of the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). Such appeals shall be filed in accordance with specific time limits proscribed by applicable statute:
    • appeals of layoff
    • appeals of transfer
    • petitions to set aside resignation
    • appeals for reinstatement after automatic resignation
  2. Such appeal may be assigned to a hearing officer for hearing or investigation. The hearing officer is the authorized representative of the Director of CalHR and is fully authorized and empowered to:
    • grant or refuse extensions of time
    • set the matter for hearing
    • conduct a hearing or investigation
    • take any other action under their jurisdiction
  3. Answer. Unless required by law or regulations, no answer to the appeal need be filed.
    • If an answer is filed prior to the hearing, a copy must be mailed by the Director of CalHR to the appellant.
    • If no answer is filed and none is required, every material allegation of the appeal is an issue
  4. Rehearing.
    • Within 30 days after service of a copy of the decision, any party may file a written petition for rehearing with the Director of CalHR.
    • Within 30 days after such filing, the Director of CalHR shall serve a copy of the petition upon other parties to the proceeding.
    • Within 60 days after service of the petition for rehearing, the Director of CalHR shall either grant or deny the petition in whole or in part.

    Failure to act upon a petition for rehearing within the 90-day period is a denial of petition.

  5. Any appeal referred or assigned to the Director of CalHR shall be dismissed unless it is brought to hearing within three years after such appeal was filed, except where the parties have filed a written stipulation specifically extending said three-year period.

  6. Decision. Every decision shall become final thirty days after service by the Director of CalHR of a copy of such decision upon the parties to the proceeding in which the decision is rendered, unless a proper application for rehearing is made in accordance with subsection (g)(3) of Article 21.

Out-of-class grievance

The primary type of grievance, which can impact the Office of Human Resources (OHR), Classification and Pay (C&P) Unit staff is an out-of-class grievance.

While administration of such a grievance is the responsibility of LRO, the C&P Unit makes the classification decisions for DGS and its client agencies. Therefore, supervisors, managers and LRO can be expected to refer such grievance issues to the C&P Unit for the limited purpose of advising the grievance decision-maker concerning the extent to which out-of-class work may have occurred.

Resources

Responsible Control Agencies

  • California Department of Human Resources
  • Public Employment Relations Board

Laws and Regulations

  • Government Code section 18952, 18714(a)(b), 19816.5, 19798, 19994.2-19994.4, 19996-19998.1 

Other Resource Materials

Contact

Labor Relations Office

Department of General Services
Office of Human Resources

707 3rd Street, 7th Floor
West Sacramento, CA 95605
Contact your assigned Labor Relations Consultant.