D G VAISHNAV COLLEGEDEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT GRIEVANCE HANDING V.SRINEVAAS GRIEVANCE HANDLING Grievance is any discontent or dissatisfaction that affects organizational performance. As such it can be stated or unvoiced, written or oral, legitimate or ridiculous. If the dissatisfaction of employees’ goes unattended or the conditions causing it are not corrected, the irritation is likely to increase and lead to unfavorable attitude towards the management and unhealthy relations in the organization. The formal mechanism for dealing with such worker’s dissatisfaction is called grievance procedure. All companies whether unionized or not should have established and known grievance methods of processing grievances. The primary value of grievance procedure is that it can assist in minimizing discontent and dissatisfaction that may have adverse effects upon co-operation and productivity. A grievance procedure is necessary in large organization which has numerous personnel and many levels with the result that the manager is unable to keep a check on each individual, or be involved in every aspect of working of the small organization. The usual steps in grievance procedure are 1. Conference among the aggrieved employee, the supervisor, and the union steward. 2. Conference between middle management and middle union leadership. 3. Conference between top management and top union leadership. 4. Arbitration. There may be variations in the procedures followed for resolving employee grievances. Variations may result from such factors as organizational or decision-making structures or size of the plant or company. Large organizations do tend to have formal grievance procedures involving succession of steps. Arbitration Arbitration is a procedure in which a neutral third party studies the bargaining situation, listens to both the parties and gathers information, and then makes recommendations that are binding on the parties. Arbitration has achieved a certain degree of success in resolving disputes between the labour and the management. The labour union generally takes initiative to go for arbitration. When the union so decides, it notifies the management. At this point, the union and company must select an arbitrator. Guidelines When processing grievances, there are several important guidelines to consider: Check the grievant’s title and employment status to determine if he / she are included in a union eligible classification. Note the supervisor’s respondent obligation under the grievance procedure. Review the requested solution to the grievance. Determine if the relief sought is beyond a supervisor’s authority to grant. Review all policies or other information related to the grievance. Conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations. Prepare a written response including the reason for the decision and provide a copy to the grievant. Grievance materials should be maintained in a separate file from either personnel files or records. Articles related to grievance Measures of supervisory behaviors and supervisor’s knowledge of the collective agreement should, intuitively, be related to the occurrence of grievable events, but there has been no theory advanced to explain grievable events. Kliener , Nigkelsburg and Pilarski implicitly assumed that supervisor monitoring of employees will increase the number of grievable events, but a theoretical basis or rationale for this assumed relationship is not discussed. Grievants were less satisfied with their jobs, had poorer attitudes toward their line supervisors, had greater feelings of pay inequity, had stronger beliefs that workers should participate in decision-making, were less satisfied with their unions, and more active in their unions. The lower satisfaction with the union among grievant may be due to dissatisfaction with the processing of grievances. Grievants were more younger and had less education than nongrievants. Gordon and Miller, Allen and Keavney and Klass note the important role that expectancy theory could play in differentiating grievants and nongrievants. Although not a complete test of expectancy theory, Lewin and Boroff did include the employees perceived effectiveness of the grievance procedure as an explanatory variable. Surprisingly, this was not significantly related to grievance filing. Further research focusing on expectancy theory and grievance filing that more fully develops testable hypotheses derived from expectancy theory seems appropriate. Bemmels, Reshef and Stratton-Devine included the shop stewards assessment of how frequently employees approach them with complaints. Although most grievances are formally filed by employees, the initiation of a grievance can come from employees or stewards. Complaining to the shop stewards is the employees’ role in the grievance initiation process. Both of these studies found the work group with employees who complained to the stewards more frequently had grievance rates. Employees’ complaining to their stewards is a precursor to grievance filing. The measure of consideration and structure were significantly related to frequency of employee complaints in Bemmels and the steward’s assessment of the supervisors’ knowledge of the collective agreement was negatively related to complaints. Lewin and Peterson found a positive relationship with grievance procedure structure and grievance rates. They also found higher grievance rates under procedures that include provisions for expedited grievance handling. It was found that provisions allowing oral presentation of grievances was related to lower rates of written grievances, and screening of potential grievances was related to lower rates of written grievance, and screening of potential grievances by a committee or other union officials was associated with lower grievance rates. The number of steps in the grievance procedure and the length of time allowed for filing a grievance were not related to grievance rates. Lewin and Peterson argued that evaluations of grievance procedure effectiveness should include subjective evaluations by the participants as well as objective measures reflecting the operation of the grievance procedure. They argued that subjective evaluations are the preferred method for evaluating grievance procedure effectiveness. Effectiveness was difficult to interpret from measures reflecting the operation of grievance procedures such as grievance rates, settlement levels and arbitration rates since it was not clear what the optimal magnitudes might be for these measures. Furthermore the purpose of grievance procedure is to resolve disputes about the interpretation and application of collective agreements. Grievance procedures exist for the benefit of the employees, employers and unions. If the parties were satisfied with the operation of the grievance procedure, it seems to more important than attaining some predetermined optimal magnitude of grievance filing or when, where, and how grievances are being resolved. Grievance procedures are related to other attitudinal measures and the behaviors of shop stewards in the grievance procedure. Grievance procedure effectiveness was related to union members’ overall satisfaction with the union. Grievance procedures have been found to relate to union commitment, employer commitment and dual commitment. Employer commitment has found to be negatively related to absenteeism and turnover and union commitment has found to have a positive relationship with union participation and with shop steward behavior in the grievance procedure. Many studies still report empirical analysis with no theoretical grounding, or only intuitive and ad hoc hypotheses. Grievance could be classified into 4 basic types: Discrimination charges, rules violation, general or unclassified complaints and discipline. Discrimination was spelled out as based upon race, sex, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran status, or handicapped. Grievance corresponding rules violation was an employees’ interpretation of application of policies and procedures governing personnel policies, department work rules, unsafe or unhealthy working conditions, or other policies or procedures of a working nature. Disciplinary actions are the category least classified as a grievance. Legalistic approach was used to handle such cases. With the possibility of adverse legal action arising from unjust discipline, separate systems are often established in discipline cases to ensure the employees’ complete due process rights. Five types of grievance systems were typically noted in the literature. They were the open door policy, step-review method, peer-review also called the grievance committee or roundtable, ombudsman and hearing officer. In the public sector study. The predominant method of grievance adjudication was the step-review method used either singularly or in combination with a peerreview committee. The step-review method had characteristics similar to the grievance / arbitration procedures found in union contracts. The step-review method has a preestablished set of steps for reviewing employee complaints by succeeding higher levels of agency personnel. Benefits of having Grievance procedure: The grievance procedure provides a means for identifying practices, procedures, and administrative policies that are causing employee complaints so that changes can be considered. They reduce costly employment suits. A grievance procedure allows managers to establish a uniform labour policy. A grievance system can be a reliable mechanism to learn of, and resolve employee dissatisfaction. It can produce early settlements to disputes or provide for correction of contested employment issues.