REG 05.35.01 – Mediation Procedure for Faculty and Staff

Authority: Issued by the Chancellor. Changes or exceptions to administrative regulations issued by the Chancellor may only be made by the Chancellor.

History: First issued: April 20, 2001. Last Revised: December 18, 2003.

Related Policies:
NCSU POL05.25.01 – Faculty Grievance and Non-Reappointment Review Policy

NCSU POL05.35.01 – Mediation Policy and Procedure

Additional References:
Human Resource: SHRA Grievance Procedures

Contact Info: Director of Employee Relations, Division of Human Resources (919-515-4281)

1. Introduction

Board of Trustees policy 24.02 endorses the establishment of a mediation program to serve as an alternative dispute resolution process. This regulation addresses the procedures to be followed by employees wishing to pursue mediation of an employment related dispute.

2. Eligibility

2.1. Any University employee may request mediation services by contacting the Director of Employee Relations or named designee, or by submitting a Mediation Request Form. Mediation Request Forms may be obtained from the Director of Employee Relations in the Division of Human Resources, or the Chair of the Faculty. Requests for mediation must be filed within the time period in which the employee would be eligible to file a grievance under applicable University policies.

2.2. SHRA employees must direct requests to the Director of Employee Relations. Faculty and Non-Faculty EHRA Professionals may direct their requests to either the Chair of the Faculty or the Director of Employee Relations.

3. Issues to be Mediated

The mediation service provided under this policy is intended to be an informal alternative dispute resolution process to existing University grievance procedures. Mediation is a voluntary process. No party is obligated to attempt or participate in mediation. Participation in mediation does not preclude the possibility of future grievance proceedings. If mediation is successful, however, neither party may pursue a pending grievance or at a later date file a grievance on the matters addressed in the mediation. If the mediation agreement (see 4.4 below) is breached, a new grievance may be filed if the claimed breach is otherwise within the jurisdiction of the applicable grievance procedure.

4. Process

4.1. The Director of Employee Relations is responsible for maintaining a list of approved trained mediators and will facilitate the administration and coordination of the mediation process.

4.1.1. If a request for mediation is filed with the Director of Employee Relations, the director or named designee will work with the parties to select and assign a mediator. If a request for mediation is filed with the Chair of the Faculty, the Chair of the Faculty shall coordinate with the Director of Employee Relations in the selection and assignment of the mediator(s).

4.1.2. For purposes of assigning a mediator, three classifications are recognized: SHRA, non-faculty EHRA professional, and faculty. If all parties are within one classification, one mediator from that classification will be assigned unless otherwise requested and agreed upon by all parties. If the parties involved are from two or more of the classifications, one mediator from each classification involved may be assigned unless otherwise requested and agreed upon by all parties.

4.2. Within ten (10) business days of the initial request, the mediator will contact all parties separately to explain the mediation process, to secure an agreement to mediate, and to schedule the first mediation meeting, if the parties agree to mediation. All parties must jointly agree to meeting dates, extensions, and deadline changes.

4.3. During the mediation process each party will have an opportunity to describe the situation from their viewpoint. Issues of importance to each party will be identified and the potential resolution of these issues will be discussed by both parties.

4.4. Successful mediation resolves the dispute submitted for mediation and may result in a written agreement signed by all parties (not the mediator). Any mediation agreement that obligates the university must be signed by a university official with the authority to bind the university concerning the particular agreement. Each signatory to the agreement shall receive a copy. The agreement, at a minimum, shall address the nature of the dispute and the agreed upon resolution. The signatories, by mutual consent, will determine who else will receive copies of the agreement.

4.5. At any time during the process, any party may withdraw and the mediation effort will end. If at any time during the mediation process it becomes evident to the mediator that the parties cannot reach an agreement, the mediator will discontinue the mediation process. The parties may jointly request a new mediation process with a different mediator if the parties believe that another attempt at mediation with a different mediator may result in a successful mediation. If a second mediation is unsuccessful, no further mediation attempts shall be permitted. When a mediation process is discontinued the mediator shall notify the Director of Employee Relations or the Chair of the faculty, as applicable in writing of the failed mediation. The only record of the failed mediation shall be a simple unelaborated written statement that the mediation was attempted but settlement of the dispute was not reached. A decision not to pursue mediation will not be held against any party and no fault will attach to any party if mediation does not produce a settlement of the dispute.

4.6. Attorneys will not be permitted to participate in the mediation process.

5. Confidentiality

5.1. Confidentiality will be discussed at the beginning of each mediation. An agreement will be reached by all parties concerning how the parties will maintain the confidentiality of the process. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties in writing, documents generated during the mediation process will be retained by the parties who generated or received the documents. For purposes of generating the annual report for the Chancellor, the mediation request form and a report of the outcome of the mediation will be located in the Division of Human Resources .

5.2. Documents generated during the mediation process will be confidential under the law to the same extent as grievance documents. Further, the mediation process may not be referred to or used against a party in any subsequent proceeding between the parties, and the mediator may not be called as a witness.

6. Interaction with Other Policies

6.1. Requesting or pursuing mediation of a dispute by a faculty member, SAAO or EHRA Professional Employee may suspend the time deadlines for filing or continuing a grievance as follows: (1) If a formal grievance petition has not been filed but mediation is requested within the requisite time period for filing the grievance petition, the time period for filing the grievance petition is suspended for the duration of the mediation process. If the mediation does not result in resolution of the dispute and the employee wishes to pursue a formal grievance, the grievance petition must be filed within ten working days of termination of the mediation process; (2) If the parties agree to mediation after a grievance petition has been filed, the grievance hearing will be suspended for the duration of the mediation process.

6.2. An SHRA employee’s use of the mediation procedure will not extend the time in which an SHRA employee is eligible to file a grievance alleging unlawful harassment. An SHRA employee who has an unlawful harassment complaint and who wishes to preserve his/her grievance rights must file a grievance within 30 calendar days of the alleged incident giving rise to the grievance. SHRA employees should consult the SHRA Grievance Procedure for more information regarding the deadlines for filing grievances.

7. Annual Report of Mediations

The Director of Employee Relations will submit an annual report to the Chancellor reporting the number of successful and unsuccessful mediations during the preceding year. Copies of the report will be provided to the Chair of the Faculty and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources.