Personnel Policies for Designated Employment Exempt from the State Human Resources Act

University Policy 102.7, Personnel Policies for Designated Employment Exempt from the State Human Resources Act

Executive Summary: 

This Policy sets forth the personnel policies for a large group of University employees who are not faculty members and are not subject to the State Human Resources Act. It lists general terms and conditions of employment for employees in the category, including types of appointments, methods of termination of appointment, grievance review, and holiday and leave entitlement.

Policy Details

I. Scope and Applicability of Employment Covered by the Policies

A.     The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina has established Policy 300.2.1 concerning employees exempt from the State Human Resources Act (hereinafter “EHRA” employees). That policy (hereinafter “Board of Governors’ Policy”), incorporated into this Policy as Attachment A, applies to the following “permanent” employment positions within The University of North Carolina at Charlotte:

Tier II Senior Academic and Administrative Officers pursuant to University Policy 102.9, Senior Academic and Administrative Officers: Associate and assistant vice chancellors; associate and assistant deans; and other administrative positions (other than those identified as Tier I Senior Academic and Administrative Officers in University Policy 102.9), including,

  1. members of the Chancellor's professional staff;
  2. those responsible for the administrative direction of separately-designated divisions or departments of institutional activity commonly associated with institutions of higher education;
  3. those positions whose primary responsibility is to attract external funds for and/or market the University; and
  4. other officers holding positions characterized by active, continuing involvement in formulating, interpreting, and implementing institutional policy and exercising substantial independence of administrative authority and discretion in areas such as program planning and design and allocation or resources; and
  5. those positions that are not subject to the State Personnel Act (N.C.G.S. Chapter 126) and are not otherwise categorized.

“Permanent” employment with respect to a EHRA non-faculty appointments is employment at will or for a fixed term of six months or more in a position requiring a time commitment of 20 hours or more per week. Fixed-term employment for a period of less than six months or requiring a time commitment of fewer than 20 hours per week is temporary employment. Temporary employees earn no annual or vacation leave and no sick leave. 

B.         Employment positions covered by the Board of Governors’ Policy do not include:

  1. faculty positions subject to institutional tenure regulations;
  2. Tier I Senior Academic and Administrative Officers listed in University Policy 102.9 and subject to N.C.G.S. Section 116-11(4), N.C.G.S. Section 116-11(5), or N.C.G.S. Section 116-14;
  3. positions within the "physicians or dentists" category under N.C.G.S. Section 126-5;
  4. postdoctoral fellows; and
  5. University students who are employed incident to their status as students, as in graduate teaching assistantships or work-study positions.

II. Subject Matter of the Policies

The Board of Governors’ Policy 300.2.1 (see Attachment A) covers the following subjects:

  • Scope and Applicability of Employment Covered by the Policies
  • Appointments to Covered Positions
  • Discontinuations of Employment in Covered Positions
  • Reviews
  • Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Protected Activity
  • Holiday and Leave Entitlement
  • Statutory and Other Rules of Employment
  • Implementation 

III. Institutional Policies and Procedures  

As required by the Board of Governors’ Policy 300.2.1, UNC Charlotte establishes the following institutional policies and procedures:

A.       Definition of the term “year”: The term “year” for purposes of the leave provisions of the Policies is the calendar year, January 1 through December 31.

B.       Transfers of accrued annual leave: The University does not accept transfers of accrued annual leave from other UNC constituent institutions or State or local governmental agencies. Upon discontinuation of employment by UNC Charlotte, an employee shall receive a payout of accrued annual leave.

C.       Leave advances: Subject to his or her supervisor’s approval, an employee covered by the Policies may be advanced the amount of annual leave and sick leave that can be accrued during the remainder of the year or during a twelve-month period. (See UNC Charlotte Personnel Information Memorandum #3.)

D.       Payout of accrued annual leave: If an employee’s status changes from EHRA to SHRA (covered by the State Human Resources Act), payout of accrued annual leave shall be pursuant to the applicable policy set forth in the State Personnel Manual.

E.       Review of employment decisions and grievances:

1.   What Can Be Reviewed

  1. Allegations of failure to provide the required notice or severance for (a) discontinuation of at-will employment, (b) expiration of a term appointment, or (c) termination of employment with notice, in accordance with UNC Board of Governors Policies 300.1.1 (for SAAOs) or 300.2.1 (for EHRA non-faculty).
  2. Allegations that an intent to discharge for cause, or other serious sanction, was illegal or violated a policy of the UNC Board of Governors.
  3. Allegations that an interpretation or application of a policy was illegal or violated a policy of the UNC Board of Governors.
  4. Allegations that an adverse employment action was based on unlawful discrimination.
  5. Allegations that the individual was adversely affected as a result of the exercise of rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article I of the North Carolina Constitutions (as limited by state statute on political activity, and/or by UNC policy).
  6. Allegations that inaccurate or misleading material is contained in the employee’s personnel file (this is not to be construed as applying to written reprimands or performance evaluations).

Other Employment Matters:  Consideration of other employment matters that are not listed above may be addressed through department and college/divisional channels, as set forth in Section III.E.4 below.

2.   Department Resolution

As used in this Policy, the term “department” refers to a University department, division, or other unit of employment.

Employees and departmental managers are encouraged to identify and resolve workplace problems promptly and at the department level.  Before filing a request for review, the employee is encouraged to first meet with the supervisor whose actions gave rise to the complaint, and/or the next-level manager. 

The Human Resources Consultant for EHRA Staff Administration (HR Consultant) is available to consult with any employee who has a complaint or concern, and can assist in arranging a timely meeting with the supervisor/manager if requested by the employee.

3.  Formal Review

a.         Filing a Request for Review

If the employee is not able to resolve a complaint at the department level and wishes to pursue the matter further, he or she must submit an EHRA Review and Appeal Form to the HR Consultant, no more than 30 calendar days after the decision or action that caused the complaint.  The written request must include: 

  1. a detailed description of the complaint including dates and parties involved,
  2. any attempts made to resolve the issue, and
  3. any desired outcome or resolution being sought by the individual. 

If the written request for review is not received in a timely manner, then the personnel action is final without recourse to any institutional review, appeal, or grievance procedure.

b.         Reviewability

The HR Consultant will promptly review the request to determine if the matter falls within the scope of this Policy (as set forth in Section III.E.1 above) and is timely (as set forth in Section III.E.3(a) above).  If the matter is reviewable, the HR Consultant will provide the employee and the department with a set of established procedures that describe the details and timelines for the review process (hereinafter, “Procedures”).  Unless there are extenuating circumstances, it is expected this dispute resolution process will be completed within sixty (60) calendar days of the EHRA Review and Appeal Form being accepted.  This timeframe will not include any time during which the complaint is being mediated.

c.         Voluntary Mediation

Mediation is a structured process that allows parties to voluntarily discuss problems and attempt to generate mutually satisfactory resolutions.  If both the employee and the department voluntarily agree to participate in mediation, the Human Resources Office will arrange for trained mediator(s) to facilitate a structured mediation session.  The direct supervisor is not required to participate in the mediation, but the person representing the department in the mediation must be in a position to resolve the complaint.  Participation by the supervisor or the next-higher level supervisor is highly encouraged.  Any decisions or agreements reached in mediation must be between the parties themselves.  If mediation does not occur or is not successful, reviewable matters will proceed to formal review.  Mediation sessions are not public, and recording devices are not permitted.

d.         Review by Director/Department Head

Once the HR Consultant determines that the complaint is reviewable, the HR Consultant will provide the EHRA Review and Appeal Form to the director/department head for the employee and the next-higher level administrator in the reporting chain.  If the employee has already met with the department head in an effort to resolve the concern, or if the employee’s allegation is against the department head, this step is instead handled by the next-higher level administrator in the reporting chain. The Human Resources Office coordinates the meeting with the department head to ensure timeliness of the meeting and the department head’s written decision.  If the department head or the next-higher level administrator is the Chancellor, he/she may designate a Vice Chancellor from a division other than that where the complainant is/was employed to review the complaint. If the employee has engaged in mediation, then the employee may proceed directly to a review by the Review Panel, as set forth below. 

If the department head’s decision resolves the employee’s concern, the review is closed.  If not, the review may be continued to a Review Panel if requested by the employee within the applicable timeline set forth in the Procedures.

e.         Review Panel

The EHRA Non-faculty Review Panel shall be appointed by the Chancellor.  The members of this Review Panel must be other UNC Charlotte EHRA non-faculty professionals who are neither closely associated with, nor have a conflict of interest with, either the employee or the department.  The Review Panel members serve as a hearing board, considering the information presented from the employee and from the department.

The Human Resources Office facilitates the meeting logistics and provides established written procedures to the employee, the department, and the Review Panel about the review meeting itself.  The HR Consultant has no decision-making role in the review.  The Review Panel may consult with the Office of Legal Affairs as needed for assistance with hearing or review procedures and application of this Policy.

All attempts will be made to conduct the hearing within 30 calendar days of the date the HR Consultant notifies the chair of the Review Panel that it must be convened for review.  The employee and the department may present opening statements, testify, provide witness testimony, cross-examine witnesses, present the documents that were submitted to the Review Panel in advance, and give closing statements.  The Review Panel has full control of the hearing, may decide who is allowed to testify, may avoid hearing redundant, irrelevant, and repetitive evidence, and may set reasonable time limits for both parties’ presentations.

f.          Review Panel Hearing

Witnesses:  During a Review Panel hearing, both the employee and the department may offer witnesses who can testify to the events giving rise to the action being reviewed.

Other Participants:  The HR Consultant serves as a meeting facilitator.  Since a hearing is an internal effort on the part of the University to address confidential personnel complaints or disputes, rather than a formal legal or judicial hearing, it is a closed meeting.  Neither the employee nor the department may have an attorney or advisor at the hearing, but each may consult with an attorney or advisor outside of the hearing, when appropriate.

The Review Panel shall consider only evidence presented at the hearing and such written or oral arguments as the Review Panel, in its discretion, may allow.  The employee or former employee has the burden of proof based on a “preponderance of evidence” standard.

After the hearing, the Review Panel shall deliberate and may consult with the HR Consultant and/or the Office of Legal Affairs regarding its recommendation.  The Review Panel itself has no power to reverse an administrative decision; the Review Panel can only recommend a reassessment of that decision if it reaches the conclusion, based on a preponderance of evidence, that the decision was reached improperly.  The Review Panel presents its recommendations, along with the records of the hearing, to the Chancellor (or designee if delegated by the Chancellor).  After review of the official record and the Review Panel’s recommendations, the Chancellor, or designee, shall issue a written determination within fifteen (15) calendar days.

g.         Final Appeal

If the Chancellor, or designee, either declines to accept a Review Panel recommendation that is favorable to the employee, or concurs with a Review Panel recommendation that is unfavorable to the employee, the employee may appeal to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees in accordance with Section 611 of the Code of the University of North Carolina.  The decision of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees is final.

4.         Other Issues and Actions

Concerns over general organizational issues or actions are not reviewable through the review process set forth in Section III.E of this Policy, but consideration may be requested through departmental and college/divisional channels.  This includes, but is not limited to, issues such as job title or job category assignment; assigned rates or ranges of pay; organizational changes, such as department reorganizations or reallocation of resources; performance evaluations; work schedules or flex schedule decisions; position elimination; salary determinations; workplace disagreements among work colleagues; separation due to the unavailability of contingent funding that was stipulated at the time of appointment; the decision to end an at-will appointment; or failure to issue a subsequent fixed-term contract.

An employee with a concern about such issues should first discuss the concern with his or her supervisor or with the departmental manager to whom the supervisor reports.  If that discussion does not resolve the concern the employee may arrange to meet with the department head.  If the employee does not consider the issue to be satisfactorily addressed after these discussions, the HR Consultant will notify the appropriate administrator, up to the level of dean or vice chancellor, to provide the administrator an opportunity to consider the employee’s concerns.  Such decisions by the dean or vice chancellor, including decisions not to review an action, are final.


ATTACHMENT A

University of North Carolina Board of Governors Policy 300.2.1, Employees Exempt from the State Human Resources Act

 
Revision History: 
  • Initial effective date September 1, 1981
  • Revised June 3, 1994
  • Revised September 15, 1995
  • Revised June 1, 1998
  • Revised September 25, 1998
  • Revised June 4, 1999
  • Revised February 26, 2001
  • Revised September 28, 2001
  • Revised March 28, 2008
  • Revised January 7, 2014
  • Updated November 24, 2015

Authority: Chancellor

Responsible Office: Academic Affairs

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