University Staff Grievance Committee

The University Staff Grievance Committee serves all university staff by hearing step two grievance cases to determine whether just cause for the discipline or discharge exists and for cases involving layoff, the issue before the University Staff Grievance Committee will be whether the applicable layoff procedures were followed.

Resource Links-

  1. University Staff Grievance Policy
  2. All Guidelines and Policies-Scroll down and look under University Staff
  3. New and Current Employees Forms-including evaluation forms
  4. Forms A to Z


More information:

What is a Grievance:

A grievance is, in fact, the only officially recognized means to challenge a management action.  It must be submitted to the management level of the violation within 30 days of the action that caused you to make the challenge.  It must be done in writing, on a Grievance form.   See the link, below.   If the grievance is denied at that level (Step 1), it can be pursued to Step 2, by filing another copy with the UWM Department of Human Resources.

What Should it include?

The grievance must include the specific rule, code, or policy the management action violates.  It must include a brief description of the violation – brief, but with enough information to describe the issue.   Additional documents can be attached to demonstrate the violation.  It must include “relief sought”, or what it is you want done to correct the violation.  Finally, you must sign the form.

Who should I contact?

If you have any questions about the process or procedures, Kurt Hennemann in Human Resources,




What is Just Cause?

In the workplace, just cause is a burden of proof or standard that an employer must meet to justify discipline or discharge. Just cause usually refers to a violation of a policy or rule. In some cases, an employee may commit an act that is not specifically addressed within the employers’ policies but one of which the employer believes warrants discipline or discharge. In such instances, the employer must be confident that they can defend their decision.

When an arbitrator looks at a discipline dispute, the arbitrator first asks whether the employee’s wrongdoing has been proven by the employer, and then asks whether the method of discipline should be upheld or modified.  UW and UWM policy is to follow the Just Cause Standard when imposing discipline.

In 1966, an arbitrator, Professor Carroll Daugherty, expanded these principles into seven tests for just cause.[1] The concepts encompassed within his seven tests are still frequently used by arbitrators when deciding discipline cases.

Daugherty’s seven tests are as follows:

  • Was the employee forewarned of the consequences of his or her actions?
  • Are the employer’s rules reasonably related to business efficiency and performance the employer might reasonably expect from the employee?
  • Was an effort made before discipline or discharge to determine whether the employee was guilty as charged?
  • Was the investigation conducted fairly and objectively?
  • Did the employer obtain substantial evidence of the employee’s guilt?
  • Were the rules applied fairly and without discrimination?
  • Was the degree of discipline reasonably related to the seriousness of the employee’s offense and the employee’s past record?

The last test, the degree of discipline, is important because arbitrators want to ensure that the “punishment fits the crime.” An employer’s use of progressive discipline often gives the employer an advantage in arbitration.