Virginia Grievance Procedure
The Commonwealth of Virginia has established a dispute resolution policy and grievance procedure for qualified state employees, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management - Office of Employment Dispute Resolution. Certain probationary, non-classified and executive personnel may be exempt from the policy.
Not all employment disputes qualify for a grievance hearing. By statue a grievance can only proceed to a hearing if it involves or alleges an adverse action arising from:
(i) formal disciplinary actions, including suspensions, demotions, transfers and assignments, and dismissals resulting from formal discipline or unsatisfactory job performance;
(ii) the application of all written personnel policies, procedures, rules and regulations where it can be shown that policy was misapplied or unfairly applied;
(iii) discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, political affiliation, age, disability, national origin or sex;
(iv) arbitrary or capricious performance evaluations;
(v) acts of retaliation as the result of the use of or participation in the grievance procedure or because the employee has complied with any law of the United States or of the Commonwealth, has reported any violation of such law to a governmental authority, has sought any change in law before the Congress of the United States or the General Assembly, or has reported an incidence of fraud, abuse, or gross mismanagement; and
(vi) retaliation for exercising any right otherwise protected by law.
Issues That Are Excluded from Grievance Hearings
Conversely, the Commonwealth of Virginia specifically reserves the exclusive right to manage the affairs and operations of state government. Complaints relating solely to the following issues cannot qualify for a hearing:
(i) establishment and revision of wages, salaries, position classifications, or general benefits;
(ii) work activity accepted by the employee as a condition of employment or which may reasonably be expected to be a part of the job content;
(iii) contents of ordinances, statutes or established personnel policies, procedures, and rules and regulations;
(iv) methods, means, and personnel by which work activities are to be carried on;
(v) termination, layoff, demotion, or suspension from duties because of lack of work, reduction in work force, or job abolition;
(vi) hiring, promotion, transfer, assignment, and retention of employees within the agency; and
(vii) relief of employees from duties of the agency in emergencies.
How Grievance Qualification Disputes Are Resolved
The Agency Head has the initial responsibility of deciding whether a grievance qualifies for a hearing, which must be issued within five workdays of the employee's request for a hearing. If a hearing is denied, the employee may appeal the denial to the Director of Employment Dispute Resolution (“EDR”).