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GME
Graduate Medical Education

 

Graduate Medical Education Policies and Procedures


Procedures for Addressing Resident Grievances

(Grievance Policy)


I.  OVERVIEW

A.        Purpose.  In a large and heterogeneous scholarly community, problems may emerge between residents, faculty and administration.  The purpose of these procedures is to provide a process through which residents can constructively raise concerns about the decisions or behaviors of faculty or administrators that they believe adversely affect their status as a medical resident.


B.         Availability.  These procedures are available to all current residents of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, provided they meet the timeliness requirements specified herein. 


C.        Applicability.  These procedures apply when a resident believes that his/her status as a resident, including a University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign appointment based on resident status, has been adversely affected by an incorrect or inappropriate decision or behavior of faculty or administrators within the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

These procedures do not apply in cases involving resident-to-resident conflicts, academic misconduct such as breaches of academic integrity in research and publication (see www.research.uiuc.edu/ai/index.asp), cases covered by the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign policies on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination, Capricious Grading (all available online http://www.med.illinois.edu/sa/resources/), or academic issues related to certification of completion. 


D.        Non-exclusivity.  These procedures do not override or supersede any other policies or procedures as established in the University Statutes, campus policies, or units and departments within the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign.  These procedures apply only to grievances filed directly to the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign.


E.         Duty to Cooperate.  Residents availing themselves of these procedures, and all faculty, staff, and administrators in the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign have a duty to cooperate and provide information and materials relevant to the investigation of a filed grievance.

II. PROCEDURES


A.        Definitions.


1.         Adviser.  A person intended to provide advice to a Grievant or the Subject of a grievance.  The Adviser shall not directly participate in any proceedings, but may be consulted during the process.  If any party’s adviser at any meeting is an attorney, all participants must be informed at least three (3) working days prior to the meeting.


2.         Administrative Officer (AD) - An Associate Dean in the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, or any other person that has been identified by the Dean to handle a particular grievance.  The Administrative Officer is responsible for the proper implementation of the procedures set forth herein, administrative support for panels, maintaining documentation, and keeping the Parties informed as to the status of grievances. 


3.         Business Day - Means Monday through Friday, excluding University breaks and holidays.


4.         Conflict of Interest - A conflict of interest is a significant professional or personal involvement with the facts or the Parties to a dispute.  Any party or administrator who has a conflict of interest in a dispute under these procedures or a concern about a conflict on the part of another shall promptly report it to the Administrative Officer.  The Dean shall decide how to address any conflicts of interest, unless the conflict lies with the Dean, in which case, the alleged conflict will be referred to the Office of the Provost for resolution.


5.         Dean - The Dean of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign or his designee.  The Dean has responsibility for medical programs and related policies and procedures and is the final arbiter of disputes under these procedures.  In the event a grievance is filed against the Dean of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, these responsibilities shall be referred to the Office of the Provost for handling and any appeals will be to the Chancellor’s Office.


6.         Grievant - The resident at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign that has filed a grievance pursuant to these procedures.


7.         Parties - Refers to the Grievant and all subjects named in a grievance collectively.


8.         Subject(s) - The person or persons named in the grievance.      If a grievance generally references a department or unit, the Subject shall be the Director or Head of the department or Unit. 


B.         Informal Resolution
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign policy strongly encourages all residents who believe they have a grievance to use all appropriate avenues for informal resolution before initiating the formal grievance procedure described herein. Residents may seek advice about how to address their situation informally from their advisers, the Office of International Student Affairs, or other sources.


C.        Filing of a Grievance


A resident wishing to file a grievance with the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign must submit the grievance in writing within 60 business days of the decision or behavior resulting in the grievance.  The grievance should include at least the following: 1) a statement by the resident summarizing the concern(s); 2) the name(s) of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign faculty, staff or administrators involved; 3) the date(s) of the alleged incident(s); and 4) a statement concerning what outcome or action the resident would like to see result from the grievance.  The grievance should be delivered to the Office of the Dean of the College of Medicine, 190 Medical Sciences Building, 506 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL  61801 or via email at <comuc@med.uiuc.edu>.  A receipt will be provided to the grievant within 5 business days.


1.         Administrative Action.  Once a grievance has been submitted, an Administrative Officer will review the grievance and contact the resident to arrange a meeting to discuss it. The Administrative Officer will review supporting documentation provided by the resident and may conduct further inquiries and/or solicit additional information as warranted.  The Administrative Officer may also facilitate discussions between the Parties to try to resolve the matter at the administrative level. 

  1. Agreed Disposition.  If the Administrative Officer is successful in resolving the matter by agreement, he shall prepare a report for submission to the Dean which summarizes the grievance(s), the response(s), the conclusion(s), and the outcome. 
  2. Unresolved Grievance.  If the Administrative Officer is unsuccessful in resolving the matter by agreement, he shall prepare a report which summarizes the grievance(s), the response(s), the conclusions, and what efforts were taken or proposed to resolve the matter administratively.  The report, along with a copy of the grievance and all documents received shall be submitted to the Dean.
  3. Dissemination.  A copy of the Administrative Officer’s Report shall be provided to the Parties.  If the matter is resolved, the Dean may authorize the release of a copy of the Administrative Officer’s Report on a need to know basis. Due regard shall be given to privacy rights of employees and the residents as provided by federal and state law and University policy.

2.         Formal Review of Unresolved Grievances.

  1. Appointment of Panel.  Within ten (10) business days from the date of the Administrative Officer’s Report, the Dean shall determine whether the grievance is timely, presents a matter appropriately considered under this grievance policy and whether a formal review should proceed. If the Dean determines that a formal review should proceed, the Dean shall appoint a panel of no less than three (3) people to investigate the matter and provide recommendations.
    1. The panel shall consist of persons who are unbiased, of judicious temperament, and have academic backgrounds and experience that qualify them to understand and judge the subject matter of the unresolved grievances. Any person that does not qualify because of conflicts of interest with any of the Parties shall be excused.
    2. The panel shall consist of: 1) two members of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign medical faculty with appointments at the clinical assistant professor level or higher and 2) one person from the unit in which the matter originated.
  2. Written Charge.  The Dean shall define the subject matter of the investigation or review in a written charge to the panel. Based on the Dean’s review and determination of the timeliness and appropriateness of the stated grievance, the subject matter of the formal review may, but need not address every allegation contained in the original grievance(s). The charge may also include matters that were discovered in the course of investigating the original grievance. A copy of the Written Charge shall be provided to the Parties. 
  3. Planning Session.  The Administrative Officer shall convene a meeting of the panel to provide copies of the materials gathered during the administrative phase and review the prescribed procedures. The Administrative Officer shall advise the panel about available and appropriate investigation methods, assure procedural compliance, and provide staff support to the panel.  The panel shall be reminded of their duty to keep information learned during the process confidential.
  4. Oral Presentations.  The panel may opt to schedule a meeting at which the Grievant and Subjects will be provided an opportunity to share information directly with the panel.  The notice of this meeting shall be provided no less than five (5) business days prior to the meeting and must include:
    1. The date, place and time of the meeting;
    2. A statement of the panel’s charge; and
    3. A statement that an Adviser may be present.
  5. Conduct at the Meeting.  The Parties may each make a brief opening statement, and then respond to questions from the panel. The panel, through its Chair, may solicit information or statements from any person it deems relevant to the matter in dispute.  Non-Parties may be excluded from the meeting during the proceedings.  The meetings are not open to the public.  Any person, including a Party, may be removed by the Chair if he acts in a manner that interferes with the orderly process of the meeting.  Formal rules of evidence shall not apply.
  6. Deliberations.  All Parties shall be excluded during the panel’s deliberations. 

3.         Panel Report.  The panel’s conclusions shall be reduced to writing in a Report and submitted to the Dean within ten (10) business days from the date of the Oral Presentation.  All conclusions shall be agreed to by at least a majority of the panel members.  The panel's report shall contain at least the following:

  1. a summary of the unresolved grievances and relief sought;
  2. the response of the Subjects of the grievances;
  3. general description of the investigative process;
  4. a citation to relevant policies;
  5. an explicit finding of fact based on the preponderance of the evidence (more probably true than not true) that the facts support the allegations contained in the Written Charge;
  6. a listing of the evidence relevant to each finding;
  7. a recommendation of appropriate redress for the grievant(s); and
  8. any recommended changes in policies and procedures to minimize the probability of recurrence.

4.         Opportunity to Comment.  Copies of the Report shall be provided to the Parties.  A party may submit written comments concerning the Report to the Dean within five (5) business days of receipt of the Report.


5.         Action and Disposition of the Grievance.  Within ten (10) business days of receipt of all materials, the Dean shall determine what disposition to make of the case.

  1. If the Dean concludes that the grievance has not been proved, the grievance will be deemed not sustained and dismissed.  
  2. If the Dean concludes that the grievance has been sustained, the Dean will proceed in accordance with the University Statutes and relevant University rules and regulations. The Dean may prescribe redress for the grievant, recommend modification of policies, or recommend changes in the procedures for implementation of such policies.
  3. If the Dean concludes that these procedures have not been followed, or the interests of fairness or thoroughness require further investigation, he may direct the Panel to revisit the issue and submit a revised Report within a certain timeframe or take other action he or she deems necessary and appropriate to redress the procedural or fairness issues. The Dean shall identify the specific errors or concerns and provide direction to the Panel as to appropriate corrective measures.  The panel will only address the issues raised by the Dean.

The Disposition shall be provided to the Parties in writing.  The Dean’s disposition is final unless appealed as provided for herein.  The Dean may authorize the release of a copy of the Disposition on a need to know basis. Due regard shall be given to privacy rights of employees and the residents as provided by federal and state law and University policy.


6.         Appeal.  A party may file an appeal to the Urbana-Champaign Provost within ten (10) business days from the date of the Dean’s Written Disposition.  The sole grounds for appeal are violation of these procedures.  The appeal must be in writing and must specify the nature of the procedural error.  The Provost’s decision on appeal shall be final.

III.  GENERAL PROVISIONS


A.        Record Keeping.  After completion of a grievance procedure and exhaustion of available appeals, the Administrative Officer shall return all original documents and materials to the persons who furnished them. The grievance file will be retained for at least five (5) years beyond the grievant's expected date for completion of the degree or indefinitely at the request of one of the participants.


B.         Interim Action.At any time after a grievance has been filed and before final disposition of the case, the Dean, with the approval of the Provost, may take interim administrative action determined to best serve the interest of the grievant or other residents in the same academic unit, to protect the best interest of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, to preserve evidence, or to protect resources. Any interim action should create minimal interference with the regular activities of the Subjects.


C.        Consultation with Legal Counsel.  The College may consult the Office University Legal Counsel at any time during the informal or formal processing of a grievance.


D.        Timeliness and Procedural Changes.  All procedures prescribed in this document should be conducted expeditiously. After consultation with the Administrative Officer and Parties, the Dean may for good cause extend any of the time periods, and may make other reasonable alterations of the procedures set forth in this document, provided that the alteration does not impair the ability of a grievant to pursue a grievance or the Subjects to respond. Any alterations of these procedures must be communicated to the Parties.


E.         Failure to Participate, Withdrawal, Termination. The grievance may proceed regardless of the failure of the Grievant or Subject(s) to participate, so long as all required notices have been given.  The grievant may submit a written request to withdraw the grievance at any time, however, the Dean shall have the sole discretion to decide whether to grant or deny the request.  Withdrawal from the University or termination of employment at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign shall not necessarily terminate the proceedings.


F.         Confidentiality.  All persons involved in administering these procedures shall exercise diligent efforts to keep information received or learned during the course of a grievance as confidential.  Nothing in these provisions alters privacy rights of employees and residents provided in federal and state laws and University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign policies and procedures.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event the Dean concludes that a resident has knowingly filed a false grievance, the Dean may authorize the release and use of all materials submitted in this process for use in any disciplinary proceedings. 


G.         Departmental Determination Regarding Academic Performance or Clinical Competence. The procedural rights provided above and by University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign policies do not relate to departmental determinations relating to certification and/or evaluation of the resident’s academic performance or clinical competence. Such certification shall be handled according to the standards of the faculty and specialty boards. The exception is allegation that academic determination is based on discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, natural origin, ancestry, age, marital status, handicap, unfavorable discharge from the military or status as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam Era. In these cases, full appeal procedures will be followed and the Office of Affirmative Action immediately advised.

 

Approved By: COM-UC Executive Committee

 

Approved by GMEC: 9/27/2013, 5/26/2017