Text Size

Management Dispute Resolution Policy

Policy Statement

The Management Dispute Resolution Policy provides managers and non-management non-bargaining unit employees with a mechanism to resolve workplace disputes relating to the employment relationship.

Conflict in the workplace is a normal interpersonal dynamic and it is to be expected. Every individual is unique with different experiences, values, and beliefs. The workforce is changing and diversity in the workplace is increasing, which can create very positive outcomes for an organization. Our willingness and ability to accept, understand, and respond to individual differences is critical for achieving these positive outcomes.

Effectively managed disputes can lead to many benefits such as improved communication, stronger relationships, enhanced employee engagement, increased cooperation, personal development, improved personal and organizational performance, effective change, innovative solutions, and acceptance of people's differences and acknowledgment of the benefits of these differences.

Employees can manage conflict effectively by communicating openly and honestly, empathizing with and accepting others, and acknowledging and addressing underlying conflicts quickly. In particular, managers should ensure employee concerns are addressed promptly and effectively, proactively manage individuals and situations that can have a negative impact on the work environment, communicate clear expectations, hold regular consultations with people, and mediate disagreements. Everyone has different beliefs and values; therefore, there will be situations were people will not agree. All differences cannot be resolved, but they can be managed effectively. The key is accepting and understanding the other person's point of view, there does not have to be agreement.

This policy's primary objectives are to provide an effective mechanism to successfully and quickly resolve workplace disputes while avoiding escalations and, in turn, support a respectful, healthy, and productive work environment.


Application

This policy covers all management and non-management non-bargaining unit employees within Government Departments and Central Agencies. Bargaining unit employees should consult their respective collective agreements.


Definitions

Dispute Review Request File: Confidential file managed by the Strategic Human Resource Management Unit containing information relevant to the dispute review request, including the Dispute Review Request Form, decisions made at each level of the process, and all factual information collected.
Employer: The employer is Government as represented at law by Her Majesty in Right of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Employment Relationship: In the context of this policy, the employment relationship is between an employee and the employer. It includes rules, practices, and expectations that direct activities and it excludes those matters specified in this policy.
Immediate Supervisor: Person to whom an employee reports to directly.
Malice: Desire to inflict harm or suffering upon someone or an action taken with the intention to harm someone.
Workplace Dispute: A workplace dispute arises when an employee questions or disagrees with a decision or action made in the context of the work environment and relating to the employment relationship.


Included and Excluded Matters

This policy applies to workplace disputes related to areas of the employment relationship for which no other human resources policy or dispute mechanism exists.

The following matters should be addressed through the processes outlined below:

  • Human Resource Policies
    When an employee disagrees with an interpretation of a Human Resource Policy, he/she is encouraged to discuss concerns with the immediate supervisor and/or a representative of the Strategic Human Resource Management Unit. If not resolved, the Human Resource Unit should contact the Human Resource Secretariat for final interpretation. Requests for exceptions to policies must be sent from the Departmental Deputy Minister to the Human Resource Secretariat Deputy Minister for possible consideration by Treasury Board. For information on Human Resource Policies please see /exec/hrs/working_with_us/policies.html.
     
  • HAY Classification Appeals
    Appeals with respect to individual HAY classifications must be made to the Management Classification Review Committee. For more information please visit /exec/hrs/working_with_us/classification.html.
     
  • Bargaining Unit Classification Appeals
    Appeals with respect to individual bargaining unit classification ratings must be made to the Classification Appeals Board. Please see http://www.psc.gov.nl.ca/psc/commission/classificationappealboard.html for more details.
     
  • Staffing Complaints
    Complaints with respect to the staffing process should be submitted to the Chairperson and CEO of the Public Service Commission. For more information please refer to http://www.psc.gov.nl.ca/psc/commission/appealsandinvestigationdivision.html.
     
  • Conflict of Interest
    Conflict of interest matters are addressed by the Conflict of Interest Act. (http://assembly.nl.ca/Legislation/sr/statutes/c30-1.htm  opens in new window)
     
  • Workplace Interpersonal Conflicts
    As a first step, employees are encouraged to discuss the conflict with the other person involved, their immediate supervisor, and/or consult with their Strategic Human Resource Management Division regarding workplace interpersonal conflicts. As well, the Employee Assistance and Respectful Workplace Division of the Public Service Commission can provide assistance with resolving interpersonal conflicts. Please see http://www.psc.gov.nl.ca/psc/eap/index.html and http://www.psc.gov.nl.ca/psc/rwp/index.html for more details.
     
  • Terminations of Employment
    Individuals who are terminated may seek legal or other avenues outside of this policy.

If unsure whether an issue falls within an excluded area, employees should consult with their Strategic Human Resource Management Unit for guidance.

Responsibilities

Departments

It is the responsibility of Deputy Ministers to:

  • Ensure the process outlined in this policy is followed and good faith efforts are made to resolve disputes; and
  • Make the final decision regarding any disputes covered under this process.

It is the responsibility of Strategic Human Resource Management Units to:

  • Ensure employees are aware of this process;
  • Follow the process and make every effort to resolve the dispute;
  • Ensure employees' concerns are addressed promptly and effectively in accordance with the process and in a fair and respectful manner;
  • Provide advice to Deputy Ministers, supervisors, and employees on the process, courses of action, and decisions;
  • Consult with the Human Resource Secretariat and respective Deputy Minister; and
  • Maintain the dispute review request file, which is kept separate from the employee's personal file, and ensure information related to the dispute is kept confidential in accordance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA).

It is the responsibility of supervisors to:

  • Communicate this process to employees;
  • Follow the process and make every effort to resolve the dispute; and
  • Consult with the Strategic Human Resource Management Unit when an employee has a dispute.

Employees

It is the responsibility of employees to:

  • Follow this process and make every effort to resolve the dispute.

The Management Dispute Resolution Process

The Management Dispute Resolution Process consists of three levels of action.

Level One – Immediate Supervisor

If an employee has a complaint and would like a decision or action relating to the employment relationship to be reviewed, the employee should notify the supervisor within ten (10) working days of receiving or becoming aware of the decision or action.

The employee and supervisor should meet to discuss the employee's concerns within five (5) working days of the employee notifying the immediate supervisor. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the workplace dispute, consider the supervisor's and employee's views and suggestions, and try to resolve the issue together.

The immediate supervisor will explore the complaint, consider the discussion, and respond to the employee in writing within five (5) working days of the meeting. Various tools or programs that are available may be considered such as coaching, the Respectful Workplace Program, and the Employee Assistance Program. The supervisor is encouraged to consult with the Strategic Human Resource Management Unit, prior to making a decision. As well, consultation with the Human Resource Secretariat may be warranted.

If the employee has not received a decision within the five (5) working days timeline, the parties have not mutually agreed to an extension of the timeline, or the employee is dissatisfied with the decision, the employee may proceed to Level Two.

Level Two – Strategic Human Resource Management Unit

If the employee would like to proceed to Level Two, the employee can request a review by the Strategic Human Resource Management Unit. This should occur:

  • Within ten (10) working days of receiving the immediate supervisor's decision in Level One; or
  • Within ten (10) working days of when the Level One decision was due.

The employee must submit a written Dispute Review Request Formpdf (20 KB) to the Director of the Strategic Human Resource Management Unit and to the immediate supervisor. The completed Dispute Review Request Form must include background information regarding the dispute and a copy of the decision made at Level One. Employees are encouraged to add any other relevant details.

The Director of the Strategic Human Resource Management Unit or designate will meet with the employee within ten (10) working days of the unit receiving the request to review the concern. The Human Resource representative will investigate the complaint and if needed, consult with the Human Resource Secretariat prior to making a decision. The representative will forward the decision in writing to the employee and the immediate supervisor within ten (10) working days of the meeting.

If the employee has not received a decision within the ten (10) working days timeline, the parties have not mutually agreed to an extension of the timeline, or the employee is dissatisfied with the decision, the employee may proceed to Level Three.

Level Three – Deputy Minister

If the employee would like to proceed to Level Three, within ten (10) working days of receiving the Level Two decision (or when the Level Two decision was due), the employee should ask the Director of the Strategic Human Resource Management Unit to bring the concern to the Deputy Minister. The Director will forward a copy of the Dispute Review Request Form and all previous decisions to the Deputy Minister within ten (10) working days of receiving the request.

The Deputy Minister is encouraged to meet with the employee to discuss the workplace dispute, consider the employee's views and suggestions, and try to resolve the issue together. Prior to making a decision, the Deputy Minister may wish to consult with such resources as his/her Assistant Deputy Minister, Director of the Strategic Human Resource Management Unit, Human Resource Secretariat, and/or Public Service Commission. If the Deputy Minister feels his/her review of the dispute may be a conflict of interest and/or that neutrality may be an issue, he/she is encouraged to seek advice from internal and/or external resources. Internal resources may include the Human Resource Secretariat, Public Service Commission, or Deputy Minister peers. The Deputy Minister can also establish an ad hoc committee. External resources may include a dispute resolution consultant or a mediator. An example of a potential conflict of interest might be if the Deputy Minister has already dealt with the issue.

Within fifteen (15) working days of his/her receipt of the request, the Deputy Minister will respond in writing to the employee's concerns, forwarding the decision to the employee, immediate supervisor, and Director of the Strategic Human Resource Management Unit. The Deputy Minister's decision is final.

Guidelines

All participants involved in the Management Dispute Resolution Process will follow these guidelines:

  1. The review of the workplace dispute and related decisions will be fact based and impartial.
  2. Employees will not experience retaliation or negative consequences for bringing forth workplace disputes relating to the employment relationship, provided the complaint is not made in malice.
  3. Those individuals directly involved in or impacted by the workplace dispute, as determined by the Deputy Minister, will be given full and fair opportunity to present their views on the matter.
  4. All information related to the workplace dispute is confidential. Information that must be shared in order to research/investigate the issue will be disclosed in accordance with ATIPPA.
  5. Unless both parties agree in writing otherwise, the employee and employer will adhere to the timeframes set out in this process. All parties should proactively work to resolve the dispute.
  6. Written decisions will be provided as indicated in the policy.
  7. While more than one legislative remedy and dispute resolution process may be undertaken, these processes should not occur concurrently.
  8. Employees shall not modify or expand the grounds for requesting a review once the process has begun.
  9. At any time, the employee may withdraw the workplace dispute review request by informing the Director of Strategic Human Resource Management in writing. The employer will consider the dispute addressed and the review completed if the employee does not submit a review request to the next level within the prescribed timeframes.
  10. If the employment relationship ends prior to the resolution of the dispute, then, subject to any other legal and judicial processes implemented, the review request will be closed.

Last Policy Update: November 20, 2009

 
Last Updated:
This page and all contents are copyright, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, all rights reserved.