Conducting a panel hearing

If the employee is not satisfied with a Level Two Administrator’s decision in the grievance procedure, the employee may request a Level Three panel review. A Level Three panel review of the employee’s grievance cannot be conducted until the following steps have been implemented by VCU HR:

Step 1: HR Employee Relations reviews the employee’s request and makes a determination about whether the grievance qualifies for a Panel Review.  

  • What automatically qualifies for a Panel Review:
    • An employee’s suspension from work without pay for disciplinary action
    • Involuntary demotion (not one that occurs as a result of workforce reduction) of an employee from a current position
    • Dismissal of a full time non-probationary employee (termination from a current position)
  • What may qualify for a Panel Review:  
    • Claims or facts that raise a significant question about whether an adverse employment action has occurred as a result of an unfair application or        misapplication of policies, procedures, rules and regulations.  For example, if the following occurs:

1) an employee has been issued a written warning on the basis that the employee violated a university policy; and
2) the employee has facts that call into question whether the employee's actions in fact violated the cited policy

    • Claims or facts that raise a significant question about whether an adverse employment action has occurred as a result of retaliation against the employee for participating in the dispute resolution process. For example, if the following occurs:    

1) an employee disagrees with a verbal warning issued by a manager;
2) the manager and employee engage in mediation in compliance with the dispute resolution required under the Working @VCU Great Place HR policy (link here);
3) the result of the mediation is that the verbal warning is reduced to a written counseling memo;
4) the manager then removes a job duty that is an essential function of the employee’s job after the mediation and conflict resolution has occurred. The employee has then raised facts to suggest that a significant question exists about whether or not the manager has retaliated against the employee, and the matter should qualify for a Panel Review.  


If VCU HR Employee Relations determines the employee’s complaint does not qualify for a Panel Review, the Level Two response to the employee’s grievance is final and the matter will not proceed to a panel review hearing. VCU HR Employee Relations will notify the employee of the determination that the grievance is ineligible for panel review and conclude the grievance within 20 business days of receipt of The Record. If VCU HR Employee Relations determines that the employee’s grievance should proceed to a panel review hearing, a panel is selected and convened.


Step 2: Selection of the Panel: If VCU HR Employee Relations determines that the employee’s complaint qualifies for a Panel Review, a three-member panel is selected by central HR from a group of members previously nominated and selected through a process maintained by VCU HR Employee Relations. Mandatory training is provided to all panel members.  

  • The panel consists of three members and a non-voting chair. Two of the three members of the panel must be employees of the university in the same job family as the employee who has filed the grievance.  
  • The non-voting chair is chosen by VCU HR. The chair is a non-voting member (who may or may not be a university employee) of the panel and cannot have been previously involved in advising management about the employee’s grievance or in advising management about any of the matters that led to the employee’s filing of the grievance.  
  • The employee and the manager are each entitled to object to one member of the panel without cause. Any other objections to the panel representation are left to the sole discretion of the chair of the panel. The ultimate composition of the panel is determined at the panel chair’s sole discretion.
  • The chair will preside over the panel proceedings, including scheduling panel meetings and hearing dates; ruling on procedural matters prior to and at the hearing; providing general administrative support and expertise; and drafting the final decision on behalf of the panel.