SSH 1200 Tr. 12
1st ed. 5/2/88
This chapter outlines the procedures to be followed by Trust Fund employees
when appealing a disciplinary or adverse action, or when filing a grievance over a matter of
personal concern or dissatisfaction which is subject to the control of the Smithsonian.
The provisions of this chapter do not apply to the following:
- matters which are subject to review through negotiated grievance procedures or
- a grievance which, if favorably acted upon, would not give relief to the grieving
- a charge of discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national
origin, or physical or mental handicap, which should be processed under the
Smithsonian's equal employment opportunity complaint procedures (See SSH
- separation of temporary and probationary employees
- the content of published Smithsonian policy
- nonselection for promotion from a group of properly certified candidates or
failure to receive a noncompetitive promotion
- the amount of a merit salary increase or the lack of a merit salary increase
- the substance of the critical elements and performance standards of an employee's
- classification appeals (See chapter 511)
An appeal is a written request for review of a decision to suspend, furlough, demote or
remove the employee.
Days are calendar days.
A fact finder is an individual appointed, when appropriate, to ascertain the circumstances
concerning a grievance or appeal. A fact finder may be an employee of the Smithsonian or an
individual not associated with the Institution. A fact finder may not be directly under the
jurisdiction of the reviewing official.
A grievance is a request for review of a practice, condition, or occurrence including a
letter of caution or reprimand, which is a matter of personal concern or dissatisfaction to the
A personnel specialist is the individual in the Personnel Office or in the SAO personnel
department assigned to perform the operating personnel functions for particular subdivisions
within the Institution.
A reviewing official is the management official designated to make the final decision on an
appeal or at the second step of a grievance. The reviewing official is normally at a higher level
organizationally than the official who decided the adverse action or the first step of the grievance.
A grievance or appeal will be processed upon request unless it is determined
that it is not appropriate for review under the procedures of this chapter or that it was not filed
within the time limit.
The employee may choose one willing representative to advise and to assist in
preparing and presenting a grievance or appeal. A person who would have a conflict
of interest, as determined by the Director of Personnel, may not represent an
A reasonable amount of official time for preparing a grievance or appeal, not to exceed
8 hours, may be approved for the employee and for a representative who is a
The Smithsonian does not assume liability for expenses incurred by employees or their
representatives in the exercise of their rights described in this chapter.
Employees desiring advice or assistance with regard to their rights and procedures
may contact their personnel specialist.
A grievance or appeal may be cancelled by management if the employee fails to pursue
it within established time frames or does not furnish required information.
Cancellation may also occur upon separation of the employee from the rolls unless
corrective action or requested relief can be granted after the separation. A grievance
or appeal will be cancelled on the death of the employee, unless the adjustment sought
involves a matter of payment to the employee's beneficiaries or estate.
The Director of Personnel, after consultation with appropriate SI officials, is
authorized to cancel any action, when it is found that significant errors have occurred
or that substantial inequities resulted from the action. The employee will be notified in
writing of the cancellation.
Grievances and appeals will be reviewed and considered according to the
procedures outlined in this section.
- The employee will discuss the grievance, normally with the immediate supervisor,
within 20 days of the occurrence prompting the grievance or the date the employee
becomes aware of the occurrence. A grievance concerning a continuing practice or
condition may be initiated at any time. The employee must specify all the matters
causing dissatisfaction, describe the relief sought, and state that the discussion
constitutes the first step of the grievance procedure.
- The Supervisor, upon learning of the grievance, will notify the personnel specialist.
After determining that it is timely and proper, the supervisor will consider the
grievance. If it concerns a matter which should be considered by another office or
official, the supervisor will refer the grievance to the appropriate official for first step
- Within 10 days after discussing the grievance with the employee, the supervisor (or
other official considering the grievance) will provide the grievant with an oral decision
and with the name of the reviewing official who will receive the second step grievance
if the first-step decision is unsatisfactory to the grievant. The official considering the
grievance will prepare a record of the grievance, discussion and decision.
Second-Step Grievances and Appeals
- Employees Responsibility. Not later than 10 days after receiving a first grievance
decision, or after the effective date of an adverse or disciplinary action, the employee
may submit a written grievance or an appeal to the reviewing official. The submission
must be in writing, be identified as a second step grievance or as an appeal, specify the
basis of appeal or nature of the dissatisfaction, and state the relief or corrective action
- Reviewing Official's Responsibility. Upon receipt of the second-step grievance or
appeal, the reviewing official will notify the personnel specialist. The reviewing
official will consider the grievance or appeal if it is timely and proper.
The reviewing official may request the Director of Personnel to appoint a
fact finder for the purpose of developing information for the review. If the
fact finder considers it essential, a hearing may be held for the sole purpose of
developing facts. The findings and recommendations of the fact finder will be
submitted to the reviewing official within 30 days of the fact finder's appointment.
Costs of the fact finder will be borne by the grievant's organizational unit.
The reviewing official will consider all material submitted, including material
provided by a fact finder, if applicable. The reviewing official may, but need not,
adopt the recommendations of the fact finder, if any. Within 10 days after receipt of
the request for review or after receipt of a fact finder's report, the reviewing official will
provide the grievant with a final written decision.
5. REVIEWS BY THE DIRECTOR OF PERSONNEL
An employee who has received an appeal decision sustaining a removal action may request that the Director of Personnel review the decision, provided the employee demonstrates that the decision was manifestly unjust or made without following the Institution's established procedures. The request must be
submitted to the Director of Personnel within 10 days after receipt of the decision from the
reviewing official. Also, the Director of Personnel may initiate a review of any personnel action,
removal or otherwise, if such a review is considered to be in the best interest of the Institution.
- Should the Director of Personnel believe such a review to be necessary, the Director
may conduct the review alone or convene a panel of no less than 3 persons, usually
including a representative of the activity in which the action under review was taken, and a
representative of the Management Committee member responsible for the activity.
- The panel or the Director will review all pertinent documents and may accept
additional materials orally or in writing. The panel or Director may affirm the action, in
which case the decision is final; or a recommendation may be made to the Under Secretary
that the action be modified or cancelled. In the latter case, the decision of the Under
Secretary is final.
- The panel's or the Director's decision affirming the action will be in writing. If a
recommendation is made to the Under Secretary, it need not be in writing. The Under
Secretary's decision will be in writing.
Records (including those of SAO) relating to grievances and appeals will be
forwarded to the Personnel Office for maintenance and disposition.
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