Handbook of Operating Procedures

Grievances: Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Policy Number: 123


Grievances by Postdoctoral Research Fellows


Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Date Reviewed:
April 2013
Responsible Office:
Office of Academic and Research Affairs; Human Resources
Responsible Executive:
Executive Vice President for Academic and Research Affairs; Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer


The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“the university”) encourages fair, efficient and equitable solutions for problems arising at the university. The university strongly recommends that individuals experiencing problems attempt to resolve them informally before exercising the grievance process. Postdoctoral Research Fellows (“PRFs”) should discuss the concerns openly with the individual with whom the problem exists.

If the PRF separates from the university, the grievance process ends.


This policy applies to grievances by PRFs concerning academic issues including, but not limited to, the actions of supervisors or others that address training conditions.

This policy applies to individuals meeting the definition for PRFs as defined in HOOP Policy 122 Postdoctoral Research Fellows.

This policy does not apply to:


No PRF will be penalized or disciplined for filing a grievance or for aiding another PRF in the presentation of a grievance. PRFs who believe that they have been penalized or disciplined for doing so should follow the procedures in HOOP Policy 108 Protection from Retaliation. Acts or threats of retaliation in response to grievances may subject the person retaliating to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or training. Persons filing grievances with reckless disregard for the truth or in willful ignorance of the facts are excluded from protection and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or training.


Pursuant to this policy, grievances may be brought against immediate supervisors or others.

Prior to filing a written grievance, a PRF may informally present his or her grievance to the person who is its subject, and the parties should make a good faith effort to resolve the issue or issues that are the subject matter of the grievance. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is available to assist in an informal resolution. This step may be skipped if the PRF is not comfortable handling the issue informally.

A. Grievance Procedures

1. Formal Grievance

If informal efforts to resolve the grievance are not successful, the PRF must present the grievance in writing to his or her supervisor within seven calendar days from the date of the action that is the subject of the grievance. The PRF’s statement of complaint must include the PRF’s recommendation(s) for resolution of the grievance. Relevant documents or any other information pertinent to the matter should also be provided. Once the grievance has been committed to writing, it cannot be changed.

Grievances should be directed to the appropriate administrator as follows: grievances against immediate supervisors should be directed to the department chair or equivalent; grievances against a chair or equivalent should be directed to the dean or director; and those against a dean or director should be directed to the EVPARA.  

The party against whom the grievance is brought will be provided a copy of the written grievance and will have the opportunity to respond to it in writing and to submit documents or materials in support of his or her position. The party against whom the grievance is brought will respond to the grievance within seven calendar days of receipt of the copy of the grievance from the administrator in receipt of the grievance.

The administrator will respond to the grievance within 14 calendar days of receipt of the grievance.

Failure to respond to a grievance within the time limits allows the PRF to automatically submit the grievance to the next administrative level. Calculation of calendar days does not include holidays or “skeleton crew” days as indicated on the published university calendar. A time limit may be extended by the EVPARA for good cause as determined in the sole discretion of the EVPARA.

2. Review of Grievance

If the grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the PRF by the administrator with whom it was filed or was not responded to in accordance with the timelines outlined in this policy, the PRF may appeal the grievance in the following order:

  • department chair;
  • appropriate dean or designee;
  • EVPARA or designee.

The decision of the EVPARA is final.

Appeals must be filed with the appropriate administrator within seven calendar days of receipt by the PRF of a response of the lower level decision. Appeals must be responded to in accordance with the following time limits:

  • Department chairs and deans or designees shall respond within 14 calendar days following receipt of the appeal.
  • The EVPARA or designee shall respond within 21 calendar days of receipt of the appeal.

B. Records

Upon completion of the grievance process, all recordings, documents and materials related to the formal grievance will be forwarded to the EVPARA for protected storage.


ContactTelephoneEmail/Web Address
Office of Academic and Research Affairs 713-500-3082



Human Resources - Employee Relations 713-500-3130 http://www.uth.edu/hr/department/employee-relations/index.htm
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs 713-500-6612 http://www.uth.tmc.edu/postdocs/