The Dallas Independent School District (“District”) operates a grievance system through the Human Resources Department, also known as Human Capital Management, which should operate in accordance with federal law, state law, and the DGBA series of District policies established by the Board of Trustees. From the broadest legal perspective an efficient, neutral, and unbiased grievance system effectively required by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
During my ten year tenure as an employee with the District I had the opportunity to be involved in over a dozen grievances as a grievant, witness, and hearing officer. Since my departure last September, and not including my own termination grievance, I have had the opportunity to serve as a representative for two former employees in their grievances and have participated as such in three hearings thus far. I began to suspect inherent problems in how the administration manages the grievance system, including a potential for a systemic practice of violating the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of District employees. As such, I developed, researched, and tested three hypotheses related to the grievance system through information obtained primarily through Public Information Act requests and secondarily though direct observation.
Hypothesis 1: District policy mandates that a “Level I hearing shall be held within ten days of the date the grievant requests a Level I hearing” and a “Level II hearing shall be held within ten days after the date a Level II hearing request is received” [see DGBA(Local)]. The District has established a pattern and practice of failing to hold Level I and Level II hearings within policy required time frames.
Hypothesis 2: Grievances are typically heard at Level I by the grievant’s immediate supervisor and at Level II by a hearing officer selected by Employee Relations from a pool of administrators approved by the Superintendent of Schools or designee. Grievance decisions at both Level I and Level II show a strong internal bias favoring the administration.
Hypothesis 3: The Board of Trustees requires that “[on] a semiannual basis, the Human Resources Department shall submit a report to the Board outlining the status of employee grievances in the District” [see DGBA(Local)]. The Human Resources Department, also known as Human Capital Management, has failed to submit any such reports for at least the three years that Mike Miles has served as the Superintendent of Schools.
All three hypotheses were supported by the evidentiary findings.
My research and findings were presented to the Board of Trustees on April 29, 2015. Read receipts were received from the following Trustees within 24 hours:
- Trustee Elizabeth Jones (Thursday, April 30, 2015 4:54:18 AM)
- Trustee Dan Micciche (Thursday, April 30, 2015 6:08:25 AM)
- Trustee Bernadette Nutall (Thursday, April 30, 2015 7:51:20 AM)
- Trustee Miguel Solis (Thursday, April 30, 2015 11:35:30 AM)
- Trustee Lew Blackburn (Thursday, April 30, 2015 10:47:19 PM)
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