Grievance Process

According to 45 CFR Part 2540.230, any national service participant, labor organization or other interested individual may file a grievance related to the operations of Volunteer Tennessee. The process is outlined below. Civil service employees of Volunteer Tennessee also have recourse to due process in the disciplinary process as outlined in the " Employee Information" on the Department of Finance & Administration website.

1. Complaint. Submit the complaint in writing to Volunteer Tennessee no later than one year after the date of the alleged occurrence. If the complainant is an AmeriCorps member whose member service agreement specifies a local grievance process, Volunteer Tennessee will refer the member to their agency process. For grievances against Volunteer Tennessee, the address is:

Volunteer Tennessee
William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 18th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243-1102

2. Fraud or Criminal Activity. If the complaint alleges fraud or criminal activity, it must be immediately brought to the attention of the Inspector General of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). There is no time limit on grievances against such activity. The Inspector General's address is:

Inspector General
Corporation for National and Community Service
1201 New York Avenue, NW Suite 830
Washington, DC 20525

3. Informal resolution. Within 15 days of receipt of the complaint, a representative of Volunteer Tennessee shall contact the complainant to seek an informal resolution. Such efforts shall consist of sharing information explaining Volunteer Tennessee action and/or identifying a mutually agreeable neutral party to facilitate alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or facilitation. It is expected that most complaints will be misunderstandings that can be resolved through informal communication.

4. Alternative dispute resolution. Complainants may choose alternative dispute resolution or proceed directly to the grievance process (step 5). If ADR is chosen, proceedings must be initiated within 45 calendar days of the alleged occurrence. If mediation, facilitation or other alternative dispute resolution processes are selected, the process must be aided by a neutral party who, with respect to the issue in controversy, functions specifically to aid the parties in resolving the matter through a mutually achieved and acceptable written agreement. The neutral party may not compel a resolution. Proceedings before the neutral party must be informal, and the rules of evidence will not apply. With the exception of a written and agreed upon dispute resolution agreement, the proceedings must be confidential. If the matter is resolved, and a written agreement is reached, the complaint will agree to forego filing a grievance in the matter under consideration.

5. Grievance procedure for unresolved complaints. If the matter is not resolved within 30 days from the date the informal dispute resolution process began, the neutral party must inform the aggrieving party of his or her right to file a formal grievance. In the event an aggrieving party files a grievance, the neutral party from the informal resolution process may not participate in the formal complaint process. In addition, no communication or proceedings of the informal dispute resolution process may be referred to or introduced into evidence at the grievance arbitration hearing. Any decision by the neutral party is advisory and not binding unless both parties agree.

6. Hearing. Upon the filing of a formal written grievance with Volunteer Tennessee, a hearing before a neutral party must be held within 30 days. A decision on any such grievance must be made no later than 60 calendar days after the filing of the grievance.

7. Arbitration. If there is an adverse decision against the party who filed the grievance, or if 60 calendar days have passed after the filing of the grievance and no decision has been reached, then the filing party may submit the grievance to binding arbitration before a qualified arbitrator who is jointly selected and independent of the interested parties. If the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator within 15 calendar days after receiving a request from one of the grievance parties, the CEO of CNCS will appoint an arbitrator from a list of qualified arbitrators.

An arbitration proceeding must be held no later than 45 calendar days after the request for arbitration, or, if the arbitrator is appointed by the CNCS CEO, the proceeding must occur no later than 30 calendar days after the arbitrator's appointment. A decision must be made by the arbitrator no later than 30 days after the date the arbitration proceeding begins.

The cost of the arbitration proceeding must be divided evenly between the parties to the arbitration. If, however, the grievant prevails, Volunteer Tennessee must pay the total cost of the proceeding and the attorney's fees of the prevailing party.

8. Enforcement. A suit to enforce arbitration awards may be brought in any Federal district court having jurisdiction over the parties without regard to the amount in controversy or the parties' citizenship.