Author: Irene Stavrellis Englert, Englert Legal Consulting, LLC

Although grievance procedures in collective bargaining agreements vary, generally they all have two or more steps - various levels through which a grievance may be appealed. For instance, standard grievance procedures typically require the employee or the union to take the first step of initiating the grievance with a representative of the employer, usually the supervisor. Next, the employee would be required to take the second step of submitting a written grievance to the supervisor.

Subsequent steps involve escalation of the grievance to mid-level managers, then to the human resources or labor relations department. During this step, the employer may conduct an investigation of the grievance. Finally, the highest ranking official would become involved, and the employer will make a final in-house decision. In the absence of a resolution during any of the steps in the grievance process, the matter will be submitted to arbitration.