Documentation is the step of collecting the evidence mostly on paper that will support your grievance case. Collect as much information as you can; you can never be sure which piece of evidence will turn the case in your favor. Documentation the “physical evidence” you collect will be used to verify the information you learned from each of the people you talked to in the investigation step.
When collecting evidence:
- Research the contract, work rules, policies, procedures, etc., to determine which of these and what sections or rules management has violated.
- Be sure and check the employee’s official personnel file, which contains a wealth of information e.g., date of hire, evaluations, promotions, transfers, leave use, past disciplinary actions, letters of commendation, etc.
- Gather evidence from any and all sources and collect whatever you think may have a bearing on the case. Remember, that it is better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.
- Make copies of any needed documents.
- Evidence may be something other than paper. A faulty piece of safety equipment or a photograph of where the event took place could be part of your case.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and most state collective bargaining laws grant the union the right to information maintained by the employer that concerns a grievance or potential grievance. Make your information requests in writing. The union can make additional information requests based on material gained from the first request. Failure by management to supply information that is relevant to a grievance may be grounds for unfair labor practice charges.
Some examples of information you can request are:
• attendance records
• Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
• payroll records
• discipline records
• performance evaluations
• equipment specifications
• personnel files
• inspection records
• job assignment records
• seniority lists
• job descriptions
• supervisor’s notes
• management memos