- Disputes Procedure in outline
The relationship between employees and their manager is mostly good. But sometimes you as an employee may be confronted with a situation where you disagree with your manager’s decision about a specific subject. In this case you must discuss the problem with your manager. If the dispute continues, you can start a formal disputes procedure.
The Regulation on Disputes University of Twente is effective from 1 November 2020 and applies to disputes dating from 1 January 2020. The Regulation describes how disputes are dealt with. It also lists all subjects eligible for a disputes procedure according to the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Dutch Universities. These subjects are the following:
- Staff assessment;
- change of position without prior consultation or agreement on this with the employee;
- refusal of promotion to a particular job grade;
- granting, refusal, withdrawal or repayment of study facilities;
- refusal of approval for carrying out ancillary activities;
- compliance with salary arrangements and implementation of the individual choices model;
- compliance with leave entitlements.
A dispute must be submitted electronically via email@example.com.
A submitted dispute must meet several formal requirements. In principle, you are required to submit the dispute within 6 weeks after your manager sent you the decision which you dispute. Disputes from the period from 1 January 2020 to 1 November 2020 can still be submitted with retrospective effect within 6 weeks after 1 November 2020. Unless exceptional circumstances apply, a dispute that is not submitted within the set time limit will not be considered.
An independent Disputes Committee deals with the dispute. One important part of the disputes procedure is the hearing where the employee and manager can explain their standpoints in person. The Committee records its findings in its advice. Based on this advice, the Executive Board makes a decision about the dispute.
Dutch is the prevailing language throughout the disputes procedure. The reason for this is that the disputes procedure is based on Dutch laws and regulations, including civil labour law, the Sectoral regulation on disputes for Dutch Universities and the Regulation on Disputes of the University of Twente.
No costs are charged for the submission of a dispute. But you are liable to pay any costs you incur for legal assistance. In addition, you may also be required to pay translation costs.
- Composition of Disputes Committee
A formal dispute is dealt with by an independent Committee, the Disputes Committee of the University of Twente. The members of this Committee have the required expertise and are not associated with the university. They are appointed by the Executive Board.
The Disputes Committee of the University of Twente comprises the following members:
- Mr B. Schröder
- Mr B.J. van Beek
- Mr G.A. Vermeulen
- Ms J. Höfte-Nijen Twilhaar
Every dispute is dealt with by a Committee consisting of a Chair and 2 members. A new committee composition is selected for each dispute. In this way, the role of Chair rotates among the above members.
The Committee receives substantive and organisational support from the secretary, V. Trifunovic. If you require more information about the procedure, you can contact her on email at v.trifunovic@utwente or by calling 7899. As a rule, she works for the University of Twente on Mondays and Wednesdays.
The Committee reports annually on its work to the Executive Board. The annual reports prepared from 2020 onwards are available to anyone interested and are posted on the UT website.
- Formal Requirements for a Request
A dispute is put to the Committee by means of a Request. This Request is submitted electronically via firstname.lastname@example.org and must at least contain:
- Your name, position and address;
- The name of the manager involved in the dispute;
- A clear description of the dispute which is the subject of the Request and, if possible, a copy of the disputed decision or comparable conclusion;
- Your standpoints and reasons for disagreeing with the decision;
- The date and your signature.
The secretary monitors the receipt of Requests at the email address, confirms receipt of the Request to the person involved and starts up the dispute handling procedure.
If your Request fails to meet one or more formal requirements, the Committee will give you an opportunity to set this right. Usually you are given two weeks for this.
- Procedure of Disputes Committee: Hearing and Advice
The Committee notifies the manager of the Request. In this notification, the manager is given an opportunity to respond to the dispute in writing. The manager’s reaction is referred to as the written defence in the disputes procedure. Normally, this reaction must be submitted within two weeks.
The Committee subsequently invites the employee and the manager to a hearing. No hearing is held if the Committee Chair is of the opinion that the dispute need not be considered.
At the hearing, which is not public, the parties can clarify their standpoints and the Committee can ask them questions, The employee and manager can ask someone, such as a trusted person or colleague, to support them during the hearing. If you wish to bring along a witness and/or an expert to the hearing, you must notify the Committee secretary of this in advance.
The hearing will in principle take place in the physical presence of the parties concerned. A digital hearing is only possible if external circumstances make this necessary, provided the employee gives his or her consent.
The Committee prepares the hearing by studying the case file. The secretary compiles and sends this case file to the Committee members, the employee and the manager. This case file shall at least contain the request, a copy of the disputed decision or comparable conclusion and the written defence. The employee and/or manager may also submit additional documentation up to ten days before the hearing.
Based on its findings the Committee draws up its advice. The report of the hearing is appended to this advice. The Committee issues advice on whether the dispute is admissible (does the dispute meet all conditions to be considered?) and whether it is well-founded or not. It also gives the reasons underlying this advice.
The Executive Board then makes a decision based on the Committee’s advice. You receive this decision from the Executive Board. If this decision diverges from the Committee’s advice, the Executive Board must explain the reasons for diverging from that advice.
- Dutch is the prevailing language
A disputes procedure is based on Dutch law. The CAO for Dutch Universities and various regulations are applicable in this context. In the case of differences of opinion about the interpretation of Dutch- and English-language versions of such laws and regulations, the Dutch text is binding. For this reason, Dutch is the prevailing language during the dispute procedures.
If a party does not master the Dutch language, informal correspondence from the committee will be in English.
The hearing takes place in the Dutch language. If at least one of the parties in the case has insufficient knowledge of the Dutch language, the University of Twente will, as a good employer and in keeping with the Official Language Policy, enlist a sworn interpreter under its own responsibility and at its own expense. The Committee Secretary will arrange the interpreter.
Documents that are in a foreign language must be translated into Dutch by the party submitting the documents if the Committee considers this is necessary for a proper handling of the dispute. As a rule, the Committee wants to receive this translation within two weeks. If your dispute is declared wholly or partly well-founded, the University will refund the incurred translation costs to you on condition that an itemised invoice from the translation agency is presented for these costs. This refund is capped at a maximum fee per translated word corresponding with the highest fee per word that the Executive Board has agreed with its translation partners for a translation from English into Dutch (in 2020 €0.19 per word excl. VAT).
The Committee’s advice and the appended report of the hearing are drawn up in the Dutch language. If either party does not master the Dutch language, these documents will be translated into English under the responsibility and at the expense of the University of Twente.