By Dukes                                               H.B. No. 619
         76R3070 MCK-F                           
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to grievance and complaint resolution procedures for
 1-3     certain state employees.
 1-5           SECTION 1.  Subtitle B, Title 6, Government Code, is amended
 1-6     by adding Chapter 666 to read as follows:
 1-8                                 PROCEDURES
 1-9           Sec. 666.001.  DEFINITIONS.  In this chapter:
1-10                 (1)  "Aggrieved employee" means an employee of a state
1-11     agency who presents a grievance or a complaint under this chapter.
1-12                 (2)  "Commission" means the Texas Workforce Commission.
1-13                 (3)  "Complaint" means a written expression of
1-14     dissatisfaction presented by an employee regarding:
1-15                       (A)  compensation;
1-16                       (B)  work hours; or
1-17                       (C)  another issue related to employment
1-18     conditions that does not constitute a grievance.
1-19                 (4)  "Employee" means a person employed either
1-20     full-time or part-time by a state agency who is in a position
1-21     subject to the state position classification plan or an analogous
1-22     classification plan in effect at an institution of higher education
1-23     or who is exempt from a classification plan but compensated at a
1-24     rate not to exceed the amount prescribed by the General
 2-1     Appropriations Act for step 1, salary group 21, of the position
 2-2     classification salary schedule.  The term does not include a
 2-3     probationary or seasonal employee.
 2-4                 (5)  "Executive director" means the chief
 2-5     administrative officer of a state agency.  The term includes the
 2-6     president of an institution of higher education.
 2-7                 (6)  "Grievance" means a written expression of
 2-8     dissatisfaction presented by an employee regarding the fact that
 2-9     the employee has been:
2-10                       (A)  terminated from employment;
2-11                       (B)  demoted; or
2-12                       (C)  suspended without pay.
2-13                 (7)  "State agency" means a department, commission,
2-14     board, office, or other agency in the executive branch of state
2-15     government created by the constitution or a statute of this state.
2-16     The term includes an institution of higher education as defined by
2-17     Section 61.003, Education Code.
2-18                 (8)  "Supervisor" means the immediate supervisor of an
2-19     aggrieved employee.
2-20           Sec. 666.002.  POLICY; EXISTING RIGHTS UNAFFECTED.  (a)  An
2-21     employee is entitled to due process under this chapter in the
2-22     review of a decision that affects the employee's working conditions
2-23     or employment and may not be dismissed from the employment without
2-24     cause.
2-25           (b)  This chapter does not affect a right existing on
2-26     September 1, 1999, relating to an employee's ability to use an
2-27     established dispute resolution process concerning the employee's:
 3-1                 (1)  wages;
 3-2                 (2)  work hours; or
 3-3                 (3)  other conditions of employment.
 3-4           Sec. 666.003.  RULES.  A state agency by rule shall adopt
 3-5     standards and procedures in accordance with this chapter relating
 3-6     to the resolution of a grievance or complaint presented by an
 3-7     employee of the agency.
 3-8           Sec. 666.004.  INTERNAL AGENCY PROCEDURE.  (a)  The executive
 3-9     director shall issue a written decision concerning the resolution
3-10     or denial of a grievance or complaint not later than the 60th day
3-11     after the date the grievance or complaint is filed with the state
3-12     agency under rules adopted by the agency under Section 666.003.
3-13           (b)  Review of a complaint by the executive director or the
3-14     executive director's designee is the final review to which an
3-15     employee is entitled for the complaint.
3-16           (c)  The executive director's decision on a complaint is
3-17     final and binding.
3-18           (d)  The executive director's decision on a grievance is
3-19     final and binding in the absence of a timely appeal.
3-20           Sec. 666.005.  APPEAL TO COMMISSION; JUDICIAL REVIEW.  (a)
3-21     If a grievance is not resolved to the employee's satisfaction by
3-22     the executive director, the aggrieved employee may appeal the
3-23     grievance to the commission.  The employee must request the appeal
3-24     on a form provided by the commission not later than the 20th day
3-25     after the date the employee receives the executive director's
3-26     written decision.
3-27           (b)  The commission shall conduct a hearing on the grievance
 4-1     not later than the 20th day after the date the request for an
 4-2     appeal is received by the commission.  A hearings examiner employed
 4-3     by the commission shall conduct the hearing.
 4-4           (c)  A hearing conducted under this section is subject to the
 4-5     contested case provisions of the administrative procedure law,
 4-6     Chapter 2001.
 4-7           (d)  If the hearings examiner renders a decision favorable to
 4-8     the employee, the state agency shall pay the costs of a hearing
 4-9     conducted under this section.  If the decision is favorable to the
4-10     agency, the costs shall be divided equally between the state agency
4-11     and the aggrieved employee.
4-12           (e)  An employee who has exhausted all administrative
4-13     remedies under this chapter and who is aggrieved by the final
4-14     decision of the commission hearings examiner is entitled to
4-15     judicial review as provided by the administrative procedure law,
4-16     Chapter 2001, for judicial review of a contested case.
4-17           Sec. 666.006.  TIME OFF.  (a)  An employee is entitled to a
4-18     reasonable amount of time off with pay to prepare for and to attend
4-19     a meeting or hearing conducted under this chapter for the
4-20     resolution of a grievance or complaint.
4-21           (b)  A state agency shall adopt rules relating to an
4-22     employee's entitlement to time off under this section.
4-23           Sec. 666.007.  RETALIATION PROHIBITED.  (a)  An employee may
4-24     not be disciplined, penalized, or prejudiced for exercising a right
4-25     to which the employee is entitled under this chapter.
4-26           (b)  An employee may not be prohibited from or disciplined,
4-27     penalized, or prejudiced for acting as a witness in any proceeding
 5-1     under this chapter.
 5-2           (c)  If the rules adopted by a state agency under Section
 5-3     666.003 authorize the supervisor of an employee presenting a
 5-4     grievance or complaint to render a decision relating to the
 5-5     resolution of the grievance or complaint, the supervisor may not
 5-6     be:
 5-7                 (1)  disciplined, penalized, or prejudiced for
 5-8     rendering a decision favorable to an aggrieved employee; or
 5-9                 (2)  coerced or restrained in making a decision under
5-10     this chapter.
5-11           SECTION 2.  A state agency shall adopt rules as provided by
5-12     Sections 666.003 and 666.006, Government Code, as added by this
5-13     Act, not later than January 1, 2000.
5-14           SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1999, and
5-15     applies to a grievance or complaint discovered by an employee on or
5-16     after January 1, 2000.  A grievance or complaint discovered by an
5-17     employee before January 1, 2000, is covered by the law in effect
5-18     immediately before September 1, 1999, and the former law is
5-19     continued in effect for that purpose.
5-20           SECTION 4.  The importance of this legislation and the
5-21     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
5-22     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
5-23     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
5-24     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.