​Topic Number2.3.4(a)Effective Date

October 17, 2017


WWRC Student Grievance Management System

PurposeTo document WWRC’s business processes, standards, and expectations related to Student Grievances
Accountability Indicators

WWRC consumers understand and appropriately exercise their rights and responsibilities related to grievances. 

WWRC staff members understand and appropriately follow protocol related to student grievances.

There is documented evidence of compliance with accreditation body standards regarding the administration and management of student grievances.

Policy Reference
Detailed Governance ReferenceN/A
Executive Staff Contact 

Mike Kelley, WWRC Dean of Students and Director, Residential Services


Every Day in Every Way We…..


Put Our Consumers First

Take Care of Customers

Value our Staff


Preserve Leadership Ethics, Accountability, Center Values, and Public Trust



Governance Procedures 

WWRC is committed to providing students with a supportive and caring, living and learning environment.  As part of this commitment, WWRC acknowledges that student grievances may arise from time to time and dually recognizes that addressing student grievances in a respectful, timely, and responsible manner benefits everyone involved and contributes to the continuous improvement of WWRC.

This governance procedure applies to all WWRC student grievances, including those that may also be classified as allegations that potentially violate a federal or state law and/or that may have a statutory requirement for investigation.   This procedure does not apply to grievances made by employees or to complaints made by members of the public.  Grievances made by employees are managed through policies and procedures of the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM).   Grievances voiced by members of the public are managed through established Agency policies and procedures.  

It is a student right to file a grievance, either informally or formally or both.  Students are informed of their right to file a grievance through the Student Handbook and during orientation to the Center.  Maintenance of student confidentiality and privacy are paramount.   Under no circumstances shall there be retaliation for a student grievance, real or imagined.  However, students are expected to understand that any frivolous or intentionally malicious grievance may be redirected for action in accordance with the WWRC Student Code of Conduct policy.  

WWRC's Student Grievance Management System establishes business processes for fair, impartial, respectful, timely, and consistently applied grievance practices, aligned with the Center's vision, mission, and values.    Students may register a grievance informally and/or formally.   Informal Grievances may be made face to face, by telephone, by email, or in writing to any staff member at any time.  Formal Grievances must be initiated in writing and submitted to the WWRC Dean of Students.  Students who are considering filing a grievance may seek assistance or support by contacting their assigned Rehabilitation Counselor. More specific procedures for both Informal and Formal Grievances are delineated in this governance protocol.  

This governance procedure does not replace, rather supplements, the AGM governance on management of student appeals {AGM 2.3.4(b)}.    A student may initiate an appeal at any time, with or without initiating a grievance.  The following definitions apply:

Grievance – an official complaint, informally or formally filed, with the institution if a student is dissatisfied with the behavior or actions of the institution or its representatives

Appeal – an action to request that the institution reconsider an official decision with which the student disagrees

Filing an Informal Grievance

 WWRC encourages students to try and resolve their problem or concern informally.  Many problems or concerns tend to arise through misunderstandings and in most cases, are best dealt with quickly and informally with the person concerned and/or with the person's Supervisor or Department Manager.  An Informal Grievance allows WWRC Administration to determine if an issue is a misunderstanding or error while simultaneously providing the student the option of support during the resolution process in a minimally stressful manner. 


In communicating an Informal Grievance, it is important that the student provide full details and identify a preferred outcome or desired resolution.  Students are also encouraged to disclose any underlying personal or other issue that may have contributed to, or exacerbated, the problem or concern.  This will help WWRC staff to investigate and respond in a more holistic way, including potential referral of the student to other forms of support and assistance, which may include discussion with the assigned Rehabilitation Team.  


If an Informal Grievance is of the nature and type that requires escalation, such as one that involves an allegation of a potential federal or state law violation or that may have a statutory reporting requirement, the responding WWRC staff member must inform the student in person that the issue will be immediately raised to a higher level on their behalf and why, in accordance with relevant governance, policy, and procedures. 


If an attempt at informal resolution of the issue is not successful, or if a student does not feel comfortable seeking informal resolution, the student may exercise their right to make a Formal Grievance.


Filing a Formal Complaint

If a student feels uncomfortable filing an Informal Grievance or has not been able to informally resolve the issue or concern, the student may exercise their right to make a Formal Grievance.  All Formal Grievances must be made in writing, by the student, with the exception of those of the nature and type that require immediate escalation due to allegations of a potential federal or state law violation or that may have statutory reporting/investigation requirements, in accordance with applicable governance.   


WWRC's Student Grievance Management System establishes the WWRC Dean of Students as the official Administrator of Record for centralized notification and management of formal grievances filed by WWRC consumers, directly or on their behalf.  In performing this function, the WWRC Dean of Students is expected to apply applicable policies and procedures, and to consult with other staff, as relevant and appropriate, to effectively and efficiently take action, investigate issues and concerns, and render decisions.   


All Formal Grievances must be submitted, in writing, to the WWRC Dean of Students, using the approved WWRC Formal Student Grievance Form.  Students may request a copy of the current form from their assigned Rehabilitation Counselor or directly from the WWRC Dean of Students Office.  All Formal Grievances must include:


  • A brief description of the complaint, including where and when it happened; 
  • Whether the student has already spoken with anyone about the complaint and/or taken any action to resolve their complaint informally;
  • Copies of any relevant documentation or correspondence; and
  • What outcome or resolution is being sought by the student.


The WWRC Dean of Students is expected to acknowledge the grievance with issuance to the student of a Notice of Receipt, including their contact information for any questions during the inquiry.   The WWRC Dean of Students will conduct an initial assessment to determine whether the grievance, or any of its aspects, may be capable of further attempts at informal resolution or should be re-directed to an alternative Center business process due to the nature of the complaint and other policies and procedures that may apply.    If so, the WWRC Dean of Students will re-direct the Formal Grievance as indicated and notify the student, with the reason.     Otherwise, the WWRC Dean of Students will proceed with an investigation into the complaint.


It is expected that a final outcome will be determined within a time period not to exceed ten (10) business days.  Any Formal Grievance resolution that is expected to exceed the ten (10) business day standard due to complex issues that involve multiple parties, will be the exception, not the norm, and must be prior approved by the WWRC Director.  A student has the right to be informed of the progress of their Formal Grievance and the steps being taken to resolve it.   


At the conclusion of the investigation process, the WWRC Dean of Students will meet with the student to communicate the decision, in writing and in person, and to answer any questions.  The student will be informed of their right to appeal the decision during that meeting, in accordance with AGM 2.3.4(b): Institution Level Consumer Appeals – Triggers and Protocols, as applicable.  The WWRC Dean of Students is expected to document the final decision in the secured file on the network server. 


The Decision shall become effective, as soon as reasonably practicable, including the implementation of any corrective or preventive action.   Grievance resolution shall be documented as an AWARE service note.


All Formal Grievances shall also be documented and tracked, from receipt through resolution, in an official WWRC Student Grievance and Appeals Management System file maintained on the network server for ease of retrieval by authorized parties.  Student grievance data contained in this file must contain (at minimum) the following elements:   name of complainant; date of the complaint; description of the complaint; summary of investigative actions; decision rendered; and, resolution date.  All Formal Student Grievances shall be recorded no later than the next business day following receipt of the written grievance form, with access restricted to authorized representatives to protect and maintain confidentiality and privacy of the student.  


Completed WWRC Formal Student Grievance Forms, along with any other supporting correspondence submitted, the signed Notice of Receipt, and Final Decision Letter for each Formal Grievance logged, will be maintained by the WWRC Dean of Students, in a secured, confidential file, for a period of three (3) years, then destroyed per Agency protocols.    These Grievance Forms will be made available, upon request by authorized parties, during an audit, accreditation review, or other administrative action, as relevant.


All Formal Grievances shall be made within ten (10) business days of the incident or issue or they will be considered untimely and dismissed without investigation.  Anonymous complaints and complaints filed on behalf of another person will be dismissed.  Grievances that are appropriately handled under a different WWRC governance policy and/or procedure will be referred to the appropriate party for disposition and documented as such in the WWRC Student Grievance and Appeals Management System file. 


Withdrawal of a Grievance

A student may withdraw their grievance at any stage in the process.  Any withdrawal, when made, must be submitted in writing.  Any withdrawal of a grievance before resolution should be noted as such in the WWRC Student Grievance and Appeals Management System file. 


Coordination with Accreditation Body Requirements

WWRC consumers fully enrolled in a vocational training program who are otherwise unable to resolve a complaint at the institutional level, have the right, under COE policies and standards, to contact the Council on Occupational Education, an independent postsecondary accreditation body.


AddressCouncil on Occupational Education (COE)
7840 Roswell Road 
Building 300, Suite 325
Atlanta, GA 30350
Phone800-917-2081 (Toll Free) or 770-396-3898


WWRC consumers who receive Durable Medical Equipment (DME) at WWRC and are otherwise unable to resolve a complaint at the institutional level have the right to contact the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc., under ACHC policies and standards.  


AddressAccreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc.
4700 Falls of Neuse Road, Suite 280
Raleigh, NC . 27609
Emailcustomerservice @ achc.org


Quality Improvement Procedures

Formal Grievances will be reviewed by the WWRC Executive Team, at least annually as scheduled, to determine any trends or patterns that may be used for continuous organizational growth and quality improvement. To facilitate this review, the WWRC Dean of Students, in consultation with the WWRC Deputy Director, is expected to compile data from the Student Grievance and Appeals Management System file, with analysis support from OD&QA as relevant and appropriate, to include (but not limited to):  number and types of complaints filed; compliance with performance/timeliness standards; actions taken; and, number/disposition of subsequent appeals.  The report should include a summary of findings and quality improvement recommendations to prevent or limit recurrences.   Actions determined by the WWRC Executive Team will be documented in minutes of the meeting.


Related Forms