Employees can grieve agency actions pursuant to TSA MD No. 1100.77-2--GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES. Employees have fifteen (15) days from discovery of the contested decision or action to file a written grievance with the first-step official. Discovery means when the employee learned or reasonably can be expected to have learned of the decision or action.

The first-step grievance:

  • must contain: 1) the action or matter being grieved; 2) the reasons and any supporting evidence for the grievance; 3) the remedy being sought; and 4) a statement as to whether or not the matter has been raised in another forum;
  • is directed to the "first-step official," who is typically the management official who issued the decision, took the action, or failed to take action; and
  • can be followed by the employee filing a second-step grievance, regardless of whether or not the Agency responds to the first-step grievance.

The second-step grievance:

  • must be in writing;
  • must contain: 1) a copy of the original grievance; 2) the date the first-step grievance was filed; and 3) a copy of the first-step decision or a statement that no first-step decision was issued;
  • is directed to the "second-step official," who is normally the first-step official's immediate supervisor; and
    • the second-step official cannot have been involved in the initial incident or in the first-step decision
  • the second-step decision cannot be appealed; there is no further right to appeal.

Non-grievable matters

There are numerous matters that are not grievable under TSA policy. Although employees cannot grieve TSA's policies the application of any policy to an individual may be grieved. For example, according to TSA policy shift bids are selected based upon seniority. A TSO will not be able to grieve the policy itself, but if TSA fails to adhere to the policy by incorrectly accounting for seniority, a grievance would be permissable. Similarly, a TSO cannot grieve the results of his technical proficiency assesment, however, if TSA incorrectly adminstered the test a grivence would be permissable. 

The following matters are non-grievable: 

• Shift schedules or shift bidding programs;
• Separation or termination of employment during the trial or probationary period;
• Notices proposing disciplinary or adverse action (though these can be addressed with a written response);
• Decisions made by other agencies (DOL, OWCP, OPM, etc.);
• Oral or written counselings;
• Progress reviews under TSA performance management system;
• Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs);
• Non-selection for promotion or reassignment from a list of eligible employees (competitive position);
• Reduction-in-force;
• Monetary amount of performance or incentive award;
• Denial of a time extension to file a grievance; and
• The test results and/or the scores of any/all Technical Proficiency assessments.

Timelines are crucial

Timelines play a critical role and must be watched closely.

  • The employee only has 15 days from the incident (or when he or she should have known of the incident) to file the first-step grievance.

  • Management has 15 days to respond, but they may not respond at all.

  • For the second-step, the employee has 15 days either from the denial or from the 15-day mark (starting with the filing of the first-step grievance) that is, the day by which Management should have responded to the first-step grievance.

  • It is the responsibility of the grievant to keep track of these dates; many second-step grievance deadlines have been missed because TSA employees assumed Management would get back to them eventually with a response to the first-step grievance. If, after 15 days, Management has not replied to the first-step grievance, the employee must move ahead with the second-step or the grievance will be timed out. 

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