The agency and its employees, through its unions, agreed on procedures to challenge actions that we don't think are fair, appropriate, or accurate. We call that process a "grievance," and it's detailed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Article 34.
EPA guarantees that a grievance filed by an employee "does not affect the employee's standing with the Agency." Employees are assured by EPA that they will be free from "restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, intimidation or reprisal" for filing a grievance or participating in the grievance process. See CBA, Article 3, Section 3.
Prior to filing a grievance, we typically try to reach out to your manager to discuss the matter, with your permission, of course. We find that we can sometimes resolve the issue informally prior to resorting to the formal grievance process. But where our informal contact bears no fruit, where you're uncomfortable with us reaching out informally to your manager, or where it is strategically disadvantageous to do so, we then move to a formal grievance.
The grievance process is established to resolve issues at the lowest level possible. To accomplish this, the agency and NTEU agreed on a three-step process....