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Dispute Resolution

Problems, misunderstandings and frustrations may arise in the workplace. Employees are encouraged to address their work related concerns directly with their immediate supervisor to promote constructive resolution of conflict. If an employee is uncomfortable having this discussion with their supervisor, he/she is encouraged to address these concerns through dispute resolution. Therefore, an employee who is confronted with a problem may use the options described below to resolve or clarify his or her concerns.

There are four methods available to employees for addressing workplace concerns:

  • Open Door Policy
  • Mediation
  • Grievance Procedure
  • Hearing Office Appeal Procedure

Employees do not have to follow a specific order with regard to the four dispute resolution options. Employees may file an official grievance pursuant to Career Service Rule 18 - Dispute Resolution or file an official appeal with the Hearing Office pursuant to Career Service Rule 19 - Appeals. 

Before taking steps to undergo mediation, employees are encouraged to have open and candid discussion of work-related issues with their immediate supervisors.

If his/her concern is not resolved, the employee is encouraged to bring the issue to the attention of the employee’s manager/director, appointing authority, or a human resources representative. The city will not tolerate retaliation against employees who utilize the open door policy in good faith.

If an employee has a work-related issue that was not resolved through the open door policy, mediation may be requested. The mediator is a neutral third party who will help facilitate a resolution of the dispute. The mediator helps the parties communicate their different perspectives, discuss their needs and interests, and explore ways to resolve their conflict in a mutually acceptable way. Participation in mediation is voluntary and the parties are not required to resolve their dispute.

Mediation Provides:

  • Practical and balanced resolutions to conflicts with co-workers and/or supervisors
  • Fair and impartial professional mediators
  • Open and honest communication
  • Voluntary participation
  • Confidential process 

How it Works...

Career Serivce Mediation Online Form


  • When a conflict arises, you and your co-worker, supervisor or manager may complete the online Career Serivce Mediation form to help resolve the dispute. 
  • All parties involved are contacted to ensure that everyone is in favor of pursuing mediation to resolve the dispute.
  • Parties will meet as a group with the appointed mediator who will assist in ensuring that the lines of communication are open, that all conflict is understood by everyone involved, and then work toward an acceptable solution. Mediators appointed to your case will be from outside your department to ensure impartiality. 

Questions about workplace mediation? Contact 720-913-5719 or, or visit the Career Service Mediation page.

A grievance is an allegation made by a career service employee regarding discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or violence in the workplace, or relating to actions/inactions taken by the employee’s supervisor/manager that violate the employee’s rights under the Career Service Rules, the city charter, ordinances relating to the career service, Executive Orders, or written agency policies.

Notwithstanding the above definition, the following shall not be grieved. 

  1. Issues for direct appeal (see Career Service Rule 19 - Appeals)
  2. Any aspect of the performance enhancement program other than an employer’s performance rating;
  3. Bonus or incentive payments, or the lack thereof, or the criteria used by an agency or department to make or not make such payments, or any other aspect of the bonus or incentive program;
  4. The mediation process;
  5. A contemplation of discipline or disqualification notice or meeting; or
  6. The assignment to or removal from an acting role, working out of class assignments, or senior command staff status (as defined in Career Service Rule 5 - Appointments and Status)

OHR Grievance Form

If you have a work-related issue which was not taken to or resolved through the open door policy or mediation, and you are a career service employee with a grievance as defined in Career Service Rule 18 - Dispute Resolution, you may prepare and complete all sections of the official OHR grievance form and file it with your agency designee. Review Career Service Rule 18 - Dispute Resolution for important information about the computation of time with regard to filing and responding to grievances.


Questions about the grievance process? Contact your HR Representative or the Office of Human Resources' Employee Relations Specialist Team at

The Career Service Hearing Office provides a fair and neutral appeal process for city employees in accordance with the Career Service Rules. Procedures and requirements for appealing the results of formal grievances, as well as employer actions that can be appealed directly to the Hearing Office, are set out in Career Service Rule 19 - Appeals.   

For further information:

Appeal to Hearing Officer Form

Career Service Appeal Online Form

If you choose to file an appeal, complete the Career Service Appeal online within 15 calendar days of the notice of action being appealed (or within 30 calendar days of an alleged Whistleblower Ordinance retaliation).

Pre-Hearing Statement Form

The Pre-hearing Statement form can be downloaded and completed or utilized to complete your own document that meets the requirements of the "Notice of Hearing and Pre-hearing Order".

Search Hearing Office Decisions and Orders on Appeals By: 

Questions about appeals? Contact the Career Service Hearing Office at 720-913-5703 or, or visit the Hearing Office webpage.

It is the policy of the City and County of Denver and the Career Service Board that all employees have a right to work in an environment free of discrimination and unlawful harassment. The city maintains a strict policy prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment and harassment because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, military status, age, disability, or political affiliation, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws. The City and County of Denver will not tolerate retaliation for participating in an informal or formal dispute resolution process.