Section 6--Grievability/Arbitrability Questions

In the event either party should declare a grievance nongrievable or non-arbitrable, the original grievance shall be considered amended to include this issue.  The parties agree to raise any questions of grievability or arbitrability of a grievance prior to the limit for the written answer in the final step of this procedure.  All disputes of grievability/arbitrability shall be referred as threshold issues in the related grievance, except where the parties agree to hear the threshold issue and merits of the grievance separately.

Section 7--Time Limits

A.  A grievance concerning a continuing practice or condition including EEO matters may be presented at any time.  Except as covered in Section 8(B), a grievance concerning a particular act or occurrence must be presented to the Step 1 management official within fifteen (15) working days of the action or date the employee became aware of it.

B.  Proof of service shall be a return post office receipt executed by the person served; or a written acknowledgement from the person served when hand delivered.

C.  All the time limits in this article may be extended by mutual consent.

Section 8--Options

A.  In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 7121, an employee at his/her option may raise matters covered under Section 4303 (Unacceptable Performance) and 7512 (Adverse Actions) under the appropriate statutory procedures or the negotiated grievance procedure, but not both.  An employee shall be deemed to have exercised his/her option at such time as the employee timely files a notice of appeal under the applicable appellate procedures or timely files a grievance in writing, whichever event occurs first.

Similarly, an employee affected by a prohibited personnel practice under Section 2302(b)(1) of the Civil Service Reform Act may raise the matter under a statutory procedure or the negotiated procedure but not both.  An employee shall be deemed to have exercised his/her option at such time as he/she timely files a grievance in writing or files a written complaint under the statutory EEO procedure, whichever event occurs first.

B.  Before filing a grievance which alleges discrimination, the employee may first discuss the allegation with an EEO counselor.    This discussion must be within 45 calendar days after the event  causing the allegation or after the date the employee became aware of the event.  The counselor shall have 30 calendar days to resolve the matter informally.  If the counselor is unsuccess