HUMAN RESOURCES

Revised: 03/03/03
Updated: 11/9/04


Policy Statement 7: Employee Relations


DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURES
FOR EMPLOYEES SUBJECT TO THE PERSONNEL ACT

 

SPA Disciplinary Procedures - Overview

The intent of the Disciplinary Policy and Procedures for Employees Subject to the Personnel Act is to provide East Carolina University management with a fair, clear and useful tool for correcting and improving performance problems, as well as to provide a process to assist management in handling cases of unacceptable personal conduct. Any disciplinary action taken in accordance with this policy must be for just cause under one of the three following bases:

The degree and type of action taken shall be based upon the sound and considered judgment of the management representatives of East Carolina University according to this policy.

When just cause exists, the disciplinary actions that can be taken are:

These disciplinary steps are progressive in nature and are designed to bring about permanent improvement in an employee's job performance and/or personal conduct whenever possible. When a supervisor feels that disciplinary action is warranted, he or she should review the action in advance with an Employee Relations Specialist at the Department of Human Resources. Once the action is taken, if the desired improvement does not occur or if additional inadequacies do occur, then the supervisor - in consultation with the Employee Relations Specialist - may proceed to the next level of discipline.

Some actions taken by an employee may fall under both unsatisfactory job performance and unacceptable personal conduct. No disciplinary action shall be invalid solely because the disciplinary action is labeled incorrectly.

This policy applies to all Subject to the Personnel Act (SPA) employees working at East Carolina University that have successfully completed their probationary employment period and attained permanent status.


I. KEY DEFINITIONS

For the purpose of this policy, the terms listed below are defined.

Current Unresolved Incident:

An unacceptable act of personal conduct, unsatisfactory job performance or grossly inefficient job performance for which no disciplinary action has been previously taken.

Disciplinary Demotion:

A personnel action that:

Disciplinary Suspension Without Pay:

The removal of an employee from work for disciplinary reasons without paying the employee.

Dismissal:

The involuntary termination of employment for disciplinary reasons or for failure to obtain or maintain necessary job related credentials.

Gross Inefficiency (Grossly Inefficient Job Performance):

Failure to satisfactorily perform job requirements as set out in the job description, Work Plan, or as directed by the management of the work unit; and, the act or failure to act causes or results in:

Inactive Disciplinary Action:

A disciplinary action taken after October 1, 1995 becomes inactive, i.e., cannot be counted towards the number of prior disciplinary actions that must be received before further disciplinary actions can be taken for unsatisfactory job performance when:

Insubordination:

The willful failure or refusal to carry out a reasonable order from an authorized supervisor. Insubordination is unacceptable personal conduct for which any level of discipline, including dismissal, may be imposed without prior written warning.

Investigatory Placement With Pay:

In certain cases involving gross inefficiency or unacceptable personal conduct, the employee's performance or personal conduct may be detrimental to the safety of persons or property, necessitating the immediate removal from work duties pending an investigation. If such action is warranted, the employee will be placed on Investigatory Placement With Pay. The facts surrounding this type of action should be reviewed with the Director of Employee Relations.

Investigatory Placement With Pay can last a maximum of thirty (30) calendar days unless an extension of this placement is granted in accordance with this policy. During the time-period that an employee is on Investigatory Placement With Pay, the employee will be paid as if they were working their regular job duties.

An employee may be placed on Investigatory Placement With Pay status only:

Unacceptable Personal Conduct:

The following behaviors are considered unacceptable personal conduct:

Unsatisfactory Job Performance:

Work-related performance that fails to satisfactorily meet job requirements as set out in the relevant job description, work plan, or as directed by the management of the work unit or agency.

II. PRE-CONDITIONS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

  1. Unsatisfactory Job Performance Disciplinary Actions
  2. Before any disciplinary actions for unsatisfactory job performance may be taken, the following must occur:

    Written Warning - Before a written warning for unsatisfactory job performance the employee must have:

     

    Disciplinary Suspension Without Pay - Before a disciplinary suspension without pay for unsatisfactory job performance the employee must have:

    Demotion - Before a demotion for unsatisfactory job performance the employee must have:

    Dismissal - Before a dismissal for unsatisfactory job performance the employee must have:

     

PRE-CONDITIONS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION (Unsatisfactory Job Performance)

    TYPE OF ACTION Employee has: Employee has: Employee has: Pre-Discipline Conference:

    - a current unresolved incident of unsatisfactory job performance

    - disciplinary action (any type)

    - at least one prior active warning (any type), or

    -other active disciplinary action (any type) or

    -one active warning and one other disciplinary action (any type)

    -at least two prior active warnings (any type), or

    -two other active disciplinary actions

             

    Warning

     

    Required      

    Disciplinary Suspension Without Pay

     

    Required Required   Required

    Demotion

     

    Required Required   Required
    Dismissal Required   Required Required


     

B. Grossly Inefficient Job Performance/ Unacceptable Personal Conduct Disciplinary Actions

    Before any disciplinary actions for gross inefficiency or unacceptable personal conduct may be taken, the following must occur:

    Warning - Before a written warning for grossly inefficient job performance or unacceptable personal conduct the employee must have:

    Disciplinary Suspension Without Pay - Before a disciplinary suspension without pay for grossly inefficient job performance or unacceptable personal conduct the employee must have:

    Demotion - Before a demotion for grossly inefficient job performance or unacceptable personal conduct the employee must have:

    Dismissal - Before a dismissal for grossly inefficient job performance or unacceptable personal conduct the employee must have:

     

PRE-CONDITIONS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION (Unacceptable Personal Conduct or Grossly Inefficient Job Performance)

TYPE OF ACTION Employee has: Employee has: Employee has: Pre-Discipline Conference:

- a current unresolved incident of unacceptable personal conduct or gross inefficiency

- at least one prior active warning (any type), or

- other active disciplinary action (any type)

- at least two prior active warnings (any type), or

- two other active disciplinary actions (any type), or

- one active warning and one other disciplinary action

         

Warning

 

Required     Required

Disciplinary Suspension Without Pay

 

Required     Required

Demotion

 

Required     Required
Dismissal Required     Required


III. DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES

A. General Provisions

    The supervisor has the duty to review and encourage satisfactory job performance by employees of their work unit. A supervisor also has the duty to address cases of unacceptable personal conduct. Prior to taking any disciplinary action, the supervisor also has the responsibility to consult with the Employee Relations Specialist at the Department of Human Resources.

    When a supervisor determines that an employee may have failed to maintain an acceptable level of job performance and/or personal conduct, the supervisor, in conjunction with the Employee Relations Specialist, should examine a number of factors to decide the appropriate type of disciplinary action, if any. Among the factors are:

    1. Whether or not the supervisor should recommend disciplinary action based on the facts.
    2. Whether or not more investigation is needed to make a recommendation.
    3. Explore the type and degree of disciplinary action to be taken.
    4. Review the employee's work history.
    5. Consider the disciplinary actions received by other employees within the agency/work unit for comparable performance or behaviors.
    6. Examine any other relevant factors.

    In cases of unsatisfactory job performance, a written warning is the first type of disciplinary action that an employee may receive. After the first unsatisfactory job performance warning, a supervisor may give additional written warnings of a higher level of disciplinary action.

    The supervisor may give a written warning for grossly inefficient job performance or unacceptable personal conduct. However, this policy does not require a written warning before management takes other disciplinary action in these types of cases.

B. Written Warning

    1. Issuing a Written Warning
    2. In a private conference with the employee, the supervisor shall do the following:

2. Preparing a Written Warning

      The written warning shall:

C. Disciplinary Suspension Without Pay

    An employee may be suspended without pay for disciplinary reasons for a current incident of unsatisfactory job performance after the receipt of at least one prior disciplinary action or without prior warning or disciplinary action for any form of unacceptable personal conduct or grossly inefficient job performance.

    A Disciplinary Suspension Without Pay for an SPA employee must be for at least one full work week, but may not be for more than two full work weeks.

    Before an employee is placed on Disciplinary Suspension Without Pay, a supervisor must:

D. Demotion

    An employee may be demoted as a disciplinary measure. Demotion may be made on the basis of either unsatisfactory or grossly inefficient job performance or unacceptable personal conduct. Before the decision to demote an employee for disciplinary reasons, a management representative must conduct a pre-disciplinary conference with the employee in accordance with the procedural requirements of this policy.

    An employee may be demoted for a current incident of unsatisfactory job performance after the employee has received a least one prior warning or disciplinary action.

    An employee may be demoted for grossly inefficient job performance or unacceptable personal conduct without any prior warning or disciplinary action.

    Demotions may be accomplished by any of the three methods below:


    METHODS FOR IMPLEMENTING A DISCIPLINARY DEMOTION

    Grade Change Pay Change Restrictions on Changes
    Lowering the grade Retaining the salary Salary shall not exceed the maximum of the salary schedule for the new lower grade.
    Lowering the grade Lowering the salary Same as above

    Retaining the grade
    Lowering the salary The salary shall not be less than the minimum of the salary schedule for that grade or the special entry rate in effect.

    Before demoting an employee, a supervisor must:

E. Dismissal

    Any employee may be dismissed. Dismissal may be a result of unsatisfactory or grossly inefficient job performance or unacceptable personal conduct. Before the decision for a disciplinary action is made, a management representative must conduct a pre-disciplinary conference with the employee. The conference must be handled according to this policy.

    The supervisor recommending dismissal must discuss the recommendation with the Employee Relations Specialist at the Department of Human Resources. Upon approval by the Department of Human Resources, a pre-disciplinary conference shall be held with the employee.

    Before dismissing an employee, a supervisor must conduct a pre-disciplinary conference as outlined in this policy and give the employee a notice of disciplinary action.

F. Procedure For Pre-Disciplinary Conference

    Before demotion, suspension without pay, or dismissal of an employee, a supervisor must:

      1. the acts or failures to act that are the reason for the disciplinary action; and
      2. what the employee's appeal rights are, if applicable.

    The people that are a part of the conference are:

    During the conference, the management representative conducting the conference must:

    After the conference, management shall:

      1. the reason for the disciplinary action;
      2. the effective date of the dismissal; and
      3. the employee's right to appeal.

    The effective date of a dismissal shall be no sooner than the date of the written notice of dismissal and no later than 14 calendar days after the written notice of dismissal. A career employee who is dismissed for unsatisfactory job performance may be given up to two weeks working notice of his/her dismissal or up to two weeks' pay in lieu of the working notice at the discretion of management.

    Failure to give written reasons for the disciplinary action, written notice of appeal rights, or to conduct a pre-disciplinary conference are procedural violations. If management fails to follow these procedures, East Carolina University shall be subject to the rules of the State Personnel Commission dealing with procedural violations.

    The time for filing a grievance as a result of the suspension without pay, a demotion, or a dismissal does not start until the employee receives a written notice of any applicable appeal rights.

IV. SPECIAL PROVISIONS

A. Grandfather Provisions

      The following grandfather provisions establish the force and effect of disciplinary actions in existence upon the effective date of this policy:

      1. Oral warnings - any oral warning existing October 1, 1995 is deemed void and has no further force or effect upon the disciplinary status of any State employee.
      2. All other disciplinary actions existing as of October 1, 1995 shall remain in full force and effect as if the warnings or other disciplinary actions had been imposed under this policy. No written warning or other disciplinary action imposed prior to October 1, 1995 shall be deemed inactive by operation of the provisions of this policy until more than eighteen (18) months after October 1, 1995, or until the disciplinary action is otherwise deemed inactive in accordance with the definition.
      3. Extension of Disciplinary Actions - Any written warning or disciplinary action imposed prior to the adoption of this policy may be extended in accordance with the provisions of this policy as if the warning or disciplinary action had been imposed after the effective date of the policy. No unresolved written warning or disciplinary action issued under the prior policy shall become inactive if, within eighteen (18) months of the effective date of this policy, another disciplinary action or warning is imposed on the employee or management acts to extend the active status of a disciplinary action. Notice of the extension of the active status of a disciplinary action can be given at any time within eighteen (18) months of the effective date of the disciplinary action.
      4. Warnings or disciplinary actions existing at the time that this policy is adopted shall be deemed inactive if it would have been resolved under the university procedure existing at the time of the adoption of this policy.

B. Investigatory Placement With Pay

      Management must notify an employee in writing of the reasons for the Investigatory Placement With Pay no later than the second scheduled workday after the beginning of the placement. An Investigatory Placement With Pay may last no more than thirty calendar days without written approval of extension by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and the State Personnel Director. When an extension beyond the thirty-day period is required, a management representative must advise the employee in writing of the extension, the length of the extension, and the specific reasons of the extension. If no action has been taken by management by the end of the thirty-day period and no further extension has been granted, the university must either take appropriate disciplinary action on the basis of the findings upon investigation or return the employee to active work status.

      Under no circumstance is it permissible to use Investigatory Placement With Pay for the purpose of delaying an administrative decision on an employee's work status pending the resolution of a civil or criminal court matter involving the employee.

      An employee may be placed on Investigatory Placement With Pay only:

C. Credentials

      By statute, regulation, and administrative rule, some duties assigned to positions in the State service may be performed only by persons who are duly licensed, registered or certified as required by the relevant law or policy. All such requirements and restrictions are specified in the statement of essential qualifications or recruitment standards for classifications.

      Employees in such classifications are responsible for obtaining and maintaining current, valid credentials as required by law, rule or regulation. Failure to obtain or maintain the legally required credentials constitutes a basis for immediate dismissal without prior warning, consistent with dismissal for unacceptable personal conduct or grossly inefficient job performance. An employee who is dismissed for failure to obtain or maintain credentials shall be dismissed under the procedural requirements applicable to dismissals for unacceptable personal conduct or grossly inefficient job performance.

      Falsification of employment credentials or other documentation in connection with securing employment constitutes just cause for disciplinary action. When credential or work history falsification is discovered after employment with a State agency/university, disciplinary action shall be administered as follows:

      1. If an employee was determined to be qualified and was selected for a position based on falsified work experience, education, registration, licensure or certification information that was a requirement of the position, the employee must be dismissed according to the provisions of this policy.
      2. In all other cases of post-hiring discovery of false or misleading information, disciplinary action will be taken, but the severity of the disciplinary action shall be at the discretion of East Carolina University.
      3. When credential or work history falsification is discovered before employment with a State agency/university, the applicant shall be disqualified from consideration for the position in question.

     

D. Right Of Appeal

      Every disciplinary action shall include notification to the employee in writing of any applicable appeal rights.

      Warnings, extensions of disciplinary actions and periods of Investigatory Placement With Pay are not grievable. Absent an allegation of a violation of G.S.126-25, warnings are not appealable to the State Personnel Commission.

      A management representative shall furnish to the employee, as an attachment to the written documentation of any grievable disciplinary action, a copy of the Grievance and Appeal Policy for Employees Subject to the Personnel Act.

      If a disciplinary action is grievable within the university or to the State Personnel Commission, and the employee fails to timely grieve the warning or disciplinary action, the employee is deemed to have waived the right to contest the validity of a warning or disciplinary action.

E. Transfer Of Disciplinary Action

      When an employee transfers to another department or work unit, any active written warnings or disciplinary actions will transfer with the personnel file of the employee. The transferred warnings and disciplinary actions will remain in full force at the new work unit until the warnings or disciplinary actions are made inactive by the new employer or by operation of this policy.

       

V. ASSISTANCE / CONSULTATION WITH HUMAN RESOURCES

      The Department of Human Resources is committed to maintaining disciplinary procedures that are fair and corrective in nature for all Subject to the Personnel Act (SPA) employees. If any employee or supervisor would like assistance with this policy or a work-related problem, they can contact an Employee Relations Specialist at:

      The Department of Human Resources
      East Carolina University
      210 East First Street
      Greenville, NC 27858-4353

      Telephone: (252) 328-0117
      Fax: (252) 328-4191



 

Mediation and Grievance Policy for SPA Employees. (opens in new window)

 

Link to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Consent Form (opens in new window)