DHA (Regulation) – Discipline and Dismissal of Employees


SECTION ONE: GENERAL PROVISIONS

The purpose of this regulation is to encourage fair, efficient, and equitable solutions for problems arising out of the employment relationship; to meet the requirements of state and federal law; to ensure compliance with institutional, divisional, and unit policies and rules; and to comply with requirements from funding and accreditation agencies.

All employees of the College, excepting only the College President, are employed on an at-will basis. College employees have no property right or interest in employment. Any employee may be dismissed at any time in the best interest of the College. The College may non-renew or terminate the employment of any employee at any time for any reason, except as otherwise provided by law.

The College has the right to modify any of the terms or conditions of employment, with or without advance notice. Nothing in this regulation creates a contract or property right to continued employment or changes the employment “at-will” relationship.

1.01 Scope of Regulation
This regulation is applicable to conduct or job performance of an employee that results in a decision to impose a disciplinary penalty of verbal reprimand, written reprimand with disciplinary probation, suspension without pay, or dismissal. It does not apply to:

a) employees who are subject to other approved discipline or dismissal procedures;

b) suspension with pay pending investigation of allegations relating to an employee;

c) decisions not to offer reappointment to persons whose appointment for a stated period of one year or less expires at the end of such period; and

d) dismissal of employees:

i. who occupy positions that are dependent upon funding from a specific source and such funding is not received;

ii. who, after all available leave has been exhausted, are unable to return to work to perform job functions for medical reasons;

iii. as a result of reorganization;

iv. because of financial exigency; or

v. who are not appointed but who are employed on a per diem or hourly rate and work on an as needed basis.

1.02 Employee Responsibility
Each employee is expected to acquaint himself or herself with performance criteria for his/her particular job and with all rules, procedures, and standards of conduct established by the Board of Trustees, the College President, and the employee’s administrative or instructional unit. An employee who does not fulfill the responsibilities set out by such performance criteria, rules, procedures, and standards of conduct may be subject to adverse personnel action.

1.03 Progressive Discipline
Progressive discipline involves increasingly severe consequences each time an employee is disciplined. Immediate elevation of the level of disciplinary action, including dismissal or suspension without prior warning, may be justified at any occurrence of inappropriate behavior, based upon the seriousness and impact of the behavior(s) or action(s) or for multiple documented deficiencies.

For employees, progressive discipline sets clear standards and warns of consequences for noncompliance. It assures predictable, progressive, and equitable treatment and promotes fair decisions. For administration, progressive discipline maintains order and enforces College policies and procedures. It is a corrective process to help employees overcome work-related shortcomings, strengthen work performance, and achieve success. The discipline process also allows for the termination of employees who will not or cannot change unacceptable behavior or performance.

1.04 Levels of Disciplinary Actions
Although the policy is to be applied consistently, because policies cannot anticipate every situation, some circumstances may require the College to impose more severe disciplinary action for certain conduct or omission than is contemplated by the policy. This policy shall provide each authorized supervisor the latitude to vary from the typical discipline when circumstances warrant.

The levels of disciplinary actions from least severe to most severe are:

1. verbal reprimand,

2. written reprimand and disciplinary probation,

3. suspension without pay, and

4. dismissal.

The College President must approve suspension without pay and dismissal prior to those actions being administered.

Once an employee is disciplined for any infraction, the progressive discipline process has been commenced with respect to all subsequent infractions. The College may modify and/or apply the policy in any manner it deems appropriate under the circumstances, including acceleration, skipping, or repetition of steps.

1.05 Conduct Subject to Disciplinary Action – Work Performance
Failure of an employee to maintain satisfactory work performance standards can constitute good cause for disciplinary action including dismissal. The term “work performance” includes all aspects of an employee’s work.

Work performance is judged by the supervisor’s evaluation of the quality and quantity of work performed by each employee. When, in the opinion of the supervisor, the work performance of an employee is below standard, the supervisor should take appropriate disciplinary action.

If an employee’s work performance changes substantially between administrations of the annual performance review process, the supervisor must document how the employee’s work performance has changed as part of the progressive disciplinary process, and the supervisor must document the unacceptable work performance or behavior(s) when administering the next annual performance review.

1.06 Conduct Subject to Disciplinary Action – Unacceptable Behavior
All employees are expected to maintain standards of conduct suitable and acceptable to the work environment. Disciplinary action, including dismissal, may be imposed for unacceptable behavior.

Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to:

a) falsification of times sheets, personnel records, or other College records;

b) smoking anywhere;

c) gambling, participating in lotteries, or any other games of chance on the premises at any time;

d) soliciting, collecting money, or circulating petitions on the premises other than within the rules and regulations of the College;

e) bringing intoxicants or drugs onto the premises of the College, using intoxicants or drugs, having intoxicants or drugs in one’s possession, or being under the influence of intoxicants or drugs on the premises at any time (Note: the College President may grant exceptions for special events or programs to allow the consumption of alcohol on campus);

f) abuse or waste of tools, equipment, fixtures, property, supplies, or goods of the College;

g) creating or contributing to unhealthy, hazardous, or unsanitary conditions;

h) violations of safety rules or accepted safety practices;

i) failure to cooperate with supervisor or coworker, impairment of function of work unit, or disruptive conduct;

j) disorderly conduct, horseplay, or use of abusive language on the premises;

k) harassment of other employees, students or visitors/guests, including sexual harassment;

l) fighting, encouraging a fight or threatening, attempting or causing injury to another person on the premises;

m) neglect of duty or failure to meet a reasonable and objective measure of efficiency and productivity;

n) theft or unauthorized use of College physical, electronic, financial, or human resources;

o) unauthorized use, theft, or release of College or student records and confidential information;

p) destroying or defacing College property or records or the property of a student or employee;

q) refusal to follow instructions or to perform designated work that may be required;

r) repeated tardiness or absence, absence without proper notification to the supervisor or without satisfactory reasons or unavailability for work; and

s) violation of policies or rules of the College.

1.07 Investigations
All incidents that involve the potential for disciplinary action shall be investigated by the employee’s supervisor or other designated administrative official (see: College Employee Freedom from Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation policy). If the investigation results in a preponderance of credible evidence establishing that the employee engaged in conduct warranting the disciplinary action (hereinafter “the evidentiary standard”), the supervisor shall hold a pre-disciplinary conference before seeking approval for proposed disciplinary action more severe than verbal reprimand.

1.08 Pre-disciplinary Conference
The pre-disciplinary conference serves as an opportunity to avoid mistaken decisions to impose discipline. An employee shall be informed of the basis for the disciplinary action under consideration and have an opportunity to respond before a final decision is made to take disciplinary action.

There is no prescribed procedure for this conference. It should be informal. However, before reaching a final decision to impose discipline, the supervisor shall:

a) inform the employee of the reasons for the proposed disciplinary action, the facts upon which the supervisor relies, the names of any persons who have made statements about the disciplinary incident, and the content of such statements;

b) give the employee access to any documentary material that the supervisor has relied upon; and

c) give the employee an opportunity to respond to the charges either orally or in writing within a reasonable time and to persuade the supervisor that the evidence supporting the charges do not meet the evidentiary standard.

1.09 Administering a Verbal Reprimand
Following a pre-disciplinary conference, if the supervisor is persuaded the evidence supporting the charges meets the evidentiary standard, he/she may administer a verbal reprimand. When a verbal reprimand is administered, the supervisor should record the date of the reprimand, a description of the work performance or behavior(s) resulting in the reprimand, and any direction given for the employee to improve/change his or her behavior in the supervisor’s management notes.

1.10 Permission to Impose Disciplinary Action More Severe than Verbal Reprimand
After completing the pre-disciplinary conference, if the supervisor determines a disciplinary action more severe than verbal reprimand is necessary given the current behavior being addressed or given past disciplinary actions involving the employee, the supervisor should consult with the Director of Human Resources and should obtain authorization from the appropriate Executive Council member prior to administering a more severe level of discipline.

The College President must approve suspension without pay and dismissal prior to those actions being administered by the College.

1.11 Administering Disciplinary Actions More Severe than a Verbal Reprimand
If the supervisor receives authorization to impose a more sever disciplinary action, the supervisor shall administer the discipline action by informing the employee in writing of the following:

a) The disciplinary penalty being administered (i.e., written reprimand with probation, suspension without pay, or dismissal);

b) the effective date of dismissal if applicable;

c) the specific period for a probation if applicable;

d) a specific period for a suspension without pay if applicable, not to exceed three (3) work days;

e) the specific incident, conduct, course of conduct, unsatisfactory work performance, or other basis for the disciplinary penalty;

f) any previous efforts to make the employee aware of the need to change or improve work performance or conduct;

g) reference to any relevant rule, regulation, or policy;

h) for written reprimands with probation, suspensions without pay, a performance improvement plan; and

i) the right to appeal the disciplinary action at Level Two of Local Policy DGBA -Employee Complaints and Grievances, and provide the employee a copy of the policy.

1.12 Effect upon Employee Benefits

1. An employee who is suspended without pay continues to accrue vacation and sick leave, to be covered by group insurance, and to be entitled to other employee benefit programs.

2. If a suspension without pay is appealed and it is determined that there was not good cause for the suspension, the employee shall be entitled to payment for wages lost as a result of the suspension.

3. If the decision to dismiss an employee is not upheld upon appeal, the employee shall be reinstated to the same or similar position and shall be entitled to payment of back wages less any unemployment benefits received by the employee after the date of dismissal. Employee benefits such as vacation and sick leave shall be credited back to the date of dismissal.

1.13 Records of Disciplinary Actions
Copies of all documents pertaining to disciplinary actions shall be filed in the employee’s personnel file maintained by the Office of Human Resources.

SECTION TWO: TENURED FACULTY MEMBERS

2.01 Good Cause
Adequate cause for dismissal of a faculty member with tenure may be established for good cause.

2.02 Financial Exigency
Cases of bona fide financial exigency on the part of the institution, or the phasing out of institutional programs requiring reduction of staff, may permit exceptions to tenure regulations in unusual circumstances as follows:

1. Any employee with tenure involved in such adjustments in emergency situations shall be given opportunities for appointment in related areas provided that the individual is qualified professionally to perform in such areas, and that such positions are available.

2. Any employee with tenure who can present prima facie evidence of discriminatory treatment or infringement of academic freedom in such emergencies has the right to a fair hearing before an elected peer committee, prior to any hearing authorized under dismissal procedure for good cause.

3. Any employee with tenure involved in such a readjustment process has the right to reappointment to a previous position if it is reestablished within two years.

2.03 Right to Appeal
When the College determines not to reappoint a faculty member with tenure for good cause or financial exigency, the faculty member may appeal the decision through the process described in Local Policy DGBA – Employee Complaints and Grievances.

2.04 Optional Developmental Plan
If the College is considering dismissal of a faculty member with tenure for behavior or performance issues that could be corrected by the faculty member within a reasonable timeframe as determined by the College, the College will take the following steps prior to dismissing the employee:

a) Provide written notice to the faculty member that includes a description of the behavior or performance issue and a developmental plan to guide the faculty member in correcting the issue.

b) After issuing the notice, regular conferences with the direct supervisor will be used to monitor and document progress toward meeting expectations or correcting behavior.

c) Not later than the last Monday in February, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will apprise the President if he/she recommends not reappointing the faculty member for the next academic year.

d) The President will provide written notice to the faculty member by April 1 if College is not going to reappoint him/her.

SECTION THREE: PUBLICATION, APPROVAL, IMPLEMENTATION, AND ENFORCEMENT

3.01 Publication
The regulation is published in the online Angelina College Policy & Procedure Manual and is available in the Office of the President.

3.02 Approval
The regulation was approved by the President on May 3, 2017.

3.03 Implemented

The Regulation will be implemented on an ongoing basis.

3.04 Enforced
The Regulation will be enforced by action of the President or his designee.

Revised 04/2017