Article 8 - Discipline and Discharge
Section 1. Purpose. Disciplinary action may be imposed on employees only for just cause and shall be corrective where appropriate.
Section 2. Association Representation. The Appointing Authority shall not meet with an employee for the purpose of questioning the employee during an investigation that may lead to discipline of that employee without first advising the employee of the nature of the investigation and offering the employee an opportunity for Association representation. Any employee waiving the right to such representation must do so in writing prior to the questioning. However, if any employee is being questioned during an investigation of resident/patient abuse, the employee, upon request, shall have the right to Association representation.
An Association Steward providing Association representation at investigatory interview meetings and Loudermill meetings shall be allowed a reasonable amount of time without loss of pay during working hours to attend such meetings. However, reasonable time off without loss of pay shall not include travel time if the travel time to and from exceeds thirty (30) minutes.
Section 3. Disciplinary Action.
Discipline includes only the following, but not necessarily in this order:
Oral reprimand (not grievable)
Suspension (paid or unpaid)
Suspension – equivalent reduction of vacation balance*
*The Appointing Authority may, in lieu of an unpaid suspension, issue a suspension by subtracting vacation hours from the employee’s accumulated vacation balance in an amount equal to the unpaid suspension. The employee who is being disciplined must have at least forty (40) hours of vacation in their vacation bank before discipline is issued and the suspension may not exceed five (5) working days.
If the Appointing Authority has reason to reprimand an employee, it shall be done in such a manner that will not embarrass the employee before other employees, supervisors, or the public. Oral reprimands shall be identified as such to the employee.
When any disciplinary action more severe than an oral reprimand is intended, the Appointing Authority shall, before or at the time such action is taken, notify the employee and the Association in writing of the specific reason(s) for such action.
Section 4. Investigatory Leave. The Appointing Authority/designee may place an employee who is the subject of a disciplinary investigation on an investigatory leave with pay provided a reasonable basis exists to warrant such leave. The Appointing Authority shall, as soon as practicable upon placing an employee on investigatory leave, notify the employee and the Association in writing of the reason(s) for such action and provide the name of an agency contact person. If the investigatory leave extends past thirty (30) days, the employee shall be notified of the reason(s) for the continuance of the leave including the status of the investigation. Information provided on the status of the investigation shall be in accordance with Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
Section 5. Discharge of Employees. The Appointing Authority shall not discharge any employee without just cause. If the Appointing Authority believes there is just cause for discharge, the employee and the Association will be notified, in writing, that the employee is to be discharged and shall be furnished with the reason(s) therefore, and the effective date of the discharge. The Appointing Authority shall notify the employee that they may request an opportunity to hear an explanation of the evidence against them and to present their side of the story and is entitled to Association representation at such meeting. The right to such meeting shall expire at the end of the next scheduled work day of the employee after the notice of discharge is delivered to the employee, unless the employee and the Appointing Authority agree otherwise. The discharge shall not become effective during the period when the meeting may occur. The employee shall remain in their normal pay status during the time between the notice of discharge and the expiration of the meeting. However, if the employee for any reason was not in pay status at the time of the notice of discharge, this shall not apply. All employees, no matter if they are in or out of pay status at the time they received notice of discharge, shall be in pay status for the actual time they spend in the above-mentioned meeting.
The Association shall have the right to take up a discharge at the second step of the Grievance Procedure and the matter shall be handled in accordance with this procedure, if so requested by the Association.
An employee found to be unjustly discharged shall be reinstated in accordance with the conditions agreed to between the parties if appropriate or the decision of the Arbitrator.
Section 6. Unclassified Employees. The termination of unclassified employees is not subject to the arbitration provisions of this Agreement, unless otherwise specified in this Agreement. When practicable, the Appointing Authority shall notify a temporary unclassified employee a minimum of twenty-one (21) days prior to the scheduled end of their appointment as to whether the position will be: ended as scheduled, converted to classified, or extended in accordance with the contract and statute. However, such provision shall not be grievable or arbitrable.
Section 7. Personnel File. Initial minor infractions, irregularities, or deficiencies shall first be privately brought to the attention of the employee and, if corrected, shall not be entered into the employee's personnel file.
Upon the employee’s request, a “letter of expectation,” which is not discipline, may be removed from the personnel file, provided that the employee has performed satisfactorily for six (6) months from the date of the “letter of expectation.”
An oral reprimand shall not become a part of an employee's personnel file. Investigations which do not result in disciplinary actions shall not be entered into the employee's personnel file.
Each employee shall be furnished with a copy of all evaluative and disciplinary entries into their personnel file and shall be entitled to have their written response included therein. All disciplinary entries, except discharge, in the employee's personnel file shall state the corrective action expected of the employee.
Upon request of the employee, a written reprimand shall be removed from the employee's personnel file provided that no further disciplinary action has been taken against the employee for a period of eighteen (18) months following the date of the written reprimand. Upon request of the employee, a written record of a suspension of ten (10) days or less shall be removed from the employee's personnel file provided that no further disciplinary action has been taken against the employee for a period of three (3) years following the beginning date of the written suspension. Discipline that becomes eligible for removal, based upon this provision, shall not be used as a basis for any subsequent discipline of the employee.
The contents of an employee's personnel file shall be disclosed to them upon request and to the employee's Association Steward upon the written request of the employee. The written request authorizing the Association Steward access to the file shall not be placed in the employee’s personnel file. In the event a grievance is initiated under Article 9, the Appointing Authority shall provide a copy of any items from the employee's personnel file upon the request of the employee or the Association, with any copying costs paid in advance by the employee or the Association. However, up to two (2) copies or a digital copy, at the discretion of the agency, of such material shall be without cost to the employee or Association.
Only the employee's personnel file may be used as evidence in any disciplinary action or hearing. This does not limit, restrict, or prohibit the Appointing Authority from submitting supportive documentation or testimony, either oral or written, in any disciplinary hearing, nor does it so limit the Association.
Documentation regarding wage garnishment action against an employee shall not be placed in the employee's personnel file.
Section 8. Loudermill Hearing. If the intent of the Appointing Authority is to suspend or discharge an employee they shall first notify the employee that they may request an opportunity to hear an explanation of the evidence against them and to present their side of the story and is entitled to Association representation at such meeting. The right to such meeting (Loudermill Hearing) shall expire at the end of the next scheduled work day of the employee after the notice of a suspension or discharge is delivered to the employee, unless the employee and the Appointing Authority agree otherwise. The discipline shall not become effective during the period when the meeting may occur. The employee shall remain in their normal pay status during the time between the notice of discipline and the expiration of the meeting.