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IS-2062 Disciplinary Action (Policy)

Human Resources

Release Date: 04/25/01
Revision 1: 10/31/01
Revision 2: 07/27/05
Revision 3: 02/19/20

Policy

CNM Board Policy

Governing Board Handbook Section V, Personnel Matters
Employee Handbook Section IX, Discipline/Grievance Procedure

Administrative Directive

Introduction

Central New Mexico Community College's (CNM) policies on disciplinary action provide consistent, fair standards and methods for supervisors and employees to identify and correct performance and/or misconduct related issues. CNM seeks to foster positive and constructive relationships among all employees. The College's philosophy is to give employees the opportunity to improve. To this end, CNM's disciplinary processes incorporate actions designed to improve substandard performance and correct unacceptable behaviors. The terms correction (or corrective action) and discipline are used interchangeably.

1. Corrective Action and Termination

The first choice a supervisor must make in a disciplinary situation is to determine whether the employee's performance and/or conduct can be corrected using informal or formal discipline, or whether the situation requires termination.

Corrective Action

1.1 When appropriate, a supervisor initiates corrective action.  Situations that are minor but significant enough to be addressed would call for informal methods of discipline which are normally:

  • Informal Discussions
  • Documented Verbal Warnings

If informal discussions and/or a documented verbal warning have not resulted in improved performance/conduct, or the supervisor determines a situation is serious initially, he/she may move into the formal stages of disciplinary action.  The formal stages of disciplinary action are:

  • Written Reprimand
  • Probation
  • Suspension

Termination

1.2 If prior discipline or corrective action has not helped the employee to improve the performance/conduct or circumstances warrant more severe action as determined by the College, the employee may be terminated.

2. General Information

Working with Human Resources

2.1 Supervisors work closely with the Human Resources Department during any disciplinary action.  Human resources representatives help employees and supervisors to comply with standard practices, and also ensure that CNM remains in compliance with Governing Board, state and federal mandates.  Human resources representatives are available to meet with all employees and supervisors who become involved in disciplinary situations.

Human resources representatives also advise supervisors in cases when an employee becomes upset or is unable or unwilling to leave the worksite.

If Employees Are Not Present at the Worksite

2.2 If an employee is not at the worksite, or leaves the worksite without signing necessary documentation, the supervisor sends documents to the employees last known address by certified mail with a return receipt, or by courier with signature required upon receipt.  If the supervisor is unable to contact the employee in any way, and there is no response by the employee after three days, the supervisor may consider this to be a three-day no-call, no-show situation, and may assume that the employee has resigned.

Documentation

2.3 All documents related to formal disciplinary action are kept in the employees official personnel file, located in the Human Resources Department.  Supervisors may keep additional employee files in their offices as working files that are not accessible to employees.

3. The Pre-Disciplinary Meeting

If the supervisor knows in advance that informal measures are sufficient to address a problem, then informal discussions and/or a documented verbal warning may be used and a pre-disciplinary meeting is not required.

However, a pre-disciplinary meeting is required before any disciplinary action that results in written reprimand, probation, suspension without pay or termination is taken. Employees must be given the opportunity to attend the pre-disciplinary meeting.  In cases where termination may be recommended, the meeting is known as a pre-termination meeting.

This meeting is normally attended by the supervisor, the employee and the human resources representative.  Attendance by the human resources representative is optional in the pre-disciplinary meeting, but required in the pre-termination meeting.  The purpose of the meeting is to give the employee the opportunity to explain the reasons and circumstances that led to the problem in question.  The employee may also draft a written response, which will be placed in the employee's personnel file.

4. Progressive Corrective Action

After the supervisor has heard and considered the employees explanation at the pre-disciplinary meeting, the supervisor decides what, if any, corrective action should be taken.

When making this decision, supervisors consider factors such as whether the employee's actions endanger staff or students at CNM, as well as the frequency and type of violations of CNM's Code of Conduct.

4.1  Corrective action steps resulting from informal discipline are:

  • Informal Discussions
  • Documented Verbal Warning

4.2  Corrective action steps resulting from formal discipline are:

  • Documented Verbal Warning

Although a documented verbal warning is an informal method of discipline it could be a possible outcome of proceedings which started as formal discipline.  If during the pre-disciplinary meeting, the employee provided information which led the supervisor to conclude that the problem was not as serious as originally believed but did require some follow-up, a documented verbal warning may be issued.

Written Reprimand

Supervisors may issue a written reprimand.

Probation

Supervisors may place employees on probation.

Suspension

CNM may suspend an employee for up to 10 working days for performance/misconduct problems that warrant discipline greater than a written reprimand, but does not warrant immediate discharge.

Although these corrective action steps are listed in their standard progression, it is up to the supervisor to decide which step should be the first in corrective action.  A supervisor may, for example, place an employee on probation in response to an employee's first performance/misconduct issue, if that performance/misconduct is relatively serious.  A supervisor may also combine or repeat corrective action steps.  For instance, an employee may be suspended, and then placed on probation after returning to work.

5. Termination

Regular employees can be terminated for "just cause."  Just cause shall mean a reason that is rationally related to an employee's competence or turpitude, conduct, or performance.  Examples of just cause include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to improve performance or behavior after receiving a warning, reprimand, suspension or probation

  • Violation of the College's Code of Conduct (Section IV of the Employee Handbook) such as dishonesty, violent behavior, abuse of sick leave, alcohol and substance abuse

  • Situations where, in the supervisor's judgment, the employee's continued employment would jeopardize the well-being of the College, its employees or students

  • Violation of other College policies such as those listed in Section XII of the Employee Handbook and other misconduct as defined by the College.

6. Documentation

All attempts at corrective action which result in formal discipline or termination will be documented.  The supervisor informs the employee in writing of the type of discipline and, when applicable, includes a statement that if the employee's performance/conduct does not improve, or if other performance/conduct problems arise, more severe discipline, up to and including suspension or termination, may result.  Terms, conditions and performance expectations are also included in the memorandum.

7. Grievance

If disciplinary action results in probation, suspension or termination, regular employees may grieve this action under CNM's grievance procedure.

8. Situations Requiring Emergency Removal of Employees

In certain cases, particularly if a CNM employees conduct endangers others or if the employees continued presence would jeopardize the well-being of the College, a supervisor or other College official may act quickly to have the employee leave the worksite.

In an attempt to restore stable, safe conditions at the worksite, a supervisor may place an employee on administrative leave and direct them offsite.  In this situation, administrative leave acts as an interim measure, one that protects the well-being of the College, its employees, students and visitors, but also protects the rights of the employee.  The employee remains offsite with pay while the College investigates the triggering event.  The supervisor and the human resources director can then follow standard procedures to initiate termination (or other corrective action).

8.1 In instances when an employee is unable or unwilling to leave the worksite, supervisors may call CNM Security to escort the employee from the worksite.

8.2 After the employee has left the worksite, and while the employee is absent on administrative leave with pay, the supervisor and the human resources representative work together to document and implement required action.

8.3 A supervisor or another College official may place an employee on administrative leave with pay for the remainder of an employee's work day.  However, to place an employee on administrative leave with pay for periods of longer than the remainder of the employee's work day, the supervisor must obtain approval from the appropriate vice president.  After placing an employee on administrative leave with pay, the supervisor should notify the Human Resources Department as soon as possible.

8.4 When the employee is not at the worksite to receive documentation, supervisors send documents to the employees home by certified mail with a return receipt, or by courier with signature required upon receipt.

9. Definitions

Documented Verbal Warning

Supervisors may wish to begin documenting employee behavior before initiating formal corrective action.  In this case, the supervisor may have a conversation with the employee regarding performance/conduct issues to outline expectations for improvement.  The supervisor may document this conversation with an informal memorandum, which is maintained in the department employee file. When this occurs a pre-disciplinary meeting is not required.

 



Forms

n/a

Support Materials:

IS-2004, Employee Separation
IS-2030, Employee Assistance Program
IS-2032, Official Personnel Files
IS-2018, Anti-Violence in the Workplace
IS-2066, Administrative Leave

Reference Materials: