The Commission establishes and supports disciplinary rules and procedures, which will provide for the orderly conduct of personnel management and for the protection of the safety and rights of all employees. The Commission will provide for a proper balance of the rights of employees and the obligation of City management to employ and retain only those employees who make a positive contribution to the quality of services provided to the community.
Under the Minnesota Public Employees Labor Relations Act, employees in a recognized bargaining unit may choose to grieve the disciplinary action through their contract provisions. In such cases, the Commission will not conduct a hearing nor enter into the process. Similarly, an employee who chooses to appeal a disciplinary action to the Commission waives his/her right to file a grievance through a contract.
The two primary causes for disciplinary action and removal are substandard performance and misconduct.
A. Substandard Performance
1. Employees who are unable or unwilling to perform their job tasks at minimum acceptable standards are subject to disciplinary procedures.
2. Employees who are unable to perform their job tasks because of medical reasons can be laid off (if condition is temporary) or removed (if condition is permanent), subject to applicable federal and state laws . (CSC 3/14/02) (CSC 2/24/09)
3. Employees who fail to meet minimum performance and behavioral standards because of chemical dependency and who have either refused to undergo or failed to complete a prescribed program of treatment, or have previously received one period of prescribed treatment within the last five years while a City employee may be subject to discipline including discharge. In the event of gross misconduct, disciplinary action including discharge is allowed irrespective of the number of previous treatments.
4. Failure to meet or continue to meet an established requirement of the position, e.g. residency, license or registration. (CSC 4/9/92) (CSC 2/10/94)
The following activities are examples of misconduct, which may be cause for disciplinary action.
1. Tardiness and absenteeism.
2. Sick leave abuse.
3. Absence without leave.
4. Insubordination (disobedience, abusive language or behavior).
5. Willful or negligent damage of City property.
6. Interference with the work of other employees.
7. Sexual harassment.
8. Misappropriation of City property, funds or money.
9. Violation of safety rules, laws, and regulations.
10. Discourtesy to public or fellow employees.
11. Physical abuse, brutality or mental harassment.
12. Accepting gifts from the public in connection with performance of duties as a City employee.
13. Criminal or dishonest conduct unbecoming to a public employee, whether such conduct was committed while on duty or off duty.
14. Reporting to work under the influence or in possession of alcohol or illegal drugs, or using such substance on the job.
15. Soliciting or receiving funds for political purposes or personal gain during work.
16. Using authority or influence to compel an employee to become politically active.
17. Use or threat of political influence on employment status.
18. Violation of department rules, policies, procedures or City ordinance.
19. Knowingly making a false material statement to the City's representative during an investigation into employment related misconduct. (CSC 8/27/98)
20. Other justifiable causes as specified.
It is the intent of the Commission to establish disciplinary procedures which are commensurate with the reasons or causes for disciplinary action. The principle of progressive discipline should be applied when repeated action is necessary. The following types of disciplinary action are listed in order of their increasing severity.
A disciplinary warning includes an interview between the employee and supervisor covering the details of the problem, plans for correcting the problem and a warning memo to document the event.
B. Written Reprimand
The written reprimand is a letter documenting the rules violation, a plan for future avoidance, a warning about future disciplinary action, and an acknowledgment signature by the offending employee. It is used in repeated violations or if the initial violation is severe enough.
Employees may be suspended without pay for disciplinary reasons for periods not to exceed ninety calendar days. Suspension of thirty-one to ninety calendar days may be appealed by the employee to the Commission. In general, suspensions are more appropriate in situations involving misconduct rather than substandard performance.
Disciplinary demotions include reductions in grade and/or salary; they may be temporary or permanent; or a voluntary demotion may be granted. In general, demotions are more appropriate in situations involving substandard performance rather than misconduct.
1. Temporary demotions, those up to one hundred eighty days, are appropriate for misconduct.
2. Permanent demotions, those over one hundred eighty days, are appropriate for substandard performance.
3. A voluntary demotion may be granted to avoid other disciplinary action if agreed to by the employee and by management.
4. Employees who are demoted may return to their prior status class or to a lower job class in the same occupational field. If no vacancy exists, they will be placed on the corresponding lay-off list.
Discharge of an employee is appropriate for persistent substandard performance, gross or repeated misconduct, or severe initial misconduct.
The Human Resources Department, the employee, and the employee's representative must be given timely notification of the disciplinary actions listed below. The notification must state the specific reasons for the disciplinary action. To insure that the notification is necessary and appropriate, it is recommended that a "cooling off" period of at least twenty-four hours elapse before a disciplinary action be taken. In cases of gross misconduct or behavior, which threatens the safety, or well being of other workers or the public, immediate action may be necessary.
B. Demotions (including salary decreases).
Disciplined employees may appeal to the Commission, a suspension of over thirty days, a permanent demotion (including salary decreases), or a discharge if they believe those rules and procedures have been improperly applied by management.
A. Employee Request for Hearing
Disciplined employees who are eligible to be heard may file a request for hearing by the Commission to appeal the disciplinary action. The request for hearing must be in writing and must be postmarked or received by the Human Resources Department/Civil Service Commission within ten calendar days from the date the notice was personally served on the disciplined employee or the date the notice was receipted for at the employee's last known address and must describe the alleged breach of disciplinary rules and procedures by management. The ten (10) days are counted from the first day after the notice was personally served or the date the notice was receipted for at the employee's last known address. If the tenth days falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the request may be served on or before the following business day. The date of postmark must be within that 10 day period.
Employees who have not completed their probationary period have no appeal rights.
The right of veterans of military service to disciplinary hearing is subject to Minnesota Statute 197.46, which provides for disciplinary hearing during probation. (CSC 7/27/04)
When, in its judgment, an employee's appeal for a disciplinary hearing is appropriate under the Rules, the Commission will arrange for such hearing and subsequent findings and decisions will be published.
A. Hearing Notice
1. The Commission will provide the disciplined employee, the employee's representative, and management with at least ten -day notice of the time and place of the disciplinary hearing.
2. Veteran's Hearing - When notice to remove a veteran has been received by the Civil Service Commission from the Department Head or his/her designee, the Secretary to the Commission will establish a tentative hearing date. The hearing will be scheduled no more than twenty calendar days following the end of the veteran's sixty day appeal period or the receipt of the appeal notice, whichever occurs first. (CSC 4/23/98)
B. Hearing Authority
The Commission may conduct the disciplinary hearing or it may appoint a hearing examiner or a trial board to conduct the hearing and report their findings and recommendations to the Commission. The Commission and its appointees have the power of subpoena to require attendance of witnesses and submittal of pertinent documents, to administer oaths, and to continue the hearing from time to time. No more than five subpoenas may be issued without approval of a Commissioner. Management and the appellant employee may be represented by counsel.
C. Hearing Procedure
The procedures in a disciplinary hearing will be as informal as practicable, follow Minnesota Rules, part 1400.7300 Rules of Evidence, will have a verbatim record kept, and be conducted in the following sequence:
1. Management or the representative of management presents evidence in support of their disciplinary action.
2. The employee or the employee's representative presents evidence in defense of the employee.
3. Both parties may offer rebuttal.
4. Prior to making its final decision, the Commission (or appointees) may hear further argument and initiate further investigation. The Commission may accept a resignation from the employee in lieu of further proceedings.
5. In no case will additional evidence be considered or arguments heard without all parties being present and having an opportunity to respond.
D. Post-Hearing Procedures (CSC 3/14/02)
1. The Hearing Officer shall file the Findings of Fact, Conclusions and Recommendations with the Commission within forty-five days from the close of the hearing record. (CSC 3/14/02)
2. The Commission will serve the Findings of Fact, Conclusions and Recommendation of the Hearing Officer upon management and the employee. (CSC 3/14/02)
3. The employee and management shall each have ten days after receipt of the Findings of Fact, Conclusions and Recommendation to file on each other and on the Commission written exceptions to the Findings of Fact, Conclusions and Recommendations. (CSC 3/14/02)
4. The Commission will provide notice to the employee and management of the date of oral arguments before the Commission. (CSC 3/14/02)
5. The final written decision of the Commission will be published by notice to the employee and management within thirty days after the oral arguments. (CSC 3/14/02)
Last updated Dec. 23, 2011