Board of Trustees Policy
Subject: Progressive Discipline–Faculty
Date: May 2003
The Faculty Progressive Discipline Policy is an agreed upon policy that guides the discipline of any faculty member unless another provision is provided in the contract such as, for example, with probationary part-time faculty. This policy applies to both full-time and part-time faculty.
In November 2000 the faculty union and administrative representatives, through the Meet and Discuss process, developed the attached Faculty Progressive Discipline Procedure.
The Procedure has been used in several cases since it was developed though there is no evidence that the procedure was ever formally approved by the president and /or the College’s Board of Trustees and added to the faculty contract as an addendum.
College legal counsel has been consulted regarding the procedure. The intent and legality of the procedure is strong, though the administration may want to adjust the procedure in the future to allow for different approaches to three categories of discipline: performance, misconduct and absenteeism/tardiness.
Progressive Discipline—Faculty Procedures
In cases where disciplinary action is necessary, the progressive disciplinary procedure outlined below will be implemented.
When the Faculty Member commits an infraction of a work rule or any other behavior that necessitates correction, the division dean/program director (DD/PD) should informally meet with the Faculty Member (in private) and clearly explain his/her objection to the behavior/work performance, state what the acceptable standard is, and encourage the Faculty Member to improve. The Faculty Member will be advised that he/she may request that a Union observer be in attendance at this meeting. The DD/PD should record the time, date, place, and nature of the meeting for possible future reference. A copy of this record of meeting will be forwarded to the Human Resources Office and the Union.
If the informal meeting fails to correct the behavior, the DD/PD must prepare a Written Warning Notice. This Notice should describe the infraction(s) and/or the unacceptable work behavior and state what would be an acceptable behavior. The appropriate vice president (Academic Affairs and Provost/Student Affairs and Enrollment Management) and the Executive Director of Human Resources will assist the DD/PD in the preparation of this Written Warning Notice.
Optional Meeting/Written Response
After the Written Warning Notice has been prepared and sent to the Faculty Member with a copy going to the Union and/or appropriate administrator, the Faculty Member has ten (10) calendar days to request a meeting with the Executive Director of Human Resources, the appropriate vice president, the DD/PD, and a Union observer. During the meeting, the Faculty Member will be provided with an explanation as to why the Notice was considered necessary. This will be followed by a discussion with the Faculty Member of the objectionable behavior and/or work performance. At the conclusion of this meeting, the Faculty Member will be encouraged to make a commitment to correct the objectionable behavior and/or work performance and be again told what will be considered acceptable behavior/work in the future. Finally, the Faculty Member will be advised that if improvement is not made, more severe disciplinary action will be taken.
A Faculty Member may also submit a written response to the Written Warning Notice within ten (10) days after the meeting if held or after receiving the Written Warning Notice. Such response will be attached to the Written Warning Notice before it becomes part of the disciplinary action file. After eighteen (18) months, the Faculty Member may submit a written request to have material contained in his/her Human Resources file related to the incident giving rise to the disciplinary action removed.
In the event the Oral Warning and Written Warning Notice fail to correct the behavior and/or work performance, the DD/PD, in consultation with the Executive Director of Human Resources and appropriate vice president, will prepare a letter outlining the disciplinary action to be taken by the College. Disciplinary action could include, but not limited to, suspension without pay on a non-instructional day(s). (See General Section for breakdown of pay loss.) If possible, this letter will be given to the Faculty Member at a meeting attended by the Faculty Member, the DD/PD, appropriate vice president, Executive Director of Human Resources, and a Union representative. Again, the objectionable behavior and/or work performance will be pointed out, the earlier Written Warning Notice will be discussed, and the Faculty Member will be told how his/her failure to heed the earlier Written Warning Notice necessitated this action. The College, at its sole discretion may issue a second suspension.
If the actions outlined above fail to correct the behavior and/or work performance of the Faculty Member, the DD/PD, in consultation with the Executive Director of Human Resources and the appropriate vice president, will prepare a Notice of Termination and deliver same to the Faculty Member and the Union.
In the event the DD/PD is confronted with gross insubordination, such as outright refusal to follow a legitimate work order and/or serious offenses, which may include but not necessarily limited to theft, physical assault or other behavior that is viewed by the DD/PD as an imminent threat to the others, he/she is authorized to take immediate disciplinary action.
Generally, the action taken should be an immediate suspension with pay and removal from the work site pending an investigation. The Union must be notified at this point. The DD/PD should inform the Faculty Member that he/she will be notified as soon as the investigation is complete (usually not more than five (5) calendar days). Following this action (immediate suspension), the DD/PD must notify the Executive Director of Human Resources, the appropriate vice president and the Union. The Executive Director of Human Resources, with appropriate vice president and the DD/PD, will prepare the investigative report which shall be shared with the Union before a decision regarding the appropriate disciplinary action is formally made.
The Union shall submit a list of “on call” Union members who will be available in the event the Faculty Member requests a Union observer or representative be present.
All requirements of the College to notify or inform the Union will be satisfied by notifying the Union President or his/her designee.
Disciplinary action taken by the College through its administrative staff as outlined above is subject to ARTICLE 3, GRIEVANCE/ARBITRATION PROCEDURE, of the Faculty Contract.