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Article 34: Disciplinary Actions
For purposes of this Article, disciplinary actions are written reprimands and suspensions for fourteen (14) calendar days or fewer.
In effecting disciplinary actions, the Employer endorses the use of like penalties for like offenses and progressive discipline. The Employer will consider the existence of any mitigating and/or aggravating circumstances, the nature of the position occupied by the employee at issue, and any other factors bearing upon the incident(s) or act(s) underlying the action. The degree of discipline administered will be proportionate to the offense and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
When the Employer determines that discipline of an employee is appropriate, the Employer may consider informal actions before taking disciplinary action. However, the Employer need not take informal action before taking disciplinary action.
The Employer will take a disciplinary action for such cause as will promote the efficiency of the service.
No advance notice is required for the issuance of a written reprimand. However, a written reprimand will state the specific reasons for the action and include a statement in the written reprimand advising the employee of his/her rights to challenge the written reprimand.
Written reprimands will be placed in the employee's Official Personnel Folder for no more than two (2) years from the date of issuance.
The Employer will follow these procedures when proposing and deciding to suspend an employee under this Article:
A. Give the employee advance written notice stating the specific reasons for the proposed suspension. In cases where a disciplinary action is proposed for reasons of off-duty misconduct, the Employer's written notification also will contain a statement of the nexus between the off-duty misconduct and the efficiency of the service.
B. Provide the employee with a copy of the information relied upon to support the proposed disciplinary action.
C. Grant the employee a reasonable amount of duty time, up to four hours, to prepare his/her response to the proposed suspension. The Employer may consider a written request from the employee for additional duty time to prepare his/her response.
D. Give the employee the opportunity to reply to the notice orally and/or in writing within seven calendar days from the date the employee receives notice of the proposed suspension. The Employer may consider a written request from the employee to extend the reply period.
E. If the employee elects to make an oral reply, the Deciding Official, or his/her designee, will prepare a summary of the oral reply for the record. The Employer will provide a copy of this summary to the employee and the employee's representative and allow at least one day for comment and/or correction.
F. Consider the employee's reply.
G. Give the employee a written decision letter concerning the proposed suspension. Normally, the decision will be made by a management official of a higher level than the official who issued the notice of the proposed suspension. The decision letter will be issued prior to the effective date of the suspension, and will contain the Employer's findings with respect to each specification and charge made against the employee in the notice of proposed action and the dates of the suspension. The Employer also will include a statement in the decision letter advising the employee of the Union's right to challenge the suspension.
Upon request, an employee is entitled to representation at any examination by a representative of the Employer in connection with an investigation if the employee reasonably believes that the examination may result in disciplinary action against the employee.
An employee against whom a disciplinary action has been taken may grieve that action under Article 32 of this Agreement (Grievance Procedure). For actions effected after a second level management decision (suspensions), the grievance procedure may be bypassed and the Union may elect to proceed directly to arbitration in accordance with Article 33.
If a disciplinary action is canceled, all documentation relative to that action (or proposed action) in the employee's Official Personnel File will be destroyed, with confirmation of destruction sent to the employee. The Employer will not destroy any documentation required to be preserved under laws, rules, or regulations.