POLICY 14
MINOR PERFORMANCE PROBLEM RESOLUTION Revised 2/18

SECTION INDEX:    Problem Resolution

1    Purpose

2    Reference

3    Application

4    Guidance

4.1    Seek Timely and Informal Resolution

4.2    Supervisor

4.3    Employee

4.4    Department Director

4.5    City Manager

4.6    Timelines

4.7    Assistance

4.8    Punitive Action Prohibited

4.9    Complaint Regarding the City Manager

1. PURPOSE

Effective municipal service requires prompt consideration and equitable resolution of minor performance problems and disagreements in the workplace. Department directors, supervisors, and employees are expected to try to resolve minor performance problems and disagreements in a timely and informal manner. Only when such informal means fail to resolve minor performance problems and disagreements satisfactorily should formal disciplinary action be considered. This informal resolution does not apply to acts of misconduct. Actions that constitute misconduct will be dealt with through the disciplinary process.

2. REFERENCE

N/A

3. APPLICATION

This Policy applies to all individuals employed by the City of Olympia unless problem resolution procedures are provided otherwise by contract or statute (e.g., civil service rules, union contract, individual employment contract or memorandum of understanding). Sections in this Policy regarding timeliness, assistance, and prohibition against punitive action apply only to this Policy.

Employees who believe they have suffered or witnessed unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation must follow the reporting requirements of the City’s Policy on those topics.

4. GUIDANCE

4.1. SEEK TIMELY AND INFORMAL RESOLUTION

Supervisors and employees are expected to resolve minor performance problems and disagreements informally and in a timely fashion. Only when such informal means fail to resolve minor performance problems and disagreements should the disciplinary process be considered.

4.2. SUPERVISOR

The supervisor is expected to deal with minor performance issues and disagreements between employees in an informal manner.

a.    Employee Performance: From the time an employee is hired, the supervisor is expected to make sure the employee understands the performance expected of a City of Olympia employee. Throughout the employee’s career with the City, supervisors are expected to address minor performance issues with the employee at the time those issues are discovered. If an employee repeatedly has problems with the same type of performance, the supervisor may use Performance Improvement Plans and/or the disciplinary process to address repeated performance issues.

b.    Disagreements Between Employees: Working with employees to manage minor conflict between them is also expected of a successful supervisor. These types of issues are normally expected to be handled in an informal manner. Repeated instances of one employee having conflict with another employee or other employees will be dealt with through the disciplinary process. The City will not tolerate any threats (verbal or physical) from one employee to another and a single instance of this type of behavior may be dealt with through the disciplinary process.

4.3. EMPLOYEE

Employees can expect to be treated with respect and should not be subject to profanity, threats, yelling, or intimidation by a supervisor. However, employees can expect to be held accountable for their performance, which must meet their supervisor’s expectations. Being held accountable for job performance by a supervisor shall not be grounds for an employee’s complaint against a supervisor.

4.4. DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR

If an employee has a minor performance problem with a supervisor that has not been resolved informally, the employee may receive further consideration by submitting a written notice to the department director within five (5) working days after impasse is reached. A copy of the written notice should be sent to the Human Resources Director. If the problem involves the department director, the written notice may be submitted directly to the City Manager. The written notice should include:

a.    Statement of the problem and relevant facts;

b.    Remedy sought; and

c.    Reasons for dissatisfaction with the supervisor’s response.

The department director will reply in writing within ten (10) working days after receipt of the written notice. A copy of the department director’s response should be sent to the Administrative Services Director.

4.5. CITY MANAGER

If the problem is not satisfactorily resolved by the department director within ten (10) working days after submission, the employee may request resolution by the City Manager by submitting a written notice. The written notice should include the following:

a.    Statement of the problem and relevant facts;

b.    Remedy sought; and

c.    Reasons for dissatisfaction with the department director’s response.

The City Manager will reply in writing within ten (10) working days after receipt of the written notice. The decision of the City Manager is final and binding. A copy of the City Manager’s decision should be sent to the Human Resources Director.

4.6. TIMELINES

Timelines are established solely to provide for timely resolution of problems and should be extended upon the reasonable request of either party.

4.7. ASSISTANCE

Assistance in resolving employment related problems is available by contacting the Department Director or staff of Human Resources.

4.8. PUNITIVE ACTION PROHIBITED

No punitive action will be carried out against any employee for using the problem resolution procedure contained in this Policy.

4.9. COMPLAINT REGARDING THE CITY MANAGER

If an employee has a complaint regarding the actions of the City Manager and has been unable to resolve it informally and directly with the City Manager, the employee may bring the matter to the attention of the City Council using the following process:

a.    Submit a written notice to the City Council, with a copy to the City Manager. Notice should include:

1.    Statement of the problem and relevant facts;

2.    Remedy sought; and

3.    Reasons for dissatisfaction with the City Manager’s response.

b.    The City Council will take up the matter in Executive Session as prescribed by RCW 42.30.

c.    The City Council will respond to the employee in writing within twenty-one (21) days of having received the written notice of complaint.

Revision history: February 2018; February 2017; October 2013; September 2011. Superseded: Administrative Guideline Problem Resolution”.