300-47
DISCIPLINE

Department: HUMAN RESOURCES & RISK MANAGEMENT

Effective Date:    3/1/97

Supersedes:    1/1/91

Staff Contact:    B. Nelson Glode

Approved by:    Jesse Tanner

1.0 PURPOSE:

The purpose of discipline is to improve the performance, efficiency, and morale of City employees by establishing a process that strives to retain productive employees and create a committed and responsible workforce.

2.0 ORGANIZATIONS AFFECTED:

All departments/divisions except employees under the Civil Service Commission.

3.0 REFERENCES:

Policies

100-07 Code of Ethics    Labor Contracts

340-02 Harassment    Police Civil Service Rules

300-16 Probation Period    Fire Civil Service Rules

300-19 Employee Termination & Out-Process

300-46 At Will Employment

300-62 Drug and Alcohol Testing Program

700-08 Drivers’ Licenses

4.0 POLICY:

It is the policy of the City of Renton to provide City employees with fair, appropriate, progressive, and effective discipline that is, of course, timely and allows in most situations for an employee to respond prior to final implementation of discipline.

5.0 DEFINITIONS:

5.1    Disciplinary Action

Employer actions designed to correct the conduct or performance of employees who fail to meet established and/or reasonably understood standards, and, in the case of the continued or habitual employee who fails to correct their conduct or performance, to dismiss them from the workforce.

5.2    Progressive Discipline

Because discipline is intended to be corrective rather than punitive, discipline is intended to be progressive in nature, thus a supervisor will take progressively more severe action if an employee has not responded to previous warnings or disciplinary actions. The level of disciplinary action depends on the severity of the misconduct and/or failure in performance involved. The levels involved are normally as follows:

a.    Oral Reprimand

A formal discussion between an employee and the employer administered when an employee commits an infraction of a minor nature. This should be noted and retained for one year if no other oral reprimands of any type occur.

b.    Written Reprimand

A documented formal action administered when an oral reprimand has not resolved a problem or when an infraction is of a serious nature. This reprimand should be filed in the employee's personnel file and retained for two years if no other written reprimands of any type occur. (Removal after two years is at the request of the employee.)

c.    Disciplinary Suspension Without Pay

A severe action used for major infractions or as a last measure in lieu of termination.

d.    Termination

The most severe action taken when all other efforts at corrective action have failed or in the case of a very serious infraction or insubordination.

5.3    At-Will Employee

Those employees who serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. (See Policy 300-46). New employees during their first twelve months of employment. (See Policy 300-16).

6.0 PROCEDURES:

6.1    Cause for Discipline

Specific grounds for discipline include, but ARE NOT limited to the following:

a.    Incompetence, inefficiency, insubordination, ineffectiveness, negligence or dereliction of duty;

b.    Dishonesty, illegal conduct; Discourteous treatment or harassment of the public or a fellow employee, any action of omission or commission harmful to City interests, or any other willful misconduct;

c.    Mental or physical inability to perform the duties, responsibilities and tasks of the position;

d.    Drunkenness, the use, or possession during working hours of alcoholic beverage, narcotics, habit-forming drugs or other substances which might impair mental or physical fitness;

e.    Conviction for any felony crime, or for a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;

f.    Making false or fraudulent statements;

g.    Willful or intentional violation of any city policies or department rules; lawful and/or reasonable regulation, order or direction made or given by a supervisor;

h.    Possession of explosives, firearms, weapons of any type or hazardous substances while on the job or City property unless specifically authorized and/or job related and utilized as such;

i.    Misuse or abuse of public property, waste of public supplies or misuse of public funds;

j.    Failure to hold and maintain required licenses, certifications or endorsements;

k.    Falsifying reports or records;

l.    On-going conduct harmful to efficiency or morale.

6.2    Pre-Disciplinary Procedures

A pre-disciplinary procedure is intended to permit an employee to intelligently respond to charges before a final decision to discipline is made thus providing a supervisor an opportunity to re-evaluate the proposed decision in light of the employee's version of the facts. Where appropriate and effective in light of the offense, it is desirable, but not mandatory, that employee discipline be corrective and progressive. Pre-disciplinary procedures necessary to satisfy these requirements can be summed up as follows:

a.    Employees must be given prior written notice by their employing department before any serious disciplinary measures are taken against them, i.e. termination, suspension, reduction in rank or pay. The attached model letter, or its equivalent, must be utilized to meet the requirements of the pre-disciplinary procedure.

b.    Employees must have access to all materials, if any, supporting the proposed action and, if practicable, they should be supplied with a copy of such material.

c.    Prior to the proposed disciplinary action, employees have the right to respond either orally or in writing (at the employee's discretion) to the authority initially imposing discipline. Such authority can be the Department/Division Head or a supervisor who has the authority to effectively recommend the action to be taken.

d.    Disciplinary actions directly affected are termination, reductions, and suspensions. Warnings, reprimands, and performance evaluations are not subject to this policy.

e.    This procedure does not prohibit a department from taking disciplinary action without prior notice. On a case-by-case basis, under unusual circumstances, an employee may be removed from the work place prior to completion of every step in the procedure if a supervisor believes a genuine emergency exists requiring the immediate termination or removal of an employee. The supervisor should carefully document the reasons for such a decision. Such documentation should indicate, for example, that the employee's continued presence at the work site could have detrimental consequences or cause public harm. In such unusual instances, the Human Resources & Risk Management Administrator shall be contacted as soon as possible.

f.    Management must set the time for the response and allow the employee a reasonable period of time (a minimum of 2 working days) for review of the matter. In cases involving lengthy specifications, supporting materials and related documents, as many as seven workdays may be appropriate. When establishing a response deadline, management should be guided by the complexity of issues involved, the volume of the documented materials, and good judgment.

g.    Although there is no fixed standard as to what level of management should be appointed to review an employee's response, it should be at least one or two levels above the employee's supervisor. In all cases the Manager must have enough authority in the organizational structure to make an effective recommendation on the proposed action. All terminations must be reviewed by the Department Administrator (with appeal to the Mayor for non-represented employees).

h.    If an employee is suspended pending investigation, and the investigation reveals additional information which may result in the employee's reduction or discharge, the employee is entitled to receive copies of this material. The employee may also be granted additional time to respond to the new information if necessary.

i.    Any written notice indicating intent to terminate must be reviewed by the Human Resources & Risk Management Administrator.

SAMPLE PREDISCIPLINARY LETTER

CITY OF RENTON

MEMORANDUM

____________________________________________________________________________________

DATE:

TO:

FR:

RE:    Notice of Intent to Terminate, Reduce in Rank, (or Grade), or Suspend (Insert Name of Employee)

____________________________________________________________________________________

This letter is to give you notice of my intent to (state kind of discipline: terminate you, reduce you in rank [or grade], suspend you) from your position of __________________ for a period of _________ days (if applicable) (and,or) to the position of ___________________ (if applicable).

It is my intent that your (removal, reduction or suspension) be effective on ___________, 19__.

The following constitutes the grounds for this intended (removal, reduction, or suspension):

(STATE THE CHARGES AND THE FACTS RELATED TO THEM)

All written materials, reports, documents and items which constitute the basis of the charges are available for your review, inspection, and copying, and will remain so during regular business hours until the effective date of the intended (termination, reduction, or suspension).

If you wish to review, inspect, or copy any of these items, contact _______________ at _______________, in the City of Renton.

YOU ARE FURTHER NOTIFIED OF YOUR RIGHT TO RESPOND TO THE CHARGES ORALLY OR IN WRITING. If you choose to respond, you must do so prior to (specify a date which will give adequate time to serve an order of termination, reduction, or suspension on the employee before the effective date of discipline).

If you wish to respond orally, you may make an appointment to see _______________ by calling _______________.

If you wish to respond in writing, your response must be received by the undersigned by __________, 19__, in the City of Renton.

FAILURE TO RESPOND SHALL BE DEEMED A WAIVER OF YOUR RIGHT TO RESPOND PRIOR TO IMPOSITION OF DISCIPLINE.

A copy of the foregoing notice was personally served or mailed certified to (state name of employee) __________________this ___ day of ___________ 19__.

____________________
Appointing Authority