Employee Disciplinary Measures
Employees are employed on an at-will basis and may be warned, placed on probation, suspended, demoted or dismissed by the appointing authority when deemed appropriate. TBR Policy 5:02:03:70 Academic Tenure for Community Colleges should be consulted regarding termination of tenured or tenure-track faculty. The degree and kind of action is at the discretion of the appointing authority.
Bases for Disciplinary Action
Bases for disciplinary action generally fall in three categories.
- Conduct related to performance of duties.
- Conduct related to attendance.
- Conduct which may affect an employee's ability to successfully fulfill the requirements of the job.
Examples of Disciplinary Offenses
The following causes are examples of situations in which disciplinary action up to and including termination may be imposed. This list is not intended to be exhaustive.
- Inefficiency or incompetence in the performance of duties.
- Negligence in the performance of duties.
- Careless, negligent or improper use of Nashville State property or equipment.
- Failure to maintain satisfactory and harmonious working relationships with the public and fellow employees.
- Habitual improper use of sick leave privileges.
- Habitual pattern of failure to report for duty at the assigned time and place.
- Failure to obtain or maintain a current license or certificate or other qualification required by law or rule as a condition of continued employment.
- Gross misconduct or conduct unbecoming an employee of Nashville State.
- Conviction of a felony.
- Willful abuse or misappropriation of Nashville State funds, property or equipment.
- Falsification of an official document relating to or affecting employment.
- Participation in any action that would in any way seriously disrupt or disturb the normal operation of the college or that would interfere with the ability of management to manage.
- Stalking of any Nashville State employee for the purpose of harassment.
- Damage or destruction of college property.
- Acts that would endanger the lives and property of others.
- Possession of unauthorized firearms, lethal weapons, alcohol or illegal drugs on the job.
- Brutality in the performance of duties.
- Refusal to accept a reasonable and proper assignment from an authorized supervisor (insubordination).
- Reporting to work under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, or partaking of such on the job.
- Sleeping or failure to remain alert during duty hours.
- Betrayal of confidential information.
- Garnishment of wages for more than one indebtedness.
- Political activity prohibited by T.C.A. Title 2, Chapter 19 (The Little Hatch Act).
Corrective Action Process
The following steps may be followed in the event that disciplinary measures are necessary. Depending upon the nature and seriousness of the offense, corrective action may begin at any step of the process. An applicable form is available in the Office of Human Resources.
Step 1: Report of Conference
The employee’s immediate supervisor will meet privately with the employee to inform him/her of the specific behavior that is unacceptable. The behavior will be clearly identified, corrective measures will be recommended, and a time by which the situation must be rectified will be set. A written record of the conversation should be forwarded to Human Resources for placement in the employee’s personnel file and the employee should be given a copy.
Step 2: First Written Notice
The same procedure as for the Report of Conference will be followed, except the employee will be asked to sign the written record indicating that he/she has read and been given a copy of the document. The employee may write his/her comments on the form.
Step 3: Final Written Notice
The same procedure as for the First Written Notice will be followed. The Final Written Notice must specify that the consequences of failure to remedy the behavior will be termination of employment.
Step 4: Termination
An employee who does not correct his/her behavior after three warnings will be considered for termination if the behavior continues. If twelve months has elapsed since the employee received corrective action, the Corrective Action Procedures may begin at Step 1 (Report of Conversation). In cases involving more serious problems or violations of policy, the process may be accelerated. Any acceleration must be reviewed with the appropriate Vice President and Director of Human Resources prior to its taking place.
Occasionally, an employee may be terminated for a single, serious occurrence of behavior or violation of policy without having been previously warned. Such action may be justified when the offense is so severe as to make a warning unnecessary based on the fact that any employee would normally know that such behavior is unacceptable. In this case, the supervisor should suspend the employee with pay pending a complete investigation into the situation prior to termination (see steps below). Any suspension and/or termination must be reviewed with the appropriate Vice President and Director of Human Resources prior to its taking place.
Suspension may take place at any time during the Corrective Action Process. In cases where immediate suspension should occur, the supervisor must:
- Inform the Director of Human Resources of the circumstances requiring the immediate suspension.
- Advise the employee of his/her immediate suspension, with pay, pending an investigation of the situation.
- Direct the employee to immediately leave the premises.
The circumstances requiring the immediate suspension should be thoroughly investigated. The supervisor may make a recommendation for termination to the Director of Human Resources and Vice President based on the outcome of the investigation.
A supervisor may, with the approval of the Vice President and Director of Human Resources, place an individual on suspension without pay for one pay period but not to exceed two pay periods. An employee may be placed on such suspension upon commission of an act that is serious but not so severe as to warrant immediate termination. A suspension without pay entitles the employee to the option of a hearing to be held pursuant to the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. Legal Counsel should be consulted prior to the imposition of a suspension without pay.
At any time during employment, an employee may be placed on disciplinary probation. An employee completing an initial probation after hire or placement in a new position is subject to having the initial probationary period extended in circumstances deemed appropriate.
In either instance, the supervisor must provide the employee with a notice of probation in which the issues and/or unacceptable conduct is specified, along with expectations and a timeframe within which the conduct or performance must become satisfactory. The notice must also state that failure to comply with the terms of the notice will result in termination.
Non-probationary clerical and support employees who are terminated, suspended or demoted may file a grievance pursuant to TBR Guideline P-111 Support Staff Grievance.