General Guidance Expectations – The most important step you can take is to clearly communicate your expectations to staff. Supervisors must clearly communicate to employees that they are expected to be at their workstation, ready to work, at the beginning of their assigned shift. Employees also need to know that they need to maintain regular and predictable attendance; that they need to return from breaks in a timely manner; and that they need to follow procedures for requesting and obtaining approval for time off in accordance with department procedures. These expectations should be in writing either in the employee’s performance standards or in a separateRead More →

Correction of tardiness and absenteeism is one of the most complex and frustrating areas of Employee & Labor Relations for supervisors. Dealing with tardiness is an ongoing concern for supervisors and managers. If not dealt with promptly, excessive tardiness can adversely impact service to the public. If infrequent instances of minor tardiness are dealt with in an overly rigid and uncompassionate manner, employee morale can suffer. This is the area in which a supervisor will have the greatest day-to-day involvement. It is also the area of Employee Relations where supervisors are most likely to ignore problems until they become chronic, but is truly an areaRead More →

Date Name Classification Department Dear Mr. Employee: Subject: Temporary Assignment to Work at a Different Location Effective immediately, you are temporarily assigned to work at home pending an investigation into alleged misconduct on your part. You are directed to remain at your home between the work hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with a one hour meal break from noon to 1:00 p.m. during which you are at liberty to leave your residence. You are directed to be available to be reached by telephone during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you areRead More →

I understand that you took several days off while I was on vacation. How about if you start with telling me which days you were here and which days you didn’t work? Did anything unusual occur on Friday (11/21)? (If EE says “no”): Did you and NAME have some type of conversation regarding the fan? What do you recall saying to NAME? What do you recall NAME saying to you? Did you say anything else after the two of you directly spoke with each other? (If EE says “yes”): What did you say? (If EE says “no”, or gives you a very different version): ItRead More →

NAME, talk with me about your experience with getting client bus passes from our department. When did that first start? How did it come about? Have you gotten them every month since then? (If no: how often?) How many do you receive at a time? What do you use them for? Do you recall asking NAME if she could provide bus passes to you for your children? What did you say to NAME? Did you tell her that you had been getting them from NAME? How often had NAME provided bus passes to you? How many bus passes per month? Do you know of anyoneRead More →

A client contacted me to complain about what she considers to have been inappropriate comments directed from you to her. This has to do with the client who (give a brief description). Please walk me through what you recall took place with this client on Tuesday. When she said she didn’t know who the baby’s father was, did you say: “What do you mean you don’t know? How could you not know?” (If EE denies it): Could you have said anything like that? Why do you think she would report that you said this to her? Did the client ever ask if she could seeRead More →

What is your understanding of the County’s Internet policy? How many times a day, on average, do you access the Internet? How long, on average, do you stay on the Internet each time? What types of sites have you accessed? (If EE doesn’t mention sex/adult sites): Have any sites contained adult or sexual material? One of our staff found inappropriate material in the printer that pertained to adult-oriented activities. It was generated under your password. What can you tell me about this? (If EE asks when it happened): The website was accessed on (DATE) at (TIME). (If EE admits to it): What led up toRead More →

Please note these sample questions do not take into account the unique aspects of any given situation, and will undoubtedly need to be changed or added to for your particular investigation. Please contact your Employee & Labor Relations representative for assistance with question development. You will need to ask follow-up questions based on the employee’s responses to your prepared questions. Thus, you may find it helpful to team with your manager if the situation is complex, and designate one person to be the primary note-taker while the other is the primary questioner. If a represented employee, at ANY time during the interview, tells you thatRead More →

The County does not tolerate violence in the workplace. Refer to the County’s Violence in the Workplace Policy found on the County Intranet. The safety and security of employees are of the highest priority to the organization. Threats of violence, threatening behavior, or acts of violence against employees, visitors, customers, vendors conducting business with the County, persons appearing on County-owned property seeking information or assistance from the County, or any person utilizing County facilities for public meetings will not be tolerated. The County is also committed to providing a workplace in which the perpetration of domestic violence is neither tolerated nor excused, as well asRead More →

Depending on the level of the employee alleged to have committed the misconduct and the nature of the alleged infraction, the manager may personally conduct the investigation, or may be a resource to the supervisor designated to conduct the investigation. Analyze the Data – After gathering and sorting through the testimony and documentation, you are ready to analyze the information and draw conclusions. Wait until the investigation is completed before making any findings or conclusions. Do the witnesses agree as to the time and place? Do they agree about what was said or done? Are the witnesses credible? Have there been past conflicts between theRead More →

The materials in the file will be reviewed to determine whether there is sufficient proof to sustain the allegation and, if so, to determine what level of action should be taken. If disciplinary action is initiated as a result of the investigation, the file becomes the “material relied on” in taking the disciplinary action. Once an employee receives the Skelly letter proposing discipline, he/she and the union have a right to obtain and/or review all of the materials which were “relied on” in proposing the action. It is critical that this material be assembled and copied prior to issuance of the intent letter so itRead More →

Any time you are interviewing a represented employee in conjunction with an investigation, the employee has the right to union representation if he/she requests it. This is known as the Weingarten right. Whenever an employee is required to meet with a supervisor and the employee reasonably anticipates that such a meeting will involve questioning leading to disciplinary action, he/she shall be entitled to have a Steward present if he/she so requests. It is not the intention of this provision to allow the presence of a Steward during the initial discussions of an employee’s performance evaluation. This language is contained in all MOUs with employee organizationsRead More →

It is essential that supervisors and managers contact the County Counsel’s Office as soon as they become aware of an allegation that involves potential criminal action outside the workplace. If you are unsure whether the allegation involves potential criminal action, contact the County Counsel’s Office for guidance. Occasionally, a manager or supervisor learns that one of his/her employees has been arrested. Sometimes this information comes directly from the arresting agency, sometimes it is reported by a coworker or member of the public, and sometimes the employee reports the arrest. When you learn about an arrest, you should immediately contact County Counsel and Employee & LaborRead More →

In all other cases where there is an allegation of serious (but not criminal) misconduct, the County Manager strongly urges you to contact Employee & Labor Relations for assistance in planning the investigation. Since any disciplinary action that results from the investigation can lead to an appeal to the Civil Service Commission, arbitration, a discrimination complaint with EEOC or DFEH, or a lawsuit, it is imperative that the investigation be conducted as promptly, thoroughly, and professionally as possible. After getting the initial information, the supervisor should: Contact Employee & Labor Relations for guidance on planning the investigation. Develop a list of questions or issues thatRead More →

Document the allegation accurately and completely. Take careful, legible notes of what the complainant says, your own follow-up questions, and the answers to these questions. Immediately notify your manager and County Counsel. The County Counsel’s Office will decide if there should be a report to the District Attorney’s Office or other law enforcement agency. If you are unsure whether the allegation involves potential criminal action, contact the County Counsel’s Office for guidance. It is County policy to report suspected criminal conduct to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The District Attorney’s Office will determine whether to conduct a criminal investigation. County Counsel will coordinate with theRead More →

In most circumstances, it is not necessary to do so. However, in some situations it may be appropriate for the accused employee to be away from the work location during the investigation. In determining whether to leave the accused employee in the work area, assign them to work at home, or to assign them to another location/set of duties, the following should be considered: Could the accused hinder the investigation by corrupting data or removing/destroying other evidence? Could the accused cause further harm if left in their current position? (e.g., a Social Worker accused of inappropriate behavior with a child) Is the accused a potentialRead More →

Receive the Complaint Explain procedures. Tell the complainant that the matter will be promptly investigated and explain your procedures for investigation. Mention that someone else may interview the employee later to obtain additional information. Advise him/her that there will be no retaliation for coming forward with a complaint made in good faith and tell him/her to report any perceived retaliation immediately. Discuss confidentiality. It is important not to promise confidentiality. But explain that the investigation will be handled as discreetly as possible, and information will be disclosed only on a “need to know” basis. Written complaint. Have the employee write out the complaint. The complaintRead More →

You will not personally witness every act of misconduct alleged to have been committed by your employees. Allegations of employee misconduct can come from a variety of sources. The two most likely sources of reports/complaints of misconduct are coworkers and the public. For example, one employee may report that she saw another employee shopping during work hours, or a member of the public may complain that an employee was rude. How you respond to complaints like these could make the difference between a prompt and effective resolution or expensive litigation. You will need to investigate these types of allegations to determine if they are trueRead More →

On DATE, we met to discuss your performance in the position of X. In that meeting, I brought to your attention my concerns regarding your recent workload review, where I found that documents were frequently sent out with typographical errors, and were often not timely, based on the incoming request. You indicated that you were using the spell check and could not understand why errors continued to appear in your typed reports, and that there were many features that would help you work more efficiently, but you had not been trained to use them. You also stated that you type the same letter several times,Read More →

Performance expectations are the standards for the position and the objectives for the individual employee, which need to be clearly communicated to employees. Expectations often have two aspects: The quantity or timeliness of work products, and The quality or accuracy of those products. A Standard is what you measure an employee against; i.e., “observes handbook for processing of all requests” or “writes and communicates messages and requests for services clearly.” An Objective is a specific goal; i.e., “prepares 60 documents per hour” or “install five software packages by December 1, 2010”. see Sample Performance Objectives for examples of objectives for the individual employee. Sample PerformanceRead More →

First, clearly communicate your expectations. These expectations may include written performance standards for the position, as well as specific objectives for the individual employee. If formal, written performance standards have not been developed for the position, you may want to discuss developing such standards with your manager. You may also want to give the employee their job specification, any department specific job description which has been developed, departmental handbooks, state and federal guidelines, etc. Following this initial discussion, your responsibilities are to: Discuss specific objectives, due dates, timeliness, and quality and quantity standards in one-on-one conversations and in group meetings with employees, and confirm specificRead More →

Preparing evaluations is only a small part of the employee performance process. It is essential that supervisors and managers meet with their employees regularly to discuss expectations, new assignments and work performance. Supervisors should take notes during these discussions and maintain those notes in individual files for each employee. These notes should be supplemented by copies of work products and memos from customers that point out strengths or areas needing improvement. Of course, such work products and memos should be discussed with the employee during the regular meetings. When the employee’s evaluation is due, a complete and accurate record of the entire year is availableRead More →