The Non-Punitive Discipline Program is designed to help correct conduct and attendance problems by serving as a step in progressive discipline. Normally, the Non-Punitive Discipline Program will not be used to correct performance problems (quantity/quality of work). Performance problems are dealt with through counseling, corrective action plans with performance-specific objectives and outcomes, and performance evaluations.
Investigation – When an incident of misconduct or an attendance problem has been investigated and it is found that more likely than not unacceptable behavior occurred, the department confers with Employee & Labor Relations and makes a determination regarding the appropriate level of discipline. If it is determined that the infraction does not warrant demotion or dismissal, but does warrant more than counseling or a letter of reprimand, the nonpunitive discipline program will be used.
Intent Letter – A Skelly Letter of Intent is issued to the employee stating that it is the intent of the department to issue a disciplinary letter equating to a suspension of X days. This letter takes the same form as the usual Skelly letter but, instead of proposing a suspension, proposes a disciplinary letter equating to a suspension. Please see Sample Intent Letter – Non-Punitive Discipline.
Oral/Written Response – The normal Skelly process is followed, with the employee having the opportunity to make an oral and/or written response to the charges in the Intent Letter.
- If the employee presents information which causes the department head to determine that the disciplinary letter is not warranted, the case will be closed with a letter of reprimand, a warning letter, or a letter clearing the employee of the charges, as appropriate.
- If the department head determines that the disciplinary letter is warranted, he/she will issue a decision letter, imposing the disciplinary letter in lieu of a suspension. The decision letter itself constitutes the disciplinary letter and a separate disciplinary letter is not issued. As in other disciplinary actions, the department head may decide to modify the proposed discipline (e.g. a letter equivalent to a 1-day suspension rather than one equivalent to a 3-day suspension) based on the employee’s response. Please see Sample Decision Letter – Non-Punitive Discipline.
The management official hearing the oral response determines, based on the employee’s response and by asking questions, whether the employee acknowledges that the misconduct for which he/she is being disciplined was improper, and whether it is the employee’s intent not to repeat the misconduct.
- In some instances, such as an isolated incident where training, counseling or other actions are likely to permanently resolve the issue, if the employee acknowledges that his/her misconduct was improper, and indicates the intent not to repeat the misconduct, a rehabilitation plan is developed. This plan will list actions the employee will take and/or training the employee will attend to ensure that the misconduct does not recur. The plan will also set a timeframe during which misconduct must not recur. Once the actions laid out in the rehabilitation plan are completed and the agreed upon timeframe has elapsed without further misconduct, the disciplinary letter will be removed from the employee’s personnel files. At this point, the matter will be closed and the employee will be considered fully rehabilitated.
- If the employee does not acknowledge that his/her misconduct was improper, and/or does not indicate the intent not to repeat the misconduct, no rehabilitation plan will be developed, and the letter will remain in the employee’s personnel files.