Verbal Warning Form - Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts

This fillable "Verbal Warning Form" is a document issued by the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards specifically for Massachusetts residents.

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Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts
OFFICE OF THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN AND TOWN MANAGER
PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE POLICY
General: Rules, regulations, policies, and procedures are necessary for the orderly operation of
town business, to ensure that everyone does his/her share, and has equal opportunity for success.
Generally, the rules and standards governing town employee behavior are found in town policies,
department rules, regulations, collective bargaining contracts, and the Personnel By-Law.
Additionally, some standards of conduct are so basic that employees should know that certain
behaviors regardless of whether they are in writing, or not, are not permitted. It should be noted,
however, that when corrective action is required, the discipline given should be dependent on the
facts and circumstances relevant to the particular incident and the gravity of the offense.
DISCIPLINARY POLICY
Our progressive discipline policy and procedure is designed to provide a structured corrective
action process to improve and prevent a reoccurrence of undesirable behavior and/or
performance issues. Outlined below are the steps of our progressive discipline policy and related
procedure. The Town of Duxbury does reserve the right to combine or skip steps depending
upon the facts relative to each situation and the nature of the offense. The level of the
disciplinary intervention may also vary. Some of the factors that will be considered depend upon
whether the offense is repeated despite coaching, counseling and/or training, the employee’s
work record and the impact the conduct and performance issues have on our organization.
Primary emphasis by the department head and supervisor shall be placed on preventing situations
requiring disciplinary action. But when the department head and/or supervisor determines that
disciplinary action is necessary, the employee will be informed of the reasons, which justify the
action. Strict and accurate records regarding offense and events leading to it shall be kept in
writing.
The Town of Duxbury's policy is to employ a system of progressive discipline. Progressive
discipline is designed to correct, educate, and rehabilitate. However, it must be understood that
this policy’s primary objective is to provide a uniform disciplinary environment. Finally, this
policy is intended to ensure that equitable penalties are imposed and that comparable action is
taken in comparable cases.
AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE DISCIPLINE
Department heads and supervisors are responsible for resolving employee problems and when
necessary, taking corrective actions. Such actions may include a verbal warning (in written
form), written warning, or more severe disciplinary action. When recommending disciplinary
action, the department head must consider the circumstances carefully.
Page 1
Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts
OFFICE OF THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN AND TOWN MANAGER
PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE POLICY
General: Rules, regulations, policies, and procedures are necessary for the orderly operation of
town business, to ensure that everyone does his/her share, and has equal opportunity for success.
Generally, the rules and standards governing town employee behavior are found in town policies,
department rules, regulations, collective bargaining contracts, and the Personnel By-Law.
Additionally, some standards of conduct are so basic that employees should know that certain
behaviors regardless of whether they are in writing, or not, are not permitted. It should be noted,
however, that when corrective action is required, the discipline given should be dependent on the
facts and circumstances relevant to the particular incident and the gravity of the offense.
DISCIPLINARY POLICY
Our progressive discipline policy and procedure is designed to provide a structured corrective
action process to improve and prevent a reoccurrence of undesirable behavior and/or
performance issues. Outlined below are the steps of our progressive discipline policy and related
procedure. The Town of Duxbury does reserve the right to combine or skip steps depending
upon the facts relative to each situation and the nature of the offense. The level of the
disciplinary intervention may also vary. Some of the factors that will be considered depend upon
whether the offense is repeated despite coaching, counseling and/or training, the employee’s
work record and the impact the conduct and performance issues have on our organization.
Primary emphasis by the department head and supervisor shall be placed on preventing situations
requiring disciplinary action. But when the department head and/or supervisor determines that
disciplinary action is necessary, the employee will be informed of the reasons, which justify the
action. Strict and accurate records regarding offense and events leading to it shall be kept in
writing.
The Town of Duxbury's policy is to employ a system of progressive discipline. Progressive
discipline is designed to correct, educate, and rehabilitate. However, it must be understood that
this policy’s primary objective is to provide a uniform disciplinary environment. Finally, this
policy is intended to ensure that equitable penalties are imposed and that comparable action is
taken in comparable cases.
AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE DISCIPLINE
Department heads and supervisors are responsible for resolving employee problems and when
necessary, taking corrective actions. Such actions may include a verbal warning (in written
form), written warning, or more severe disciplinary action. When recommending disciplinary
action, the department head must consider the circumstances carefully.
Page 1
The department head shall also be responsible for more severe disciplinary action including, but
not limited to, suspension, demotion and dismissal after consultation with human resources, town
manager, labor counsel and other authorities as warranted.
CAUSES FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION
All employees should be aware of the town’s and their department's rules, regulations, policies
and operational procedures.
Violations of the following provisions shall be cause for
disciplinary action. The following list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to illustrate some
behaviors, which may be cause for discipline. The list is only meant to call attention to general
subject matter of rules, regulations, and procedures. Additionally other causes for discipline,
including dismissal, include those subjects or conduct, which the employee knows or should
reasonably know, would subject them to discipline.
1.
Disruptive behavior - any action or language, which adversely affects moral or
productivity of the department.
2.
Poor judgment - failure to satisfactorily perform the duties of the position. (Specifically
related to performance and execution of duties.)
3.
Misuse, unauthorized use or deliberate loss or destruction of town property.
4.
Failure to meet reasonable standards in dress and personal habit.
5.
Failure to comply with administrative directives.
6.
Disorderly conduct - any violent act or language, which adversely affects morale or
maintenance of discipline, indecent or immoral conduct, fighting or threatening bodily
harm.
7.
Discourteous treatment of the public or fellow employee.
8.
Violation of safety rules - failure to observe safety practices where danger to life or
persons or loss of property is acute.
9.
Misuse of uniform or position - unauthorized use for personal gain, or gain for another or
influence or to obtain immunity.
10.
Insubordination - deliberate delay or failure to carry out assigned work or instructions in
a reasonable period of time. Refusal to obey legitimate directives, disrespect, insolence
or like behavior.
11.
Possession and or use of illegal drugs or under the influence of alcohol while working.
12.
Possession, use, or sale of unauthorized controlled substances or illegal drugs.
13.
False statements, misrepresentation, deceit, concealment, or collaborating a false claim.
14.
Theft or scavenging - actual or attempted taking or carrying away of town property or the
property of others.
15.
Gambling on town property, or while using town property.
16.
Dereliction, neglect or failure to perform the required duties of your position.
17.
Disclosure of confidential information to any person except those who may be entitled to
such information without permission of the department head.
18.
Accepting or soliciting a bribe.
19.
Feigning sickness or injury to avoid working.
20.
Unauthorized possession or use of a dangerous weapon while working.
21.
Engaging in dishonest, immoral, or scandalous conduct whether on or off the job, that
affects the image or effectiveness of the town's activities or employee performance.
22.
Engaging in criminal conduct on or off the job as defined by State and Federal law.
Page 2
23.
Violation of town rules, regulations, policy, or directives not specifically mentioned
herein.
RESPONSIBILITIES
The department head and supervisors are charged with the responsibility of assigning, reviewing,
and checking the work of subordinates. They are also responsible for maintaining proper
conduct and discipline among employees of their department.
Department heads and supervisors:
A.
Keep all employees informed of rules, regulations, policies, standards, and directives.
B.
Take all possible steps to prevent situations, which may lead to disciplinary action.
C.
Address employees individually and in private whenever possible.
D.
Treat all employees impartially without favoritism or discrimination in the assignment
of duties or tasks. No employee shall be discriminated against based on characteristics
considered "Protected Classes" by State or Federal law.
E.
Supervisors may when circumstances warrant, initiate, and issue a verbal or written
warning or may recommend to the department head more severe disciplinary action.
Department heads and supervisors are expected to maintain confidentiality, discipline, and
administer disciplinary actions equitably. A primary responsibility is to determine that all
employees know the rules, regulations, administrative instructions, and conditions of
employment, which they must observe.
Administration of discipline in an equitable fashion does not imply that the discipline for each
violation of a rule will be the same. Each individual violation is different and each case is
different. It is the totality of the circumstances in each case, which must be considered in the
determination of discipline.
PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE PROCESS
Investigation- Every employee is required to participate in any workplace investigation fully and
honestly. Refusal to participate is grounds for discipline or insubordination up to dismissal.
When a concern becomes known that the department head or supervisor determines warrants an
investigation, an individual must be assigned to conduct the investigation. This individual must
keep the matter confidential, observe, gather, analyze and document all facts and carefully
considering the circumstances before taking disciplinary action, especially action more severe
than warnings. All employees are required to participate in any workplace investigation, fully
and honestly. Refusal to participate is grounds for discipline for insubordination up to and
including dismissal. Meet with the employee, offer Weingarten rights (relative to union
representation), provide a truthfulness warning (explain that you are going to ask questions and
the employee and witnesses are obligated to tell the truth and provide complete answers).
Disciplinary Hearing – Provide the employee, and union representative if applicable, with a
factual and written notice of the charges. Allow the employee and their representative to caucus
privately before responding to the changes. Inform the employee that you will be recording the
process, walk through the evidence relative to the charges.
Page 3
Disciplinary Decision – Factors leading to the discipline determination include the
preponderance of evidence, severity of the conduct, progressive discipline process, and the
similarity of the offenses, disparate treatment, and past practice, and the elements of the written
decision including all relevant reasons.
Step 1 - COUNSELING AND VERBAL WARNING
A.
A verbal warning is a discussion between a supervisor and an employee regarding some
particular aspect of the employee's performance or conduct. The supervisor should
discuss with the employee the nature of the problem or violation of policies or
procedures. The supervisor is expected to clearly outline expectations and steps the
employee must take to improve performance or resolve the problem. A written record
that the warning occurred detailing the related time frame and nature of the incident shall
be maintained in the employee’s personnel file.
B.
This type of disciplinary action should be taken as a result of relatively minor infraction,
administered as soon as possible after the incident. A verbal warning will be noted in a
written document and will be placed in the employee’s personnel file.
Step 2 - WRITTEN WARNING
The intent is that the performance, conduct, or attendance issues that were identified in
verbal warning have been corrected. However, this may not always be the case. A
written warning involves a more formal documentation of performance, conduct or
attendance issues, and consequences. During step 2, the supervisor, department head and
possibly human resources will meet with the employee and review any additional
incidents or information about the performance, conduct or attendance issues as well as
any prior incidents or corrective action plans. The consequences of continued failure to
meet expectations will be outlined for the employee in written form.
A formal
performance improvement plan (PIP) requiring the employees’ immediate and sustained
corrective action will be issued within five business days of a step 2 meeting. A written
warning outlining that the employee may be subject to additional discipline up to and
including termination if immediate and sustained corrective action is not taken may be
included in the written warning. This is an official record placed in the employee's
personnel file, concerning a violation(s) of rules and policies.
B.
A written warning may result from a specific formal charge or because of an
accumulation of minor or repeated infractions, which in the opinion of the department
head, board, or committee requires more severe disciplinary action.
C.
A written warning may be administered by a supervisor, department head, or board or
committee member based on information/observation, investigation, and proof of written
allegations and charges.
Step 3 - SUSPENSION AND FINAL WRITTEN WARNING
A.
There may be performance, conduct, or safety incidents so problematic and harmful that
the most effective action may be the temporary removal of the employee from the
workplace. When immediate action is necessary to ensure the safety of the employee or
Page 4
others, the department head and immediate supervisor may suspend and provide a written
warning or place the employee on paid administrative leave pending the results of an
investigation.
B.
A suspension is a designated absence from work in non-pay status, which may be
imposed for a serious violation(s) of rules, policies, regulations, operating standards,
administrative directives or for breaches of good order and discipline.
C.
Suspensions that are recommended as part of this progressive discipline policy and
procedure are subject to approval from the department head, human resources, labor
counsel, and the town manager based on information/observation or review of
incident(s), the related investigation, and proof of charges.
D.
The duration of the suspension is tied to the seriousness of the charge. Short-term
suspensions are those that are 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days long. Long-term suspensions run from
6 to 60 days.
Depending on the seriousness of the infraction, the employee may be
suspended without pay in full-duty increments consistent with federal, state, and local
wage-and-hour employment laws.
Pay may be restored to the employee if an
investigation of the incident or infraction absolves the employee. A suspension may only
be administered by the department head, board or committee, or town manager.
Step 4 (a) - DEMOTION
A.
A demotion is a reduction in classification, which may be imposed for a single serious
violation or series of violations of the
department's
policy
rules,
regulations,
operating standards, or administrative directives.
B.
A demotion may be administered by the town manager, board of selectmen, board, or
committee. It must be based on, information/observation or review of a report of an
incident(s) and recommendations, based on investigative proof of another's charges.
Step 4 (b) - DISMISSAL
A.
The last and most serious step in the progressive discipline procedure is a
recommendation to terminate employment. Generally, the town will try to exercise the
progressive nature of this policy by first providing verbal and written warnings and/or
suspension from the workplace before proceeding to a recommendation to terminate
employment.
However, the town reserves the right to combine and/or skip steps
depending on the circumstances of each situation and the nature of the offense.
Furthermore, employees may be terminated without prior notice or disciplinary action if a
singular serious act or behavior justifies dismissal. Additionally, dismissal may be
precipitated because the employee has failed to modify behavior or conform to rules and
policy after having been progressively disciplined by less severe means.
B.
A pre-discharge hearing before the town manager is to be held prior to discharge, to
review the recommendation to discharge (even is situations that involve probationary
employees who are not subject to the progressive discipline policy). The final decision to
discharge will be made by the town manager in conjunction with the department head,
board of selectmen, board, or committee in accordance with the hearing's findings.
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