Your Success Is Our Mission
Serving Henderson and Transylvania Counties in Western North Carolina
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Policy TrackingDate
Approved
RevisedSeptember 510, 2018
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May 6, 2009; December 4, 2013; July 14, 2014; July 7, 2016, July 6, 2017;February 7, 2018




Causes of Disciplinary Action

Employees who fail to maintain proper standards of conduct or who violate any of the College’s policies, procedures or rules are subject to disciplinary action up to an including dismissal. The causes for disciplinary action, suspension, or dismissal fall into two (2) representative but not all inclusive categories:

  1. Performance of Duties:
    1. A demonstrated pattern of inefficiency, incompetence or carelessness in the performance of duties.
    2. Negligence in the performance of duties.
    3. Careless, negligent or improper use of College property or equipment.
    4. Failure to maintain satisfactory and harmonious working relationships with the public and other employees.
    5. Failure to comply with the College’s attendance and leave policies (including, but not limited to: improper use of sick leave and habitual pattern of failing to report for duty at the assigned time and place).
    6. Failure to obtain or maintain current licenses or certificates required by law as a condition for performing the job.
    7. Failure to use prescribed safety equipment or follow safety policies and rules.
    8. Failure to comply with tobacco free requirements.
    9. Unauthorized destruction, removal or improper use of College property.
    10. Falsifying or supplying misleading information when applying for employment or at any time during employment.
    11. Failure to immediately report any work-related accident to the appropriate supervisor.
    12. Unauthorized review, disclosure or discussion of confidential information including personnel records, student records, strategic initiatives, security issues or budget information.
    13. Violation of the College’s policies and procedures.
    14. Engaging in online communications that has a negative impact on the employee’s ability to perform his/her job as it relates to working with students and the community or otherwise disrupts the efficient and effective operation of the College.  See also Web Site Procedure and Social Media Sites Procedure.
  2. Personal Conduct:
    1. Arrest, charge, indictment, or conviction that: (i) poses a threat to the physical safety of students or personnel; (ii) demonstrates that the employee does not have the integrity or honesty to fulfill his or her employment duties with the College; and/or (iii) creates a substantial disruption to the ordinary operation of the College.
      1. Employees shall notify their immediate supervisor if they are arrested, charged, indicted or convicted (including citations) for any offense other than a minor traffic offense (e.g., parking, speeding). Notice must be in writing and provide all relevant facts regarding the arrest, conviction, indictment or charge. Notice must be provided within one (1) business day of the conviction, arrest, indictment or charge. Employees shall also inform their supervisor of the disposition of any arrest, indictment or citation. The supervisor will then notify the appropriate Vice President and the Human Resources Director.
      2. For purposes of these Procedures, a "conviction" means the entry in a court of law or military tribunal of: (1) a plea of guilty, nolo contendere, no contest or the equivalent; (2) a verdict of guilty; or (3) a prayer for judgment continued or a deferred prosecution.
      3. Employees may be disciplined, up to and including termination, if the conviction, arrest, indictment or charge: (i) poses a threat to the physical safety of students or personnel; (ii) demonstrates that the employee does not have the integrity or honesty to fulfill his or her employment duties with the College; and/or (iii) creates a substantial disruption to the ordinary operation of the College.
    2. Misuse of College and/or Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation funds or assets.
    3. Participation in any action that would in any way seriously disrupt or disturb the College's normal operations.
    4. Willful damage or destruction of property.
    5. Workplace violence, which includes, but is not limited to: intimidation, harassment, bullying, threats, physical attack, property damage, or conduct which interferes with an employee’s or student’s safety in the workplace or in the College learning environment.
    6. Threatening or willful acts that are disruptive to the College environment or demonstrate dangerous or unsafe conditions to people or property.
    7. Possession of unauthorized firearms or lethal weapons on the job or on College property in violation of any state and federal law.
    8. Refusal to accept a reasonable and proper assignment from an authorized supervisor (insubordination) and disrespectful conduct or failing to give the appropriate level of respect to a supervisor, student, employee or visitor.
    9. Using or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including unauthorized prescription drugs) while on the job.
    10. Violations of conflicts of interest by accepting gifts in exchange for favors or influence and engaging in incompatible employment or serving a conflicting interest.
    11. Falsification of official records or expense claims.
    12. Harassing (sexual or otherwise), discriminating or bullying an employee or student.
    13. Violation of College policies and/or procedures.

The following procedural steps for reprimanding or disciplining an employee are intended to be progressive in nature. However, the type of disciplinary action is entirely based on the factual situation as well as the nature, severity and type of offense. The College has the right to discipline and dismiss an employee for cause. The level of discipline imposed shall be within the sole discretion of the President or designee and will be based on the severity or frequency of the offense. If warranted by the facts and situation, even for first time offenses, administrators may recommend dismissal.

A Performance Improvement Plan may be required as an action item. A Performance Improvement Plan shall be in writing and will outline specific steps, objectives and/or goals to be accomplished for improving problems or behaviors within a given amount of time, usually 30 to 90 days. A Performance Improvement Plan will be written by the employee being disciplined and the final copy will be agreed upon and signed with the employee’s responsible supervisor. A copy of the Performance Improvement Plan will be included with the copies of any forms and documentation submitted and placed in his/her personnel file.

In conjunction with Policy 3.11 Authority to Dismiss, Suspend, or Take Disciplinary Action, College supervisors and administrators shall follow the steps outlined below:

Step 1 – Oral Warning: The responsible supervisor shall meet with the employee: (a) to review expected job performance or conduct; (b) to explain specifically how the employee has not met College or supervisor’s expectations; (c) to provide an opportunity for the employee to explain his/her actions; and, together, (d) to agree, if possible, on a course of action and time that will correct the job performance or conduct under question. The supervisor will record the date and notes of this meeting. A copy of this documentation shall be kept on file in the employee’s personnel file in the Human Resources Department.

Step 2 – Official Written Warning/Reprimand: After giving an oral warning and allowing for a reasonable period of time to correct the problem(s) and/or behavior(s) as outlined in the oral warning, the appropriate Dean, Director, Vice President or responsible supervisor shall meet with the employee for the purpose of delivering a written warning - the Employee Conference Form ("Form"). The Form shall further state the policies or procedures that have been violated. A written summary is required and shall include specific days, dates and times occurring, continued problem(s) and/or behavior(s) and shall document that if the employee does not correct the problem(s) or behavior(s) in a specified time period, the employee may be subject to additional disciplinary action which could include dismissal. The Form shall be signed by the supervisor and the employee. In the event that the employee refuses to sign the Form, the Human Resources Director shall note that the form was reviewed with the employee and the employee, however, refused to sign the Form as required. The absence of the employee’s signature does not prevent the Disciplinary Process from moving forward to the next step. The Human Resources Director will also attend the meeting and sign the Form as a witness to the official written warning/reprimand. A copy of the Form, and all subsequent letters, including notes from Step 1 above, shall also be provided to the employee and included in the employee's personnel file indefinitely. The employee may write a rebuttal and have it placed in his/her personnel file.

Step 3 – Suspension: Suspensions may be used in two ways: an independent discipline action or in conjunction with an investigation and dismissal proceedings.

  1. Independent Discipline Action:
    1. If a supervisor determines that an employee's actions warrant suspension, the supervisor shall prepare and provide a written report, with a summary supporting that determination, to the appropriate Vice President. The Vice President shall review the report and provide his/her written recommendation to the President.
    2. The President shall determine whether or not to suspend an employee with or without pay; however, an employee may not be suspended without pay for more than ten (10) business days. The President may make such determination without a recommendation from a supervisor and/or Vice President.
    3. The President shall meet with the employee and give the employee an opportunity to be heard. After hearing from the employee, the President shall make a determination regarding the suspension, whether it shall be paid or unpaid and the length of the suspension. The President or the employee's supervisor shall inform the employee of the President's determination. The President shall prepare a follow-up written statement providing the circumstances and facts which led the decision to suspend the employee. A copy of the letter shall be included in the employee's personnel file.
    4. In cases where the employee's continued presence on campus is not in the College's best interest or is a health/safety issue, the President shall immediately suspend the employee with pay. Prior to changing any paid suspension to unpaid suspension, the President shall meet with the employee and provide the employee with an opportunity to be heard.
    5. An employee may appeal his/her suspension to the Board; however, an appeal will not stop the immediate implementation of the disciplinary action.
    6. When an employee is suspended, he/she shall leave the College property at once and shall not return until the end of the suspension unless authorized by the President.
    7. Failure of the employee to report back to work when requested, or at the suspension expiration date, will be considered a voluntary resignation of his/her employment and any subsequent reinstatement or re-employment shall be on the basis of new employment.
  2. Investigation for Possible Dismissal:

The President may suspend an employee, with pay, for up to ninety (90) days while conducting his/her investigation as to whether or not the employee should be dismissed. At the end of the suspension period, the President shall dismiss the employee, reinstate the employee or implement another disciplinary action.

Step 4 – Dismissal: If a supervisor determines that an employee's actions warrant dismissal, the supervisor shall prepare and provide a written report, with a summary supporting that determination, to the appropriate Vice President who shall, after meeting and consulting with the supervisor, provide the written report to the President. If necessary, the President shall suspend the employee with pay pursuant to Step 3(B). The President or designee shall conduct an investigation into the supervisor’s allegations. At the conclusion of the investigation, the President shall either decide to dismiss the matter or meet with the employee and present the employee with a Written Notice of Charges and provide the employee with an opportunity to respond. If, after the Written Notice of Charges meeting, the President decides to dismiss the employee, the President shall provide the employee with written notice that the employee be dismissed, and the reasons for the dismissal. The notice shall be included in the employee's personnel file and a copy shall be sent to the Board chair.

Appeal

  1. Right to Appeal:
    1. In case of a disciplinary suspension or for dismissal, an employee has a right to appeal the President's decision or and must do so within ten (10) business days of the action taken. Appeals must be submitted in writing to the President who shall forward the appeal to the Board chair. The employee must articulate the grounds for the appeal in the notice. Further, the employee shall state in the notice whether or not the employee has or is seeking legal counsel for the appeal.
    2. No later than ten (10) business days from the President's receipt of the employee's written appeal, unless mutually agreed by the parties, a committee of the Board ("Committee") shall conduct a hearing pursuant to Section II below. The employee's failure to inform the President that he/she has retained legal counsel for the appeal at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing shall be automatic grounds for a continuance of the hearing if so desired by the College.
    3. No later than ten (10) business days from the hearing, the Committee shall provide the employee with its written determination to uphold, reject or modify the President’s decision. The determination shall be included in the employee's personnel file. If the employee is reinstated, he/she shall receive all lost wages from the date of the suspension without pay unless otherwise decided by the Committee.
    4. The Committee’s decision is final. At the next regularly scheduled Board meeting, the Committee shall report its determination to the full Board.
  2. Hearing Procedure:
    1. The hearing shall be conducted in closed session with only the members of the Committee, the employee, the President and other appropriate College administrators and relevant witnesses. Witnesses may be excluded when they are not providing testimony. The employee, the Committee, and the President may also be represented by legal counsel. If an employee chooses to have counsel present, the employee is responsible for retaining and paying for those services. The Board’s legal counsel shall act as a procedural officer during the hearing and give advice to the Committee regarding necessary rulings and matters of due process. A Committee member who has a significant conflict of interest or bias should disqualify himself/herself or be excused by the Committee’s adoption of a motion to disqualify him/her. For purposes of the appeal, a simple majority of the Committee members must be present. A recording of the hearing shall be made and provided to the employee at no cost, upon request. If the employee asks for a written transcript of the proceeding, the transcript shall be made and given to the employee with a bill for the cost of preparing it.
    2. Strict rules of evidence or procedure do not apply to appeal hearings before the Committee. The Committee may consider any and all evidence that it determines to be fair and reliable. All witnesses may be questioned and cross-examined by the Committee members, the employee and the President. The Committee will be the sole judge of the weight given to specific evidence and the credibility of all witnesses. The conduct of the hearing shall be under the control of the Committee’s chair.
    3. The hearing shall begin with the employee's presentation of contentions, limited to those grounds specified in the request for the appeal and supported by such proof the employee desires to offer. The employee has the right to present evidence and examine witnesses, and the President and/or designee may cross-examine any witnesses. At the conclusion of the employees presentation, the President and/or designee will present testimony which may or may not be his/her own, documentary evidence, and/or witnesses in general support of the decision. The employee may cross-examine any witnesses.
    4. The burden is on the employee to demonstrate that he/she did not violate College policies, procedures and/or rules.
    5. After the President completes his/her presentation, the Committee shall decide whether the President’s decision is supported by the evidence.


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