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Performance Management
Discipline
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Discipline is designed to educate or put an employee on notice that the employee must correct a particular behavior. Discipline must be administered with genuine interest in helping the employee correct a performance or behavior problem and ensure it is not repeated.
 
Discipline in the employment context means imposing a penalty or sanction against an employee for actions or conduct the employer finds inappropriate or deficient. The agency relies on the Human Resource (HR) section to meet all policy, Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and legal obligations. Contact the Human Resource Policy Unit or the Labor Relations Unit when contemplating disciplinary action. Contact Department of Justice (DOJ) Labor and Employment Section at 503-947-4600 for legal guidance, when necessary.
 
Disciplinary action is not used with temporary employees, and generally not with limited duration employees and “at will” employees, such as those in the Unclassified Executive Service.  
 
Progressive discipline means imposing increasingly severe sanctions for repeated infractions, up to and including dismissal.
 
Depending on the circumstances, formal discipline usually begins with a written reprimand, which generally is the first level of discipline. Repetition of the misconduct usually results in a more severe discipline such as an economic sanction. Further occurrences of a similar nature generally result in increasingly severe penalties and ultimately dismissal.
 
Before Disciplinary Action
Prior to administering discipline, the agency must meet all obligations to help the employee be successful in the job. Before taking disciplinary action, answer the following questions:
  • Has the employee been told what is expected of him or her?
  • Were the necessary training, materials and supplies to do the job provided to the employee?
  • Was performance feedback given to the employee?
  • Is the contemplated discipline suitable for the infraction?
  • Were other employees treated the same in similar situations?
  • Was a fair and thorough investigation conducted?
  • Is the discipline contemplated, timely?
Prior to taking disciplinary action HR or a supervisor generally conducts an investigation into the issues. Represented employees have Weingarten Rights, which is a right to ask for and have union representation while being questioned in an investigation if the employee has a reasonable belief the meeting could result in discipline.
 
An employee is obligated to answer questions during an investigation. However, an exception to the obligation is if the employee feels he or she might self-incriminate regarding possible criminal activity, the employee may invoke their Garrity Rights and refuse to answer based on the 5th Amendment to the United States (US) Constitution. If the agency continues with questioning it may jeopardize the agency’s ability to pursue criminal prosecution based on information received. Contact DOJ at 503-947-4600 for guidance if an employee invokes their Garrity Rights.
 
Discipline Procedure 
If the decision is made to discipline the employee, another meeting is scheduled with the employee as soon as practicable to deliver the discipline. Presenting a disciplinary document is not an investigatory meeting, so the employee is not entitled to representation when the document is presented.
 
Meet with the employee and tell them if no discipline will be administered. This meeting informs the employee the investigation is closed so the employee does not wonder or worry about what is happening. The employee is not entitled to representation in this meeting.
 
When taking disciplinary action, Agency Human Resources provides guidance on adhering to laws, policies and CBA’s. Employees have rights that must be upheld and certain standards must be followed. Disciplinary standards will vary depending on the employee’s service type and FLSA status.
 
To discipline represented and unrepresented employees there must be cause. The elements of cause will be different for represented and unrepresented employees.
 
If an agency is contemplating dismissal of a regular status employee, policy and CBA require that the employee has the right to know the charges and be able to choose to defend him or herself. These are known as Loudermill Rights, which are based on the 5th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution.
 
When preparing written discipline, use the appropriate language  from the CBA, policy and disciplinary standard.
 
See the following for more information
 

Cause for Discipline for Unrepresented Employees Just Cause Standards for Represented Employees
Disciplinary Standards Loudermill Rights
Garrity Rights Weingarten Rights
Investigatory Meetings