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Performance Management
Loudermill Rights
 
Both State HR policy and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) require that if an employer is contemplating dismissal, the employee has a right to know the charges and be able to defend him or her self.  The policy and CBA language are due in large part to a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court decision, with the case of Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill.  This decision established what has come to be called “Loudermill Rights” for public employees.  Loudermill rights generally apply to discharge or termination actions and in Oregon for suspensions without pay.
 
Loudermill rights provide that prior to being terminated, a “tenured public employee is entitled to oral or written notice of the charges against him or her, an explanation of the employer’s evidence, and an opportunity to present his or her side of the story.” Tenured employee means a regular status employee. The employer has an obligation to provide notice, and give the employee an opportunity to respond.
 
Under Loudermill, the employee has the right to speak or not to speak at a pre-dismissal meeting or to present written information to be considered. Also, the employee has a right to union representation, and the union representative may speak on behalf of the employee.  If the employee chooses not to attend the Loudermill (or “pre-dismissal”) meeting, or to present written information, the employer may base its decision to discipline on the available information.
 
Loudermill is why agencies provide an employee with a pre-dismissal notice that contains the charges against the employee, and gives the employee an opportunity to defend him or herself. Check the CBA regarding time requirements for notifying a represented employee and the union.