Maintaining discipline usually is not a problem within a work environment here reasonable rules, and standards of conduct and performance are clearly communicated and consistently and equitably enforced. There are situations of misconduct or delinquency, however, where there is no alternative but to take corrective action. In these instances, management's options, in order of least severe to most severe, include:
- Oral admonishments/Written Warnings
- Suspensions from duty and pay status
- Involuntary reductions in grade and/or pay
The type of appointment an employee is on may make a difference in the handling of a disciplinary/adverse action. Employees who are serving a probationary or trial period are subject to a different standard (see section on probation and trial periods), than employee who have completed the probationary or trial period or who occupy a position in which such a period is not required.
Generally, discipline falls into two broad categories, (1) behavioral, for which progressive discipline is appropriate and (2) offenses for which punitive discipline is appropriate. Behavioral offenses, such as tardiness or discourtesy, warrant discipline that is strong enough to correct the employee's behavior and prevent a re-occurrence. If a subsequent behavioral offense occurs, a progressively stronger penalty can be administered. An offense warranting punitive discipline, such as stealing, is one that involves punishment appropriate for the type and level of offense committed. See the Table of Penalties for a description of frequently committed infractions.
Burden of Proof. Management must be prepared to support the following by a
preponderance of the evidence:
- The reason(s) for the action taken and that the alleged misconduct actually occurred.
- That disciplinary or adverse action can be expected to promote the efficiency of the service.