OVERVIEW

The Copiah-Jefferson Regional Library (CJRL) Board of Trustees (hereafter referred to as ‘the Board’) provides that no employee who is subject to CJRL policies and procedures may be dismissed or have adverse action affecting their compensation or employment status taken against them except for inefficiency or other good cause.   An employee is defined as any individual paid by CJRL and having their payroll taxes, benefits, and/or other legally required deductions processed by CJRL.  This provision does not apply to persons separated from employment due to: 1) a curtailment of funds or a reduction in force approved by the Board, 2) during the initial 180 calendar day probationary period in CJRL service.

Adverse action against an employee or separation of employment may occur because the conduct of the employee is an offense as provided in the schedule of offenses listed within this policy or because there is a legal non-conduct basis which meets the statutory requirement of good cause.

Disciplinary action shall be applied in steps of increasing severity whenever practical in order to stimulate a change in the behavior that activated the disciplinary process.  The CJRL Director (hereafter referred to as ‘the Director’) or supervising manager shall exercise corrective action when an employee violates established rules of conduct or performs below minimum expected standards as prescribed herein.  Corrective action shall also be exercised when an employee fails to comply with Library policy, procedure and/or management directives.


DEFINITIONS

Business day - Monday - Friday where the Headquarters offices are open for any portion of a day

Calendar day - Sunday – Saturday

Working day - Any day that an employee is scheduled to report for work

Employee delivery/filing - properly completed form(s) must be physically present in the Headquarters office by the end of that branch’s daily hours of operation

Employee receiving - direct receipt as witnessed by employee’s signature; refusal to acknowledge direct receipt as witnessed by signatures of  Director or direct supervisor and another CJRL employee; two (2) calendar days following the date of sending registered (USPS confirmation of delivery) mail to the employee’s current address  as documented by the employee in the employee’s personnel file

Extraordinary circumstances - a situation in which, based on the judgment of the Director, retention of an employee could reasonably result in damage to CJRL property, be detrimental to the interests of CJRL, or result in injury to the employee, to a fellow employee, or to the general public.  Extraordinary circumstances also means any situation in which an employee has been publicly accused of a crime or charged with a crime by law enforcement officials.

Questionable circumstances - a situation in which there is insufficient information available to immediately determine if disciplinary actions is required and where, based on the judgment of the Director, retention of an employee will NOT result in damage to CJRL property, its interests, its employees, and/or the public.


IMPORTANT HIGHLIGHTS

During periods of non-pay disciplinary actions, should the conference and/or appeal process exceed 31 calendar days, the employee shall be paid in 7 calendar day increments, beginning on the 38th day following the first date of the non-pay suspension period and correlating to the earliest calendar dates covered by the suspension period.

An employee who has forfeited his/her appeal process with the Director has also forfeited his/her right to appeal to the Board.

Neither the Library Director nor any CJRL Board member will respond in any form to disciplinary correspondence received from an employee via e-mail, text, or fax except in those cases where the employee is formally advised to utilize such correspondence methods.

CJRL Board members will not intercede in any disciplinary action taken against an employee outside the process laid forth in its ‘Discipline and Due Process’ policy and related policies.


SCHEDULE OF OFFENSES & AUTHORIZED DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The Director and/or supervising manager shall administer discipline in an equitable and consistent manner.  The schedule of offenses and disciplinary actions below shall be adhered to in administering discipline to all employees subject to these policies and procedures.  The Board may add to this schedule of offenses and disciplinary action to reflect the particular mission and work environment of the Library.  The approved schedule of offenses and disciplinary actions shall be published as to be accessible to each employee upon implementation.  

                

GROUP ONE OFFENSES

Generally these offenses are less severe and may be disciplined by written reprimand.  Written reprimands must always be approved in writing by the Director before being issued to an employee.  A completed written reprimand will include the signatures of the disciplined employee, the Director, and the employee’s supervisor (if applicable).  Completed written reprimands will be filed with the employee’s permanent records and the employee will receive a photocopy of the signed reprimand.  

An employee who is issued a written reprimand may request a conference with the Director on the written reprimand form or by notifying the Director within five (5) calendar days following the date of receipt of a written reprimand.   The Director will establish a date and time to meet with the employee not to exceed fourteen (14) calendar days following the date of receipt of the employee’s request for conference.  If a written reprimand is reversed following a conference with the Director, the original written reprimand will be noted and signed by the Director as having been negated, with the original copy being filed with the employee’s permanent records and the employee receiving a photocopy of the signed negated form.

The accumulation of three (3) Group One written reprimands within a 90 calendar day period may result in suspension without pay not to exceed three (3) working days.  Accumulation of four (4) Group One written reprimands within a 180 calendar day period may result in demotion or dismissal.  Multiple reprimands may not be issued for the same occurrence or event; however, an original reprimand may be revoked and replaced if information that is obtained after the initial reprimand increases the severity of the offense.

Group One includes, but is not limited to, the following offenses:


GROUP TWO OFFENSES

Acts and behavior in this group are generally more severe than Group One offenses. Group Two offenses may be disciplined by written reprimand and/or suspension without pay not to exceed five (5) working days. Accumulation of two (2) Group Two written reprimands within a 365 calendar day period may result in demotion or dismissal. Accumulation of one (1) reprimand for a Group Two offense and three (3) written reprimands for Group One offenses within a 365 calendar day period may result in demotion or dismissal. Multiple reprimands may not be issued for the same occurrence or event; however, an original reprimand may be revoked and replaced if information that is obtained after the initial reprimand increases the severity of the offense.

 

Group Two includes, but is not limited to, the following offenses:

GROUP THREE OFFENSES

Acts and behavior in this group are of the most serious nature. Commission of one (1) Group Three offense may be disciplined by the agency with a written reprimand and/or may result in suspension without pay for up to five (5) working days, demotion, or dismissal.

Group Three includes, but is not limited to, the following offenses:


FORMS OF DISCIPLINE

The Director or supervising manager may attempt to correct unacceptable behavior with a verbal warning and/or counseling and/or other appropriate informal means, whenever practical, prior to taking formal action against an employee.

The Director or supervising manager shall take action to formally discipline an employee who is guilty of an offense. All forms of discipline are appealable to the Director. Non-pay suspensions and dismissals are appealable to the Board after exhausting the appeal process to the Director.  All forms of discipline are grievable to the Director and/or the Board.

In extraordinary circumstances, the employee may be placed on immediate suspension with pay pending an investigation on the matter.   In the event that an offense is determined to be subject to non-pay suspension or dismissal, the suspension period will set to non-pay status retroactive to the first date of the suspension or the last payroll date, whichever is the latter occurrence.  

DOCUMENTATION OF CORRECTIVE AND DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

  1. When the Director or supervising manager has taken corrective action preliminary to a formal disciplinary action, a written account of such action may be placed in the employee's personnel file. Formal disciplinary actions include written reprimand, suspension, demotion, and dismissal.

  1. When an employee has been issued a written reprimand, a copy of the reprimand must be placed in his/her personnel file. All written reprimands must clearly state that it is a written reprimand and state the specific conduct of the employee and the particular offense committed. The written reprimand must also inform the employee of his/her right to grieve the reprimand in accordance with CJRL grievance procedure.

  1. Documentation of corrective actions and disciplinary measures, including written reprimands, may be kept indefinitely in the employee's personnel file for the purpose of showing a pattern of employee conduct.

  1. Before any written documentation of corrective action or disciplinary measure is placed in an employee's personnel file, the employee shall be given:

  1. A copy of the material to be placed in his or her file; and

  1. Written notice that the material will be placed in his or her personnel file, if such notification is not included on the original copy of the material.

  1. The Director will keep a copy of the notice, which will contain either the employee's acknowledgment that he/she has received the copy of the material and the notice, or a statement signed by the person who delivered the material and the notice that the employee refused to sign such an acknowledgment.

  1. The Director will determine what job-related information will be included in each employee's personnel file.

SUSPENSION

The Director may suspend an employee without pay or other compensation as punishment for disciplinary cause. The Director may not suspend an employee without pay as punishment for disciplinary cause for more than thirty (30) calendar days during any 365 calendar day period. The 365 calendar day period shall begin with the first day of the first suspension.

When a suspension has been determined, the Director will notify the employee in writing within five (5) business days to provide the specifications of the suspension, including cause, length of suspension, and the employee’s right to appeal to the Board (if applicable).  

An employee has the right to request a conference with the Director concerning any suspension.  The employee must deliver a written request for a conference to the Director within five (5) business days following the receipt of a written notice of suspension from the Director.  Written requests must include an original version of the employee’s signature and date of signature - (no faxes, e-mails, or texts). Employee must be given an opportunity for a conference with the Director within 14 calendar days following the date of the receipt of the employee’s request for appeal, at which time the Director may make a final decision.

An employee suspended without pay may appeal through the Director to the Board.  The employee may appeal if, and only if, the employee has first exhausted the conference process with the Director.  The employee must deliver a written request for an appeal to the Board with the Director within five (5) business days following receipt of the Director’s post-conference disciplinary written conclusion.  Written requests must include an original version of the employee’s signature and date of signature - no faxes, e-mails, or texts.  Appeals must be addressed to the Director with a carbon copied (i.e. ‘cc’) to the Board President.  The employee must mail the carbon copy of the original letter to the CJRL Board President.

During the time than an employee is suspended without pay, the employee will receive no pay and will not accrue any type of leave or seniority.  All other benefits will remain unaffected by suspension except for those instances regulated by an outside authority.  If the Board should overrule the disciplinary action, the Library will reinstate to the employee any pay and benefits lost during suspension.  

Suspension, extraordinary circumstances

In extraordinary circumstances an employee may be suspended immediately without pay. Such employee must be given an opportunity for a conference with the Director within fourteen (14) calendar days from the first day of suspension, at which time the Director may make a disciplinary decision. The days of suspension preceding the conference with the Director will be applied toward any applicable disciplinary action.  If an employee has been suspended without pay for extraordinary circumstances and the Director determines that no disciplinary action is required, all affected payments and benefits will be restored to the employee.

Suspension, questionable circumstances

In questionable circumstances an employee may be suspended immediately with pay until sufficient information can be obtained to determine what, if any, disciplinary action is appropriate. If the Director determines that disciplinary action is appropriate, due process rights begin on the date the Director provides the employee with written notice of disciplinary action.

DISCIPLINARY DEMOTION

A CJRL employee may be demoted from his/her current position to a position having a lower salary range and having less discretion or responsibility only for cause.

The demotion may be in addition to a suspension without pay for disciplinary cause. The salary will be certified in accordance with policies and procedures regarding demotion.

DISMISSAL

A CJRL employee may be dismissed or his/her employment terminated voluntarily or involuntarily. Voluntary severance of employment occurs when a CJRL employee submits his or her resignation of employment. An involuntary severance of CJRL employment can occur based upon a reduction in work force (approved by Board), disciplinary action, failure of the employee to continue to meet the eligibility criteria for the position held or an inability to perform the essential functions of the job.

The Director may dismiss a CJRL employee only for good cause. All permanent CJRL employees dismissed by the Director are entitled to due process.

A probationary employee may be dismissed by the Director at any time during the probationary period, with or without cause.

The Board will be responsible for the dismissal of the Director, should such circumstances arise.  The Director will be responsible for all other dismissals.  

If the Director determines that circumstances warrant the discharge of an employee, he/she shall notify the employee in writing of the decision.  Prior to the decision to discharge an employee, the employee may be suspended with or without pay.  If a decision is made that a discharge is appropriate, the suspension period will set to non-pay status retroactive to the date of the discharge offense or the last payroll date, whichever is the latter occurrence.  

An employee has the right to request a conference with the Director concerning any dismissal.  The employee must deliver a written request for a conference to the Director within five (5) business days following the effective date of the dismissal.  Written requests must include an original version of the employee’s signature and date of signature - no faxes, e-mails, or texts. Employee must be given an opportunity for a conference with the Director within fourteen (14) calendar days following the receipt the employee’s request for a conference, at which time the Director may make a final decision.

 

When a dismissal has been upheld after the conference with the Director, the employee may appeal through the Director to the Board.  An employee may appeal to the Board if, and only if, the employee has first exhausted the conference process with the Director.  The employee must deliver a written request for an appeal to the Board within five (5) business days of the effective date of the conference with the Director.  Written requests must include an original version of the employee’s signature and date of signature - no faxes, e-mails, or texts.

Upon receipt to the Director of a request for conference with the Director or request for appeal to the Board, the employee’s status shall revert to suspension without pay. During the time than an employee is suspended without pay, the employee will receive no pay and will not accrue any type of leave or seniority.  All other benefits will remain unaffected by suspension except for those instances regulated by an outside authority.  


DUE PROCESS

All permanent CJRL employees, (i.e., all CJRL employees who have successfully served 180 calendar days in CJRL positions), are entitled to procedural due process upon dismissal or non-pay suspension by the Director.  The process which is due to each CJRL employee is written notice of a disciplinary action which states with sufficient particularity what charges or allegations are being made concerning the employee, the proposed discipline which will be taken, the opportunity for a conference with the Director allowing the employee to respond and present a defense to disciplinary action, the opportunity to appeal to the Board allowing the employee to respond and present a defense to disciplinary action.  The written notice shall be presented to the employee within seven (7) calendar days following any disciplinary action.

A. The written notice of disciplinary action presented to an employee must list all of the reason(s) for the Director’s consideration of the adverse action. The reason(s) listed in these notices shall be specific by setting forth the particular group offense(s) violated and the charge(s) or ground(s) upon which the disciplinary action is predicated. The reason(s) listed in these notices will be the only reason(s) to be addressed throughout the appeals process.

B. If the employee fails to request a conference with the Director within five (5) calendar days following the date of receipt of a written notice of a suspension or dismissal, the Director’s disciplinary decision will remain in effect. The waiver of the hearing shall be determined by an employee's written statement of waiver or by the employee's forfeiture of due process rights by failure to respond in writing or appear at the conference with Director by a pre-established date and time.

     If the employee fails to request a conference with the Director within five (5) calendar days following the date of receipt of a written notice of suspension or dismissal, he/she has terminated their due process rights and is no longer eligible to appeal to the Board.

C. The Director will notify the employee in writing of his/her decision within fourteen (14) calendar days following the date of the post suspension/dismissal conference.

D. An employee may appeal to the Board within five (5) calendar days following the completion of (1)filing a request for conference with the Director, and (2) the conference with the Director being completed, and (3) the Director has issued his/her final decision on the disciplinary action.  The employee must deliver a written request for an appeal to the Board within five (5) business day following the receipt of the written notice of the Director’s final post-conference disciplinary decision.  Written requests must include an original version of the employee’s signature and date of signature - no faxes, e-mails, or texts.

E. All correspondence originating from a disciplined employee towards any Library employee/agent related in any way to the disciplinary action must be made in person or in writing with original signature and date.  Text messages, e-mails, and any other form of communication where the correspondence’s source cannot be authenticated by the Library through official documents are not permitted and will only receive an acknowledgement from the Library that it cannot respond to such correspondence as outlined in its due process guidelines.

F. Any expenses incurred by the employee in the course of his/her execution of his/her due process rights is the sole responsibility of the employee.

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