University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Article 20 Discipline

Section 1. Purpose.

Disciplinary action and discharge shall be taken only for job related behavior and only for just cause. Such action, except discharge, shall have as its purpose the correction or elimination of incorrect job related behavior by an employee.

Section 2. Coaching.

Initial minor work deficiencies will normally be privately brought to the employee's attention by the immediate supervisor. Coaching and counseling to provide feedback on job performance are intended to be corrective and positive. This coaching and counseling is not part of the disciplinary procedure.

Section 3. Corrective Disciplinary Procedure.

The normal corrective disciplinary procedure shall consist of three (3) steps.

  1. Oral warning given to employee specifying the nature of any incorrect job related behavior and pointing out that non‑correction will result in further disciplinary action. Oral warnings shall be documented by use of the standard Employer form.
  2. Written warning given to the employee specifying the nature of any continuing incorrect job related behavior and pointing out that non-correction will result in further disciplinary action.
  3. Suspension given to the employee with a written explanation specifying the nature of any continuing incorrect job related behavior and pointing out that non‑correction will result in further disciplinary action.

A written record of all disciplinary action shall be entered into the employee's personnel file and a copy forwarded to the Local Union unless the employee signs a statement providing that no copy should be forwarded.

Incorrect job related behavior by an employee shall be considered as "continuing" if its recurrence is observed by the Employer and brought to the employee's attention through corrective discipline at any time during the employee's normally scheduled work year which immediately follows any disciplinary step described above. Unpaid leaves of absence totaling more than two (2) weeks would be added to the work year. Such behavior not "continuing" for one (1) year, but which recurs thereafter, will normally be dealt with at Step "A" of the corrective disciplinary procedure. If no disciplinary action is taken against an employee for one (1) work year following an oral or written reprimand, all records of past disciplinary action shall be removed from the employee's personnel file and destroyed. It shall be the responsibility of either the employee or the Employer to initiate the removal of disciplinary documentation in accordance with the above; however, any failure to remove such documentation shall not validate its continued inclusion in the file. If no disciplinary action is taken for two (2) years after a suspension, or three (3) years after a suspension for patient abuse, sexual harassment, or physical assault, all records of those suspensions shall be removed from the employee's personnel file and destroyed.

Disciplinary action taken by the Employer shall be done in a manner that will not intentionally embarrass the employee before other employees or the public, except that action taken in accordance with Section 6 of this Article shall not be a violation of this provision. Disciplinary action shall be confidential and shall not be discussed by the supervisor with bargaining unit employees other than the steward and the employee.

Section 4. Discharge.

The Employer shall have the right to immediately discharge an employee who:

  1. Is guilty of continuing non‑correction of improper job related behavior after suspension as specified in Section 3C above.
  2. Endangers in a willful or careless manner, the safety of patients, the public, himself/herself, or other employees.
  3. Causes a liability to the Employer by violating procedures on confidentiality or patients rights.
  4. Is judged by the Employer to be guilty of serious violations of generally accepted standards of employee conduct such as, but not limited to, theft, willful or careless destruction of Employer property, gross insubordination, or falsifying of documents.
  5. Fails to pass the initial period of probation in the bargaining unit.
  6. Fails to report for work for three (3) consecutive days without an authorized leave or giving any notice. However, a person may subsequently apply for a retroactive leave of absence without pay to cover the unauthorized time off, and such a request, made within seven (7) calendar days of discharge, shall receive reasonable consideration, particularly in those cases where a documented disability caused the absence and that fact is supported by a statement from a medical practitioner as defined in the Family Medical Leave Act which is to be submitted along with the leave of absence request.

Any demand by the Employer for an employee's resignation shall be considered a discharge. Should the Employer feel there is just cause for discharging an employee, the employee may be first suspended for a period of five (5) work days without pay during which the Union and the employee shall be notified immediately and furnished with the reasons for discharge. The Union shall have the right to initiate a grievance involving any suspension, discharge or non‑certification at the third step of the grievance procedure, in accordance with the provisions of Article 21, Settlement of Disputes.

Section 5 Appeal.

All disciplinary actions taken by the Employer may be processed through the procedure for "Settlement of Disputes," outlined in Article 21 except that an employee's discharge during his/her initial probationary period within the bargaining unit shall not be arbitrable.

Section 6 Access to Personnel Records.

An employee shall be given a copy of any written entry to his/her official Human Resources Office file which is the result of disciplinary action and shall be allowed to reply thereto. Disciplinary action documents shall be sent to the appropriate Human Resources Department within five (5) work days of the disciplinary action and shall be given priority in filing.

In addition, any employee shall be allowed to review all documents held in his/her respective Human Resources file. Requests for such review shall be in writing and addressed to the appropriate Human Resources Department. Following receipt of such request, arrangements shall be made for the employee to review his/her file in the presence of a Human Resources Department representative. No material may be removed from the official file by any employee. Upon receipt of written authorization signed by the employee, the appropriate Human Resources Department shall arrange to have the employee's Union Representative inspect or receive copies of all documents related to the disciplinary action present in the employee's official file.

Section 7. Union Representation.

Disciplinary Meeting. Before a supervisor may institute disciplinary action against an employee, the employee shall be given the opportunity to have the appropriate Union Steward or a Union official present during such action. However, neither the refusal of the employee's Union Steward, or Union officials to participate, nor their unavailability due to absence, shall abridge the Employer's right to take disciplinary action in accordance with Section 1. Supervisors shall give a forty‑eight (48) hour notice, whenever possible, of planned meetings with the employee which involve discipline as described in this Article. If the Steward and the employee agree, the disciplinary meeting can be held less than forty‑eight (48) hours after notification, but the steward or employee cannot refuse to hold an immediate meeting if urgent circumstances require it. Upon request, the Employer shall give the steward an indication of why disciplinary action is being taken.

Section 8 Presentation of Evidence.

Each employee shall have only one (1) official Human Resources Department file. No written documentation of prior disciplinary action or written allegations of improper employee behavior shall be used as the basis for disciplinary action unless it has been entered into the employee's official Human Resources Department file.

Section 9 Resignations.

A resignation is only valid when it is submitted to the supervisor in writing. The Employer shall consider any request to rescind a resignation made within five (5) days of the date of the resignation. The Employer shall not unreasonably deny a request to rescind a resignation.