Douglas County Personnel Rule #12

DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

12.1        Application . This rule does not apply to (as defined in Personnel Rule 2 (Definitions)) probationary, at will part time, on-call, temporary, at will managerial employees, appointed department heads  or employees subject to collective bargaining agreements.  This rule does not apply regarding dismissals to employees of elected officials who have not adopted these rules.

12.2        Cause of Disciplinary Action Any violation of the Douglas County Personnel Rules or any action that is a direct hindrance to the effective performance of County functions, shall be considered good cause for disciplinary action.  Such cause may include but is not limited to misconduct, inefficiency, incompetence, insubordination, deceit, intoxication, dishonesty, indolence, malfeasance, misappropriation or misuse of County resources, giving of false information or withholding information when applying for County employment or in response to inquiries from management, criminal conviction that may affect the employee’s position or County department, violation of published departmental rules or these rules, or violation of a Last Chance Agreement.

12.3        Suspensions.  A Department Head (or designee) may suspend a non-exempt employee without pay for cause. Prior to suspending an employee without pay, the employee will be advised of the charges against them and the probable consequences of those charges and be given at least an informal opportunity to respond. The Human Resources Department should be advised whenever a suspension without pay is being considered. No service credit may be acquired by the employee during a period of suspension. Exempt employees cannot be suspended without pay for less than one work week unless it is for a serious violation of a safety issue or workplace conduct rules and policies. Improperly imposed suspensions of less than one work week may jeopardize the employee’s exempt status.

Notwithstanding the above, where a department head feels there is a significant public interest in immediately suspending an employee without pay, they can do so only with prior approval of the Human Resources Director or County Counsel. 

12.4        Demotion A Department Head (or designee) may demote an employee for cause.  The employee will receive a written statement including the reasons for the demotion at least five (5) days prior to the effective date of the action, with a copy being filed with the Human Resources Department.  No disciplinary demotions shall occur unless the employee is qualified for employment in the lower class or if such action will cause a regular employee in the lower class to be laid off.

12.5        Dismissal. A Department Head may dismiss an employee under  their jurisdiction for cause, with approval of the Human Resources Director.  In dismissing an employee, the Department Head shall use the following procedure:

12.5.1                A written statement of the charges against the employee shall be furnished to the employee and a copy filed with the Human Resources Department at least five (5) days prior to the effective date of the dismissal.  If the Department Head believes the best interests of the County require the immediate separation of an employee from their assignment, the Department Head may suspend the employee without pay during the notice period providing requirements of Rule 12.3 Suspensions have been met.  No service credit will be acquired by an employee during a period of suspension.

12.5.2                   The employee shall be given an informal opportunity during the notice period to refute the charges either orally or in writing before the Department Head.  The written statement of charges shall also notify the employee of this opportunity and shall specify the time and location where such opportunity is available.

12.5.3                   County Property  Upon termination, the Department Head will assure that all county property has been returned, including county keys, county identification, etc. and may enter the former employee=s county office, desk, credenza or other county storage to do so.

12.5.4                   In lieu of dismissal, a Department Head, with advice and consent of the Human Resources Director, may offer to the employee a last chance agreement to address performance discrepancies that would otherwise constitute grounds for dismissal.

12.6        Probationary Employees.  Probationary employees serve solely at the pleasure of the Department Head.  Such employees may be dismissed at the sole discretion of the Department Head without right to appeal.  Regular employees who, as a result of promotion, are serving a probationary period in a new position may be dismissed or demoted to their previous position or an equivalent position within the County at the sole discretion of the Department Head without right to appeal.

12.7        Department Heads.  Department Heads appointed by the Board of Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Board.

12.8        Other Exempt Employees At will managerial employees are exempt from the application of this rule for the reason that they serve at the pleasure of the appointing power.  Employees who are exempted are in positions that include but are not limited to assistant department heads, chief deputies, division heads, and any other managerial employee whose position is identified as at will.

12.9        Part-time and Temporary Employees.  Part-time and temporary employees serve solely at the pleasure of the Department Head.  Such employees may be dismissed at the sole discretion of the Department Head without right to appeal.