Your agency is charged with rendering certain services to the public, which it accomplishes through its employees. Your agency has the right to establish rules, policies and standards for work performance as well as work behavior. As long these directives are
business-related and are not illegal, immoral or unethical, you must comply. If you do not comply with your agency’s directives or do not perform or behave appropriately, your agency has the right (and duty) to take action. The agency can choose non-disciplinary or disciplinary action, depending on how serious the problem is.
Non-disciplinary actions include informal discussions, counseling sessions, warning letters, reprimands, supervisory plans, and anything else that does not affect the employee’s job title or pay. Disciplinary actions include: dismissal, involuntary demotion, suspension without pay, and reduction in pay. There is also a no-fault removal process. The purpose of all these actions and the PPR process is to try to get employees to bring their performance or behavior up to agency expectations or to separate employees who have shown they are beyond salvage or unfit for state service.
When your agency grants you permanent status, it gives you a property right to your pay and your continued employment – your agency must have cause to discipline or separate you and it must provide you due process. “Cause” is conduct (act or omission, performance or behavior) that interferes with, obstructs or delays or is to the detriment of the public service the agency renders. Put another way, cause is job-related misconduct. Due process consists of: 1) giving the employee notice and an opportunity to respond before any action is taken (sometimes referred to as a Loudermill notice) and 2) giving the employee prior written notice of the action the agency had decided to take with detailed reasons (including, generally, days, dates, times, places, and names).
The corrective action taken must fit the offense. In deciding what action to take, the agency can consider prior action taken against the employee. Generally, the severity of the action depends on how seriously the employee’s conduct impacted the public service. Therefore, if you do the opposite of what your agency was created to do (such as harming a patient in your case, or letting an inmate escape, or violating the laws you were hired to enforce, etc.), or engage in other serious misconduct (such as stealing from the State, engaging in workplace violence, etc.), you can expect to be dismissed for the first offense. Otherwise, we recommend that the agency use the least severe action needed to accomplish the desired result – correcting behavior.