Disciplinary Actions

Effective Date: June 1, 1995
Revised: June 1, 2009
 
Purpose:
To provide a fair, open, uniform, and objective means of correcting and improving employee behavior and to guide employees to improve their conduct or performance so that they may continue their employment with the College.
The College expects all employees to behave in a mature and responsible manner and to perform their jobs conscientiously, without the need of disciplinary action.
The College reserves the right to bypass the progressive steps for discipline defined in this policy and move to immediate termination of an employee in circumstances when the College administration determined that corrective measures would be ineffectual or otherwise inappropriate.
 
Policy:
The nature of the offense and the particular circumstances determine whether or not all or any of the steps in the below sequence are followed. Disciplinary steps may be omitted or repeated, as the College determines appropriate.
 
These corrective disciplinary measures will not apply in the event of any situation that the College determines to warrant immediate termination of employment or in other circumstances when the College determines that corrective measures would be ineffectual or otherwise inappropriate.
 
Acts or omissions on the part of employees which are symptomatic of behavior or work habits which can be corrected or improved (for example: absenteeism, tardiness, etc.) should be dealt with through a series of reprimands which should include, at minimum, a verbal warning and a written warning prior to dismissal.
 
In general, discipline for employees is applied in progressive steps as follows:
1. Oral warning
2. Written warning
3. Final written warning, suspension and/or disciplinary probation
4. Termination of employment
 
Oral Warnings
If an employee is given an oral warning, the employee is informed of the warning by their supervisor. The warning is also recorded by the supervisor in writing and the record is placed in the employee’s personnel file.
 
Written Warnings
If an employee is issued a written warning or a final written warning, the supervisor will meet with the employee to discuss the disciplinary action and the employee will be asked to sign the warning. The employee’s signature is only an acknowledgment that the employee has been informed of the warning; it does not indicate agreement with the warning. Employees are able to make a comment on the written warning, or may submit a written statement to be attached to the written warning. In the event an employee chooses not to provide a comment or sign the written warning, the supervisor will make note on the written warning accordingly. The written warning is placed on the employee’s personnel file and the employee is given a copy of the same.
 
Disciplinary Probation
An employee may be placed on disciplinary probation for unsatisfactory performance or conduct. An employee placed on disciplinary probation will be given a written notice of probation, which generally provides an explanation of the reason for the action, the length of the probationary period and a plan of corrective action to be successfully completed during the period. The employee’s supervisor will meet with the employee to discuss the terms of the disciplinary probation, and the employee will be asked to sign the notice of probation as an acknowledgment that the employee has been informed of the action. In the event an employee chooses not to sign the written warning, the supervisor will make note on the notice accordingly. A copy of the notice is placed on the employee’s personnel file and the employee is given a copy of the same.
 
At the conclusion of the probationary period, and from time to time during the period, as appropriate, the employee’s supervisor will meet with the employee to review progress. An employee on disciplinary probation who does not show satisfactory improvement is subject to further disciplinary action at anytime, up to and including termination of employment.
 
Disciplinary Suspension
A disciplinary suspension is a suspension from work without pay for one or more days for a repeated or serious infraction of College rules or policies. The employee’s supervisor will meet with the employee to discuss the terms of the disciplinary suspension, and the employee will be asked to sign the notice of suspension as an acknowledgment that the employee has been informed of the action. In the event an employee chooses not to sign the notice, the supervisor will make note on the notice accordingly. A copy of the notice is placed on the employee’s personnel file and the employee is given a copy of the same.
 
Investigative Suspension
A suspension from work with pay or without pay may be appropriate when circumstances require an investigation and it does not appear practical or desirable or in the best interests of the College or of the employee for the employee to remain at work during that investigation. An investigative suspension is not itself a disciplinary measure. If, at the conclusion of the investigation, the investigative suspension is converted to a disciplinary suspension or discharge, the employee will be notified of the action to be taken and the personnel file will be updated accordingly.
 
If upon investigation, a suspension without pay is not converted to a disciplinary suspension or discharge, the employee will be reinstated and will be paid at their normal straight-time rate for all regularly scheduled work missed during the suspension.
 
As a standard of practice, in the event of a written warning or suspension, the department head should notify the Director of Human Resources, or Vice President of Finance and Administration or designee of the circumstances surrounding the disciplinary action, prior to the action being taken.
 
If the circumstances prohibit prior notification of such an action being taken, then notification must be given immediately following to the Director of Human Resources or Vice President of Finance and Administration or designee.
 
Last updated June 1, 2009
 
 

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Effective Date: June 1, 2009
 
Purpose:
To allow employees time off for child care following the birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care; to care for a spouse, child or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition; or because of a serious healthcare condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her position, or for eligible employees to take leave for a covered family member's service in the Armed Forces as identified in the policy.
 
Policy:
An employee receives up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12-month period for:
1. child care following the birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care;
2. in order to care for a spouse, child or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition;
3. because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her position.
 
An employee has the absolute right to an intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule for the employee's serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition, if medically necessary. An employer may transfer an employee to an alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates the leave schedule.
 
An employee must be able to perform the essential functions of his/her position or an equivalent position upon return from FMLA leave or when requesting intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule. Reinstatement or transfer to a true light duty position (i.e., a make work job where essential job functions have been removed) is not required — but ADA may apply. Also, an employee has the absolute right to FMLA leave even if the employer offers the employee a light duty job (but in a workers' compensation situation, temporary total disability benefits would cease).
 
Revised Final Regulations under the Family and Medical Leave Act made effective on January 16, 2009, now entitles eligible employees to take leave for a covered family member's service in the Armed Forces.
 
Eligible employees may take Service Member leave for either (or both) of the following reasons:
A "qualifying exigency" arising out of a covered family member's active duty or call to active duty in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation;
 
OR a leave duration up to 12 work weeks of leave during any 12-month period:
 
To care for a covered family member ("next of kin") who has incurred an injury or illness in the line of duty while on active duty in the Armed Forces provided that such injury or illness may render the family member medically unfit to perform duties of the member's office, grade, rank or rating.
 
Leave Duration: Up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period. (Leave may not exceed 26 weeks in a single 12-month period when it is combined with other FMLA-qualifying leave).
 
NOTE: Service Member FMLA runs concurrent with other leave entitlements provided under federal, state and local law.
 
COVERAGE AND ELIGIBILITY:
Private employers with 50 or more employees are "covered employers." An employee is eligible for FMLA leave if the employee:
 
1. Works at a worksite with 50 or more employees or for an employer who has 50 or more employees within 75 miles of that worksite;
2. Has worked for the employer for at least 12 months; and
3. Has worked at least 1,250 hours over the 12-month period prior to the date leave commences.
 
SERIOUS HEALTH CONDITION IS DEFINED AS (including, but not limited to):
The College will grant leave for any condition defined as a serious health condition under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and/or any applicable state law. In general, serious health conditions are conditions which require continuing medical treatment and which cause incapacitation for periods of three days or longer. Examples of serious health conditions include, without limitation:
1. Inpatient care - Any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care.
2. Absence plus treatment by a health care provider - Any period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days (and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition);
3. Treatment two or more times by a health care provider, nurse or physician's assistant or provider of health care services under orders from, or on referral by a health care provider; or
4. Treatment by a health care provider on one occasion that result in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of a health care provider.
5. Pregnancy - Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care.
6. Chronic Conditions Requiring Treatment - Any period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition. A chronic serious health condition is one which:
(a) Requires periodic visits for treatment to a health care provider;
(b) Continues over an extended period of time; and
(c) May be episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity. Examples include asthma, diabetes and epilepsy.
 
Permanent/Long Term Conditions Requiring Supervision - Any period of incapacity which is permanent or long term for which treatment may not be effective. Continuing supervision, but not active treatment, by a health care provider is required.
 
Examples include:
• Alzheimer's 
• Severe stroke
• Terminal stages of a disease.
• Heart conditions requiring heart bypass or valve operations
• Back conditions requiring extensive therapy or surgical procedures
• Severe respiratory conditions
• Appendicitis
• Emphysema
• Severe nervous disorders
• Injuries caused by serious accidents on or off the job
• Ongoing pregnancy, miscarriages, complications of illness related to pregnancy, such as severe morning sickness, the need for prenatal care, childbirth, and recovery from childbirth.
 
Multiple Treatments (Non-Chronic Conditions) - Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments by a health care provider for restorative surgery after an accident or injury, or for a condition that would result in an absence of more than three consecutive calendar days if left untreated.
 
Examples include chemotherapy for cancer, physical therapy for severe arthritis and dialysis for kidney disease.
 
NOTE: Fitness for duty certification upon return to work from an FMLA leave will be required.
 
EMPLOYER OBLIGATION:
An employer has an affirmative obligation to designate absences as FMLA leave. The FMLA requires very specific and detailed notice including:
1. Posting of FMLA poster.
2. FMLA policy in handbook or policy manual (if employer has such a handbook or manual).
3. Written guidance if no handbook or policy manual.
4. Written notice of FMLA rights and obligations to employees requesting leave (Department of Labor Employer Response to Employee's Request for Leave Form).
5. Written notice of designation of leave as FMLA leave.
6. Written/oral notice of medical certification and fitness for duty certification requirements.
7. Written notice of key employee designation.
Frequency of notice is generally dependent upon the type of FMLA leave take (continuous v. intermittent/reduced leave) and whether the employer's leave information changes.
 
EMPLOYEE NOTICE REQUIREMENT:
An employee needs not specifically state need for "FMLA leave" but only an FMLA leave qualifying reason. For leaves that are foreseeable, 30 days notice must be given to the employer.
 
For unforeseeable leaves, notice must be given as soon as practicable, usually verbal notification within one or two business days of when the need for leave becomes known.
 
For paid FMLA leave, the employer's notification requirements for the particular paid leave being substituted apply, even if less stringent.
 
PROCEDURES
Supervisor’s Responsibility:
1. Determine in consultation with the Department of Human Resources whether the employee meets the requirements to qualify under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
 
2. If the employee qualifies for FMLA, nform the employee that the leave (up to 12 weeks) will be designated as FML
 
3. Provide the employee with the following forms:
a. Leave Request form; and
b. Certification of Health Care Provider form with a copy of the employee's job description attached.
 
4. If request for leave is due to the employee's own serious health condition, notify the employee in writing or verbally within two (2) business days of the following information:
a. Eligibility for FMLA
b. Leave designation
c. Benefits options
d. Sick and/or vacation options
e. requirement for a return-to-work slip before returning to work.
 
Note: Record sick/vacation leave, as applicable and keep a log of each employee's leave designation assists in determining future eligibility.
 
Employee’s Responsibility:
1. Complete and return the Leave Request form along with the Certification of Health Care Provider form or statement from the physician.
2. Keep the department supervisor informed of any changes.
3. Obtain a return-to-work slip from the doctor to present to the department before returning to work.
 
Last updated June 1, 2009
 

Fraternization

Effective Date: May 2011
 
Purpose:
To provide a safe and mentoring environment that supports Centenary College’s educational goals.
 
Policy:
As an educational institution Centenary College is committed to maintaining an environment in which its faculty members, students, administrators, and staff members are safe; can be trusted and count on others to be trustworthy; and receive and extend to others respect as human persons. Indeed, mutual respect among faculty members, students, and administrators is an essential ingredient in the educational process and care must be taken to it is not eroded.
 
Those circumstances in which administrators, faculty and staff members work with students can have the potential for the exploitation of students. For example, a work-study student might be asked to perform services that go beyond the terms and conditions of the work-study assignment, e.g. child care; personal business transactions. In such cases, it must be clear that the student may decline such personal invitations without any adverse consequences. It may be that a work-study student may respond to an invitation to provide personal assistance, but this relationship must be one in which the student volunteers, is offered and accepts a fair wage for services, and one which bears no relationship to the continuation of or the evaluation of the work-study assignment.
 
Because of the commitment to maintaining an environment that supports our educational goals Centenary College prohibits romantic, sexual, and exploitative relationships between a student and any member f the College serving as an administrator, faculty personal or staff member. In the event that any such relationship regarding a faculty member is reported to and confirmed by the Provost and Dean of the College, the faculty member will face disciplinary procedures by the Faculty Personnel Committee up to and including dismissal for just cause, who will make its recommendation to the Provost and the President. The decision of the Provost and the President may be appealed by the faculty member (see Section 13, Faculty Appeals Procedure). In the event any such relationship reading an administrator or staff employee is reported and confirmed to the Director of Human Resources, the administrator or staff employee will face disciplinary procedures as outlined in the College’s Personnel Policy manual.
 
There are exceptional circumstances in which the spouse or partner of an administrator, faculty or staff member is a student at the College. This fraternization policy does not apply in such circumstances. The Dean and Provost of the College and the Director of Human Resources are the administrative officers who determine whether an exceptional circumstance applies.
 

Grievance Procedure

Effective Date: 06/01/95

Purpose:
To outline the grievance procedure to be followed by staff non-exempt employees in a pay status at Centenary College.

Policy:
A grievance is defined as an employee’s expression of alleged unfair or inequitable treatment with respect to the application of policies, procedures, and regulations which he/she has been unable to resolve with his/her immediate supervisor.

An employee filing a grievance shall have at every step the right to present witnesses and evidence to support his/her grievance. Since the processing of a grievance is not a legal matter attorneys may not represent either the employee filing a grievance or Centenary College. Employees are not to be penalized in any way for proper use of the Grievance Procedure. Time spent in grievance discussions with the Administration will be considered time worked with pay.

Step 1 - Any employee who wishes to file a grievance shall first discuss his/her grievance with his/her immediate supervisor. After the aforementioned discussion with the employee, the supervisor shall have five (5) working days in which to reply to the employee’s grievance. If the supervisor fails to reply to the grievance or if his/her answer is not satisfactory to the employee, the employee may present his/her grievance at Step 2.

Step 2 - If the disposition of the grievance in Step 1 is not acceptable, the employee shall, within five (5) working days, prepare a written statement stating the basis for the grievance and a requested settlement. He/she shall then discuss his/her problem with the Division Head who shall have five (5) working days in which to present a written reply to the employee’s complaint. If a mutually acceptable settlement cannot be reached, the employee will have five (5) working days in which to present his/her grievance in Step 3. The grievant should process his/her grievance to Step 3 through the Finance & Administration Office.

Step 3 - If the disposition of the grievance in Step 2 is not acceptable and the employee wishes to have the grievance considered further, he/she shall notify a representative of the Finance & Administration Office. A representative of the Finance & Administration Office will investigate the allegations and make arrangements to hear the employee’s complaint and the departmental charges if any. A representative of the Finance & Administration Office shall provide a written response to the employee within five (5) working days of the receipt of the grievance. If the response is not acceptable to the employee the grievance may be processed to Step 4 through the Finance & Administration Office.

Step 4 - If the disposition of the grievance in Step 3 is not acceptable to the employee and he/she wishes to have the grievance given further consideration, he/she shall notify a representative of the Finance & Administration Office in writing to that effect. Grievance processed to Step 4 shall be reviewed by the President or his/her representative and a response shall be provided to the grievant within thirty (30) days.

NOTE: In order for a grievance to be considered, it must be filed within five (5) working days of the alleged misapplication. If an employee is not satisfied with a decision, he/she has a maximum of five (5) working days between each step to appeal the grievance to the next higher step. Any grievance not carried forward by the employee from one step to another in accordance with and within the applicable time limits specified in the policy will be considered closed and disposed of in accordance with the last disposition of the grievance.

 

Last updated 20 July 2000

Whistleblower

Effective Date: June 1, 2009
 
Purpose:
The purpose of this policy is to set forth the Centenary College of Louisiana policy on disclosure of misconduct and to protect individuals from retaliation in the form of an adverse employment action for disclosing what they believe evidences certain unlawful or unethical practices. This policy is applicable to all employees of Centenary College of Louisiana and to applicants for jobs at Centenary College of Louisiana.
 
Policy:
It is the policy of Centenary College of Louisiana that employees and applicants shall be free without fear of retaliation to report conduct within the College that they reasonably believe may constitute misconduct including but no limited to, the following: wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, securities fraud or questionable accounting and internal controls, auditing matters, harassment, discrimination, hostile workplace, safety and security issues, illegal or unethical business practices, wrongful termination, hate messages, faculty and staff handbook violations, violations of laws, mismanagement, waste of institution resources, and abuse of authority.
 
A representative of Centenary College of Louisiana shall not take or refuse to take any employment action in retaliation against an employee or applicant who reports possible misconduct under this policy in good faith or who, following such disclosure, seeks a remedy provided under this policy or any law or other College policy. However, employees or applicants who knowingly file false or misleading reports, or without a reasonable belief as to truth or accuracy, will not be protected by this policy, and in the case of an employee, may be subject to discipline, including termination of employment.
 
Procedure:
A. An employee or applicant shall disclose all relevant information regarding evidenced misconduct to the President or his/her designee in a signed written document within ninety (90) days of the day on which he or she first knew of the misconduct. If the employee or applicant would rather contact a source outside of the College, he or she may contact the confidential CampusConduct Hotline service provided by EIIA.
 
B. The President or his/her designee shall consider the disclosure and take whatever action he or she determines to be appropriate under the law and circumstances of the disclosure.
 
C. In the case of disclosure of misconduct involving the President, the disclosure shall be directed to the Chairperson of the Board of Directors. The Chairperson shall consider the disclosure and take whatever action he or she determines to be appropriate under the law and circumstances of the disclosure.
 
D. The disclosure recipient will be responsible for:
1. Ensuring all investigations are carried out in a fair and unbiased manner.
2. Ensuring that those making complaints and/or reporting compliance concerns are treated fairly, their confidentiality is protected to the extent the law allows, and no retaliation takes place.
 
Complaints of Retaliation as a Result of Disclosure
A. If an employee or applicant believes that he or she has been retaliated against in the form of adverse employment action for reporting possible
misconduct under this policy, he or she may file a written complaint requesting an appropriate remedy.
 
B. For purposes of this policy, an adverse employment action shall be defined as actions including: discharge, demotion, suspension, being threatened or harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment. This policy does not prohibit an employment action that would have been taken regardless of a disclosure of information.
 
Process for Adjudication of Complaints Stemming from Disclosure
A. An employee or applicant must file a complaint with the President or his/her designee within ninety (90) days from the effective date of the adverse employment action or from the date on which the employee or applicant should reasonably have had knowledge of the adverse employment action.
 
B. Complaints shall be filed in writing and shall include:
1. Name and work address of the complainant;
2. Name and title of Centenary College of Louisiana’s official(s) against whom the complaint is made;
3. The specific type(s) of adverse employment action(s) taken;
4. The specific date(s) on which the adverse employment action(s) were taken;
5. A clear and concise statement of the facts that form the basis of the complaint;
6. A clear and concise statement of the complainant's explanation of how his or her report of possible misconduct is related to the adverse employment action; and
7. A clear and concise statement of the remedy sought by the complainant.
 
C. Within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of complaint, the President or his/her designee (or the Chairperson of the Board of Directors in the case involving the President) shall consider the written complaint, shall conduct or have conducted an investigation which, in his or her judgement, is consistent with the circumstances of the complaint and disclosure, and shall report to the complainant the conclusions of the investigation absent overriding legal or public interest reasons. The identity of the complainant and the subject of the compliant shall be kept confidential to the extent possible within the legitimate needs of law and the investigation.
 
D. The determination shall be in writing and shall include the findings of fact, the conclusions of the investigation, and, if applicable, a specific and timely remedy consistent with the findings. The decision of the President or Chairperson of the Centenary College of Louisiana’s Board of Directors shall be final.
 
False Allegations of Wrongful Conduct
Any employee who knowingly makes false allegations of alleged wrongful conduct shall
be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment, in accordance
with college/university rules, policies and procedures.
 
This policy is not a contract and it can be modified at any time, with or without notice. It does not provide greater or lesser rights than applicable law provides.
 
Last updated June 1, 2009