1. The Employer agrees that action taken against unit employees will be consistent with applicable laws and be taken for just cause, and be fair and equitable. The Parties agree that the concept of progressive discipline, designed primarily to correct and improve employee behavior rather than to punish, will be followed.
2. Prior to proposing disciplinary action against an employee(s), the Employer may conduct a preliminary investigation to develop the facts. The investigation may include, where necessary, a discussion with the employee who is alleged to have committed the offense. All disciplinary and adverse actions will be initiated within a reasonable time after the investigation. The Union shall be given the opportunity to be represented at any examination of a unit employee by a management official in any investigation which the employee reasonably believes may result in disciplinary or adverse action being taken against the employee and the employee requests representation. In such instances the employer will defer the discussion until the employee secures a representative.
3. For the purpose of this Agreement disciplinary actions shall be letters of reprimand, suspensions for 14 days or less. Adverse actions are removals, suspensions of more than 14 days, furloughs of 30 days or less, or reductions in pay or grade.
a. : Letters of reprimand may be issued directly to an employee without a proposal letter. Letters of reprimand shall contain information to indicate specifically why the letter is being issued. The letter will also advise the employee where the letter may be retained, that it will not be retained for more than one year, and if the letter may be used in determining an appropriate penalty if further infractions occur. The letter shall inform the employee that she/he has the right to file a grievance under the negotiated grievance procedure and has the right to be represented by a NFFE representative. The supervisor shall discuss the letter with the employee at the employee's request.
b. : The following applies to an individual in the competitive service who is not serving a probationary or trial period under an initial appointment or who has completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar positions under other than a temporary appointment limited to I year or less. Such an employee is entitled to:
(1) An advance written notice stating the specific reasons for the proposed suspension;
(2) Up to 15 days to answer orally and/or in writing and to furnish affidavits and other documentary evidence on support of the answer;
(3) Be represented by a NFFE representative, represent him/herself; or be represented by an attorney or other representative in responding to the proposed action;
(4) Review the material, including statements of witnesses, documents, and investigative reports. The notice shall inform the employee where this material may be reviewed and that his/her representative may also review the material as well;
(5) A written decision and the specific reasons therefore, at the earliest practicable date; and
(6) Grieve the decision through the negotiated grievance procedure contained in Article 20. The written decision shall advise the employee of the above rights, along with the name of the Union President and telephone number. The President will then provide the name of the local representative.
c. : The following applies to an individual in the competitive service who is not serving a probationary or trial period under an initial appointment or who has completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar positions under other than a temporary appointment limited to 1 year or less. Such an employee is entitled to: