Before taking disciplinary action against an employee, our NAPE contract requires management inform the employee of the detailed allegations against them, the date the alleged violations took place, and offer the employee an opportunity to respond to the allegations at a predisciplinary meeting before the imposing discipline.
State Patrol Forensic Scientist Ryan Pavlish was being retrained on laboratory procedures and placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). A PIP is not a disciplinary document, nor is being placed on a PIP disciplinary action. Shortly after being placed on the PIP, Ryan was given a notice of allegations that he had not improved his performance, and the next day, his employment was terminated.
Ryan contacted NAPE, and a grievance was filed on his behalf to challenge the termination. NAPE argued that the notice of allegations did not make any specific allegations and did not contain any dates of alleged violations. Because the notice of allegations was deficient, Ryan could not defend himself because he was not aware of the specific allegations.
NAPE suggested that the State Patrol reinstate Ryan and restart the disciplinary process. The Patrol, however, declined the offer and forced NAPE to litigate the case. The case proceeded to a hearing before the Nebraska State Personnel Board, where the appointed hearing officer agreed with NAPE’s argument and recommended that Ryan be reinstated with back wages and benefits. The State Personnel Board unanimously affirmed the recommendation.
If you find yourself in a situation that may lead to disciplinary action, be sure to contact us for assistance right away. NAPE members have access to our professional staff, and legal costs associated with the grievance process are covered for members. Getting advice and representation before the prediscipinary meeting is crucial to being able to prevail in a disciplinary action. Never attend a predisciplinary meeting without representation.