This section is provided to you for informational purposes only. It is a summary of your fundamental rights within the workplace. The information provided is not meant as a substitution for RNPA representation. It is important that you contact the RNPA office to discuss your specific problem(s).
JUST CAUSE: The Seven Steps
Arbitrator Carroll R. Daugherty has reduced the basic elements of just cause to seven steps. These tests represent a specifically articulated analysis of the just cause standard. They are meant to be a guideline to supervisors when disciplinary action is to be considered.
A “no” answer to one or more of the questions means that just cause was not satisfied or at least may have been seriously weakened. It also means that some arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory elements may be present.
Notice: “Did the Employer give to the employee forewarning or foreknowledge of the possible or probable consequence of the employee’s disciplinary conduct?”
Reasonable Rule or Order: “Was the Employer’s rules or managerial order reasonably related to (a) the orderly, efficient, or safe operation of the Employer’s business, and (b) the performance that the Employer might properly expect of employee?”
Investigation: “Did the Employer, before administering the discipline, make an effort to discover whether the employee did in fact violate or disobey a rule or order of management?”
Fair Investigation: “Was the Employer’s investigation conducted fairly and objectively?”
Proof: “At the investigation, did the ‘judge’ obtain substantial evidence or proof that the employee was guilty as charged?”
Equal Treatment: “Has the Employer applied its rules, orders and penalties even-handedly and without discrimination to all employees?”
Penalty: “Was the degree of discipline administered by the Employer in a particular case reasonably related to (a) the seriousness of the employee’s proven offense, and (b) the record of the employee in his service with the Employer?”*
The U.S. Supreme Court in 1975 ruled that an employee is entitled to have a Union Representative present during any interview, which may result in discipline. The Weingarten rule provides that an employee has the right to be represented by the union at an investigatory meeting when the employee has a reasonable belief that the meeting could lead to discipline. These rights are not automatic.
You must request representation
You must have a reasonable belief that discipline will result from the meeting
You are entitled to know the subject of the meeting before it begins
You have the right to consult with the union representative prior to the meeting
Do not refuse to attend a meeting if Union Representation is requested and denied.
RNPA suggests that you attend the meeting and again reiterate your right to have a Union Representative present. If this fails, RNPA advises that you clearly state that you reserve your right to answer the questions at a later date. (record all questions asked)
The California Supreme Court upheld that all public employees, whether tenured or probationary, permanent or temporary, may in some instances possess liberty interests in employment and thus are protected by due process. Skelly v State Personnel Board (1975). Regardless of whether good cause is ultimately found to exist for an employee’s discharge or discipline, before an employee can be deprived of the property interest he or she has in a job, certain procedural safeguards must be provided.
Notice of a hearing
Notice of the proposed discipline, in writing
The reasons for the proposed discipline, in writing
Other pertinent information, including copies of the policies allegedly violated and any other statements or documents which the employer considered in proposing the discipline
The right to representation at and in preparation for the hearing
The right to respond to the authority initially imposing the discipline
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