This information is provided for informational purposes. as a summary of your fundamental rights within the workplace only. The information provided is not meant as a substitute for RNPA representation. Please contact the RNPA office to discuss representation.
Disciplinary Action 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 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 invoke them.
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.