A supervisor shall take appropriate disciplinary action if an employee commits one or more of the following:
*1. Violation of, or failure to comply with, the State's Constitution or statutes; an order of a court; codes of conduct; or published rules, regulations, policies, or procedures of the Nebraska Court System or the State of Nebraska.
2. Failure or refusal to comply with a lawful order or to accept a reasonable or proper assignment from an authorized supervisor.
3. Inefficiency, incompetence, or negligence in the performance of duties.
4. Unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation possession or use of a controlled substance or alcoholic beverages in the workplace or reporting for duty under the influence of alcohol and/or unlawful drugs.
5. Negligent or improper use of public property, equipment, or funds, or conversion of same to one's own use.
6. Use of undue influence to gain or attempt to gain promotion, leave, favorable assignment, or other individual benefit or advantage.
7. Falsification, fraud, or omission of required information on the employment application/resume.
8. Unauthorized or improper use of any type of leave, or abuse of meal and rest periods.
9. Repeated tardiness or unauthorized leave, including unauthorized departure from the work area.
10. Failure to maintain satisfactory and harmonious working relationships with the public or other employees.
11. Failure to obtain and maintain current license or certification required by law or policy as a condition of employment.
12. Conviction of a felony.
13. Repeated failure to make reasonable provision for payment of personal debts which result in more than one garnishment except in cases of court ordered child support payments.
14. Insubordinate acts or language which seriously hampers the Nebraska Court System’s ability to control, manage or function.
15. Acts which bring discredit upon oneself, the Nebraska Court System, and the state.
16. Acts or conduct (on or off the job) which adversely affect the employee’s performance and/or the Nebraska Court System’s performance or function.
17. Workplace harassment based in whole or in part on race, color, sex, religion, age, disability or national origin which manifests itself in the forms of comments, jokes, printed material, and/or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
18. Possession of materials and/or utterance of comments in the workplace that are derogatory toward a group or individual based on race, gender, color, religion, disability, age or national origin.
*Note: Although county court clerk magistrates are governed by the Nebraska Revised Code of Judicial Conduct, they are disciplined in accordance with the Nebraska Supreme Court Personnel Policies and Procedures.
Disciplinary actions are those actions taken by management in response to an employee's failure to meet the standards, objectives, or rules of the organization. The actions may affect pay, status, or tenure, and are taken in the best interests of the state, the Nebraska Supreme Court, and/or the employee work force.
The decision to impose a disciplinary action and which type of action to impose shall be governed by the nature, severity, and effect of the offense; the type and frequency of previous offenses; the period of time elapsed since prior offensive acts; and consideration of extenuating circumstances.
Responsibility to impose disciplinary action shall be vested in the employee's supervisor.
Supervisors are responsible for the administration of discipline which ensures due process provisions for employees being disciplined.
The following procedures shall be observed:
1. The supervisor, upon obtaining information which would indicate the possibility of administering disciplinary action, shall inform the employee of the allegations orally and in writing.
2. The supervisor shall meet with the employee to verify the information and afford the employee an opportunity to refute the information or present mitigating evidence.
3. Based upon the information and evidence presented and the individual circumstances of the case, the supervisor shall determine the appropriate action to be taken.
4. If the supervisor decides to impose a disciplinary action, the employee shall be entitled to written notice of the proposed charges against him or her, citing the rule or policy violated and an explanation, including any written documentation of an agency's evidence against him or her. (Oral notice may be sufficient only when written notice is not expedient.) The explanation should include a description of the incident involved and/or dates of occurrence to the extent the explanation would not impair the function or operation of the agency or expose the agency to legal liability.
5. Prior to imposing discipline the employee shall again be entitled to an opportunity to present mitigating evidence or present reasons why disciplinary action should not be taken. If the opportunity or explanation is in the form of a meeting, the supervisor shall afford the employee adequate notice as to time, place, and purpose of such meeting.
6. When a supervisor meets with the employee to impose the disciplinary action, the employee shall be
a. advised in writing of the nature of the violation;
b. advised in writing of the disciplinary action being administered; and
c. if appropriate, notified in writing of the time allowed for improvement and the consequences (including dismissal) of future violations or failure to improve.
The employee shall acknowledge receipt of the written documentation of disciplinary action by signing the document. The employee's signature does not constitute agreement with the content of the document. If the employee refuses to sign, the supervisor and a witness shall sign a notation of the employee's refusal on the document. A copy of the document shall then be placed in the employee's personnel file and a copy of the document (other than Written Warnings) shall be sent to the Administrative Office.
The following types and levels of disciplinary actions are to be prescribed in a progressive manner. However, the type and extent of disciplinary action shall be governed by the nature, severity, and effect of the violation; the type and frequency of previous violations; the period of time elapsed since a prior offensive act; and consideration of extenuating circumstances. More severe levels of disciplinary action may be imposed when a lesser action is deemed inadequate or has not achieved the desired results. One or a combination of any of the following disciplinary actions may be imposed. All disciplinary actions shall be in writing, and if more than one action is imposed, they shall be on a single document and imposed at the same time.
This action consists of a written record of a discussion with the employee during which the supervisor explains in detail the reasons for the warning and advises the employee of the action required to correct the unsatisfactory performance or behavior. The written record of the warning shall be dated and shall inform the employee of the reason for the warning, the action required for improvement if appropriate, the time allowed for improvement, and the consequences of future violations or failure to improve. The employee shall be required to acknowledge receipt and understanding of the warning in writing. Such signature does not imply agreement. If the employee refuses to sign, the supervisor and a witness shall sign a notation of the employee's refusal on the document. A copy of this documentation shall be placed in the employee's personnel file. The employee has the right to file a written explanation or denial.
An employee shall not have a written warning imposed more than once for a single transgression. However, written warnings for each additional act of the same or similar nature may be imposed.
A disciplinary probation may be imposed for a period of not less than 3 months or more than 12 months.
The imposition of a disciplinary probation shall include a written explanation concerning the employee's violation, weaknesses, shortcomings, etc., that have caused the action to take place; the action required for improvement if appropriate; and the time allowed for improvement. The employee shall also be informed that if positive action is not taken to correct the noted deficiencies, dismissal may be imminent. The employee shall be required to acknowledge receipt and understanding of the document by signing the document. If the employee refuses to sign, the supervisor and a witness shall sign a notation of the employee's refusal on the document. A copy of the document shall then be placed in the employee's personnel file.
Employees placed on disciplinary probation may not be promoted or granted any salary increase authorized by the Supreme Court other than the "across the board" increase. The termination of an employee on disciplinary probation does not preclude recourse in the form of the filing of a grievance by the employee.
An employee may be placed on disciplinary probation upon return to work following a suspension without pay providing the employee was so informed when the suspension was imposed. Employees granted leave while serving disciplinary probation, may have their probation extended by the number of days absent on leave. An employee may be removed from disciplinary probation at any time.
This form of discipline may be imposed when it is felt that a verbal or written warning or a disciplinary probation does not provide sufficient discipline for the violation.
Suspension without pay shall not exceed 20 workdays and shall be imposed in writing. The document imposing this form of action shall be dated and shall include the reason for the suspension and the number of days the suspension will last.
Employees placed on suspension without pay shall not be granted vacation, sick, or holiday leave or unused compensatory time off while in a suspended without‑pay status, nor shall they earn vacation, sick, or holiday leave credit during the period of suspension. Also, it should be noted that after 10 days in a non‑paid status an employee must pay the entire premiums on health and life insurance for continued coverage.
If the same or an additional violation is committed while serving the disciplinary probation period, the employee may be suspended without pay as a result of the new violation. In such instances the period of suspension without pay shall not be credited to the original probation period. Upon completion of the period of suspension without pay, the employee shall complete the probationary period plus any additional period of probation imposed as a result of the violation which caused suspension without pay.
Suspension without pay may be imposed in conjunction with another form of discipline such as a written warning or a disciplinary probation. In all cases the employee shall be informed in writing of the reasons for the suspension and the fact that failure to improve may result in further discipline. The employee shall be required to acknowledge in writing receipt and understanding of such information. If the employee refuses to sign this document, the supervisor and a witness shall sign a notation of the employee's refusal to sign the document. A copy of the document shall then be placed in the employee's personnel file. In cases in which the employee is to be placed on disciplinary probation upon return from suspension without pay, the employee shall be informed of this fact at the time the suspension is imposed.
Supervisors may recommend a reduction in an employee's salary within salary grade as a disciplinary action. Supervisors may recommend restoration of an employee to his/her previous salary when circumstances justify. An employee's salary may be reduced to no lower than the hiring rate (Step 1) of the salary grade. (Note: If the employee's reduced salary is at the hiring rate (Step 1), the employee's salary must be increased to Step 2 within 6 months.)
A supervisor may demote an employee to a class of a lower salary grade as a disciplinary action. The employee's duties shall be changed to reflect the new classification. Upon demotion of an employee for disciplinary reasons, the Administrative Office shall reduce the employee's salary a minimum of 5 percent and the salary may not be above the maximum rate of the new salary grade. However, a demoted employee's salary may be reduced no lower than the hiring rate (Step 1) of the new salary grade. (Note: If the employee's reduced salary is at the hiring rate (Step 1), the employee's salary must be increased to Step 2 of the new salary grade within 6 months.)
Employees may be dismissed from the service of the Nebraska Court System during the period of disciplinary action unless they take positive steps to correct the conditions which resulted in the imposition of the disciplinary action.
Employees dismissed shall be provided with written notice of their dismissal 2 weeks prior to dismissal, or, at the discretion of the Administrative Office, granted 2 weeks' pay in lieu of the 2‑week notice. In any event, a written notice of dismissal shall be furnished to the employee.
Employees granted 2 calendar weeks pay in lieu of notice shall not be eligible to accrue sick or vacation leave for the period for which payment in lieu of notice is made.
An employee who commits a violation or an act which endangers or threatens the safety, health, or well‑being of another person or persons, or a violation or act which is of sufficient magnitude that the consequences thereof cause irreparable disruption of work presently performed, or to be performed in the future, may be dismissed forthwith and shall not be entitled to a 2‑week notice of dismissal or 2 calendar weeks pay in lieu of notice.
Employees shall not be disciplined more than once for a single specific violation. However, they may be disciplined for each additional violation of the same or similar nature.
Amended 9-17-03; Amended 12-22-10