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CVCC Policies

pART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5 | PART 6

5. Personnel and Employment -Part 5

5.41 Employee Assistance Program

It is the policy of CVCC to provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as a benefit to assist employees with personal problems that may adversely affect job performance. The purpose of the EAP is to combine sound management principles with a humanitarian approach to assist troubled employees in handling personal problems. This program seeks to restore individual health and productivity, improve efficiency, and retain experienced employees. Since family problems also impact job performance, a dependent or spouse may also utilize the services of the EAP. This policy covers all regular full-time employees.

An employee should use appropriate leave to attend any assessment/ treatment that may be recommended.

There is no cost to the employee for the services provided by the EAP for the first five (5) visits. However, in the event a referral is made, any cost associated with recommended treatment with a professional resource is the employee's responsibility. The EAP will utilize services that are covered by the State Health Plan, whenever possible.

Federal and State statutes, along with professional ethics, require that the EAP exercise the highest standards concerning client confidentiality. CVCC may disclose information to EAP in the course of receiving consultation or in making a referral. The EAP may only disclose client information to CVCC (Personnel Office) with the written consent of the employee. The written consent will outline specific information that will be disclosed to management. Federal and State statutes do require the disclosure of information in certain circumstances. These circumstances include the following situations:

Confidentiality laws require EAP to disclose confidential information when there is imminent danger to the health and safety of the client. If a client is deemed imminently harmful to others, EAP is legally obligated to disclose confidential information to avoid risk or harm to the safety of any identifiable victim.

EAP has a “duty to report” to appropriate authorities when there is reason to suspect that a child or a “vulnerable handicapped adult” is being abused or neglected.

Specified information may be released to a court as required by a court order.

Disclosure of appropriate information to medical personnel is permissible in a medical emergency.

The EAP recognizes four types of referrals:

  1. Self Referral;
  2. Supervisory Recommended Referral;
  3. Management Directed Referral; and
  4. Fitness-for-Duty/Risk Evaluation.

All Supervisory, Management Directed and Fitness for-Duty/ Risk Evaluation Referrals shall be made through the Human Resources Office. Persons making these referrals need to contact the Human Resources Representative or the EAP Coordinator to facilitate these referrals. Following is additional policy information specific to each type referral.

A Self-Referral is a voluntary referral initiated by the employee to obtain assistance for personal and medical problems. The employee may contact the EAP directly. This referral is strictly confidential. Management should encourage the use of EAP if they have knowledge that the employee is experiencing personal or medical problems. The encouragement to utilize EAP services will be considered a self referral and feedback from the EAP will not be provided. The action on the part of the employee to seek help for personal problems shall be viewed as a responsible action, and shall be supported by management.

The Supervisory-Recommended Referral is designed to provide a management tool for addressing unsatisfactory job performance or personal conduct. This referral should be used if disciplinary action is in process. If the employee accepts the offer of help, the supervisor should contact the EAP in advance of the appointment to provide background information about the employee and details of the job performance or personal conduct that are of concern. Although an employee might decline the offer of help, this option can be repeated any time the supervisor feels the employee may have become more receptive. Unlike self referrals, which are strictly confidential, limited information from supervisory referrals can be released to CVCC with the written consent of the employee. This information is limited to: (1) whether the employee kept the initial EAP appointment; (2) whether the employee agreed or disagreed to follow recommendations; (3) continuing compliance updates; and (4) closure of services. Disciplinary action may be continued, regardless of the employee’s active involvement in EAP should performance or conduct issues not be resolved. However, supervisors are encouraged to provide for a reasonable length of time after an initial referral before taking additional disciplinary action to provide the employee an opportunity to address personal or medical concerns.

The Management-Directed Referral is defined as an EAP referral that is used to address employee situations that requires immediate attention and for which an employee should not be allowed to remain in the workplace until the problem is resolved. The purpose of the referral is to protect the work setting from disruption and to develop a plan of action to resolve the situation. This referral may be used when an employee has demonstrated behavior which is determined to present a potential or present health/safety danger to himself and/or others.

Management must present the employee with a choice between accepting EAP services, prior to returning to work, or relying solely on the disciplinary process to resolve the matter. Management will have an obligation to explain to the employee the options that are being considered in a manner that helps the employee understand both what is expected and what action will likely occur. Disciplinary action that will occur in each of the following events should be defined for the employee in advance of the employee’s choice:

  1. If the employee refuses to accept EAP services and relies solely on the disciplinary process;
  2. If the employee agrees to accept EAP services and complies with the recommended course of treatment; and
  3. If the employee agrees to accept EAP services but fails to comply with the recommended course of treatment.

The employee always has the right to accept or refuse the EAP services. However, in maintaining that right, refusal by the employee to participate in EAP is not the grounds for disciplinary action but (unless employee behavior would result in a Fitness-for-Duty/Risk Evaluation) rather the job performance or conduct issue that prompted the referral. If the employee accepts the offer of help, the supervisor should contact the EAP in advance of the appointment to provide background information about the employee and details of the job performance or personal conduct that are of concern. Limited information from the management directed referral will be released to CVCC with the written consent of the employee. This information is limited to: (1) whether the employee kept the initial EAP appointment; (2) whether the employee agreed or disagreed to follow recommendations; (3) continuing compliance updates; and (4) closure of services.

The Fitness-for-Duty/Risk Evaluation is defined as a referral to address extraordinary situations where an employee poses an immediate hazard or risk to themselves or others in the workplace. It may also be used to determine an employee’s medical or psychological fitness to perform their essential job functions. Unlike the Management Directed Referral, management will receive results of the evaluation from the evaluating resource regarding the employee’s fitness-for-duty. The EAP will facilitate this referral to a qualified medical resource, when necessary/appropriate, to conduct the fitness for duty/risk evaluation. When considering a Fitness-for-Duty/Risk Evaluation, management must first consult with their Employee Relations Representative and or the EAP Coordinator. The following information must be provided to the EAP in advance of the referral:

  1. Precipitating event(s);
  2. Documented performance and/or behavioral concerns;
  3. Pending or previous disciplinary action; and
  4. Employee’s job description and essential job functions.

Management must communicate the following information to the employee:

  1. Specific reason(s) for the Fitness-for-Duty/Risk Evaluation; and
  2. Expectations for compliance in resolving the concern(s);
  3. Consequences for failure to accept all conditions of the referral which includes:
    • Compliance with the directive to undergo a Fitness-for-Duty/Risk evaluation;
    • Compliance with EAP recommendations or any other conditions of the evaluation; or
    • Make the required improvements in performance or conduct.

The evaluative summary findings will recommend one of the following courses of action:

  1. Fit to return to duty without specific recommendations. The evaluator has determined that the employee is fit for duty and does not pose a hazard or risk to self or others;
  2. Fit to return to duty with specific recommendations. The evaluator has determined that the employee is fit for duty and does not pose an immediate hazard or risk to self or others. However, the evaluative findings recommend that the employee should undergo treatment as a condition of employment; or
  3. Not fit to return to duty until specific recommendations have been met. The evaluator has determined that the employee is not fit for duty and may pose a hazard or risk to themselves or others. Management should consider the recommendations in the evaluative summary and should state the terms and conditions that must be met before the employee is allowed to return to work.

CVCC shall advise the employee of their leave options should an evaluative summary recommend that an employee not return to work. Based on the course of recommended action, the options could include:

  1. Family Medical Leave;
  2. Voluntary Shared Leave; or
  3. Short Term Disability.

CVCC is considered the client, therefore; results of the fitness-for-duty/risk evaluation will be provided directly to the EAP Coordinator. The cost associated with recommended treatment shall be the employee’s responsibility when it goes beyond the scope of the EAP benefits. The EAP will recommend and monitor the employee’s compliance with treatment recommendations and progress toward fitness for duty and will maintain ongoing communication with CVCC until closure.

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5.42 Travel Costs and Reimbursement

CVCC follows regulations established by the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) for the reimbursement of the travel costs of employees and members of boards of trustees. These regulations are provided in Section 5 of the North Carolina Community College System Accounting Procedures Manual.

» Section 5 of NC Community College System Accounting Procedures Manual (PDF)
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5.43 Period of Employment

Employment with CVCC is at-will, terminable at any time by CVCC at its sole discretion, with or without notice. Such employment is not contractual, and remains as such unless and until a written contract expressly authorized by the Board of Trustees is entered into and signed by the employee and CVCC.

All full-time professional, instructional, support, and administrative personnel with the exception of the president are appointed for a maximum of one (1) year. Twelve-month personnel are employed on a fiscal-year basis of July 1 through June 30. Nine-month personnel are normally employed from a designated date in August through designated date in May.

All full-time personnel may, at the discretion of the president, be recommended for re-appointment the succeeding year. Each will be considered each succeeding year provided there is a need, financial resources are available or there are adequate financial resources, and all moral and professional responsibilities are acceptable. The president shall submit to the Board prior to June of each year the names of those staff members recommended for re-appointment.

Staff members who are not re-appointed shall be notified in writing no later than 30 days prior to the end of the employment period.

The general statues of North Carolina do not provide for tenure for faculty members of community colleges and technical colleges. Neither the North Carolina Community College System nor Catawba Valley Community College recognizes tenure.

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5.44 Resignation

Employees are expected to give written notice of their resignation from CVCC employment within a reasonable period before their termination date. This notice should be given sufficiently in advance so that CVCC will have adequate time to find a qualified replacement for the vacated position.

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5.45 Demotion/Dismissal

Catawba Valley Community College shall have the right to discipline (including demotion) or summarily discharge an employee. No employee may be dismissed, reduced in compensation, or otherwise deprived of any job-related advantages because of the exercise of constitutionally protected rights, including the exercise of academic freedom. No employee may be dismissed, reduced in compensation, or otherwise deprived of any job-related advantages because of personal malice, arbitrary or capricious action of supervisors, or for political reasons.

An "exit interview" shall be given each employee demoted or dismissed.

Remedial action will be taken where it is discovered that dismissals or demotions have a disproportionate effect upon females or minorities.

Any of the following may result in demotion, dismissal, or other disciplinary action for cause:

  1. Failure to comply with the policies, rules, and regulations of the State Board of Community Colleges, the Catawba Valley Community College Board of Trustees, or the lawful directions of the President; unwilling to submit to authority; disobedience of orders; or infraction of rules;
  2. Failure to perform competently the duties of the designated position; failure to serve in assigned capacities complementary to the position;
  3. Misconduct of such a nature that the employee is unfit to continue as an employee of the College
  4. Failure to demonstrate progress in professional self-improvement within a reasonable time, if such progress has been stated as a condition for continued employment;
  5. Mental or physical incapacity to perform the requirements of employment;
  6. Failure to be granted access or admittance to any off campus work place (i.e. hospitals, prisons, etc.) at any time;
  7. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude or of a felony; or
  8. Failure to show progress in attaining competencies in a reasonable time, when the attainment of such competencies has been stated as a condition for employment.

Except for emergency situations, employees who are disciplined/dismissed for unsatisfactory performance of duties and personal conduct, should receive at least two warnings: First, an oral warning with a follow-up letter from the supervisor to the employee documenting the deficiencies in performance which were discussed and the improvement required. Second, a formal written warning which will serve notice upon the employee that a continuation of the deficiencies in performance may result in disciplinary action or dismissal.

Oral Warning and Documentation thereof:

  1. Review with the employee exactly what is expected and why;
  2. Explain to the employee how they have not met the requirements and why their performance has been unacceptable;
  3. Allow the employee to give the reasons for identified actions or failures;
  4. Make suggestions for corrections;
  5. Establish a reasonable period of time for the employee to correct the problem; and
  6. Review with the appropriate vice president and any intermediate superior/supervisor the contents of a follow-up letter to the employee prior to a delivery of this letter to the employee by the supervisor.

Before issuing the formal written warning, the President and all superiors/ supervisors must review the contents of the letter which will include a notice to the employee that a continuation of the practice may result in dismissal.

Before an employee is disciplined/dismissed because of unsatisfactory performance of duties, the following should occur:

  1. A written summary of the case will be prepared by the supervisor and reviewed with the President; and
  2. The Chairman of the Board of Trustees will be notified of each proposed dismissal. If an employee is dismissed, the employee will receive written notice, and a copy of the notice will be placed in the employee’s file.

Exception: An employee may be dismissed without warning for cause(s) relating to personal conduct detrimental to the college or state service in order to avoid undue disruption of work or to protect the safety of persons or property or for other serious reasons.

The above process for disciplinary action is designed for dismissal of employee’s employment and in no way supersedes the College’s right to fail to renew any employee’s employment at its termination without specifying reason for termination. This action leaves open to the discretion of the President the right to offer or not offer re-employment to any employee at a later date.

The degree of severity of an employee’s offense will dictate the number of steps and the rapidity by which these disciplinary actions should be taken.

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5.46 Employee Grievance Process (Exclusive of RIF)

An employee who has a grievance with CVCC may have their grievance reviewed in accordance with this employee due process policy. A grievance is defined for the purpose of this policy as a dispute including, but not exclusive to, disciplinary actions, suspensions, terminations, or discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex/gender, religion, creed, age, or disability. This policy does not apply to separations of employment resulting from a reduction in force. The employee may accept the decision reached at any step or may appeal to the next step.  The employee is not required in any of the steps below to confront alone the person he/she claims is responsible for the grievance.

For purposes of this policy, the Event Date is defined as the date on which the alleged unjust treatment or adverse action occurred.

Step 1 - As soon as possible but no later than the 7th calendar day (excluding CVCC institutional holidays) following the Event Date, the employee is encouraged to initiate a discussion of the grievance with his/her immediate supervisor and with the CVCC employee allegedly responsible for grievance if that person is other than the immediate supervisor. This discussion should include an attempt to resolve the grievance.

Step 2 – If the grievance is not resolved in Step 1, the employee may initiate additional review by his/her immediate supervisor and other administrators in his/her line of supervision to the President by submitting a written request (the Supervisor Review Request) to his/her immediate supervisor and to the CVCC Personnel Office. The Supervisor Review Request must be submitted no later than the 14th calendar day (excluding CVCC institutional holidays) following the Event Date. The Supervisor Review Request must specify the grievance, the remedy being sought, and any information in support of the grievance and/or proposed remedy. The immediate supervisor shall provide the employee with a written decision regarding the grievance no later than the 7th calendar day (excluding CVCC institutional holidays) following receipt of the Supervisor Review Request by the Personnel Office.

Step 3 – If the grievance is not resolved in Step 2, the employee may initiate a review of the grievance by the President. To initiate a review by the President, the employee must submit a written request to the Office of the President and to the CVCC Personnel Office no later than the 7th calendar day (excluding CVCC institutional holidays) following receipt of the supervisor’s written decision in Step 2. The President shall provide a written decision regarding the grievance to the employee no later than the 14th calendar day (excluding CVCC institutional holidays) following receipt of the written request for review.

Step 4 – Should the employee not be satisfied with the decision rendered by the President in Step 3, the employee may initiate a review of the grievance by a three member Employee Grievance Committee (“the Committee”). The Committee shall consist of a faculty member selected by the Faculty Senate, an administrator not directly involved in the grievance, and a third impartial employee jointly agreed upon by the first two (2) members. This 3rd member selected by the other two members shall serve as the chair of the Committee. To initiate a review by the Committee, the employee must submit a written request to the CVCC Personnel Office and to the Office of the President no later than the 7th calendar day (excluding CVCC institutional holidays) following receipt of the President’s decision in Step 3. The Committee chair shall schedule a review/hearing of the grievance no later than the 14th calendar day (excluding CVCC institutional holidays) following receipt of the written request.

   The Committee review/hearing will have the following procedural safeguards for the employee and CVCC:

  • The opportunity to confront and cross-examine witnesses;
  • The opportunity to present arguments and evidence orally, as well as in writing;
  • The right to retain an attorney (the other party shall be informed of intent);
  • The maintenance of a complete record of the hearing (although tape recordings may not occur without knowledge and consent of all parties); and
  • A recommendation resting solely on the rules and evidence advanced at the hearing.

The recommendations of the Committee shall be determined by a majority vote of its members. On or before the 3rd calendar day (excluding CVCC institutional holidays), the Committee chair shall provide the recommendations of the Committee to the President in writing. The President shall provide written notice of his/her intended actions based upon the Committee’s recommendations no later than the 7th calendar day (excluding CVCC institutional holidays) following receipt of the Committee’s written recommendations.

Step 5 – Should the employee not be satisfied with the actions taken by the President in response to the recommendations of the Committee in Step 4, the employee may request review of the grievance by the Executive Committee of the College’s Board of Trustees (Executive Committee). This request must be submitted in writing to the Office of the President no later than the 7th calendar day following receipt of the written notice provided by the President in Step 4. The Chair of the Board of Trustees shall schedule a review/hearing by the Executive Committee no later than the 14th calendar day following receipt of the written request for review. The Chair of the Board of Trustees shall provide the employee with written notice of the decision of the Executive Committee no later than the 3rd calendar day following such review/hearing.

The following clarification to this policy applies if the employee who has a grievance is a Vice President. A Step 3 review would be a second (or additional) review by the President.

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5.47 WIA Programs Complaint/Grievance

All employees paid by funds provided by the WIA program and all participants officially enrolled in the WIA program have available to them all the rights and benefits available under WPSDA Issuance #94-4, and #94-4, Change #1, “WIA Non-discrimination/Equal Opportunity Standards and Grievance and Complaint Procedures” and Western Piedmont Job Training Consortium SDA Level Grievance/Appeals Procedures. Copies of these documents are available from the CVCC EEO Officer located in the Personnel Department.

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