Personnel and Employment Part 5
Policies Personnel and Employment Part 5
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:
- Self Referral;
- Supervisory Recommended Referral;
- Management Directed Referral; and
- 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:
- If the employee refuses to accept EAP services and relies solely on the disciplinary process;
- If the employee agrees to accept EAP services and complies with the recommended course of treatment; and
- 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:
- Precipitating event(s);
- Documented performance and/or behavioral concerns;
- Pending or previous disciplinary action; and
- Employee’s job description and essential job functions.
Management must communicate the following information to the employee:
- Specific reason(s) for the Fitness-for-Duty/Risk Evaluation; and
- Expectations for compliance in resolving the concern(s);
- 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:
- 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;
- 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
- 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:
- Family Medical Leave;
- Voluntary Shared Leave; or
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Catawba Valley Community College is committed to promoting and maintaining a healthy working, learning, and social environment where every individual is treated with civility and respect. Bullying behavior (as defined below) will not be tolerated in the Catawba Valley Community College workplace. The College strongly encourages anyone who is a victim of bullying behavior, or anyone who observes such behavior, to promptly report it to any manager or supervisor or the Human Resources Office. Retaliation against individuals who make a good faith report of perceived bullying and participate in good faith in an investigation of bullying is prohibited.
The College will investigate the report, respond promptly and will take appropriate remedial action to the extent necessary to prevent, correct, and discipline bullying behavior that violates this policy.
This policy applies to all employment categories, as well as for individuals serving in a volunteer capacity for the College. Individuals are responsible for complying with this policy in the workplace, at College-sponsored events, and in connection with work-related travel.
For purposed of this policy, bullying is defined as a pattern of repeated behavior occurring at work and/or in the course of employment that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the College's legitimate business interests. Bullying behavior may take many forms including physical, verbal, or written acts or behaviors. Workplace bullying can often involve an abuse or misuse of power. A single physical, verbal, or written act or behavior generally will not constitute bullying unless especially severe and egregious.
Examples of bullying may include:
- persistent or egregious use of abusive, insulting, or offensive language directed at an employee;
- spreading misinformation or malicious rumors;
- behavior or language that frightens, humiliates, belittles, or degrades, including criticism or feedback that is delivered with yelling, screaming, threats, or insults;
- making repeated inappropriate comments about a person's appearance, lifestyle, family, or culture;
- regularly teasing or making someone the brunt of pranks or practical jokes;
- interfering with a person's personal property or work equipment;
- circulating inappropriate or embarrassing photos or videos via e-mail or social media;
- unwarranted physical contact; or
- purposefully excluding, isolating, or marginalizing a person from normal work activities.
Bullying vs. Supervision
It is important to distinguish between bullying behavior and appropriate workplace supervision. Reasonable supervisory actions, when carried out in an appropriate manner include, but are not limited to:
- providing performance appraisals;
- coaching or providing constructive feedback;
- monitoring or restricting access to sensitive information for legitimate business reasons;
- establishing and/or modifying work schedules and assignments based on college operational needs;
- scheduling employee vacation leave based on college operational needs;
- scheduling ongoing meetings to address performance issues;
- setting challenging performance goals to help meet departmental goals;
- counseling or disciplining an employee for misconduct; and
- investigating alleged misconduct.
Differences of opinion, interpersonal conflicts, and occasional problems in working relations are an inevitable part of working life and do not necessarily constitute workplace bullying.
This policy prohibits retaliation (e.g., threats, intimidation, reprisals, and adverse actions related to employment) against any person who makes a good faith report of perceived bullying, assists someone in good faith with a report of bullying, or participates in good faith in an investigation or resolution of a bullying complaint. Employees who believe that they are being retaliated against are encouraged to report it promptly to any manager or supervisor or the Human Resources Office.
Catawba Valley Community College is committed to providing a safe workplace for employees that is free from violence by establishing preventative measures, holding perpetrators of violence accountable and by providing assistance and support to victims. Committing violent acts has the potential to impact an employee’s ability to perform their job. It is intended that all useful management tools be employed to accomplish the dual purpose of reducing the effects of violence on victims and providing consequences to those who perpetrate violence. It is also intended that management utilize available resources such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), law enforcement, and applicable personnel policies and procedures.
Workplace Violence includes, stalking, threats resulting in another individual becoming reasonably fearful or apprehensive about his or her safety or the safety of others in the workplace, physical attack, domestic violence that occurs in the workplace or impacts the safety of others in the workplace, or property damage and includes acts of violence committed by employees, clients, customers, relatives, acquaintances, or strangers against other employees in the workplace.
Prohibited Actions and Sanctions.
It is a violation of this policy to:
- Engage in workplace violence as defined above;
- Use, possess or threaten to use an unauthorized weapon during a time covered by this policy, and
- Misuse authority vested to any employee of the State of North Carolina in such a way that it violates this policy.
A violation of this policy shall be considered unacceptable personal conduct as provided in the 5.45 Demotion/Dismissal Policy. Acts of violence, as defined herein, may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
Please refer to CVCC Policy 4.10 Firearms/Weapons Possession (revised effective 10/01/2013) for authorized exceptions to this policy.
An act of off-duty violent conduct may also be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. In these situations, the College must demonstrate that the disciplinary action, suspension or dismissal is supported by the existence of a rational nexus between the type of violent conduct committed and the potential adverse impact on a College employee’s ability to perform the assigned duties and responsibilities.
Reporting and Responding to Reports of Workplace Violence
All employees are encouraged to be alert to the possibility of violence on the part of employees, former employees, customers and strangers. Employees shall place safety as their highest concern, and shall report all acts of violence and threats of violence. All reports of violence will be handled in a confidential manner, with information released only on a need-to-know basis. Management shall be sensitive and responsive to the reporting employees’ fear of reprisal.
Employees who believe that possibility of violence exists, or who believe that they have been a victim of workplace violence should follow the procedure for Reporting a Crime, Emergency, or Safety Concern as part of CVCC’s Safety and Security Procedures. An employee may also make a report to any of the following persons, with the understanding that the College representative to whom the report is made has a responsibility to report as part of the College’s Policy 4.7 Safety and Security.
- The employee’s immediate supervisor;
- Any CVCC administrator;
- CVCC’s personnel office; or
- The CVCC President
*Note: Statement of all incident reports involving employees are forwarded to the Human Resources Office for review and potential CVCC disciplinary action.
If CVCC determines that a violation of this policy has occurred, it will take appropriate remedial action against a person found to have engaged in prohibited conduct. The discipline will be commensurate with the severity of the offense. Any person who is found to be in violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge from employment or expulsion.
CVCC shall comply with the requirements of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics.
Referral to Employee Assistance Program
When a threat has been reported or management determines that a potential for violence exists, management may require an employee to undergo a Fitness-for-Duty/Risk Evaluation to determine the risk of danger as defined in College Policy 5.41 Employee Assistance Program.
Support and Protections
The College shall make efforts to protect victims of workplace violence by offering all available security measures. Victims may also need special accommodations or adjustments to their work schedule, location or working conditions in order to enhance their safety. The College shall accommodate these requests and needs whenever possible and appropriate. The College shall work closely with victims to ensure that both the needs of the victims and the College are addressed.
Management is expected to offer support to victims of workplace violence, which includes domestic violence. This support should include encouragement of the victim to use the services of the College’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if available. In addition, management shall use their discretion to grant a victim leave time for medical, court, or counseling appointments related to trauma and/or victimization. The following options should be considered:
- Flex Scheduling
- Vacation Leave
- Sick Leave
- Leave without pay
This policy prohibits retaliation against any employee who, in good faith, reports a violation of this policy. Every effort will be made to protect the safety and anonymity of anyone who comes forward with concerns about a threat or act of violence.
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, for political reasons or because of personal malice, arbitrary or capricious action of supervisors,
An "exit interview" shall be given each employee demoted or dismissed.
Any of the following may result in demotion, dismissal, or other disciplinary action for cause:
- 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;
- Failure to perform competently the duties of the designated position; failure to serve in assigned capacities complementary to the position;
- Misconduct of such a nature that the employee is unfit to continue as an employee of the College;
- Failure to demonstrate progress in professional self-improvement within a reasonable time, if such progress has been stated as a condition for continued employment;
- Mental or physical incapacity or impairment to perform the requirements of employment;
- Failure to be granted access or admittance to any off campus work place (i.e. hospitals, prisons, etc.) at any time;
- Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude or of a felony; or
- 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, or as set forth below in “Exception”, employees who are disciplined/dismissed for unsatisfactory performance of duties and personal conduct generally should receive at least two prior 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 further disciplinary action or dismissal.
Oral Warning and Documentation thereof:
- Review with the employee exactly what is expected and why;
- Explain to the employee how they have not met the requirements and why their performance has been unacceptable;
- Allow the employee to give the reasons for identified actions or failures;
- Make suggestions for corrections;
- Establish a reasonable period of time for the employee to correct the problem; and
- 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, a written summary of the case will be prepared by the supervisor and reviewed with the President
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 or gross misconduct.
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 and overall circumstances will dictate the number of steps and the rapidity by which these disciplinary actions should be taken.
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. Disciplinary actions are those that rise to the level of a written warning. 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 Human Resources 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 Human Resources 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 Human Resources 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 Human Resources 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 in a closed session. 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 postmarked no later than the 7th calendar day (excluding CVCC institutional holidays) following receipt of the Committee’s written recommendations to the employee and/or the employee’s counsel by certified mail. The decision of the President shall be final.
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.
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 Human Resources Department.
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