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Employment Relations Primer

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Public Agency
CATEGORY: Labor Relations, Public Agency, Risk Management

In order to manage public employees, today’s supervisors and managers need to be aware of the many laws, rules and policies affecting the workplace.  The United States and California constitutions and statutes, case law, ordinances, administrative policies, labor agreements, and personnel rules all shape the relationship between labor and management, the employer and employee.

This workbook is intended as a guide to assist supervisors and managers in identifying and addressing common personnel issues in the workplace.  This workbook discusses management rights, grievances, performance evaluations, the disciplinary process, personnel files, and discrimination.  The sections include an overview of these subjects, with checklists and sample forms.  This information will help you make important personnel decisions with confidence.

Topics Include:

  • A Survival Guide for Supervisors and Managers
  • Management Rights/Past Practice
    • Management Rights
    • Restrictions on Management Rights
  • Employee Grievances
    • What is a Grievance?
    • What is a Grievance Procedure?
    • Scope of the Grievance Procedures
    • Purpose of Grievance Procedure
    • Steps in Grievance Handling
    • Checklist On How to Avoid Grievances
    • Checklist:  Handling Grievances at the Initial Step
    • Sample Grievance Record
  • Employee Performance Evaluations
    • Performance Management
    • Why Do Performance Evaluations?
    • Prepare and Follow Through
    • Timing
    • Identify Objective Criteria
    • Know the Employee’s Job Requirements
    • Communicate Often
    • Prepare the Written Evaluation
    • Summary of Recommendations for Solid Evaluations
  • Implementing the Disciplinary Process
    • Legal Parameters
    • Significant Punitive Action
    • Pre-Discipline Procedural Requirements
    • Written Notice is Required
    • Employees Must Be Allowed a Reasonable Time to Respond
    • The Opportunity to Orally Respond Should Not Be a Formal Hearing
    • Manager Reviewing Employee Response Should Be Appropriate to Level of Employee Responding
    • The Liberty Interest (“Lubey”) Requirements
    • Remedies for Failure to Provide Pre-Discipline Due Process
    • Issuance of Final Notice of Discipline
    • Reduction of Discipline
    • “Last Chance” Settlement Agreements
    • Post-Disciplinary Appeal Hearing
    • Supervisor’s Checklist for Hearing Preparation
    • Documentation
    • Criteria for Success at the Hearing
    • “Good Cause”
    • “Good Cause” Checklist
    • Conducting the Disciplinary Counseling Interview Checklist
    • Sample Letter Confirming Verbal Reprimand
    • Sample Written Reprimand
    • Sample Notice of Rejection of Probationary Appointment
    • Sample Notice of “Lubey” Hearing
    • Sample Notice of Intent to Discipline
    • Sample Notice of Termination (or Suspension or Demotion)
  • Personnel Files
    • Inspection Checklist
    • Internal Disclosure
    • Duty to Maintain Confidential Medical Information
    • Disclosure to Non-Employees
    • Avoiding Lawsuits by Permitting Inspection of Personnel Files
    • Supervisor’s Files
  • Eliminating Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation in the Workplace
    • Supervisors Are Individually Liable for Harassment Under State Law But Not for Discrimination or Retaliation
    • Discrimination
    • Harassment
    • Protected Status Defined
    • Retaliation
    • Preventing Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation
    • Anti-Discrimination Laws Do Not Immunize Employees From Discipline When Warranted
    • Developing an Anti-Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Policy
    • Training Employees to Prevent Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation
  • Accommodating Disabled Employees
    • The Applicable Law
    • Who is Covered by Disability Laws?
    • Individual Liability
    • What Discrimination is Prohibited?
    • What is a Disability Under the ADA?
    • What is a Disability Under FEHA?
    • Who is an Individual with a Disability under the ADA and FEHA?
  • The Interactive Process/Reasonable Accommodations
    • Triggers to Engage in the Interactive Process
    • The Steps of the Interactive Process
    • EEOC Interactive Process Guidelines
    • Documentation and Follow Up
    • Due Process Considerations (What if the Interactive Process Yields No Reasonable Accommodation?)
    • Reasonable Accommodation Applies only to Known Disabilities
    • Documentation of a Disability
    • What Types of Accommodations are Reasonable?
  • The Application and Hiring Process
    • Applications
    • Pre-Employment Testing
    • Conditional Job Offers
    • Pre-employment Medical Exams
    • Reasonable Accommodations

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