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Employee Hearing Committee Taining

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by

Lisa Howe

on 7 December 2016

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Transcript of Employee Hearing Committee Taining

The role of the Employee Hearing Committee
Prepare for the hearing
Review the grievance documents
Conduct grievance hearing
Grieving party presents
Discussion with Employee Hearing Committee
Grievance scenarios
Use active listening skills
How each committee is formed
Committee member writes decision letter
Employee Relations Coordinator mails letter
Employee Hearing Committee
Expecations and procedures
Conduct the grievance hearing
Apply City of Lubbock policies
Make a decision
Department Director
2 Employees
Human Resources Representative
City of Lubbock Legal
Review relevant policy
Ask questions
Schedule grievance
(Employee Relations Coordinator)
"Other" party presents
Ask questions
Closing statement grieving party
Closing statement "other" party
Rule to uphold decision
Rule to overturn decision
Rule to modify decision
What has been common practice?
What does the policy state?
What are the legal implications?
George is suspended for failing a random drug test. George is a CDL driver in the transportation department and he takes random drug tests a part of his employment.
George’s opening statement:
I don’t think I should have gotten suspended. I used a substance legally. I know I smoked weed but I was in Colorado and it's legal there. I used a drug legally so the City of Lubbock can’t discipline me for using a legal drug. They would not suspend me if I was drinking after work so why can they suspend me for smoking weed on my vacation time?

Supervisor’s opening statement:
I was called by Risk Management to send George for a random drug test. I sent him to OccMed and then he came back to work. I was then notified by Human Resources that George failed his drug test. I suspended George for failing his drug test.

Committee questions
George’s closing statement:
The supervisor targeted me because he knew I was on vacation and he knew I was going to Colorado for my vacation. He waited until I got back to do the drug test. He could have sent me before I went on vacation to take my drug test, then I would have passed. I only smoked weed in Colorado and I have never used it while at work.

Supervisor’s closing statement:
The policy is very clear. The City does not tolerate drug use by employees. We have to have a safe working environment. If marijuana is legal in another state it doesn’t matter in Texas, the drug is still illegal in Texas. I got the call from Risk Management to send George for a random drug test while he was on vacation. When he got back I sent him to take the drug test.

Kelly is a code enforcement officer. Kelly was reprimanded for violating the attendance policy.
Kelly’s opening statement:
I know I have been sick but I don’t think it’s fair I got written up for being sick. I got sick with the flu in August and couldn’t shake it. Then in September I got the flu again. I got a flu shot in October but I think it just gave me the flu again. I’m sorry I got sick but I don’t think I should be written up because I was sick.

Committee questions
James’ opening statement:
Kelly is a good employee when she is here. She violated the attendance policy by missing an excessive amount of time from work. I wrote Kelly up because her absences cause other officers to work her area. I have asked Kelly to bring a Doctor’s note for her absences but she has told me she can’t. Part of my job as a supervisor is keeping discipline and upholding the rules.

Kelly’s closing statement:
I know I missed time but when I’m sick I don’t always go to the Doctor. I don’t think it’s fair that I have to spend time when I’m sick going to the Doctor. I have sick time and why would the City give me sick time if I wasn’t allowed to use it? Other people in the department are allowed to use their sick time but not me! (Crying)

James’ closing statement:
As I said earlier, part of my job as a supervisor is to follow the rules and policies of the City. It’s my duty as Kelly’s supervisor to discipline her if she is not following the policies. I don’t think Kelly is a bad employee but her attendance effects the entire department.

Thomas is a worker in the electrical department. Thomas was fired for punching a coworker.
Thomas’ opening statement:
I punched someone but I was provoked. Jerry was yelling at me and I couldn’t hear him so I walked closer to him. He thought I was violating a safety rule so he called me a dumb s*** and told me to go home and never come back. I told him to stop yelling and cussing at me. He then told me “Oh yeah? Whatchya you gonna do about it?” I punched him to shut him up. I don’t have to take that kind of treatment from anyone, especially someone who isn’t my boss. I was harassed by Jerry and when my supervisor fired me that was retaliation. Jerry should be fired not me!

Supervisor’s opening statement:
I fired Thomas because he punched a coworker. I know the City has zero tolerance for workplace violence. Provoked or not City employees do not hit other City employees.

Jerry’s testimony:
Thomas has always been a hothead. He yells a lot and I have seen him throw tools around. I’m not harassing him. I am always on him to do his job because he is always on his phone or goofing with another employee.

Witness 1 testimony:
I kinda saw what happened. I was unloading some materials from the truck when I overheard yelling, I looked back to see what the commotion was about. I saw Thomas take a swing at Jerry and Jerry ducked. Then Thomas swung again and actually punched Jerry. Jerry didn’t seem too upset about it he just told Thomas to go home. I didn’t see anything after that.
Witness 2 testimony:
Jerry is always yelling at people. I don’t think he is a mean person he just yells a lot. I saw Thomas talking to Jerry and then I heard Jerry tell Thomas to go home. When I walked up to Jerry I could see a red mark on his face. I asked Jerry what happened and he said the SOB punched him! I didn’t actually see Thomas punch Jerry.

Witness 3 testimony:
Thomas did not deserve to get fired just because he hit someone. When you work in a stressful environment like we do sometimes things get heated. Thomas takes a lot of crap from Jerry. Jerry finally got what was coming to him. Frankly I’m surprised he still has his job after all of this. I think Thomas should be allowed to punch Jerry if Jerry is yelling at him.

Witness 4 testimony:
Thomas was yelling at Jerry about something and then Thomas punched Jerry. I don’t know what happened before the punch but I did see Thomas punch Jerry. That’s all I know.

Committee Questions
Thomas’ closing statement:
It shouldn’t matter that I punched Jerry. He harasses me at work all the time and I should not be harassed at work. This is illegal and when the City fired me that was retaliation.
Supervisor’s closing statement:
According the City policy we cannot allow workplace violence. Punching someone is workplace violence. The policy is clear on that.
Heather’s opening statement:
I was counseled by my supervisor for not getting the weekly status report sent by 3pm on Friday. I complete the report each week by Friday and noon and then give it to my supervisor Ben to review. Sometimes he has changes for me but usually he doesn’t. I then reformate the report for PDF and send it to the department. I have been doing this report for 3 years and this is the first time I have had a problem. Until 6 months ago the system we had worked fine. Ben told me six months ago he wanted the report by 11am because he said the noon deadline was very tight and he was afraid it might go out late. I told him I would try to get the report to him by noon but couldn’t make any guarantees because some of the information I collect comes from other departments. In the last six months I have been late twice after the 11 am deadline but I have always made the noon deadline and the report is always to the techs by 3pm. I know he wants to get the report earlier but I have always gotten the report out by 3pm. I just don’t understand why I got a counseling for this? I’m not trying to be late and the earlier deadline doesn't help anyone because Ben doesn’t read the report until 1pm anyhow.

Ben’s opening statement:
I am Heather’s supervisor. I counseled her because she was being insubordinate by not following my direct order to get the status report done by 11am. I need the report early because I need to review it. It’s not her job to question me and my orders.

Committee Questions
Heather’s closing statement:
I try very hard to get the report to Ben by 11am. If he could give me a little flexibility or some more time to work with other departments to get the information earlier then I can get the report done earlier. I don’t think I need a written counseling for this. I understand what he wants and I’m trying to accomplish it. I was not being insubordinate but only asking for some give with the new deadline.

Ben’s closing statement:
As a supervisor my job is to keep discipline in the department. When someone isn’t following orders I will begin the disciplinary process because that is what the policy allows. I have no other choice.

Heather was given a written counseling for not completing the weekly status report. The report is used by the technicians in her department to plan activities and prioritize customer issues.
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