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City of Lake Wales, Florida Human Resources Department
Personnel Policies

SECTION 2-211 DISCIPLINARY ACTION

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Secs. 2-211.01 General Statement

(a) It is the hope of the City that effective supervision and employee relations will avoid most difficulties which otherwise might necessitate employee discipline. However, disciplinary action is necessary in some instances as a tool to correct and eliminate unacceptable conduct or performance and in these situations to end the employment relationship.

(b) The City recognizes the fact that each situation differs in many respects from others that may be similar in some ways. Thus, the City retains the right to treat each incident on an individual basis without creating a precedent for other cases which may arise in the future as to a particular employee or groups of employees and to determine the appropriate discipline in every matter on a case-by-case basis. return to top

Secs. 2-211.02 Forms of Discipline

(a) The City recognizes the following types of discipline:

  1. Documented verbal warnings.
  2. Written reprimands.
  3. Suspension without pay.
  4. Demotion.
  5. Combination of the above.
  6. Termination of employment. return to top
Secs. 2-211.03 Temporary Suspension

The Department Head, with approval of the City Manager, or his designee, may suspend the employee, with or without pay, pending an investigation and a final decision on the disciplinary action, if any, that will be taken. return to top

Secs. 2-211.04 Basis for Disciplinary Action

(a) Continued employment with the City and in any position with the City is at the will and pleasure of the employee and the City and may be terminated by either without cause.

(b) Employees should also understand they may be disciplined, up to and including termination, for violation of any of the offenses listed in Section 2-211.07 below; for violating departmental rules; for any action or failure to act which in the opinion of the City Manager, or his designee, adversely affects the ability of the employee and/or fellow employees to perform their responsibilities and/or adversely affects the efficient operation of the City government; or, for any other or no reason except one made illegal by applicable law. return to top

Secs. 2-211.05 Notice of Disciplinary Action

(a) Employees who are disciplined by documented verbal warning will have the reasons for said warning explained by their supervisor.

(b) In all cases of written reprimand, suspension without pay, demotion, any combination of same, or termination, the employee will be notified in writing of the action taken and a copy of such notice shall be retained in the employee's official personnel file. return to top

Secs. 2-211.06 Coordination with Human Resources

The Department Head shall notify the Human Resources Director of any documented verbal warnings. The Department Head shall obtain approval for all other proposed disciplinary actions from the HR Director prior to taking action. return to top

Secs. 2-211.07 Types of Offenses

(a) There are two (2) groups of sample offenses for which employees may be disciplined up to and including termination, and the guidelines for recommended penalties for those examples of unacceptable conduct are set forth below; however, the principles concerning application of discipline to these sample offenses as set forth in Sections 2-211.01 and 22-211.04 above shall apply. Nothing herein shall be construed to require the City to have just cause for any form of disciplinary action, including termination, or to limit disciplinary action to the sample offenses enumerated below.

(b) This paragraph provides recommended but not mandatory penalties to apply to the specific example offenses listed here; however, the penalty utilized shall be discretionary with management in all matters of discipline and nothing herein shall require that a particular form of discipline be utilized in any case prior to the utilization of another form of discipline, provided, however, in the event a Department Head wishes to deviate from the recommended penalty, he shall first obtain approval from the Human Resources Director and the City Manager, or his designee.

GROUP 1 OFFENSES

First Offense - Documented Verbal Warning
Second Offense - Written Reprimand
Third Offense - Up to ten (10) days suspension without pay
Fourth Offense - Up to termination

  1. Quitting work, wasting time, loitering or leaving assigned work area during working hours without permission.
  2. Taking more than allowable times for meal or rest periods.
  3. Unacceptable productivity or competency.
  4. Sleeping on the job unless authorized to do so.
  5. Reporting to work or working while unfit for duty, either mentally or physically, unless the condition is a legally recognized disability in which case the matter will be dealt with in accordance with applicable law.
  6. Violating a safety rule or practice.
  7. Engaging in horseplay, scuffling, wrestling, throwing things, malicious mischief, and distracting the work of others, catcalls, or other disorderly conduct.
  8. Failure to report the loss of City equipment or other City property entrusted in the employee's custody.
  9. Failure to keep the City and department notified of the employee's current proper address and telephone number, if required to do so.
  10. Gambling, lottery or engaging in any other game of chance while on duty on City property, or in any fashion that brings disrepute upon the City.
  11. Violation of published City or departmental policies, rules, standards, orders, operating procedures or regulations not specifically included in Group 2.
  12. Failure to report illegal activity involving City business.
  13. Solicitation of money or anything of value on City property, in a City vehicle, or while wearing a City uniform.
  14. Engaging in any private activity, other than being at home at rest, in the hospital, visiting a doctor, or engaging in other medically related required activities, after reporting being off sick.
  15. Unexcused tardiness or absence.
  16. Untidy appearance or failure to wear the proper uniform.
  17. Failure to possess and maintain a current and valid Florida motor vehicle operator's license, if driving a vehicle is required by the City as an essential part of the employee's job.
  18. Use of City issued equipment or uniforms when not on duty without permission of the Department Head, or his designee.
  19. Operating, using, or possessing tools, equipment or machines to which the employee has not been assigned.
  20. Failure to report an accident or personal injury in which the employee was involved while on the job or in a City vehicle.
  21. Creating or contributing to unsafe and unsanitary conditions or poor housekeeping.
  22. Posting or removal of materials from the City's official bulletin boards.
  23. Failure to report a request for information or receipt of a subpoena from a law firm or an attorney for a matter relating to City business.
  24. Knowingly harboring a serious communicable disease which may endanger other employees without advising the City.

GROUP II OFFENSES

First Offense - Up to termination

  1. Conviction of a felony.
  2. Abuse of leave privileges.
  3. Use of official position for personal advantage.
  4. Deliberately or negligently misusing, destroying, losing or damaging any City property or property of an employee.
  5. Falsification of personnel, City, or Departmental records, including employment applications, accident records, work records, purchase orders, time sheets, or any other report, record, or document.
  6. Making false claims or intentional misrepresentation in an attempt to obtain sickness or accident benefits, workers' compensation, or any other benefit.
  7. Insubordination or the refusal to perform work assigned, or to comply with written or verbal instructions of a supervisor.
  8. Use, possession, or display of firearms, explosives, or weapons on or in City property.
  9. Removal of City property or any other employee's property from City locations without proper authorization; theft of City property or any employee's property.
  10. Failure to return at the end of an authorized leave of absence.
  11. Concerted curtailment, restriction of production, or interference with work in or about the City's work stations including, but not limited to, instigating, leading, or participating in any walkout, strike, sit down, stand-in, slowdown, or refusal to return to work at the scheduled time for the scheduled shift.
  12. Absent without permission or leave (AWOL).
  13. Acceptance of a gift, service, or anything of value in the performance of duty or under any other circumstances where the employee knew or should have known it was given with an expectancy of obtaining a service or favored treatment.
  14. Possession, use, sale, attempt to sell, or procure illegal controlled substances at any time whether on or off City property or whether on or off duty; and possession, use, sale or attempt to sell or procure alcoholic beverages while on duty, on City property, or while operating or riding in or on City equipment.
  15. Refusal to fully and truthfully cooperate in an investigation conducted by or at the direction of the City.
  16. On or off the job conduct which adversely affects the ability of the employee to perform his duties and/or adversely affects the efficient operation of the City government or any department, division, or area of City government.
  17. Discourteous, insulting, abusive, or inflammatory language or conduct toward the public or co-workers.
  18. Improper racial or sexual comments, harassment or acts directed to any City employee or the general public.
  19. Threatening, intimidating, coercing, or interfering with fellow employees or supervision at any time.
  20. Provoking or instigating a fight, fighting while on duty, except in self-defense.
  21. Unauthorized personal use of the tax exempt number for any reason.
  22. Accepting a bribe or gratuity, committing an illegal act or accepting a gratuity for performing the normal duties as a City employee.
  23. Failure to report in writing an offer of a bribe or gratuity to permit an illegal act.
  24. Communicating or imparting confidential information either in writing or verbally to any unauthorized person.
  25. Removal of City Property or any employee's property from City locations without proper authorization; theft of City property or any employee's property.
  26. Incompetence, inefficiency, or negligence in the performance of duty.

(c) The above list does not include all of the reasons for which an employee may be subject to disciplinary action, but as stated earlier, is intended to provide examples of inappropriate conduct. return to top

Secs. 2-211.08 Suspension Pending Resolution of Criminal Charges

(a) In the event an employee is charged with any crime, the employee may be suspended with or without pay.

(b) At any time, the City Manager, or his designee, shall have the option of taking disciplinary action based on his own investigation without regard to the existence, status or final disposition of the criminal charges.

(c) The City Manager may elect to wait until the criminal proceeding, or a particular phase thereof, is concluded before considering disciplinary action. In such a case, the City Manager will take the resolution of the criminal proceeding, or phase thereof, under consideration but shall not be bound thereby and shall make his own determination as to the facts and the appropriate disciplinary action, if any.

(d) Under paragraphs (b) and (c) above, the City Manager will not consider anything less than a finding by a judge or a jury, whichever is applicable, of not guilty as relevant to the issue of whether the employee engaged in the conduct in question.

(e) If an employee charged with a crime is found not guilty by a judge or jury, and the City Manager determines no disciplinary action is warranted, the employee will be reinstated with back pay less amounts earned, unemployment compensation and periods of time the employee was unavailable to work or did not make every reasonable effort to find work. return to top


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