Welfare Note: Due Process, Just Cause and Disciplinary Action

Essentially, due process requires that prior to an administrator taking any disciplinary action against a faculty member,

  • The administrator must give notice to the faculty member of the charges regarding which rule was broken by the faculty member; and
  • The faculty member must be given the opportunity to be heard regarding or to respond to the charges.

The concept of just cause does not mean that disciplinary action can be taken just cause the administrator feels like doing so. In order for an arbitrator to determine if a disciplinary action taken by an administrator against a faculty member can be upheld or if the faculty member’s right to due process has been violated, arbitrators have generally agreed to seven tests or principles of fairness.

The seven tests described in terms of the college setting include:

  1. Was the faculty member given advance notice of the possible disciplinary consequences of his or her action?
  2. Was the rule related to the efficient and safe operation of the college? [The Welfare Committee would also suggest asking if there even was a rule in the first place and were all faculty members made aware of the rule.]
  3. Before disciplinary action was taken, did the administrator make an effort to discover whether or not the faculty member broke the rule?
  4. Was the administrator’s investigation conducted fairly and objectively?
  5. Did the administrator’s investigation produce significant evidence of wrongdoing?
  6. Has the administrator applied the rule and disciplinary actions in a non-discriminating manner?
  7. Was the seriousness of the disciplinary action related to:
    1. A. The seriousness of the faculty member’s proven offense;
    2. B. The faculty member’s record of service to the college?

The Welfare Committee strongly recommends that anytime an administrator attempts to discuss disciplinary action or potential disciplinary action, the faculty member should first exercise your Weingarten Rights and immediately contact any Welfare Committee member. We will assist you in determining if the administrator has followed the principles of basic fairness (just cause) and has satisfied your rights to due process.

Return to Welfare Notes home