Imagine this scenario:
A faculty member is approached by an administrator who has observed what the administrator believes to be inappropriate behavior by the faculty member. Then, the administrator describes the behavior observed, alleges “inappropriateness” to the behavior, informs the faculty member that as a result of the “inappropriate” behavior, the disciplinary action being taken is to document the behavior in a letter written by the administrator to be placed in the faculty member’s personnel file and that the faculty member is to sign the document.
What to do? There are several things that you might choose to do. Here are a few strong recommendations from the Welfare Committee.
If you are being “called” to the office of your administrator (or his or her supervisors) and/or find yourself in a conversation about your behavior and disciplinary action:
- Ask the nature of the meeting
- Ask if the meeting is about disciplinary action or might reasonably lead to disciplinary action. If the answer to either is yes, do not agree to the meeting until you have talked to someone from the Welfare Committee.
- Inform the administrator that you wish to exercise your Weingarten Rights and you will agree to a meeting that can be set where you are accompanied by representation from the Welfare Committee or the leadership of the Faculty Association
- Contact any member of the Grievance Sub-Committee or the Welfare Committee immediately after being approached by the administrator to attend such a meeting
- Don’t sign anything presented to you at the meeting. After the meeting, talk with the Welfare Committee representatives who attended the meeting about the short- and long-term consequences of signing such a document.
Appropriate behaviors that College of DuPage faculty members and the Board (through its agents – administrators) have agreed to are referred to as “wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment” which are specified in the CBA that we both agreed to and signed. In addition, Board Policies detail behaviors that faculty members are expected to follow.
In the scenario described above, it is clear that the administrator has made an interpretation of the faculty member’s behavior as being “inappropriate.” Regarding the action being pursued by the administrator, there seems to be two possibilities here.
- The action taken by the administrator can be supported by our CBA and/or Board Policies, or
- The action taken by the administrator cannot be supported by our CBA and/or Board Policies
You might consider pursuing resolution informally or through the Grievance Procedure (Section E 1 of our CBA) where it is your contention that the administrator’s interpretation was inaccurate and therefore, the administrator’s decision and action was really a misinterpretation or misapplication of a specific section of our CBA.
The Faculty / Administration Review Board (F.A.R.B.) was designed to assist in the resolution of many issues beyond the scope of the Grievance Procedures in our CBA. (See E.3 Faculty / Administration Review Board (F.A.R.B.) of our CBA. It is particularly appropriate when you believe that the administrator’s action was not reasonably founded, was not in conformity with existing policy [including Board Policies and Procedures], or was inappropriately applied.
The Welfare Committee and Grievance Sub-Committee will assist you in insuring that your rights to “due process” are protected in any type of disciplinary meeting, action, or proposed action. But of course, you need to let us know when something’s up.
Please remember, even if you, the faculty member, believe that your behavior was inappropriate and you have been approached by an administrator regarding a disciplinary meeting or a meeting that could reasonably lead to disciplinary action, the Welfare Committee strongly recommends that you:
- Exercise your Weingarten Rights.
- Don’t sign anything.
- Contact any member of the Grievance Sub-Committee immediately.