Article 24 of our Collective Agreement governs supervision and discipline. While that article contains many provisions governing supervision and discipline, we will review some key information to keep in mind here.
First and foremost, you should remember that you have a right to accompaniment for all supervision and disciplinary meetings in accordance with article 11.02.6 of our Collective Agreement. ULFA strongly recommends bringing accompaniment to any supervisory and disciplinary meetings between our members and the administrators of the university, including deans.
Article 24.02.3 states that “where Article 24 calls for a meeting between the Member and a Senior Academic Administrator, the Member shall be reminded of his/her right to accompaniment under Article 11.02.6.” If you are not advised in advance that a meeting with your dean or other administrator concerns supervisory or disciplinary matters covered by article 24 in the Collective Agreement and that you have a right to accompaniment, we encourage you to immediately end the meeting on the grounds that you have not had a chance to avail yourself of the right of accompaniment under article 11 of our Agreement.
If you do have a supervisory or disciplinary meeting under article 24, there are limitations and guiding principles that must be abided by. Those include:
- “The principle of responsible supervision and progressive discipline” whose aim is to “assist the Member to correct his/her conduct”
- That “discipline may be imposed only after an appropriate investigation, for just, reasonable and sufficient cause for violations of responsibilities described within this Collective Agreement, or for non-performance or unsatisfactory performance of duties.”
- That discipline will be “limited to the specific complaint(s) about the Member that have been upheld by an appropriate investigation, and other related complaint(s) that may have been identified, investigated and upheld during such an investigation.”
- And that supervisory and disciplinary processes are to be kept separate from academic processes (such as all STP processes) except in cases where the supervisory or disciplinary measures relate to a member’s academic work. However, when disciplinary (though not supervisory) processes are in progress, a Member’s academic assessments (including those concerning salary, promotion, tenure, and probation) are suspended until the end of the disciplinary process.
Supervisory actions include verbal discussions and letters of guidance. These actions fall short of discipline, normally must be undertaken before disciplinary measures are applied, and are aimed to proactively correct any behaviours that could lead to discipline in the future. Where guidance on ways to alter behaviour that could lead to discipline is offered, “an appropriate amount of time” must be offered “for the Member to correct the conduct in question.”
There are minor and major levels of disciplinary action. “Minor disciplinary actions include such measures as disciplinary letters of warning and letters of reprimand” and “major disciplinary actions include such measures as suspensions with or without pay, and dismissal for cause.”
In cases of minor discipline, an investigation of the alleged conduct of the Member is to be undertaken by their dean or the dean’s designate. Before the investigation, the dean is supposed to notify the Member in writing that an investigation will take place and what it concerns. The Member will be invited to meet with their dean within ten working days to discuss the issue and attempt to resolve it “on a mutually acceptable basis.”
When the investigation is concluded a summary of the findings are to be presented to the Member “as soon as possible.” Then, if the dean decides to institute a Letter of Warning or Letter of Reprimand, they “must be sent to the Member clearly identified as a disciplinary measure, must contain a clear statement of the reasons for issuing the Letter and must state the actions that the Member should take to correct the conduct.”
Major discipline may be invoked by a dean when they believe it is warranted, such as after investigating an issue when considering minor discipline. In these cases, the Vice-President (Academic) is informed of the allegation by the dean in writing. Such written notice “must be written within sixty (60) Working Days of the date the alleged conduct became known or ought reasonably to have been known to the Dean. The letter and the documentation shall be copied to the Member and to the Association.” The Vice-President (Academic) then informs the Member of the allegation and investigation in writing, reminding the Member of their rights of accompaniment and to meet directly with the Vice-President (Academic) or their designate. At this stage, the Vice-President (Academic) decides if the investigation will continue via an Investigation Committee, if the complaint will be dismissed, or if some other action will be taken. The details of what happens next are contained in article 24 of the Collective Agreement, but we will not detail them here.
Remember, if you are notified of any supervisory or disciplinary meeting with any administrator, seek ULFA accompaniment!