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Frequently Asked Questions
Progressive discipline is designed to ensure the consistency, impartiality, and predictability of discipline, and the flexibility to vary penalties if justified by aggravating or mitigating conditions. Generally, penalties range from verbal warning to discharge, with intermediate levels of a written warning, suspension or demotion. Unless there are mitigating circumstances, repetition of an offense generally results in progression to the next higher level of discipline. Based on circumstances, a single incident may justify a higher step of discipline without proceeding through lowest steps of discipline. Progressive discipline is a tool appointing authorities use to maintain a safe and productive working environment for all employees.
The Merit Rules adopted by the Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission (Commission) establish a progressive discipline policy and progressive discipline steps for the classified service. Appointing authorities of Merit System agencies establish progressive discipline policies and steps to address the specific needs of their agencies that are consistent with the Merit Rules.
An appointing authority must furnish each classified employee a copy of the agency's progressive discipline policy and must follow the policy in disciplining classified employees. Each appointing authority ensures supervisors promptly apply discipline that is equitable and suitable for the offense considering the circumstances.
Agencies maintain documentation of formal disciplinary actions in the employee's personnel record. An agency must give a copy of any formal disciplinary document to the employee when the agency files the document in the employee's agency personnel record. The employee may review disciplinary documents in his or her agency personnel record.
The first phase of progressive discipline is informal discipline, which may include steps of verbal warning, informal discussion, corrective interview and oral reprimand. This phase streamlines the progressive discipline system and brings potential problems to the employee's attention before the problems get worse. Both the supervisor and the employee may document informal discipline.
The second phase of progressive discipline is formal discipline, which includes written reprimand, suspension without pay, involuntary demotion and discharge. Unless there are aggravating conditions, a supervisor normally administers formal discipline after informal discipline fails to produce acceptable results.
A written reprimand is a letter, memo, or other document an appointing authority or supervisor gives an employee to record and correct violations of statute, rule, policy, practice, or procedure regarding work performance or behavior. The supervisor gives the employee an opportunity to respond and attaches the employee's written response to the written reprimand.
An agency may discharge, suspend without pay, or involuntary demote an employee in the classified service for:
Before suspending you without pay or involuntarily demoting you, your agency gives you notice of the proposed action. Your agency also gives you an opportunity, either in writing or orally, to present reasons why the agency should not suspend you without pay or involuntary demote you. Within 10 working days after your opportunity to respond, the agency gives you written notice of their final action by personal service or certified or registered mail. The notice must include:
Before discharging you, your agency conducts a pretermination hearing before the appointing authority or his or her designee. The agency sends you notice of the pretermination hearing at least seven calendar days in advance. The agency makes an audio tape of the pretermination hearing and provides you a copy, at no cost, if you request one.
Within 10 working days after the pretermination hearing, the agency gives you written notice of discharge by personal service or certified or registered mail. The notice includes:
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Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission
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