5281 Disciplinary Action and Discharge

  • Grounds for Disciplinary Action or Discharge

    Staff who fail to fulfill their job responsibilities or follow the reasonable directions of their administrators or who conduct themselves on or off the job in ways that affect their effectiveness on the job may be subject to disciplinary action or discharge. Behavior, conduct or action which provides sufficient cause may warrant disciplinary action or discharge. Such behavior, conduct or action may include, but is not limited to: 

    1. Incompetence;

    2. Inefficiency;

    3. Misappropriation or misuse of district property;

    4. Neglect of duty;

    5. Insubordination;

    6. Conviction/guilty plea of any crime which adversely affects the employee’s ability to perform a job including any felony crime involving:

      1.  The physical neglect of a child;

      2.  The physical injury of death of a child;

      3.  Sexual exploitation of a child;

      4.  Sexual offenses;

      5.  Promotion of a minor for prostitution purposes; or

      6.  The sale or purchase of a minor child;
      [employees are required to report in writing to the superintendent any conviction or guilty plea of the above referenced crimes (and of any other crimes that are workplace related) within five days of conviction or guilty plea];

    7. Malfeasance;

    8. Misconduct;

    9. Inability to perform job functions;

    10. Willful violation of district policies and procedures or laws and regulations;

    11. Mistreatment, abuse or assault of fellow workers, students, or members of the public;

    12. Conflict of interest;

    13. Abuse of leave;

    14. Sexual harassment, verbal abuse, physical abuse or sexual misconduct;

    15. Manufacture, possession, distribution, sale or being under the influence of alcohol controlled, illegal, addictive or harmful substances including anabolic steroids;

    16. Conduct (whether on the job or off the job) that has a substantial negative impact on performance;

    17. Mental or physical inability to perform the essential job duties;

    18. Intemperance;

    19. Intentional discrimination;

    20. Vulgar speech or actions;

    21. Use of habit forming drugs without pharmaceutical prescription by a doctor of medicine licensed to practice in the state of Washington;

    22. Use of alcoholic beverages on district premises or at a district sponsored activity off the district premises; or

    23. Use of district supplies and equipment for personal betterment or financial gain or other improper purposes.

    In the event that allegations or charges are made against a staff member for misconduct with minors, the superintendent may contact the Child Protective Services central registry for evidence regarding the staff member as an adjudicated or admitted perpetrator of child abuse or neglect. Appropriate reports will also be made to law enforcement, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the student’s parents or guardians, as required by law.

    Abuse and Sexual Misconduct

    The district will not enter into any contract that is contrary to law to suppress information about verbal or physical abuse or sexual misconduct by a present or former employee and will comply with all legal requirements regarding such misconduct.

    Suspension of Staff

    The superintendent/designee is authorized to suspend a staff member immediately as deemed appropriate.

    Cross References:  
    Board Policy 5006         Certification Revocation
                               5240         Evaluation of Staff
                               5280         Separation from Employment

    Legal References:          
    RCW 28A.400.300         Hiring and discharge of employees – Written leaves policies – Seniority and leave benefits of employees transferring between school districts and other educational employers
    RCW 28A.400.320         Crimes against children – Mandatory termination of classified employees – Appeal – Recovery of salary or compensation by district
    RCW 28A.400.340         Notice of discharge to contain notice or right to appeal if available
    RCW 28A.405.300         Adverse change in contract status of certificated employee – Determination of probable cause – Notice – Opportunity for hearings
    RCW 28A.405.310         Adverse change in contract status of certificated employee, including non-renewal of contract – Hearings – Procedure
    RCW 28A.405.470         Crimes against children – Mandatory termination of certified employees – Appeal – Recovery of salary or compensation by district
    RCW 28A.410.090          Revocation or suspension of certificate or permit to teach – Criminal basis – Complaints – Investigation – Process
    RCW 49.44.200               Personal social networking accounts – Restrictions on employer access –Definitions
    RCW 181-86                   Policies and procedures for administration of certification proceedings
    WAC 181-87                   Acts of Unprofessional Conduct

    Management Resources:   
    Policy News                     Oct. 2004
    Policy & Legal News     Dec. 2014; Dec. 2015

    ADOPTED: 12/16/1993
    REVISED: 9/24/98; 12/19/02; 12/16/04; 7/26/07; 3/26/15; 3/24/16

    Procedure No. 5281P Disciplinary Action and Discharge

    When the superintendent determines that there are sufficient grounds to suspend and/or discharge a certificated staff member, the staff member shall receive written notification which specifies the probable cause for such action. The notice shall contain notice of the staff member's appeal rights, if any, and notice of the appeal processes. The staff member may submit within 10 days of such notification a written request (RCW 28A.405.310) for a hearing to deter­mine whether or not there is sufficient cause for discharge. During the hearing, the procedures described in Board Policy 5280 (Probation and Non-renewal) shall be followed.

    Staff who do not request a hearing shall be adversely affected as speci­fied in the written notice.

    Classified staff not employed under formal contract may be suspended for a specified or indefinite number of days with or without pay. A regular status classified staff member shall be advised of the right to request a pretermination meeting within five (5) working days following notice. At the hearing, the superintendent shall provide notice of charges against the classified staff member, an explanation of the evidence that has been collected and the opportunity for the staff member to clarify or refute the charges. Following this conference, the superintendent shall advise the staff member of the right to a hearing with the board prior to any formal action that may be taken by the board.

    A classified staff member, who has contact with children, or a certificated staff member whose certificate is subject to revocation shall be terminated immediately for a guilty plea or conviction of any felony crime against children as stated in (F) below.  Such employee shall have the right of appeal.

    Types of Disciplinary Action

    Depending upon the nature of the work performance problem or conduct, any one or more of the following actions may be taken by the appropriate supervisor:

    1. Oral Reprimand

      An oral reprimand may be given to a staff member whenever such action is deemed appropriate.

    2. Written Reprimand

      A staff member may be given a written reprimand when previous oral warning has not resulted in the expected improvement or when more severe initial action is deemed warranted. A copy of such reprimand shall be placed in the staff member's personnel file.

    3. Suspension/Discharge

      A staff member may be suspended from duty without pay by their supervisor for any of the reasons set forth in these procedures. A staff member shall receive written notice of such suspension along with notification (oral or written) that they may schedule a pretermination meeting with the superintendent. Discharge action may be taken by the board based upon the recommendation of the superintendent. The staff member shall have an opportunity to meet with the board prior to such action.

      A staff member may be temporarily suspended from duty with pay, if circumstances warrant, with the prior approval of the Superintendent.

      A classified staff member who has contact with children, or a certificated staff member shall be terminated immediately for a guilty plea or conviction of any felony crime against children as cited above in Policy 5281 (F).

    4. Demotion

      A staff member may be demoted for any of the reasons set forth in these procedures. The staff member shall be given written notice including specific reasons for such demotion at least two (2) calendar weeks prior to the effective date of the proposed action. This action requires the prior approval of the superintendent. 

    ADOPTED: 11/24/92
    REVISED:  9/24/98, 12/16/04; 1/12/06; 3/24/16

5000 Policies