Discipline and Responsibility
NRS 284.385 provides that an appointing authority may discipline a permanent classified employee when "the good of the public service will be served." In deciding to engage in discipline, the appointing authority must be able to show cause, act appropriately in response to the facts and circumstances, and comply with the tenants of progressive discipline.
The appointing authority must always show "cause" for the discipline. Typically, "cause" for discipline may be found in NAC 284.650, "Causes for Disciplinary Action" and/or the Prohibitions & Penalties: A Guide for Classified Staff. The appointing authority must also be able to provide evidence in support of a justifiable cause.
In determining appropriate discipline, the employer or appointing authority must respond in a transparent, consistent and predictable manner. Normally discipline will comply with the principles of progressive discipline. NRS 284.383(1) requires that "except in cases of serious violations of the law or regulations, less severe measures are applied first after which more severe measures are applied only if less severe measures have failed to correct the deficiencies."
The appointing authority or immediate supervisor must consult with the Staff Development & Employee Relations unit prior to imposing suspension, demotion or separation proceedings. This unit is also able to provide guidance related to Written Reprimands and/or informal counseling of the employee.
Prohibitions & Penalties
The Prohibitions and Penalties: A Guide for Classified Staff is a handbook intended as a guide for both employees and supervisors to clarify existing rules and regulations for discipline. It does not constitute coverage for all infractions and violations that could conceivably occur. It does, however, cover the majority of situations that are a source of concern to supervisors and the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). The handbook has been approved by the State Personnel Commission and thus has the same force and effect as other rules and regulations covering classified employees. The penalties identified for the various infractions are merely guidelines. Any offense may result in dismissal depending on the circumstances. A supervisor is not bound by penalties suggested in the guidelines and may impose a more or less severe penalty depending upon circumstances. As indicated earlier in this document, appropriate disciplinary or corrective action may also be taken for any cause listed in Section 284.650 of the Nevada Administrative Code, "Causes for Disciplinary Action."
There are steps built into the disciplinary review process to ensure the action of the employer has been based on evidence that shows the good of the public service is served through the administration of discipline. These steps include participation in the Pre-Disciplinary Hearing process, a review of intended action pursuant to the State Administrative Manual 1702.0, participation in the classified employee grievance process, and/or participation in the state appeal hearing process.
In the event that disciplinary decisions are reviewed after the fact by a Hearing Officer appointed by the State of Nevada, the hearing officer is charged with taking a new and impartial view of the evidence and assessing, among other things, the reasonableness of the proposed discipline. This impartial view must include a review of the prior record of discipline, any negative or below standard work performance evaluations, and any good works or earned commendations.
Employees and supervisors are encouraged to contact the Employee Relations unit for advice and counsel regarding disciplinary issues and concerns.