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Presentation on theme: "MYTHS, WIVES’ TALES & URBAN LEGENDS DEBUNKING ER MISCONCEPTIONS JUNE 2014."— Presentation transcript:


2 FIRST AMENDMENT The Myth - “Everyone (staff, students, and parents) has the right to assert their personal opinion, verbally or nonverbally, no matter how offensive.” The Truth - While every employee has a right to an opinion, when acting as a representative of the District, employee actions are governed by District policy and the Principles of Professional Conduct for Florida Educators. In addition, the First Amendment does not allow a person to engage in any speech that will create a disruption to the orderly workings of a school or that would be considered disparaging towards any other person or protected class. As an organization we have the right to set standards for behavior, including staff and student verbal and nonverbal expressions.

3 IF I DIDN’T SEE IT, I CAN’T DO ANYTHING The Myth – “If I did not see a teacher yell at a student, it is ‘hearsay’ and I can’t address it.” The Truth – You can (and should!) investigate. You should collect witness statements and work with Employee Relations to investigate and address the behavior.

4 “LIGHT-DUTY” The Myth – “Custodians cannot have ‘light duty’, regardless of what their doctor says.” The Truth – Every decision regarding job/duty modification should be made on an case-by-case basis. Guiding questions include significance of restrictions, duration of restrictions, and the employee’s ability to safely perform most essential job tasks. If accommodations are needed (tools or supports) the employee must submit completed ADA paperwork. Contact ER with any questions about the provision of accommodations or modifications.

5 “LIGHT-DUTY” The Myth – “If someone brings in a doctor’s note with restrictions, I may need to modify their assignment in order for them to return to work.” The Truth – Yes, you may modify assignments for short duration. Please call the Office for Employee Relations if an employee brings a doctor’s note with restrictions. If the doctor indicates that there are permanent restrictions, or significant limitations that will prohibit the employee from successfully performing the duties of the job, the employee may need to find another position within the District. Modifying assignments may reduce the number of hours that an employee is able to work.

6 PERFORMANCE ISSUES The Myth – “I don’t need to document a probationary employee.” The Truth – When an employee is hired, they sign an agreement that they understand that they can be released from employment during their probationary period without cause, however, documentation of performance or behavior concerns can be used to refute any claims that the employment action was motivated by discrimination or other protected act.

7 PERFORMANCE ISSUES The Myth – “I can’t issue a letter to an employee if I’ve already evaluated them as satisfactory.” The Truth – Ugh. Awkward-yes, but if an employee’s behavior or performance warrants a letter, either formal or informal, then it should be issued, regardless of previous performance documentation. However, if the concern presents before the evaluation, it should be considered in subsequent ratings.

8 LETTER WRITING The Myth – “ER will develop any formal or informal letters that you need, just call them with your specific concerns.” The Truth – Every administrator is expected to be able to conduct a disciplinary meeting and to summarize the meeting in a conference note or letter. However, the ER staff can provide examples of formal and informal letters if an administrator needs a guide. Some situations may call for ER staff to support you in an employee meeting. Administrators should ask ER to review any formal documentation for content and clarity prior to issuing it to the employee.

9 USEP RIGHTS The Myth – “USEP has the right to present organization information at faculty meetings.” The Truth – Not at your faculty meeting. Contract language (below) provides as follows regarding USEP’s ability to hold meetings with your faculty. The Union may use school building facilities for meetings upon prior approval of the school principal. Approval will be withheld only for good and sufficient reason, which shall be stated to the person making the request. In each school, for a maximum of five (5) times per year, a meeting called by the Union for that school's teachers may be scheduled during fifteen (15) minutes of the teacher workday provided that such a schedule does not interfere with student contact time.

10 USEP RIGHTS The Myth – “I can’t meet with an employee without USEP representation.” The Truth – Wrong. Employees have the right to representation, including USEP, at any meeting which is disciplinary in nature or could lead to a disciplinary action. When scheduling such a meeting, you can either inform the employee of the topic of the meeting, notify the employee that he/she can bring representation (Union or otherwise), or both.

11 ER OFFICE The Myth – “ER responds to all employee questions.” The Truth – There are many things that the Office for Employee Relations’ doesn’t handle including leaves, Sick Bank, and pay checks. Employees get frustrated when they call for information and have to be transferred to another department, especially when they’ve been told to call ER. If you’re not sure which department can respond to an employee’s question, please investigate before providing the employee with contact information. We’re happy to assist you with finding the proper department to assist you.

12 LEAVE TIME The Myth – “If an employee has accumulated vacation time, I can’t deny their request for time off.” The Truth – Administrators have a responsibility to maintain sufficient staff to sustain the orderly operations of the worksite. If granting a leave request would result in a significant disruption, it can be denied with an explanation that the employee can resubmit the request with different dates. Employees are eligible for time off but not always entitled to take it. If there is a date that several employees have requested off, we recommend implementing a “first asked, first approved” policy. If two employees submit a request at the same time and only one can be approved, you can use seniority status to determine who gets to use the vacation time.


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