Disciplinary Action Appeals Board for University Support Staff
Revised July 1, 2017
Table of Contents
.015 Related Policies
.030 Appeal Process
The Kansas State University Appeals Board (referred to hereafter as the Appeals Board) hears appeals by University Support Staff (USS) of their demotion or dismissal. Any allegation that the demotion or dismissal of a USS employee was discriminatory in violation of University policy must be brought by the USS employee to the Office of Institutional Equity under PPM Chapter 3010, which provides the exclusive procedure within the University for reviewing discrimination claims, and may not be raised on appeal before the USS Appeals Board.
In addition, for disciplinary action based on discrimination by a USS employee in violation of PPM Chapter 3010, there is a specific appeal process set forth in that chapter that the USS Appeals Board must use, rather than the process described in this chapter, except as provided in Section .065 below.
KSU Policy and Procedures Manual, Chapter 3010, Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Violence and Stalking and Procedure for Reviewing Complaints, and;
Chapter 4020, Disciplinary Action Procedures for University Support Staff
Chapter 4030, University Support Staff Peer Review Committee Hearing Process.
Kansas law (K.S.A. 76-715a) requires this appeal process for classified employees who convert to unclassified USS.
A USS employee not serving a probationary period may appeal a demotion or dismissal to the Appeals Board up to 21 calendar days after the effective date of the disciplinary action. Appeals may be based only upon:
- New evidence (not evidence that was overlooked or not presented by either party) that arises after a PRC hearing that may have had a bearing on the PRC recommendation; or
- The Director of Employee Relations or his/her designee did not substantially follow the PRC recommendation; or
- The Department of Employee Relations did not follow the PRC hearing guidelines, despite the USS employee's timely objection, and when such procedural irregularity may have had a bearing on the PRC recommendation.
Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Chair of the Disciplinary Action Appeals Board, in care of Human Capital Services, 103 Edwards Hall, 1810 Kerr Drive, Manhattan, KS 66506, with a copy to the Vice President for Human Capital Services such that they are received by the VPHC office within 21 calendar days of the effective date of the disciplinary action. The appeal must be in writing and the appeal must state and present the details of every ground on which the appeal is based. The appeal must include a copy of the PRC's report. Within 7 calendar days of receiving the appeal, the Chair of the Appeals Board will review the appeal. If an appeal meets the above criteria, as determined by the Appeals Board chair, the VPHC office will provide a copy of the appeal to the department's representative and to the Director of Employee Relations. The department and the Director will each have 10 calendar days to submit a written response to the VPHC office for consideration in the appeal. Within 7 calendar days of receipt of the written responses, the Appeals Board panel will convene to consider and decide the appeal. The appeal does not involve a new investigation. The appeal may only decide, based upon the written information provided, whether the grounds for appeal (the new evidence, the failure to follow the PRC recommendation, or the failure to follow procedural guidelines) clearly demonstrate that the Director's decision should be affirmed, modified, or overturned, or that the case should be remanded to the PRC for further hearing and/or consideration.
The Kansas State University Appeals Board is composed of a fifteen member board, nine of which are USS and six of which are unclassified staff or faculty members, who are full-time employees of Kansas State University with at least 5 years of service with the university.
The VPHC (for pre-hearing matters, VPHC refers to a staff member of the VPHC office who serves as the VPHC's designee) will appoint board members from nominations for membership made by the USS Senate, Faculty Senate and members of the campus community at large. If the VPHC does not find a sufficient number of acceptable nominees, the VPHC will request additional nominees from the respective governance organizations. Appointments to the board are for three consecutive years with five members replaced each year.
The chair and vice chair of the Appeals Board will be elected by the board members and officially appointed by the VPHC. The chair and vice chair will serve a one year term in those roles. The chair, or vice chair in the absence or recusal of the chair, will conduct the hearings during his or her term as chair.
Members of the Appeals Board will be required to attend training presented by representatives of Human Capital Services and the Office of General Counsel. The training will include information on the appropriate methods for considering appeals, the rules regarding discipline governing the USS and the role and responsibilities of Appeals Board members and the chair.
An Appeals Board panel will be composed of three USS and two unclassified employees. Members of the Appeals Board panel cannot be from the same department as those involved in the appeal. Prior to serving on a panel, each board member is expected to sign a statement confirming that the member is unaware of any reason that would preclude him or her from acting fairly and impartially in deciding the matter before the Appeals Board panel and is not knowledgeable about the case. The VPHC shall designate the Appeals Board panel members. One panel member will be elected by the panel members to serve as the Panel Chair. The Appeals Board chair will conduct the appeal and may attend the panel's deliberations but shall not be a voting member of the five-member panel.
The Appeals Board panel will consider the appeal in a closed meeting.
The Appeals Board panel shall submit to the VPHC its decision within 7 calendar days from the date on which the appeal was conducted. However, the chair of the Appeals Board panel may extend this time limit for good cause. The decision shall include the panel's rationale and shall attach a copy of the PRC's report. The Appeals Board panel will recommend in writing to the VPHC whether the action to demote or dismiss the employee should be upheld, modified or overturned, or shall state that the case was remanded to the PRC for further hearing and/or consideration.
Except where the case was remanded to the PRC, after review of the decision and recommendation, the VPHC will provide a written decision to the Director and to both parties and their attorneys of record, if any, within 15 calendar days of receiving the Appeals Board panel's written decision and recommendation. The VPHC may take into account any relevant evidence to which the appellant has had the opportunity to respond. If the VPHC, based on his/her understanding of the matter or other relevant factors, does not follow the recommendations of the Appeals Board panel, the VPHC will meet with the Appeals Board panel to discuss his/her decision. The VPHC's decision is the university's final decision.
The VPHC office will provide staffing for the Appeals Board and Appeals Board panels. Those duties will include: maintaining the appeal files, counsel for the board, copying and distribution of appeal documents, scheduling of all meetings and appeals, facilitating the appeal, etc.
For USS employees who have been found in violation of the University's anti-discrimination policy (PPM Chapter 3010), when the sanction includes suspension without pay, demotion or dismissal, the USS Appeals Board evaluates an appeal based upon the same standards and procedures required of Appeal Administrators under PPM Chapter 3010, makes a written recommendation to the Vice President for Human Capital Services, and the Vice President for Human Capital Services makes the final decision.
The appeal does not involve a new investigation or hearing by the USS Appeals Board. The appeal may only decide, based upon the written information presented, whether the Deciding Administrator's basis for imposing sanctions, and/or the sanctions themselves, were "arbitrary and capricious." This means that there must be no reasonable basis, under circumstances presented, to uphold the sanctions imposed by the Deciding Administrator. The appeal must defer to the ART for all credibility decisions (e.g., who is telling the truth). A Deciding Administrator who follows the ART's recommended sanction will be presumed not to have acted arbitrarily or capriciously, unless conclusively demonstrated otherwise.
For further information, see PPM Chapter 3010.
These appeal procedures are available only to University Support Staff with permanent status. They are not available to USS employees in probationary or temporary status or to members of the unclassified professional or academic staff or faculty.
Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Vice President for Human Capital Services, 785-532-6277.