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Disciplinary Action Appeals Board for University Support Staff

Chapter 4035
Issue June 10, 2014 Revised June 25, 2014, July 15, 2014, Feb. 15, 2015, Nov. 2, 2016, July 1, 2017, Sept. 5, 2017, Sept. 7, 2017

Table of Contents

.010 Introduction
.015 Related Policies
.020 Statutes, Regulations, and/or Policies
.030 Appeal Process
.040 Composition and Appointment of the Appeals Board
.050 Composition and Appointment of the Appeals Board Panel
.060 Appeals Board Procedures
.070 Exclusions or Special Circumstances
.080 Questions

.010 Introduction

The Kansas State University Disciplinary Action 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 Appeals Board.

.015 Related Policies

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.

.020 Statutes, Regulations, and/or Policies

Kansas law (K.S.A. 76-715a) requires this appeal process for classified employees who convert to unclassified USS.  

 .030 Appeal Process

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:

  1. 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
  2. The Director of Employee Relations or his/her designee did not substantially follow the PRC recommendation; or
  3. 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 Resources, 111 Dykstra Hall, 1628 Claflin Rd, Manhattan, KS 66506, with a copy to the Vice President for Human Resources such that they are received by the VPHR 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 VPHR 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 VPHR 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.

.040 Composition and Appointment of the Appeals Board

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 VPHR (for pre-hearing matters, VPHR refers to a staff member of the VPHR office who serves as the VPHR'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 VPHR does not find a sufficient number of acceptable nominees, the VPHR 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 VPHR.  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 Resources 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.

.050 Composition and Appointment of the Appeals Board Panel

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 VPHR 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.

.060 Appeals Board Procedures

The Appeals Board panel will consider the appeal in a closed meeting.

The Appeals Board panel shall submit to the VPHR 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 VPHR 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 VPHR 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 VPHR may take into account any relevant evidence to which the appellant has had the opportunity to respond. If the VPHR, based on his/her understanding of the matter or other relevant factors, does not follow the recommendations of the Appeals Board panel, the VPHR will meet with the Appeals Board panel to discuss his/her decision. The VPHR's decision is the university's final decision.

The VPHR 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.

 .070 Exclusions or Special Circumstances

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.

.080 Questions

Human Resources (HR) is responsible for this policy. The Vice President or designee must approve any exception to this policy or related procedures. Questions should be directed to Human Resources, Employee Relations & Engagement at 785-532-6277 or hr@ksu.edu.