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Dismissals and Other Disciplinary Actions

The Vermont Labor Relations Board and Vermont Supreme Court have resolved many grievances of employees of the State, State Colleges and University of Vermont, contesting dismissals and lesser disciplinary actions. In the great majority of cases, employees have been represented by a union and covered by a collective bargaining contract. In other cases, employees have not been represented by a union. In both types of cases, the standard typically applied where employees have a vested property interest in continued employment is whether just cause exists for dismissal or other disciplinary action.

In this section, decisions of the VLRB and the Vermont Supreme Court relating to management obligations before imposing disciplinary action under such circumstances are discussed. Due process considerations are first addressed, followed by substantive just cause standards. In addition, the last three sections of this section address the following areas outside the jurisdiction of the VLRB relating to dismissals and other disciplinary actions: a) renewal, suspension and dismissal of teachers; b) suspension and dismissal of municipal police officers; and c) use of admissions made during an employer’s disciplinary investigation in criminal proceedings.

Right to Union Representation at Meeting Which May Lead to Discipline

Right to Pre-Termination Hearing

Suspension Without Pay Pending Investigation

Sufficiency of Management Investigation

Double Jeopardy

Job Nexus

Timeliness of Discipline

Specific Notice of Disciplinary Action

Just Cause Standard

Factors Relevant in Determining Whether Just Cause Exists

Progressive Discipline and Illustrative Dismissal Cases

Burden and Quantum of Proof

Disciplinary Actions Less Than Dismissal

Dismissals for Performance Reasons

Board's Authority Generally to Remedy Improper Dismissals and Authority to Modify Penalties

Back Pay Issues

Discipline of State Police

Constructive Discharge/Involuntary Resignation

Protected Activity and Discrimination Claims in Dismissals and Other Grievances

Renewal, Suspension and Dismissal of Teachers

Suspension and Dismissal of Police Officers

Use of Admissions Made During Employer's Disciplinary Investigation in Criminal Proceedings