Policies and Procedures
Section 13: Employee Relations

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It is the goal of the Employee Relations Division of the Department of Human Resources to support and collaborate with the County’s employees and supervisors to ensure efficiency and high performance, enabling Henrico County to serve its citizens in the best way possible.

13.1 Job Practices (6-7-2016)

  1. Secondary Employment: Without prior written approval, no employee shall engage in any other employment or work either within or outside of the County or to an extent that affects, or is likely to affect, his performance as a County employee. This includes, but is not limited to, employment (including work that could be considered self-employment) or work with any private or public entity, including another Henrico County agency. Secondary employment also includes selling and/or delivering services or products during work hours.

    The maximum number of hours allowed for all secondary employment is 30 hours per week for full‐time employees. Some County agencies may limit total secondary employment to a lesser maximum. The County Manager has the authority to make exceptions.

    A current employee wishing to engage in secondary employment shall submit a request to his agency head in advance of such employment, using the County’s Secondary Employment Request Form. A new employee must submit a similar request immediately upon hire.  In addition, an employee who transfers to another agency and is already working an approved secondary employment must submit a new Secondary Employment Request Form to his new agency head immediately upon transfer to the new assignment. Once approved, secondary employment approvals may be rescinded by the agency head or Director of Human Resources for good cause. Copies of forms, approved or denied, shall be sent to the Department of Human Resources for inclusion in the employee’s official personnel file.

    Previously approved Secondary Employment Requests may be subject to review and reevaluation by the Director of Human Resources or his designee following an employee’s promotion, reassignment, or other change in job circumstances. In addition, when the employee is not meeting performance expectations, approval of secondary employment may be rescinded.

    Failure to comply with this policy may be cause for disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

  2. Hatch Act: Under the Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§1501 through 1508, County officers and employees are prohibited from using their influence to affect the result of an election and from attempting to coerce or advise another County employee to make a political contribution. In addition, County officers or employees whose salary is paid completely, directly or indirectly, by loans or grants made by the United States or a federal agency are prohibited from being a candidate for public office in a partisan election. For additional information, contact the Department of Human Resources or the County Attorney’s Office.

  3. Gratuities and/or Gifts to County Employees
    All employees are required to comply with the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, Chapter 31 of Title 2.2 of the Code of Virginia, as amended. Questions concerning the interpretation or application of the Act should be directed to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney or the County Attorney.

  4. Nursing Mothers
    In compliance with law, Henrico County provides nursing mothers break time for the purpose of expressing milk for newborns. The County also is committed to providing appropriate locations for this purpose.  Additional information and questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Department of Human Resources’ Employee Relations Division.

  5. Poor Performance or Performance Issues
    Supervisors who have subordinates who have performance issues, so much so that poor performance continues despite feedback, coaching, and counseling efforts, have a need to consider further management prerogatives.  One such prerogative is an Action Plan.  Collaboration with the Department of Human Resources, Employee Relations Division, should be used in creating an Action Plan.

13.2 Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and Policy against Harassment

  1. Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

    Henrico County is an equal opportunity employer and is firmly committed to complying with all applicable equal employment opportunity laws. No employee or applicant for employment shall be discriminated against because of race, color, age, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law (except where such is a bona fide occupational qualification). This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruitment, hiring, promotion, training, assignment, compensation, discipline, and termination. As detailed below, this policy also bans harassment.

    The County will provide reasonable accommodation consistent with the law to otherwise qualified employees and applicants with a disability and to employees and applicants with needs related to their religious observance. What constitutes a reasonable accommodation depends on the circumstances and thus will be addressed by the County on a case‐by‐case basis. Any supervisor or agency receiving a request of an accommodation should collaborate with the Department of Human Resources’ Employee Relations Division.

  2. Policy against Harassment

    It is the policy of the County that all employees deserve an environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment.  The County will not tolerate conduct that constitutes, could lead to, or contributes to harassment.

    Harassment may include, but is not limited to, offensive comments, gestures, slurs, e-mail messages, jokes, posters, cartoons, pictures, or drawings that are based on an individual’s race, color, gender, religion, age, national origin, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law. Harassment does not require the intent to offend. Thus inappropriate conduct meant as a joke, prank, or even a compliment can lead or contribute to harassment.

    Sexual harassment is a specific type of harassment that may include, but is not limited to, touching another individual in a sexually suggestive or offensive manner, making sexually suggestive remarks or jokes, making comments about an individual’s body, displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures in the workplace. Sexual harassment also may include threatening or insinuating, either explicitly or implicitly, that another employee’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances will in any way influence any personnel decision regarding that individual’s employment.

    Additional policies apply to individuals with supervisory authority at the County. No one with a supervisory role may at any time: (1) threaten or imply that an individual’s submission to or rejection of a sexual advance will in any way influence a decision regarding that individual’s employment, evaluation, advancement, compensation, assignment, discipline, discharge, or any other term or condition of employment; or (2) make an employment decision concerning an individual on such a basis.

  3. Policy against Retaliation

    The County will not tolerate threats or acts of retaliation against individuals who 1) report inappropriate conduct pursuant to this policy or 2) provide information in connection with a report by another individual. If you believe you have been retaliated against for such action, you should use the Complaint Procedure outlined below in subsection 13.2-D below to report the relevant facts promptly. The County will investigate and take appropriate action in the manner described below.

  4. Complaint Procedure

    If you believe that you or another individual has been subjected to any conduct of the type described in subsections A, B, or C of this policy, you are expected to report the information promptly and completely to the County. You should direct such complaints to the Employee Relations Manager at 501‐4273, the Employee Relations Analyst at 501‐5321, or your supervisor/supervisory chain.

    You should report the conduct regardless of the offender’s position at the County and should also report the conduct even if the offender is not employed at the County (for example, a visitor or vendor). Your prompt reporting is very important so that the County can take action to stop the conduct before it is repeated.

    All reports will be addressed promptly, with further investigation conducted where needed to confirm facts or resolve disputed facts. In conducting investigations, the County will strive to keep the identity of the individual(s) making the reports as confidential as possible. All participants in the investigation, including the individual making the report and the alleged harasser, must keep the facts and results of any investigation confidential, except as may be needed for investigative or disciplinary purposes. All County employees are required to cooperate in investigations and provide truthful information and evidence.

    Appropriate disciplinary action (up to and including termination) will be taken against County personnel found to have violated this Section 13.2.

    As an alternative to this complaint procedure, reports of violations of this policy may be raised and handled through the employee grievance procedure, provided that (1) the reporting party is eligible to file a grievance, and (2) the subject matter of the report is grievable, as defined by the grievance procedure (see Section 13.10).

13.3 Policy against Workplace Violence

The County will not tolerate violence or threatened violence in the workplace in any form, whether directed at another person or otherwise displayed.  Employees shall immediately report any behavior or language that they believe threatens their safety or the safety of others.  Reports may be made to a supervisor, department head, or to the Department of Human Resources.  Any supervisor or department head who receives such a report or has knowledge of violence or threatened violence occurring in the workplace shall ensure that the matter is not actively occurring and that it has been reported to the Department of Human Resources. Provoking, instigating, or participating in a fight while on duty or on County property is in violation of this policy.

The possession of any weapon(s) by an employee is prohibited in County workplace settings.  For the purpose of this policy, the term “workplace” shall not be interpreted to include a locked, private motor vehicle.  In addition, this policy does not apply to those sworn law enforcement officers, correctional personnel, or security personnel who are specifically authorized by their respective agencies to possess weapons to fulfill their duties.

13.4 Standards of Conduct (4-21-2016)

Each employee is responsible and accountable for his behavior and decisions.  The following sets forth minimum standards of employee conduct.  Failure to abide by these standards may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Direction from Supervision
To help guide their employees in the performance of their jobs, supervisors will often give specific direction to employees.  The County expects employees to follow and abide by direction/direct orders given to them by any supervisor, especially those within their chain.  Employees are expected to perform their assigned duties as directed by a supervisor and promptly comply with a supervisor’s orders.  Delay or refusal to perform assigned duties or to comply with a supervisor’s direction will be considered “Insubordination” and constitutes a violation of this policy. In addition, behavior, public or private, from an employee which exhibits inappropriate expression of hostility, disloyalty, antagonism, or discontent toward supervision would constitute a violation of this policy.

Attendance
Attendance is an essential job function for all employees.  Employees are expected to regularly, consistently, and predictably work their assigned schedule.  Leave (both paid and unpaid) is not intended to be used by employees to regularly reduce their work schedule.  While leave is a benefit, it is not an entitlement; employees are expected to have obtained authorization for all leave prior to using it.  Absences from the workplace (even when supported by paid leave) that are so frequent, numerous and/or irresponsible as to impair the agency’s functioning, as well as excessive use of unauthorized leave constitutes a violation of this policy.

Any employee who fails to report for work for three consecutive scheduled work days, without following the proper notification process, will be considered to be absent without leave (AWOL) and will be subject to termination.

Position Competency
Employees shall maintain sufficient competency to perform their duties and to assume the responsibilities of their position.  Demonstrating inability to perform satisfactorily after a performance issue has been identified and/or corrective action has been taken to improve deficiencies; or repeated infractions of Agency or County policies and/or procedures will be considered “Incompetence” and constitutes a violation of this policy.

Regard of Duty
Employees shall fulfill their job duties and responsibilities at all times, including following all laws, and Agency and County policies related to such.  Flagrant poor performance; loafing or sleeping on the job; misuse or abuse of time during work hours; or leaving the job during working hours without permission are all examples of violations of this policy.  These and any other violation of this policy are considered “Neglect of Duty.”

Use of County Property
County vehicles, materials, uniforms badges, equipment, supplies, or other items used by or assigned to a County employee are for official County business only.  Any unauthorized or inappropriate use of County property; negligence in the care or handling of County property; intentional abuse or destruction of County property; and the theft of County property or of another employee’s property is strictly prohibited and will be dealt with as County policy and the law provide.  The use of County-owned or leased computers, mobile phones and other electronic equipment is also subject to the provisions of the County’s Computer and Other Information Systems Use Policy (found on the Information Technology page of the Henrico County Intranet). All of these items shall be returned to the County prior to the employee’s date of separation.

Confidential Information
In the course of their public employment, employees may be expected to handle or otherwise acquire knowledge of a variety of information, much of which is confidential in nature.  Employees shall not inappropriately share or disclose confidential information and shall take steps to ensure such information is properly protected and used appropriately, solely for purposes of County business.

Public Trust
Employees provide a variety of services to the public.  Employees shall carry out those duties in a manner that enables and supports the trust of the public at all times.

Records and Documents
In the course of their employment, employees may be expected to produce records, reports, and documents for both internal and external purposes.  Accuracy and integrity relating to the data contained in those records, reports and documents is essential.  Falsification of any record, report, or document, including timecards, is prohibited and will be handled in accordance with appropriate law and/or County policy.

Arrests and Convictions
Any employee convicted of a felony, sex offense, offense involving moral turpitude (including lying, stealing or cheating), a serious misdemeanor, or other related offenses is required to report such conviction to their supervisor within five (5) days of the conviction.  In addition, employees are expected to report any arrest that may interfere with, or prevent any agency of the County to carry out its services, to the employee’s supervisor.

The County will take appropriate action to investigate or review the circumstances leading to convictions or arrests.  If the County determines that those circumstances interfere with the employee completing his job duties, or interfere with the effective delivery of County services, the employee may be subject to discipline.

Truthfulness and Integrity
Trust and integrity is an essential element of “leading at all levels.”  Employees shall be truthful in all interactions with the public, their supervisors and their fellow employees during all aspects of their jobs, including, but is not limited to, participation in internal and external administrative investigations.  Purposely omitting information to mislead a supervisor or other individual conducting a work-related investigation constitutes a violation of this policy.  Additionally, failure to promptly report receipt of an overpayment and/or failure to reconcile a debt to the County constitutes a violation of this policy.

Maintain Required Licenses and Certifications
Employees shall maintain all professional certifications and licenses required to perform their job duties and responsibilities.  Failure to notify supervision of a lapse or loss of certification or license constitutes a violation of this policy.

Professional Conduct
Employees shall conduct themselves at all times, both on and off duty, in such a manner as to reflect most favorably on the County.  Any conduct that tends to bring the County into disrepute or reflect discredit upon an individual as an employee constitutes a violation of this policy.  In addition, failure to display responsible behavior or act responsibly in the workplace, including behavior that disrupts job duties or normal work routine, or creates a risk of danger to the safety of other, constitutes a violation of this policy.

13.5 Suspension with Pay

 Suspensions with pay are on a case-by-case basis, at the sole discretion of the Director of Human Resources. Typically, during a suspension with pay, the employee is removed from the workplace (at the request of an agency head) pending an investigation.

13.6 Discipline

It is the responsibility of all supervisors to hold their employees accountable for behavior and decisions not in keeping with the County’s high standards of performance and conduct.  Among other corrective actions, accountability can be achieved through fair and consistent discipline.   Fairness and consistency happen when supervisors communicate and collaborate with each other, agency heads, and the Department of Human Resources.  The below disciplinary actions may be used in a progressive or isolated manner, depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the situation. 

The County has established a process for administering disciplinary action and expects this process to be followed unless exceptional circumstances warrant a different process.    A Notification of Findings Form must be presented to the employee receiving discipline and must precede the imposition of discipline and the Notification of Discipline Form.  The Recommendation of Discipline Form should be used to communicate the recommended discipline up an employee’s chain.

All disciplinary actions discussed below shall be forwarded to the Employee Relations Manager upon being imposed.  For directions on each specific disciplinary action, please see the explanations below. Discipline forms can be found online. For questions about the disciplinary process and the forms associated with it, please contact the Employee Relations Manager at 501-4273.

  1. Written Reprimand: A reprimand reduced to writing documenting the offense, the date(s) occurred, and the policy(ies) violated, using the Notification of Discipline Form. A copy must be sent to the Department of Human Resources for inclusion in the employee’s official personnel record. No prior approval is needed from the Department of Human Resources for a written reprimand.

  2. Suspension: The removal of the employee from job duties for a specified period of time. Suspensions must be recommended by the immediate supervisor/supervisor handling discipline and reviewed and be approved by the agency head or designee, as well as the Director of Human Resources, using the Recommendation of Discipline Form. Approved suspensions must be documented on a Notification of Discipline Form and sent to the Department of Human Resources for inclusion in the employee’s official personnel record.  An HR Action Form must accompany the discipline paperwork.

    Suspensions without pay are on a case-by-case basis, at the sole discretion of the Director of Human Resources. The length of the suspension will depend on the seriousness of the offense and/or the circumstances surrounding the suspension; however, in no case shall an employee be suspended for a period in excess of one (1) year. A suspension can be immediate or scheduled and shall be served continuously, without breaks, and in its entirety.

    Suspensions of more than ten (10) hours in a given payperiod will result in the loss of the accumulation of sick and annual leave for that payperiod. Other benefits will continue if sufficient income is received to cover deductions.

    Employees may be suspended pending the outcome of an administrative investigation. Where the employee is charged with a criminal act, the outcome of the criminal case will not dictate the outcome of the administrative investigation or the employment status of the employee.

  3. Demotion: Movement from one job classification to another with a lower grade, approved by the agency head and the Director of Human Resources. Demotions as a result of discipline must be recommended by the immediate supervisor/supervisor handling discipline and be reviewed and approved by the agency head or designee, as well as the Director of Human Resources using the Recommendation of Discipline Form.  Approved demotions must be documented on a Notification of Discipline Form and sent to the Department of Human Resources for inclusion in the employee’s official personnel record.  An HR Action Form should accompany the discipline paperwork.

    If a demotion occurs due solely to the employee’s less‐than‐satisfactory performance, as documented in the annual or special performance appraisal, then such demotion is considered non‐disciplinary.

    If a demotion occurs causing an employee to move from an exempt to a non-exempt status, any compensatory time balances will be forfeited.

  4. Dismissal: An involuntary separation of employment, approved by the agency head and the Director of Human Resources. Prior to dismissing an employee, the agency head must notify the Director of Human Resources or his designee of the proposed dismissal and the reasons for the proposed dismissal and complete the Recommendation of Discipline Form.

  5. Special reminder: A supervisor/manager should consult with his agency head or his designee prior to disciplining an employee. The Director of Human Resources or his designee should be contacted in advance of any employee suspension, demotion, or dismissal, providing him with the proposed discipline and the reason for such discipline. In all cases of discipline, the disciplinary process should be followed in this Section 13.6.

13.7 Employee Assistance Program

The County offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to all eligible employees and their families/household members. The EAP provider offers assessment and referral services to employees and their families/household members in areas such as marital problems, difficulty in parent/child relationships, drugs and/or alcohol dependency, mental illness, financial problems, and other areas which can affect the work productivity of employees.

All contact with the EAP Provider and all information received by the provider will remain strictly confidential. Employees may make arrangements directly with the EAP provider, thereby preserving confidentiality and privacy. The employee may elect to use annual or sick leave when attending EAP appointments.

There may be situations in which a supervisor may utilize the EAP as a management tool for matters concerning an employee’s work performance. The supervisor/manager may require that the employee participate in EAP when it is determined this may improve work performance. When referred by the supervisor, EAP visits should not require the employee to use sick or annual leave for appointments. More information can be found on the County’s EAP Web page.

13.8 Technology and Information Systems Use Policy

  1. Computer Use

    The County’s information systems consist of, but are not limited to, all County‐owned or leased computer equipment, telephones, printers, copiers, cell/mobile phones, iPads, pagers, personal digital assistants, network devices, software, storage media, data, peripherals and accessories, as well as electronic media and services that the County provides such as e‐mail, voicemail, the Internet and Intranet, electronic files, downloads, uploads, and wireless access devices. The term “user” includes all persons who use or have access to the County’s information systems, including but not limited to County officers, employees, consultants, vendors, and other non‐employees such as volunteers and interns.

    Access is restricted to appropriate individuals as determined by the County. Every attempt should be made to protect vulnerable information on every level. Users must follow general password creation and maintenance protocol, keeping passwords private, protected, and maintained at all times. Electronic communication should be accomplished with the same level of care, professional judgment, and discretion as paper documents. Users should not assume electronic communications are private. Use of the County’s information systems is a privilege made available to users to assist in the performance of their County duties or County business. Limited, occasional use for personal, non‐business purposes is permitted, provided it does not (1) interfere with nor adversely affect the user’s productivity or work performance; (2) negatively impact the information systems’ resources, integrity, or ability to appropriately conduct County business; and (3) violate this policy; any other County rule, regulation, or policy; or any federal, state, or local law.  In addition, County-owned mobile devices may be used as provided in the Henrico County Mobile Device Policy published by the Department of Information Technology on the County Intranet.

    County information systems may not be used by users to access, create, transmit, print, download, or upload material (including images or text) that is considered abusive, fraudulent, defamatory, obscene, indecent, or sexual in nature, or which may be construed as harassing, threatening, or discriminatory based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. County information systems may not be used for private business, secondary employment, or political activities.

    For purposes of this policy, the term “political activities” includes, but is not limited to:  voting; registering to vote; soliciting votes or endorsements on behalf of a political candidate or political campaign; expressing opinions, privately or publicly, on political subjects and candidates; displaying a political picture, sign, sticker, badge, or button; participating in the activities of, or contributing financially to, a political party, candidate, campaign, or an organization that supports a political candidate or campaign; attending or participating in a political convention, caucus, rally, or other political gathering; initiating, circulating, or signing a political petition; engaging in fund-raising activities for any political party, candidate, or campaign; acting as a recorder, watcher, challenger, of similar officer at the polls on behalf of a political party, candidate, or campaign; or becoming a political candidate.

    The installation or use of non‐County hardware, such as personal computers, personal laptops, and flash drives on wireless access points or on the County network is prohibited. Unless necessary for conducting County business, users shall not access private, non‐County e‐mail accounts from County-owned or leased equipment within the County’s internal network. However, authorized users may remotely access the County’s e-mail system using private equipment. Users should not access streaming services unless access to their content is for County business. This also includes, but is not limited to, viewing video clips, movie trailers, listening to Web-based music, and playing games from the internet.

    The monitoring, auditing, and inspection by the County of any and all information systems may occur at any time, without notice, and without the user’s permission in order to ensure compliance with this and other County policies and guidelines. Users shall have no expectation of privacy when using County information systems. Electronic records created or used in the transaction of public business are public records and are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

    Compliance with and enforcement of this policy is the responsibility of every supervisor.  Individual agencies may create additional policies or guidelines that are consistent with this policy.  Users should also comply with the technology policies located on the County’s Intranet and published by the County’s Department of Information Technology.

    Violations of this policy or violations of related federal or state law shall be reported immediately to agency heads or their designees and to the Director of Human Resources. Any employee found to have violated this policy or related policies may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Violations of any applicable federal, state, or local laws and regulations may be considered a law enforcement matter and subject to prosecution.

  2. Social Media

    Henrico County endorses the use of social media to enhance communication, foster collaboration and information exchange, streamline processes, and encourage productivity.  This policy establishes guidelines for County-sponsored social media.

    In addition, the County recognizes the role that social media plays in some employees’ personal lives. Because an employee’s personal use of social media can affect the County and its employees, this policy provides important guidelines regarding employees’ personal use of social media.

    1. Work-related social media:

      1. All County-sponsored social media sites or pages shall be approved by the appropriate agency head and shall be implemented only after consultation with the Department of Information Technology and the Department of Public Relations and Media Services. Each agency who utilizes social media should have a Social Media Coordinator who serves as the lead staff person for that agency’s social media networking. Duties assigned to the Social Media Coordinator would include developing framework for posting information and responding to comments, ensuring the social media site is regularly updated, and adhering to this social media policy.

      2. Limited internal access to social media will be granted for those employees serving as Social Media Coordinators, as well as those who may need access to social media in the performance of their assigned duties. When utilizing social media as a part of their jobs (including but not limited to user groups, blogs, chat rooms, etc.), employees should disclose information responsibly, ensuring that neither County vulnerabilities nor confidential information is shared.

      3. County-sponsored social media pages shall clearly indicate they are maintained by Henrico County and shall have appropriate contact information prominently displayed.

      4. Social media content shall adhere to applicable laws and County policies.

      5. Social media tools can be used to:

        • Deliver information and provide customer service to the public.
        • Make notifications (for example, during emergency situations).
        • Create a culture of engagement with the public by increasing transparency and efficiency.

    2. Personal Use of Social Media:

      1. All employees are advised that content posted, on-duty or off-duty, on social media pursuant to their official job duties is not protected by the First Amendment and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

      2. Employees are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree that their content does not impair professional relationships in the workplace, impede the performance of their job duties or negatively affect the public perception of Henrico County. Employees may not utilize social media in a manner which could lead the reader to believe such postings represent the official position of Henrico County.

      3. Employees shall not post confidential, sensitive, or copyrighted information to which they have access because of their position with the County.

      4. Like any other activity deemed to be abuse of County time, employees should refrain from utilizing social media during their workday except when necessary to perform their job responsibilities.

      5. Supervisors who include their subordinates in their social network must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with their role as a supervisor.

13.9 Privacy of Information (11-17-2015)

Part of the County’s mission is to serve and collaborate with both internal and external customers.  In order to provide all customers with an experience consistent with a high performance organization, it is essential that the confidential information, personal or otherwise, of employees, members of the public, and vendors, be protected.  Any person (including but not limited to County employees, volunteers, and those persons employed by temporary agencies) who handles or maintains forms, reports, and/or written or electronic employee or citizen information must treat this information as confidential. Adequate measures should be taken to prevent others from gaining access to this information, including locking computer screens; locking data in drawers, cabinets, or offices; not removing data from the County work site; not saving data to flash drives, compact discs, or computer hard drives; and shredding or securely destroying old data. Each department is responsible for the safekeeping and privacy of all information collected on employees, members of the public, and vendors. Misuse or negligence in handling of such information is considered to be a breach of confidentiality and may be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination.

13.10 Grievance Procedure

The purpose of this procedure is to provide a prompt, fair, and orderly method for the resolution of employee grievances initiated by eligible employees of the County of Henrico.

  1. Definition of Grievance

    1. A grievance is a complaint or dispute by an employee relating to his employment, including but not necessarily limited to:

      1. Disciplinary actions, including disciplinary demotions, suspensions, and dismissals, provided that such dismissals result from formal discipline or unsatisfactory job performance.

      2. The application of personnel policies, procedures, rules, and regulations, and the application of ordinances and statutes.

      3. Acts of retaliation as the result of the use of or the participation in the grievance procedure or because the employee has complied with any law of the United States or of the Commonwealth of Virginia, has reported any violation of such law to a governmental authority, has sought any change in law before the United States Congress or the General Assembly of Virginia, or has reported an incident of fraud, abuse, or gross mismanagement.

      4. Discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, political affiliation, age, disability, national origin, or sex.

    2. County Management Rights and Prerogatives

      The County reserves to itself the exclusive right to manage the affairs and operations of County government. Accordingly, complaints involving the following management rights and prerogatives are not grievable:

      1. Establishment and revision of wages or salaries, position classification, or general benefits.

      2. Work activity accepted by the employee as a condition of employment or work activity which may reasonably be expected to be a part of the job content.

      3. The contents of ordinances, statutes, or established personnel policies, procedures, rules, and regulations.

      4. The methods, means, and personnel by which work activities are to be carried on, including but not necessarily limited to:

        • The provision of equipment, tools, and facilities necessary to accomplish tasks.
        • The scheduling and distribution of manpower/personnel resources.
        • Training and career development.

      5. The hiring, promotion, transfer, assignment, and retention of employees in positions within the County service.

      6. Failure to  promote,  except  where  the  employee can  show  that  established promotional policies or procedures were not followed or applied fairly.

      7. The relief of employees from duties – or taking action as may be necessary to carry out duties – of the County in emergencies.

      8. Direction and evaluation of the work of County employees.

      9. Termination, layoff, demotion, or suspension from duties because of lack of work, reduction in force, or job abolition, except where such action affects an employee who has been reinstated within the previous six (6) months as the result of the final determination of a grievance. In any grievance brought under the exception to this paragraph, the action shall be upheld upon a showing by the County that:

        • There was a valid business reason for the action, and
        • The employee was notified of the reason in writing prior to the effective date of the action.

  2. Coverage of Personnel

    1. All classified, non‐probationary permanent full‐time and permanent part‐time employees in authorized positions listed in the personnel complement as approved by the Board of Supervisors are eligible to file grievances under this procedure, with the following exceptions:

      1. Key officials of the County. For purposes of this procedure, a key official is defined as a non‐clerical member of the County Manager’s staff, or the head of a separate County agency, department, division, or office.

      2. Members of boards and commissions.

      3. Employees whose terms of employment are limited by law.

      4. Officials and employees who serve at the will or pleasure of an appointing authority.

      5. Appointees of elected individuals or elected groups.

      6. Probationary employees in matters concerning their dismissal. Probationary employees may, however, use this procedure for complaints or disputes other than dismissals that are determined to be grievable.

      7. Hourly and seasonal employees.

      8. Law enforcement officers, as defined in Chapter 5 (§ 9.1‐500 et seq.) of Title 9 of the Code of Virginia, whose grievance is subject to the provisions of Chapter 5 and who have elected to proceed pursuant to those provisions in the resolution of their grievance, or any other employee electing to proceed pursuant to any other existing procedure in the resolution of his grievance.

      9. Those personnel  who  are  not  required  to  be  covered  by  the  Henrico  County  General Government personnel system.

    2. The County Manager shall determine the officers and employees (by position) excluded from this grievance procedure, and shall maintain in the Department of Human Resources a list of such excluded positions.

  3. Operation of the Grievance Procedure

    Step 1. An employee who believes he has a grievance and wishes to utilize this procedure shall discuss the grievance informally with his immediate supervisor within 20 calendar days of the occurrence of the incident giving rise to the grievance or within twenty calendar days following the time when the employee reasonably should have gained knowledge of its occurrence. At this time, the grievance need not be submitted or resolved in writing, and a formal hearing is not required. Resolution of the grievance by the immediate supervisor shall be reached and communicated, either orally or in writing, to the grievant within 10 calendar days.

    Step 2. If the grievant is not satisfied with and does not accept the Step 1 response or if the immediate supervisor fails to respond within the required time frame and the grievant wishes to advance his grievance to Step 2 of this procedure, the grievant shall reduce the grievance to writing on a Request for Grievance Hearing form (see Section 13.10-H) and shall file the completed request form with his department within 10 calendar days of receipt of the supervisor’s response or the deadline for that response, whichever occurs first. The grievant shall specify the relief that he expects to gain through the use of this procedure. The recipient of the completed request form shall forward it immediately to the affected agency head with a copy to the Department of Human Resources. The agency head or his designee shall promptly meet with the grievant. Normally, the only persons who may be present at the meeting or hearing shall be the agency head, the grievant, and the appropriate witnesses. The agency head or his designee shall render a written response to the grievance within ten (10) calendar days following receipt of the completed request form with a copy of the response being sent to the Department of Human Resources.

    Step 3. If the grievant is not satisfied with and does not accept the Step 2 written response or if the agency head or his designee fails to respond within the required time frame and the grievant wishes to advance his grievance to Step 3 of this procedure, the grievant shall complete a Request for Grievance Hearing form indicating his desire to advance the grievance to Step 3. The request form (see Section 13.10-H) shall be filed by the grievant directly with the Department of Human Resources within ten (10) calendar days following receipt of the Step 2 response or the deadline for that response, whichever occurs first. If the County Manager determines (or has previously determined) that the complaint is grievable, he or his designee shall meet with the grievant together with a representative of the affected department and the Department of Human Resources, appropriate witnesses for each side, and such other persons as the County Manager or his designee deems necessary and appropriate. The County Manager or his designee shall render a written response resolving the grievance within ten (10) calendar days following receipt of the completed request form by the Department of Human Resources. In the event that the County Manager or his designee rules that the complaint or a portion of the complaint is not grievable, the grievant may appeal that decision to the Circuit Court of the County of Henrico as set out in Section 13.10-D of this procedure.

    Step 4. If the grievant is not satisfied with and does not accept the Step 3 written response or if the County Manager or his designee fails to respond within the required time frame and the grievant wishes to advance to Step 4 of this procedure, the grievant shall complete a Request for Grievance Hearing form indicating his desire to advance the grievance to Step 4. The request form (see Section 13.10-H) shall be filed by the grievant directly with the Department of Human Resources within ten (10) calendar days following receipt of the Step 3 response or the deadline for that response, whichever occurs first. The request form shall contain the name of the person whom the grievant desires to serve on the grievance panel. The grievant shall not name a person to serve on the grievance panel unless and until the grievant has received that person’s consent to do so. The grievance shall be heard by an impartial grievance panel as set out in Section 13.10-F of this procedure.

  4. Grievability and Access

    1. Grievability and access are determined by the County Manager or his designee. Only after the County Manager or his designee has determined that a complaint is grievable may a grievance be advanced through Steps 3 and 4 of this procedure. When the question of grievability arises at the agency (Step 2) level, or whenever the question of access to this procedure arises, the grievant or the agency head may request a ruling on grievability or a ruling on access, as the case may be, by the County Manager. The County Manager or his designee shall render a decision within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the request, and shall send a copy of the decision to the grievant, the affected agency head, and the Department of Human Resources.

    2. Decisions on either grievability or access to this procedure may be appealed to the Circuit Court of the County of Henrico. Such appeals shall be instituted by the grievant by filing a notice of appeal with the County Manager within ten (10) calendar days from the date the grievant received the decision and by giving a copy of the notice of appeal to the affected agency head and the Department of Human Resources.

      Within ten (10) calendar days after the filing of the notice of appeal, the County Manager or his designee shall transmit to the Clerk of the Circuit Court a copy of the County Manager’s decision on grievability or access to the procedure, a copy of the notice of appeal, and copies of all exhibits. A list of the evidence furnished to the Court shall also be furnished to the grievant. The appeal will be heard by the Court as provided by law. The decision of the Court is final and is not appealable.

  5. Procedures for and Conduct of Grievance Hearings

    Except as otherwise noted, the following rules apply to all levels of grievance hearings.

    1. Role of the Director of Human Resources.

      1. The Director of Human Resources or his designee shall advise both employees and supervisors in matters concerning this grievance procedure.

      2. Where a grievant appeals the Step 2 or Step 3 decision, the Director of Human Resources or his designee shall transmit the grievance record to the hearing officer or grievance panel, as the case may be, at the next higher level. The grievance record shall consist of all Request for Grievance Hearing forms, the decisions of the agency head at Step 2 and the hearing officer at Step 3, and exhibits accepted during the Step 2 and Step 3 hearings.

      3. During Step 3 and Step 4 hearings, the Director of Human Resources or his designee shall serve the hearing officer or grievance panel, as the case may be, as facilitator and advisor on personnel‐related matters.

      4. Neither the Director of Human Resources nor his designee shall be present during the grievance panel’s private deliberations and decision‐making process.

    2. Time intervals specified in Steps 1 through 4 may be extended by mutual consent of the parties.

    3. Because it  is  important  that  grievances  be  resolved  quickly  and  without  unnecessary  delay, postponements are not favored.  A party seeking a postponement of a grievance set for hearing at Step 3 or 4 must submit his request in writing, with a copy delivered to the opposing party at the same time, to the hearing officer or the panel chair, as the case may be, through the Director of Human Resources or his designee. The hearing officer or panel chair may grant a postponement only for good cause shown.  The decision on the request for a postponement shall be in writing to the requesting party, with a copy to the opposing party and the Director of Human Resources.

    4. When a deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or County holiday, the next calendar day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or County holiday shall be considered the last calendar day.

    5. As far as practical, all grievance hearings shall be held during normal County working hours, as defined in Section 7.1 of these Policies and Procedures.

    6. County employees who are necessary participants at grievance hearings shall not lose pay for time necessarily lost from their jobs and will not be charged leave because of their attendance at such hearings.

    7. At the Step 3 hearing, the grievant, at his option, may have present a lay representative or legal counsel of his choice. If the grievant is represented by legal counsel, the County likewise has the option of being represented by counsel.  The grievant shall include the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the grievant’s lay representative or legal counsel, if any, on the Request for Grievance Hearing form.

    8. Grievance hearings shall not be recorded, and recording devices are not permitted in the room in which a grievance is being heard. The cell phones of all participants must be turned off prior to the start of the hearing.

    9. Hearings are not intended to be conducted like proceedings in court and the rules of evidence do not necessarily apply.

    10. At Steps 3 and 4, the hearing officer or the grievance panel, as the case may be, shall have the discretion to limit the attendance at the hearing of persons not having a direct interest in the hearing; however, the Director of Human Resources and/or his designee may be present at any hearing.

    11. Observers at Step 3 and Step 4 hearings shall be approved by both parties.

    12. Except in cases involving discipline or in cases where the hearing officer or the grievance panel, as the case may be, determines otherwise, the grievant shall present his evidence first.

    13. The hearing officer or grievance panel, as the case may be, shall determine the propriety of and the weight to be given the evidence submitted.

    14. Both the grievant and the County may call appropriate witnesses. All witnesses, including the grievant, shall be subject to examination and cross‐examination.

    15. Because grievance hearings are informal in nature and the rules of evidence do not necessarily apply, witnesses shall not be sworn.

    16. Witnesses shall be present only while actually giving testimony.

    17. At Steps 2 and 3, the hearing officer, and at Step 4, the grievance panel, shall include in his or its decision the reason or reasons for that decision.

    18. The grievant shall not be entitled to recover more than he has lost.

    19. Where a grievant has obtained partial relief at one level of this grievance procedure but decides to appeal to the next higher level, the filing of a request form to the next higher level shall constitute rejection of and relinquishment of any claim to any and all relief granted at the previous level.

    20. Each party shall bear the costs and expenses, if any, of his legal counsel or representative.

  6. Rules Concerning Grievance Panels and Panel Hearings

    1. Selection of Grievance Panel

      1. Within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the Step 4 request form, the County Manager or his designee shall appoint a member to serve on a grievance panel. The member selected by the grievant and the member selected by the County Manager or his designee shall then select a third member.

      2. If the panel member appointed by the grievant and the panel member appointed by the County Manager  or  his  designee  cannot  agree  upon  a  third  panel  member  within  15 calendar days of the County’s receipt of the grievant’s Step 4 request form, then the two panel members shall select a third panel member within 30 calendar days of the County’s receipt of the grievant’s Step 4 request form from a list of five names randomly selected by the Director of Human Resources or his designee from the list of persons appointed by the Board of Supervisors as eligible to serve.

      3. From the list of five names, the two panel members shall each strike two names. They shall alternate in the striking of names with the grievant’s member exercising the first strike.  The person whose name remains shall be the third panel member for that particular grievance and shall serve as the panel’s chair.

      4. Should there be less than five persons appointed or available from whom to select a third panel member, the Director of Human Resources or his designee shall randomly select from the persons appointed by the Board the third panel member for that particular grievance. The third panel member so selected shall serve as the panel’s chair.

    2. Eligibility to Serve on Grievance Panel: The panel shall not be composed of any persons having direct involvement with the grievance being heard by the panel or with the complaint or dispute giving rise to the grievance. Managers who are in a direct line of supervision of a grievant, persons residing in the same household as the grievant, and the following relatives of a participant in the grievance process or a participant’s spouse are prohibited from serving as panel members: spouse, parent, child, descendants of a child, sibling, niece, nephew, and first cousin. No attorney having direct involvement with the subject matter of the grievance, nor a partner, associate, employee, or co‐employee of the attorney, shall serve as a panel member.

    3. The following rules apply to Step 4 grievance panels and the conduct of Step 4 grievance panel hearings:

      1. The grievant shall bear the reasonable costs and expenses, if any, of his panel member.

      2. The County shall bear the reasonable costs and expenses, if any, of its panel member and those of the third panel member unless the grievant objects. Upon objection, the reasonable costs and expenses of the third panel member shall be shared equally between the County and the grievant.

      3. No person shall receive any compensation, whether monetary or otherwise, for his time in serving as a member of a grievance panel. Notwithstanding this prohibition, a County General Government employee serving as a member of a grievance panel may receive his usual County salary for the period he serves on such a panel.

      4. The panel shall promptly set the date, time, and location for hearing the grievance and shall notify the parties.

      5. The Director of Human Resources or his designee shall provide the panel with copies of the grievance record prior to the hearing and shall provide the grievant with a list of the documents furnished to the panel.

      6. At the request of the grievant, at least ten (10) calendar days prior to the scheduled panel hearing, the grievant and his attorney shall be allowed access to and copies of all relevant files intended by the County to be used by it at the panel hearing.

      7. The grievant shall furnish to the County copies of all documents, exhibits, and a list of witnesses it intends to use – including for purposes of rebuttal, cross‐examination, or impeachment at the panel hearing – seven (7) calendar days in advance of the hearing. Three (3) calendar days after receiving these items from the grievant, the County shall furnish to the grievant copies of all documents, exhibits, and a list of witnesses it intends to use at the panel hearing.

      8. Both the grievant and the County may be represented by legal counsel or other representative at the panel hearing. Such representatives may examine, cross‐examine, question, and present evidence on behalf of the grievant or the County before the panel without being in violation of the provisions of Virginia Code §54.1‐3904.

        At no time shall any panel member examine, cross-examine or present evidence.  Only questions designed to clarify information may be asked of either party by the panel members.

      9. The panel shall have the authority to determine the admissibility of evidence without regard to the burden of proof or the order of presentation of evidence, so long as a full and equal opportunity is afforded to all parties for the presentation of their evidence.

      10. All evidence shall be presented in the presence of the panel and the parties except by mutual consent of the parties.

      11. The decision of the panel should be rendered as soon as possible but, in any case, not later than five calendar days following the conclusion of the hearing.

      12. The panel shall have the authority, if it finds (based on the greater weight of the evidence) that the grievant has been denied a benefit or wrongly disciplined without just cause (where such cause is required), to reverse, reduce, or otherwise modify such action and, where appropriate, to order the reinstatement of such employee to his former position with back pay.

        • Back pay shall not exceed pay for time actually lost due to such suspension or discharge, in an amount the panel believes equitable.

        • Any award of back pay shall be offset by interim earnings the grievant earned during the period of separation.

        • The panel also has the power to sustain the County’s action.

      13. The panel shall not have authority to do any of the following:

        • Formulate policies or procedures.

        • Alter existing policies or procedures.

        • Circumscribe or modify the rights of the County as outlined in this procedure.

        • Exonerate an employee from all discipline when the guilt of the employee is admitted or is beyond question in the view of the panel.

        • Grant relief greater than that which the grievant has requested in the request form.

      14. A copy of the panel’s written decision shall be sent to the grievant, the representatives of the parties (if any), the head of the department involved, and the County Manager. The Director of Human Resources or his designee shall provide the necessary clerical assistance to the panel and shall be responsible for transmitting the decision of the panel to the appropriate persons.

      15. The majority decision of the panel, acting within the scope of its authority, shall be final and binding, subject to existing policies, procedures, and law.

      16. The question of whether the relief granted by a panel is consistent with written policy shall be determined by the County Manager or his designee, unless the County Manager or his designee has a direct personal involvement with the event or events giving rise to the grievance, in which case the decision shall be made by the Attorney for the Commonwealth for the County of Henrico.

      17. Either party may petition the Circuit Court of the County of Henrico for an order requiring implementation of the panel decision.

  7. Compliance

    1. After the initial filing of a request form, failure of either party to comply with all substantial procedural requirements of this procedure without just cause shall result in a decision in favor of the other party on any grievable issue, provided the party not in compliance fails to correct the noncompliance within five workdays of receipt of written notification by the other party of the noncompliance. Such written notification by the grievant shall be made directly to the County Manager or his designee.

    2. The County Manager or his designee shall determine compliance issues. The County Manager or his designee, at his option, may require a clear written explanation of the basis for just cause extensions or exceptions.

    3. Compliance determinations made by the County Manager or his designee shall be subject to judicial review, which shall be initiated by the grievant filing a petition with the Circuit Court of the County of Henrico within 30 calendar days of the compliance determination.

  8. Request for Grievance Hearing Form

    At Steps 2, 3, and 4 of this procedure, the grievant must complete and file a Request for Grievance Hearing form, sometimes referred to in this procedure as “the request form,” in accordance with the terms of this procedure and in accordance with the instructions contained on the request form itself. The request form is available below.

    Request for Grievance Hearing form (PDF) 

  9. Miscellaneous

    1. Assistance: Assistance on the use of this procedure is available by contacting the Department of Human Resources.

    2. Terminology: The terms “he,” “his,” and “him” used in this procedure are used in a general sense and are not intended, and should not be interpreted, to exclude the feminine gender.

For more information and assistance you may contact:

County of Henrico
Department of Human Resources
P.O. Box 90775
Parham and Hungary Spring Roads
Henrico, VA 23273‐0775
Telephone: 804‐501‐4273 or 804-501-5321
Web site: http://employees.henrico.us

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