Bonneville power administration

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The following procedures are used when an organization wishes to place an employee in a paid, non-duty status.

  1. When An Adverse Action (e.g., Removal, Demotion, or Suspension of 14 or More Days) Has Been Proposed:

A. The manager informs the Employee Relations staff in Personnel Services of the situation, ideally before it becomes a problem. If, after discussing the issue with the Employee Relations staff, management wishes to pursue placing an employee in a paid, non-duty status for such time is necessary to decide on the adverse action, a written request must be processed.

B. The written request is initiated by the manager having authority to propose the adverse action and sent to the Manager for Human Resources, Diversity, and EEO, through the Employee Relations staff, for concurrence.
C. The request must address the following:
(1) Other alternatives that were considered (e.g., assigning the employee to different work or to a different work station, temporary work at home, etc.) but not used, and why they were not viable options;
(2) Any action(s) already taken and the outcome(s);
(3) Any medical documentation the employee or management has regarding the matter; and
(4) Any notice the employee has been given addressing the matter.
D. Within 1 business day of receipt, the Employee Relations staff will forward its recommendation to the Manager for Human Resources, Diversity, and EEO, who will act on the request promptly
E. Following concurrence, the employee may be placed in a paid, non-duty status at the time the notice of proposed action is issued.
F. Should the period of paid, non-duty status run significantly longer than 30 calendar days, the advisability of continuing that status should be discussed with the Employee Relations staff every 30 calendar days.

  1. When No Adverse Action Has Been Proposed.

  1. Managers have delegated authority (unless retained at a higher level in accordance with the policy of any line organization) to place an employee in a paid, non-duty status when:

  1. The employee’s actual behavior has seriously and negatively impacted the workplace and the employee’s continued presence is likely to aggravate the situation; or

(2) The manager has a reasonable belief that the employee may exhibit behavior that will seriously and negatively impact the workplace

B. This authority is limited to a maximum of three consecutive workdays, should be exercised only when other alternatives are not viable (see paragraph 1.C.1.), and may be exercised only after consultation with the Employee Relations staff. If prior consultation is not practical, the manager shall consult with the Employee Relations staff as soon as possible after the exercise of this authority.
C. Once exercised, the authority may be extended beyond three consecutive workdays only after the prior verbal approval of the Manager for Human Resources, Diversity, and EEO is obtained (again, through the Employee Relations staff, and which may involve a meeting of the Crisis Intervention Team– see Personnel Letter 752-2, Guidance on Violent and Threatening Behavior in the Work Place). Under no circumstances may the period of absence granted under this paragraph extend beyond that needed to initiate appropriate administrative action.
D. Managers also have delegated authority to place an employee in a paid, non-duty status when there is reason to suspect, that the employee has a highly contagious illness (e.g., tuberculosis, meningitis, hepatitis “A”, etc.) for which the employee’s presence in the BPA workplace could seriously affect the health of others. This authority should be exercised only after consultation with BPA’s Medical Program Manager. This authority is intended to be limited to the duration needed in order to medically document whether the employee has such a highly contagious medical condition. (Note: If the employee does not cooperate in providing such documentation, Employee Relations staff should be contacted for advice.) If the employee is confirmed to have such a highly contagious illness, the employee should be encouraged to use available leave or request leave without pay until a medical certificate releasing the employee to duty is provided to BPA; if the employee insists on being in a duty status, either in the absence of, or in violation of, a medical release certification, Employee Relations staff must be contacted immediately to determine the appropriate course of action.



  1. Purpose of Oral Reply

Oral reply proceedings are primarily for the purpose of affording the employee an opportunity to make an oral plea that he/she believes may sway the decision in his/her favor.

The right of personal reply does not entitle employees to an adversary-type hearing, nor does it contemplate confrontation of witnesses. Oral reply proceedings will be conducted in an informal and orderly manner. They are not hearings and should not be allowed to develop into hearing-type or adversary-type proceedings. BPA does not present or argue its case. Judicial procedures and rules of evidence do not apply and only those persons who have a connection with the case, as determined by the Oral Reply/Deciding Official, will be admitted.
The employee and/or representative will be permitted to present the case freely, and will have the right to furnish any additional affidavits in support of the case. During the proceedings, the Oral Reply/Deciding Official will take whatever action is necessary to ensure an orderly, expeditious, and equitable presentation by the employee and/or representative.

  1. Oral Reply Proceeding

Oral Reply/Deciding Official (with assistance from the Employee Relations staff, as needed) will:

1. Introduce the parties present (e.g., an Employee Relations Specialist is present in order to answer any technical questions about the procedure and to prepare a written summary of the oral reply presentation for the file).
2. Explain that the purpose of the oral reply is to provide the employee an opportunity to personally respond to the reasons for the proposed action, and to state his/her thoughts and position in regard thereto.
3. Explain the functions of the Oral Reply/Deciding Official:

  1. To serve as presiding officer, and to assure an equitable, orderly, and expeditious proceeding.

  1. To assure that full facts are developed, and that the employee is permitted to make any representations believed to be appropriate.

  1. To review the entire case file, including affidavits introduced, and representations made at these proceedings.

  1. To make a final decision.

4. Proceed with the oral reply.

5. During presentation of the employee’s oral reply:

  1. Encourage the employee and/or representative to speak freely and to present any and all information they feel will affect the decision.

  1. Elicit information at any point in the presentation, which is necessary for a full exposition of the employee’s case.

  1. Guard against posing questions, which may reflect evaluative judgments.

6. Close the oral reply proceedings.

  1. At this point, attempt to clarify those areas that may still remain unclear.

  1. Inform the employee and/or representative that the key points of their presentation will be summarized for the file.

  1. Inform the employee and/or representative that the final decision will be made and furnished in writing to the employee and/or representative.

  1. Ask the employee and/or representative if they feel they had a full and fair opportunity to make their oral presentation.

1 See Personnel Letter 432-1, Taking Action Based on Unacceptable Performance.

2 See definition of adverse action in Section V of this Personnel Letter.

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