The government’s Public Service Management Law sets out in great detail the steps that must be taken before disciplining an employee for either inadequate performance, minor misconduct or gross misconduct.
The process applies to all civil servants with the exception of chief officers [heads of ministries and portfolios], who are governed under a slightly different arrangement.
Minor misconduct/inadequate performance
In the case of minor misconduct or inadequate performance, the appointing officer [the employee responsible for hiring], must take the following steps:
Collect evidence regarding the staff members’ alleged misconduct or performance difficulties
Advise the staff member of concerns and provide the staffer with a copy of the evidence
Provide a warning that states corrective action must be taken and, if it is not taken, that disciplinary action could follow
Provide a reasonable amount of time [one month] for the staff member to take the corrective action, after which the staff member must be reassessed.
If the issues are not addressed, the appointing officer can issue a reprimand letter, reassign the staffer, suspend the worker at no pay or half pay, or other disciplinary actions.
Under the Public Service Management Law regulations, dismissal is not typically a disciplinary action taken in the case of minor misconduct.
In the case of gross misconduct, the appointing officer has to collect evidence of the misconduct and advise the staff member in writing of the allegations against him or her.
In addition, the appointing officer has to provide an opportunity for employees to explain themselves.
If the person is dismissed as a result of his or her actions, the manager must notify the staff member and arrange for the firing to take place immediately.
In the case of gross misconduct involving allegations of criminal activity, a similar process is followed, except that the person must be suspended with full pay while the criminal allegation is investigated. Otherwise, a civil service employee accused of gross misconduct in a non-criminal situation would usually stay on the job.
If the employee is convicted of a criminal offense that would be considered gross misconduct, the appointing officer “may” dismiss that person at the earliest opportunity, according to the law.