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Discipline: reprimand, suspension and dismissal for cause (academic staff)

(Extracted from: Regulations, Policies and Guidelines: A Handbook for Academic Teaching Staff)

8.1 "Cause" shall include:

  1. neglect of academic duties, including failure to meet the requirements of Section 3 (please refer to "Regulations Relating to the Employment of Academic Staff" chapter of the Regulations, Policies and Guidelines: A Handbook for Academic Teaching Staff, page 2).

  2. misconduct sufficient to justify the disciplinary measures taken, or

  3. persistent failure to maintain reasonable performance of the overall academic duties as set out in Section 1.3.2 (please refer to "Regulations Relating to the Employment of Academic Staff" chapter of the Regulations, Policies and Guidelines: A Handbook for Academic Teaching Staff, page 1) including (i) teaching, (ii) research and other original scholarly activities, and professional activities, and (iii) other contributions to the University and scholarly communities, taking into account the pattern of such activities obtained within the department and faculty and the stage of the staff member's academic career.

8.2 No disciplinary measure shall be imposed without just and sufficient cause, of which the burden of proof shall fall on the University.

8.3 In any case where the Dean of a Faculty considers that cause exists for the discipline of a staff member, the Dean may send the staff member a letter of reprimand, or may recommend the imposition of a disciplinary measure that is deemed appropriate in the case.

8.3.1 A letter of reprimand imposed under Section 8.3 shall be so designated. If the letter of reprimand is the only disciplinary measure imposed by the Dean, the staff member may submit the matter to the Committee on Staff Grievances under section 10 (please refer to "Regulations Relating to the Employment of Academic Staff" chapter of the Regulations, Policies and Guidelines: A Handbook for Academic Teaching Staff, page 13).

8.3.2 The disciplinary measure recommended may include suspension with or without pay of not more than six months duration; or dismissal.

8.4 If the Dean is tending to a recommendation to impose a disciplinary measure such as suspension with or without pay he or she shall first notify the staff member of the proposed recommendation, giving substantive written reasons with a copy to the Principal; and shall provide the staff member with an opportunity to meet with him or her, accompanied if the staff member wishes by an advisor, before making his or her final recommendation.

8.4.1 The Dean shall advise the staff member of his or her final recommendation regarding the disciplinary measure in writing, giving complete and substantive written reasons with a copy to the Principal, who shall thereupon make a decision.

8.4.2 If the Principal is tending to agreement with the Dean's recommendation that a disciplinary measure be imposed, he or she shall so notify the staff member in writing, and shall provide the staff member with written reasons and an opportunity to appear before him or her, accompanied if the staff member wishes by an advisor, prior to reaching a final decision.

8.4.3 Upon completion of the procedures under Section 8.4.2, the Principal shall without undue delay make one of the following decisions:

8.4.3.1 Disregard the recommendation of the Dean for a disciplinary measure.

8.4.3.2 Impose such measure as is deemed appropriate in the case. The measure may include one or more of the following: a letter of reprimand; or suspension with or without pay of not more than six months duration. A letter of reprimand imposed under this section shall be so designated.

8.5 If the Dean is tending to a recommendation that the staff member be dismissed, the following procedure shall apply:

8.5.1 The Dean shall advise the staff member of his or her recommendation for dismissal by way of a copy of a letter to the Principal containing complete and substantive written reasons for the recommendation.

8.6 If the Dean has recommended to the Principal that the staff member be dismissed, the Principal shall investigate the matter.

8.7 During the course of the investigation, the Principal shall provide the staff member with an opportunity to meet with him or her in order to discuss the decision of the Dean to recommend dismissal. At such a meeting, both the staff member and the Principal may be accompanied by an advisor; each party shall so inform the other, in advance of the meeting, of the name of any such advisor.

8.8 Upon completion of the investigation under Section 8.6, the Principal shall make one of the following decisions:

8.8.1 Disregard the recommendation of dismissal.

8.8.2 Impose such measure as is deemed appropriate in the case. The measure may include one or more of the following: a letter of reprimand; suspension with or without pay of not more than six (6) months duration; or dismissal.

8.9 The Principal shall advise the staff member and the Dean of the decision under Section 8.8 in writing, giving substantive written reasons.

8.10 All decisions reached under Sections 8.4.3.2 and 8.8.2 shall be made and communicated to the parties as expeditiously as possible, and shall take effect, where applicable, on a date specified in the letter from the Principal.

8.11 The staff member shall be deemed to have received notice for the purposes of Section 8 when such notice is posted by registered mail to both the staff member's University address and home address.

8.12 Within ten days following notice of any decision to impose disciplinary measures under Sections 8.4.3.2 or 8.8.2, the staff member may require, by letter to the Principal, that the matter be submitted to arbitration. Such a submission to arbitration shall conform to articles 940 and following of the Code of Civil Procedure.

8.13 Notwithstanding Section 8.12, where a staff member has been dismissed and has available a statutory recourse against dismissal not made for just cause, the staff member may elect to follow either the recourse under Section 8.12 or the statutory recourse.

8.14 The Principal and the President of the McGill Association of University Teachers shall jointly appoint a person of unquestioned integrity and independence to perform the functions required in Section 8.l7 and may at the same time provide for an alternate to act on the former's absence for an agreed term (and until their successors are appointed) within 30 days of the adoption of these Regulations, or of the resignation or incapability of the person or persons previously appointed.

8.15 Within twenty-one (21) days of the notification to the staff member of the decision under Sections 8.4.3.2 and 8.8.2, the Principal and the staff member or their representatives shall meet to name an arbitration committee. The Principal and the staff member shall sign a formal submission to arbitration, setting out in summary the matters at issue. Such a submission to arbitration shall conform to articles 940 and following of the Code of Civil Procedure.

8.16 The arbitration committee shall consist of three qualified persons not employed by the University who are acceptable to the Principal and to the staff member. "Qualified persons" are persons who have, at any time, held an academic appointment at a University. Notwithstanding anything herein contained, the arbitration committee shall consist of only one qualified person where the decision under 8.4 or 8.8.2 relates to a letter of reprimand, or a suspension with pay.

8.17 If the Principal and the staff member are unable to constitute an arbitration committee within 35 days from the notification required by Section 8.9, the arbitration committee shall be constituted by the following method: the person of unquestioned integrity and independence appointed under Section 8.14, shall name at the earliest possible moment three qualified persons, not in the employ of the University, to form the arbitration committee.

8.18 The arbitration committee shall convene within 21 days of being constituted, and shall conclude its proceedings and render its decision as expeditiously as possible but in any event within 90 days of its first meeting, unless the term of its mandate is extended by agreement between the parties or, in default of such agreement, by the person of unquestioned integrity and independence appointed under Section 8.14.

8.19 The arbitration committee shall establish its own procedures, and conduct its proceedings in accordance with rules of natural justice; it shall require the University and the staff member, herein collectively referred to as the parties, to make full disclosure of evidence which the committee deems relevant. In any event it shall:

8.19.1 Notify the parties in writing of the time and place at which it intends to hear the parties;

8.19.2 Afford both parties the right to appear in person with or without counsel or advisor (not to exceed two in number without permission of the committee), adduce evidence at their diligence, examine and cross-examine witnesses and state their case;

8.19.3 Hold its hearings in camera unless both parties agree in writing that they shall be open, and instruct all persons appearing before the committee in camera to treat all evidence and proceedings as confidential;

8.19.4 Require each party to indicate in advance the nature of the evidence upon which that party intends to rely, in order to enable the other party to make a fair and full answer;

8.19.5 Have the power to proceed in the absence of a party, should the latter fail to appear before it, without reasonable excuse.

8.20 No formal stenographic record of the proceedings shall be kept; however, the committee shall have the authority to require that a logged audio tape of all or part of the proceedings be made and kept for its own use, at the expense of the University.

8.21 The arbitration committee shall issue a final written decision which contains findings of fact, reasons, and conclusions. The conclusions are limited to deciding whether or not adequate cause for discipline of the staff member has been established. The written decision shall be forwarded by the committee to the Principal and to the staff member. In the case of open hearings, the written decision may be published. Where the proceedings are held in camera, the written decision shall not be made public; but publication of any portion of the written decision shall permit either party to publish the entire decision.

8.21.1 The costs of the arbitrator's fees and expenses shall be paid by the University.

8.22 The decision of the arbitration committee shall be final and binding on the staff member and on the University.

8.23 Nothing in the present section shall in any way derogate from the residual powers of the Principal to initiate disciplinary action against an academic staff for cause, as set out in the Statutes 1989 or Regulations from time to time in force. If the Principal initiates disciplinary action, such action shall follow the procedure prescribed by Section 8.8 and following, with the necessary adjustments.

8.24 The Principal may delegate any or all of his duties under Section 8 to a Vice-Principal, except for dismissal under Section 8.8.2.

8.25 Any disciplinary measures involving suspension without pay or dismissal imposed under Section 8.23 shall be subject to the arbitration proceedings described in Sections 8.12 through 8.22.

8.26 In the event that a staff member's salary or other financial benefits have been suspended under this Section, the staff member may apply to the arbitration committee after it is constituted for an interim ruling lifting suspension of his or her salary or other financial benefits. Such an interim ruling granting or rejecting an application shall be without prejudice to the final decision of the arbitration committee under Section 8.21.

8.27 In the event that the arbitration committee finds for dismissal, it may rule that the staff member's salary and fringe benefits be continued for a period not exceeding one year from the date of the arbitration committee's decision.

8.28 No dismissal proceedings shall be commenced or continued against a staff member for failure to perform his or her academic duties by reason of a physical or emotional disability if such a staff member has been accepted under the University Salary Continuance and Long-Term Disability Plan in respect of such disability.

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