Discipline

See also Rule 16



 In general

Discharge of a deputy sheriff for a child abuse conviction is not clearly excessive where that conviction would have disqualified him from initial employment under agency policy.  In re Redacted, CSB 31-13, 2 (8/8/14).

Where the manager weighed mitigating and aggravating factors and found insufficient reason to deviate from the presumptive penalty of discharge, discharge was not arbitrary, unsupported by the record or clearly excessive.  In re Redacted, CSB 31-13, 2-3 (8/8/14). 

Hearing officer's mitigation of presumptive penalty was reversed based on board's finding that nature of conviction was not intended to be a mitigating factor under the agency's disciplinary matrix.  In re Redacted, CSA 31-13, 2-3 (8/8/14). 

Hearing officer's conclusion that deputy's good work record demonstrated an ability to reform his off-duty misconduct is not supported by the evidence, including recent discipline showing a similar lack of sound judgment.  In re Redacted, CSA 31-13, 3 (8/8/14).


A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is not a prerequisite to disciplinary action for failure to perform assigned tasks.  In re Serna, CSB 39-12, 3 (10/17/2013).

30 day suspension struck a proper balance where appellant was a long term employee with no prior discipline, did not commit the most serious violations alleged, but did engage in unprofessional conduct. In re Gutierrez, CSB 65-11A, 5 (4/4/13). 

30-day suspension was sufficiently severe so as not to deprecate the seriousness of the misconduct and to ensure appellant will act more professionally.  In re Gutierrez, CSB 65-11A, 5 (4/4/13).

The purpose of discipline is to correct inappropriate behavior if possible.  In re Gutierrez, CSA 65-11, 16 (8/28/12).

Reversal of appellant’s suspension not required even though agency failed to comply strictly with Career Service Rule requiring disciplinary action or request for extension within fifteen days after pre-disciplinary meeting since Appellant did not show her rights were substantially violated.  In re Berlin, CSA 81-10, 1 (Order 1/19/11).  

Where the appellant had already been given a verbal reprimand for co-worker complaints, the same complaints cannot be used in support of later discipline.  In re Harrison, CSA 55-07, 53 (6/17/10) citing In re Richmond, CSA 18-07, 7 (8/7/07). 

The purpose of discipline is to correct inappropriate behavior if possible.  In re Cady, CSA 03-10, 6 (4/22/10).  

The purpose of discipline is to correct inappropriate behavior if possible.  In re Sawyer and Sproul, CSA 33-08, 17 (1/27/09).

In assessing discipline, appointing authorities are directed to consider the severity of the offense, an employee’s past record, and the penalty most likely to achieve compliance with the rules.  In re Sawyer and Sproul, CSA 33-08, 17 (1/27/09).

An employee may grieve a written reprimand, but may not appeal the unfavorable disposition of the grievance even though there is no alternative forum for appeal.   In re Black, CSA 16-09 (Order 3/12/09).

Written reprimands may not be appealed.   In re Black, CSA 16-09 (Order 3/12/09).

A hearing officer must not disturb an agency’s penalty determination unless it is clearly excessive or based substantially upon considerations unsupported by a preponderance of the evidence.  In re Sawyer and Sproul, CSA 33-08, 18 (1/27/09), citing In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06).

The career service rules mirror the provisions of the Denver city charter in which career service employees may be terminated only for cause and may appeal a termination decision to the board and its hearing officers. In re Mounjim, CSB 87-07, 7 (1/8/09).

The corrective purpose of discipline is fulfilled when an agency tailors the penalty to the nature and circumstances of the misconduct and the employee’s past disciplinary history. In re Catalina, CSA 35-08, 11 (8/22/08), citing In re Rogers, CSA 57-07, 7 (3/18/08).

Sheriff’s department may choose to treat deputies’ violations of law outside the work place more severely than another agency might because of the heightened public trust and confidence placed in law enforcement.   In re Griffith, CSA 41-08, 4 (8/14/08).

The purpose of discipline is to correct inappropriate behavior if possible. In re Blan, CSA 40-08, 6 (7/31/08).

Appointing authorities are directed by §16-20 to consider the severity of the offense, an employee’s past record, and the penalty most likely to achieve compliance with the rules. In re Blan, CSA 40-08, 6 (7/31/08).

When an agency has notice that appellant’s sleeping on duty probably related to oxygen deprivation, it may neither discipline nor disqualify the employee for sleeping without first engaging in an interactive process pursuant to § 5-84 E. In re Muniz, CSA 77-07, 5 (7/21/08).

Even small infractions of honesty rule by paralegals may carry substantial penalties, since attorneys in city attorney’s office must be able to count on the word of their paralegals.   In re Blan, CSA 40-08, 6 (7/31/08).

Since the type and amount of discipline must be calibrated to what is considered necessary to correct the situation and achieve the desired behavior or performance, the level of discipline issued must be reduced to consider only the offenses proven by the agency.  In re Sienkiewicz, CSA 10 -08, 17-18 (7/14/08), citing CSR § 16-20.

Career service system provides for merit-based appointment of applicants, and performance-based retention of city employees. In re Sample, CSA 72-07, 5-6 (6/12/08), citing City Charter § 1.2.1; D.R.M.C. § 18-1, rev’d on other grounds, CSB 10/16/08.

Duties deemed essential by an agency must be communicated in a sufficiently meaningful manner to apprise employees affected by them of the nature and importance of the duty and means to accomplish it, so that the employee has fair notice and a reasonable opportunity to comply. In re Mestas et al., CSA 64-07, 46 (5/30/08), citing In re Encinias, CSA 02-07 (CSB /18/07).

Not every duty must be specified in written detail, but agency bears the burden of showing it made the employee aware of his job responsibilities. In re Mestas et al., CSA 64-07, 46 (5/30/08), citing In re Encinias, CSB 02-07, 2 (10/18/07).

In an appeal of a disciplinary action, the agency has the burden to prove the action was taken in conformity with Rule 16 and that the degree of discipline was reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense, taking into consideration the employee’s past record. In re Burghardt, CSA 81-07, 4 (3/28/08).

Disciplinary rules for career service employees are governed by the principles of due process, personal accountability, reasonableness, and sound business practice. Therefore, discipline is proper if it would promote those principles. In re Burghardt, CSA 81-07, 5 (3/28/08), rev'd CSB 8/28/08.

When conduct at issue consists of speech, careful analysis is required. In re Burghardt, CSA 81-07, 5 (3/28/08), rev'd CSB 8/28/08.

A remark may be considered inappropriate in the workplace based on a number of factors; its content, context, usage, setting,audience, and style of delivery. In re Burghardt, CSA 81-07, 4 (3/28/08), citing Ash v Tyson Foods, Inc., 126 S. Ct. 1195 (2 006).

Where possible and practicable, the purpose of discipline under the rules is intended to be corrective rather than punitive. In re Strasser CSB 44-07, 3 (2/29/08); § 16-50 A.1.

Discipline is not a matter of mathematical precision, but is rather the carefully-considered result of examining the facts and circumstances of the particular case, as well as the disciplinary record of the individual, including the nature and extent of similar discipline. In re Simpleman, CSA 31-06, 10 (10/20/06), affirmed CSB 8/2/07.

Hearing officer will not disturb an agency’s disciplinary determination unless it is clearly excessive or based substantially on considerations that are not supported by a preponderance of evidence.  In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06).

Where one participant in a fight escalated teasing incident into physical confrontation, agency may impose different level of discipline on each participant.  In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06).

In a de novo hearing on the appropriateness of discipline, the agency bears the burden of proof to show by a preponderance of the evidence both that appellant violated the disciplinary rules as alleged, and that the discipline was within the range of discipline that can be imposed under the circumstances. In re Diaz, CSA 13-06, 4 (5/31/06), citing Turner v. Rossmiller, 532 P.2d 751 (Colo. App. 1975); In re Gustern, CSA 128-02, 20 (12/23/02).

Supervisor’s order to attend training was not disciplinary in nature, and therefore denial of grievance based thereon was not appealable as discipline. In re Johnson, CSA 135-05, 3 (3/10/06).

An order requiring remedial training is not a disciplinary action as defined in the Career Service Rules.  In re Johnson, CSA 135-05, 3 (3/10/06).

The test for discipline is not whether the discipline is the next step under progressive discipline, but rather whether the degree of discipline is reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense. In re Vigil, CSA 110-05, 8 (3/3/06), citing In re Champion, CSA 71-02, 18 (7/31/02).

In determining whether discipline is reasonably related to the offense, the hearing officer will not disturb agency’s determination unless it is clearly excessive or based substantially on considerations that are not supported by a preponderance of the evidence. In re Vigil, CSA 110-05, 8 (3/3/06), citing In re Douglas, CSA 154-02, 166-02, 5 (1/27/03); In re Armbruster,CSA 377-01 (3/22/02); In re Gallegos, CSA 27-01 (3/21/01).

Appellant was not punished twice for the same absences because of regulation’s imposition of increasing punishment for each additional unscheduled absence after eight occurrences in a year. In re Garcia, CSA 123-05, 6 (2/27/06).

Discipline must be reasonably related to the seriousness of the offence, and appropriate to correct the situation and achieve the desired change in behavior or performance. In re Diaz, CSA 92-05, 10 (1/31/06).

Hearing officer may conduct a de novo review of the reasonableness of discipline in light of the facts as they exist at the time of hearing. This approach balances the need for prompt resolution of disciplinary appeals and the requirement of certainty in outcome. In re Williams, CSA 65-05, 7 (11/17/05), citing USPS v. Gregory, 534 U.S. 1 (2001); Bolling v. Dept. of Air Force, 9 MSPR 335 (1981).

Hearing officer may exercise discretion in reviewing past disciplinary actions to determine the reasonableness of discipline. In re Williams, CSA 65-05, 7 (11/17/05).

Appellant was not disciplined twice for the same conduct when the earlier discipline was withdrawn, despite appellant’s failure to receive notice of that withdrawal. In re Williams, CSA 65-05, 7 (11/17/05).

Rescinded discipline cannot be used for any disciplinary purpose against an employee. In re Williams, CSA 65-05, 7 (11/17/05).

Discipline must be reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense, and be within the range of reasonable alternatives available to a reasonable, prudent agency administrator. In re Diaz, CSA 45-05, 9 (9/7/05), citing In re Champion, CSA 71-02, 18 (7/31/02); In re Armbruster, CSA 377-01 (3/22/02); and Adkins v. Div. of Youth Services, 720 P.2d 626 (Colo. App. 1986).

Discipline may be found excessive where it is substantially based on considerations that are not supported by a preponderance of the evidence. In re Diaz, CSA 45-05, 9 (9/7/05), citing In re Gustern, CSA 128-02, 20 (12/23/02).

Employee may reasonably rely on agency's past interpretation of disciplinary rules in the absence of notice of a change in that interpretation. In re Mitchell, CSA 05-05, 5 (6/27/05).

To condone misconduct only because no actual harm results would be to violate the Career Service Rules' purpose to correct inappropriate behavior. In re Owoeye, CSA 11-05, 6 (6/10/05).

The fact that the polar bear threatened by appellant's failure to secure the animals did not suffer injury does not disprove the carelessness charge, since the purpose of the Career Service Rules is to correct inappropriate behavior. In re Owoeye, CSA 11-05, 5 (6/10/05).

An agency does not impose double punishment by enforcing both its performance standards and the rules governing discipline for the same conduct.  In re Roberts, CSA 179-04, 7 (6/29/05).

The Career Service Rules require an agency to consider the gravity of the infraction and determine the type of discipline needed to correct the situation and achieve the desired behavior or performance.  In re Schultz, CSA 156-04, 10 (6/20/05).

Discipline is reasonably related to the seriousness of an offense if it is within the range of reasonable alternatives available to a reasonable, prudent agency administrator. In re Moreno, CSA 138-04, 9 (5/25/05), citing In re Gustern, CSA 128-02, 20 (12/28/02) and Adkins v. Div. of Youth Services, 720 P.2d 626 (Colo. App. 1986). See also In re Lucero, 162-04 (4/15/05);In re Owens, CSA 139-04, 8 (3/31/05).

Discipline is not excessive if it is substantially based on considerations that are supported by a preponderance of the evidence. In re Moreno, CSA 138-04, 9 (5/25/05), citing In re Gustern, CSA 128-02 (12/28/02).

In an appeal to the hearing office, the agency bears the burden of proof to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that there is cause to discipline, and that the discipline imposed is reasonably related to the seriousness of the offenses. In re Katros, CSA 129-04, 6 (3/16/05) , citing In re Castaneda, CSA 155-02 (7/1/03); see also In re Leal-McIntyre, CSA 77-03, 134-03 and 167-03, 13 (1/27/05), citing In re Gustern, CSA 128-02, 20 (12-28-02).

Despite the reasons to enforce anti-violence rules strictly, there is a limit beyond which a rigid application of the workplace rules overreaches into the everyday interactions between co-workers, which sometimes include hurtful but easily-corrected mistakes of which we are all culpable. In re Freeman, CSA 40-04, 75-04, 9 (3/3/05).

In an appeal of a disciplinary action, the agency bears the burden to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that it had just cause for the action taken.In re Leal-McIntyre, CSA 77-03, 13 (1/27/05), citing In re Gustern, CSA 128-02 (12/23/02).

Three day suspension was appropriate despite lack of previous discipline where appellant transferred an assignment to a co-worker without permission, insulted his supervisor using profanity, and told his supervisor to leave him alone, resulting in serious damage to their working relationship.  In re Oyama, # 07-13, (6/4/2013).

Decision to demote human services supervisor for failure to assign priority work was not clearly excessive, where agency reasonably determined that appellant lacked supervisory skills and her inaction contributed to agency's inability to meet terms of state settlement for timely disposition of food stamp applications.  In re Serna, 39-12, 9 (5/23/13).

Dismissal was appropriate where human services clerk admitted improper issuance of a food stamp electronic bank transfer card in nine separate acts of dishonesty over ten days, including two false signatures, violation of two policies, clandestine meetings to conceal her actions, and making false statements at the beginning of an investigative interview.   In re Lopez, CSA 41-12, 4 (4/5/13).

Fact that misconduct was employee's first act of dishonesty and that she did not personally benefit and sincerely sought a second chance did not render dismissal inappropriate for false issuance of food stamp card resulting in delay in benefits to two public assistance clients and the termination of a co-worker.  In re Lopez, CSA 41-12, 4-5 (4/5/13).

Termination appropriate where appellant/supervisor refused to meet critical deadlines, displayed insubordinate behavior, and minimized her actions, insisting she would show respect only after being shown respect. In re Quezada, CSA 40-12, 9 (4/5/13).  

Dismissal was within the range of reasonable alternatives available to the Agency, and was not arbitrary or capricious where appellant/supervisor was insubordinate, had substantial performance violations,  and her actions had a profound impact on the Agency’s mission.  In re Quezada, CSA 40-12, 9 (4/5/13), citing In re Garcia, CSA 175-04, 8 (7/12/05). 

Dismissal appropriate, despite appellant’s claim at hearing that she was capable of lasting reform, as the agency was entitled to rely on appellant/supervisor’s earlier statement that she would refuse to put in overtime and would refuse to perform required tasks, and that attitude was inconsistent with the requirements of a leadership position.  In re Quezada, CSA 40-12, 9 (4/5/13).

Agency and hearing officer reasonably concluded that no punishment short of discharge would be effective when appellant denied wrongdoing that was found to be manifest.  In re Redacted CSB 67-11 (4/4/2013).

In an appeal of discipline imposed under the sheriff’s department disciplinary matrix, a penalty that complies with CSR 16-20 cannot be overturned, even if it is internally inconsistent with the matrix.  In re Sigala, CSA 37-12, 3 (2/12/13); citing City and County of Denver v. Weeks, 2011 WL 4837512 (Colo.App. 2011).  

The level of discipline must satisfy three questions: was it reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense; did the decision-maker consider the employee’s past record; and was it designed to correct the wrongdoing or poor performance?  In re Sigala, CSA 37-12, 3 (2/12/13).  

Careless driving resulting in death carries heavier penalties than simple careless driving, and is undoubtedly a serious violation of state law.  In re Sigala, CSA 37-12, 3 (2/12/13).  

Admitted violation of this rule was not an aggravating factor under 16-20 where it was unclear what facts established a violation or what actual harm was suffered by the agency or city. In re Sigala, CSA 37-12, 3 (2/12/13). 

Five-day suspension was not clearly excessive for off-duty careless driving resulting in death. In re Sigala, CSA 37-12, 4 (2/12/13).  

Factors listed in sheriff's disciplinary matrix are to be considered along with the career service rules and agency rules and regulations in determining the appropriateness of penalty. In re Sigala, CSA 37-12, 5 (2/12/13).  

Where decision-maker analyzed deputy's actions in light of every significant penalty factor in disciplinary matrix, penalty applied under the matrix was reasonable and not clearly excessive.  In re Sigala, CSA 37-12, 6 (2/12/13).

Where appellant deputy sheriff used neck lock on non-resisting inmate, wrestled him to the floor by the neck, used a knee to keep his head on the floor, and was dishonest about using a defensive heel-strike on him, 45 day suspension was appropriate.  In re Webster, CSB 03-11A. (4/14/12).

Termination appropriate where supervisor’s acquisition of free equipment replacements in violation of agency’s contract with vendor damaged agency’s relationship with vendor, placed a subordinate’s career in jeopardy, and supervisor failed to take any responsibility for her actions. In re Roybal, 60-11, 10 (3/13/12),

Fifty-day suspension was appropriate for deputy who created courtroom emergency by wearing his  uniform and gun to his child support hearing, against agency policy, and was dishonest about the circumstances of the incident, but his exemplary work ethic, performance, and lack of prior discipline mitigated against termination.  In re Strauch, CSA 37-11, 9-10 (12/20/11).

The hearing officer must not disturb an agency’s determination of the degree of discipline unless the decision was clearly excessive or based substantially on considerations not supported by a preponderance of the evidence.  In re Leslie, CSA 10-11, 19 (12/5/11), citing City and County of Denver v. Weeks, No. 10CA1408, at *11 (Colo. App. Oct. 13, 2011). 

Modification from termination to a 5-day suspension appropriate where Agency only proved four out of fourteen alleged violations, none of which was egregious; appellant’s disciplinary history was minor; and appellant was effective; but her sarcasm with co-workers persisted in an environment where effective communication is critical. In re Leslie, CSA 10-11, 20-21 (12/5/11).    

Termination was reasonable where deputy sheriff fraternization with an inmate: caused the department to lose trust in him, ruined personal and professional relationships within the agency, and  forced his friends to chose between protecting him and jeopardizing their own careers. In re Romero, CSA 01-12, 10 (4/17/12).

Appointing authorities are directed by CSR 16-20 to consider the severity of the offense, an employee’s past record, and the penalty most likely to achieve compliance with the rules.  In re Gutierrez, CSA 65-11, 16 (8/28/12), citing CSR 16-20. 

Where the most egregious sexual harassment violations against appellant were not proven, 75-day suspension was excessive in view of his immaculate disciplinary history.  In re Gutierrez, CSA 65-11, 17 (8/28/12).  

The Career Service philosophy of discipline focuses on the employee’s own conduct, not the conduct of others. In re Napoli, CSB 74-10, 3 (8/18/11). 

The appropriate level of discipline must be determined by the circumstances presented in each case, not by a comparison with the level of discipline imposed in other career service appeals.  In re Napoli, CSB 74-10, 3 (8/18/11), citing In re Jones, CSB 88-09, 3 (9/29/10); In re Simpleman, CSB 31-06, 2-3 (8/2/07).  

The guidelines that must be used in assessing the appropriate level of discipline in a career service appeal are found in CSR 16-20. In re Napoli, CSB 74-10, 4 (8/18/11).

While the Denver City Charter requires discipline of a Civil Service employee to be consistent with discipline of other members of the classified service, there is no such provision for Career Service employees. In re Napoli, CSB 74-10, n.3 (8/18/11). 

Comparative discipline is inapplicable in this forum, because it (1) hinders an agency’s ability to make any needed changes in performance standards; (2) expands the scope of the hearing beyond the employee’s own conduct, increasing time, effort, and expense; (3) creates a new ground for appeal to the Board: assessing whether the evidence supports the Hearing Officer’s findings regarding similarities between employees’ conduct; and (4) does not address the degree to which an employee has taken responsibility for his actions and demonstrated a willingness to correct misconduct. In re Napoli, CSB 74-10, 3 (8/18/11). 

A single egregious violation of the Career Service Rules, alone, justifies dismissal even in the absence of a prior disciplinary record. In re Napoli, CSB 74-10, 5 (8/18/11),

Appellant’s dismissal was reasonable despite having no prior discipline where his conduct endangered co-workers, violated the Agency’s policy against engaging in horseplay, contradicted a direct order, and his attitude throughout the disciplinary process demonstrated an unwillingness to acknowledge and correct the behaviors that led to his dismissal.  In re Napoli, CSB 74-10, 5 (8/18/11). 

In a disciplinary appeal, the agency bears the burden to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence; that the degree of discipline was within the range of discipline which may be imposed for the proven violations, In re Weiss, CSA 68-10, 13 (2/14/11).

Termination was appropriate discipline for Appellant’s intimidating and hostile conduct towards his supervisor and unprofessional conduct towards his co-worker, where Appellant was previously suspended for similar intimidating conduct but given a second chance, his supervisor counseled Appellant repeatedly on professionalism and noticed that Appellant’s anger escalated increasingly rapidly over minor occurrences, and Appellant did not accept responsibility for his actions. In re Weiss, CSA 68-10, 13 (2/14/11).  

In evaluating the appropriate degree of discipline, the agency must consider the severity of the offense, an employee’s past record, and the penalty most likely to achieve the employee’s compliance with the rules. In re Rodriguez, CSA 12-10, 22 (10/22/10), citing  In re Norman-Curry, CSA 28-07 and 50-08, 23 (2/27/09). 

A hearing officer must not disturb an agency’s determination of a matter within its expertise unless the determination was clearly excessive, or if it was based substantially upon considerations unsupported by a preponderance of the evidence. In re Rodriguez, CSA 12-10, 22 (10/22/10), citing In re Owens, CSA 69-08, 8 (2/6/09), citing In re Mounjim CSA 87-07, 18 (7/10/08), affirmed on other groundsIn re Mounjim, CSB 87-07 a (1/8/09). 

Dismissal was appropriate where: appellant/case manager’s negligence delayed important welfare benefits to many agency clients; she had a substantial history of attendance issues continuing into present case; and after the agency’s notice in contemplation of discipline for tardiness, she reported late seven times, making it apparent there was little basis to believe her compliance would improve with a lesser penalty. In re Rodriguez, CSA 12-10, 2-23 (10/22/10). 

Fifteen-day suspension was consistent with the purpose of discipline where judicial assistant made four mistakes in a month immediately following a five-day suspension for the same conduct, and harmed her relationship with her supervisor by angrily confronting her in front of a customer, she had seven previous disciplinary actions, and her supervisor concluded that a significantly longer suspension was required to achieve compliance with the rules.  In re Roberts, 40-10, 48-10, 13 (11/15/2010).      

Two –week suspension was within the reasonable range of discipline that could be imposed where an animal control officer violated three Career Service Rules based on his carelessness, abuse of a member of the public, and failure to maintain a satisfactory relationship with a member of the public, due to the severity of the violations, despite his lack of disciplinary history.  In re Gonzales, 42-10, 9 (12/30/2010).    

Appointing authorities are directed by CSR 16-20 to consider the severity of the offense, an employee’s past record, and the penalty most likely to achieve compliance with the rules.  In re Norris, CSA 68-09, 8 (7/12/10).

Appellant’s violations of rules were egregious where he compromised sensitive password security at Denver’s airport, and impaired the fundamental purpose of his crew to maintain airfield lights by his frequent tardiness and extended absences.  In re Norris, CSA 68-09, 8 (7/12/10).

Termination was justified by appellant’s violation of password security and frequent absences, lack of effort, and indifference to his work.  In re Norris, CSA 68-09, 8-9 (7/12/10).

Five day suspension was amply justified where appellant intimidated and alarmed co-workers, had a history of failing to exercise emotional restraint, failed to understand the effect of her actions on others, and failed to accept responsibility for her actions.  In re Lykken, CSA 26-10, 8 (7/7/10).

That the mayor, agency, and career service rules have addressed violence in the workplace separately demonstrates the emphasis interested authorities have placed on the prevention of and punishment for threats of violence and violent behaviors.  In re Lykken, CSA 26-10, 7 (7/7/10).     

Although employee was highly-rated and dedicated and her only previous discipline was a verbal reprimand, dismissal was appropriate where employee disobeyed two direct orders and failed to meet performance standards, adversely affecting her chief assigned project and relationships with team members, and prior counseling, mentoring sessions, warnings, an improvement plan, and extensive remedial training to reinforce standards over a five-month period did not correct her behavior or belief that she had done nothing wrong, indicating that lesser discipline would not alter her behavior.  In re Harrison, CSA 55-07, 58 (6/17/10).    

By itself, false reporting of work hours justifies a substantial penalty.  In re Redacted, CSA 08-10 (5/24/10), citing In re Vigil, CSA 110-05, 4 (3/3/06).

Appellant's failure to acknowledge wrongdoing in claiming 8 hours of pay after 3 hours of jury duty, and blaming his supervisor for failing to correct his error, supports agency's decision to impose a 5-day suspension as the most likely to achieve compliance.  In re Martin, CSA 08-10 (5/24/10).  

Dismissal was warranted based on airport technician's unauthorized use of a $2.5 million emergency mobile command vehicle bearing sensitive equipment for the purpose of a sexual liaison, despite ten years without discipline.  In re Jones, CSA 88-09, 7 (5/11/10).

Forty-hour suspension was appropriate discipline to correct employee’s behavior, where employee threatened and failed to maintain a satisfactory relationship with members of the public, had an extended probation period due to interpersonal communication issues, and was previously issued a verbal warning.  In re D’Ambrosio, CSA 98-09, 10 (5/7/2010).

Termination of deputy was justified despite nine years without discipline where his use of force violated work rules and escalated a compliant inmate into an aggressive one, deputy misled agency during investigation, and deputy continued to deny wrongdoing, putting department at risk of further such incidents requiring exercise of judgment in use of force.   In re Koehler, CSA 113-09, 18 (4/29/10).

Deputy’s overreaction in kicking an inmate, dishonesty during investigation and denying all wrongdoing justified termination.  In re Koehler, CSA 113-09, 18 (4/29/10).

A hearing officer must not disturb an agency’s determination as to the degree of discipline unless it was clearly excessive or based substantially upon considerations unsupported by a preponderance of the evidence.  In re Cady, CSA 03-10, 6 (4/22/10), citing In re Mounjim, CSA 87-07, 18 (7/10/08).

In imposing discipline, appointing authorities are directed to consider the severity of the offense, an employee’s past record, and the penalty most likely to achieve compliance with the rules.  In re Cady, CSA 03-10, 6 (4/22/10) citing CSR 16-20. 

Suspension of judicial assistant did not single her out for discipline where the unrebutted evidence showed that no other judicial assistants made the number of errors committed by appellant over a similar period of time.  In re Cady, CSA 03-10, 7 (4/22/10).

Successive one- and three-day suspensions were not clearly excessive or based on considerations unsupported by the evidence where no other employee made same number of mistakes, and appellant was previously counseled and disciplined for continued carelessness.  In re Cady, CSA 03-10, 7 (4/22/10). 

Dishonesty concerning hours worked is an inherently egregious violation and may subject an employee to severe sanctions.  In re Clayton, CSA 111-09, 8 (4/6/10).

Mitigating circumstance was established by proof that suspension was appellant’s first discipline in the past five years.  In re Clayton, CSA 111-09, 7 (4/6/10).

The fact that employee was suspended for the same offense five years ago aggravates the seriousness of this misconduct.  In re Clayton, CSA 111-09, 8 (4/6/10).

Where appellant’s prior discipline for dishonesty failed to deter subsequent dishonesty, the agency’s choice to impose a 30-day suspension comports with the principles of progressive discipline to impose the penalty most likely to achieve compliance.  In re Clayton, CSA 111-09, 8 (4/6/10).

Thirty-day suspension for dishonesty in submitting overtime claim prohibited by directive, after prior discipline for dishonesty, was not clearly excessive or based on considerations unsupported by a preponderance of the evidence.  In re Clayton, CSA 111-09, 8 (4/6/10).

Dismissal based on youth crisis center worker’s failure to supervise residents one night was not excessive where worker received 11 reprimands in her 11-year employment for similar violations, and her continued denial of wrongdoing made it unlikely a lesser degree of discipline would correct the misconduct.  In re Carrillo, CSA 95-09, 7 (3/16/10).

The reasonableness of discipline within the career service personnel system is determined by the factual circumstances presented in each case, not upon comparisons with other city employees.  In re Paz, CSA 07-09A, 2 (CSB 1/21/10).

An appellant may challenge the level of discipline based on its dissimilarity to penalties imposed on other employees for similar violations.  In re Koehler, CSA 113-09, 2 (Order 1/27/2010) 

Where appellant was disciplined within the past year for unauthorized leave, the agency's choice of a two-day suspension for second unauthorized leave was neither excessive nor based substantially upon considerations unsupported by the evidence.   In re Lottie, CSA 132-08, 5 (3/9/09). 

In determining the degree of discipline, appointing authorities must consider the severity of the offense, an employee's past record, and the penalty most likely to achieve compliance with the rules.   In re Norman-Curry, CSA 28-07and 50-08, 23 (2/27/09).

Though defiance of lawful orders, considered alone, would not justify dismissal, deputy sheriff's pattern of defiance to authority escalated the significance of her actions.   In re Norman-Curry, CSA 28-07 and 50-08, 24 (2/27/09).

In determining the degree of discipline, appointing authorities must consider the severity of the offense, an employee’s past record, and the penalty most likely to achieve compliance with the rules.   In re Owens, CSA 69-08, 7 (2/6/09). 

A hearing officer must not disturb the agency’s determination unless it is clearly excessive, or based substantially upon considerations unsupported by a preponderance of the evidence.   In re Owens, CSA 69-08, 8 (2/6/09), citing In re Mounjim, CSA 87-07, 18 (7/10/08), citing In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06).

In determining the degree of discipline, appointing authorities must consider the severity of the offense, an employee’s past record, and the penalty most likely to achieve compliance with the rules. In re Mounjim, CSA 87-07, 18 (7/10/08), citing In re Ortega, CSA 81-06, 16 (4/11/07).

Hearing officer must not disturb the agency’s determination unless it is clearly excessive or based substantially upon considerations unsupported by a preponderance of the evidence. In re Mounjim, CSA 87-07, 18 (7/10/08), citing In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06).

It is improper to choose degree of discipline based upon whether it would show favoritism, rather than in the context required by the rules: whether a lesser degree of discipline might have achieved compliance. In re Mestas et al., CSA 64-07, 43 (5/30/08).

Employee’s failure to correct behavior after previous discipline may be considered in determining the appropriate penalty for later offenses.  In re Feltes, CSA 50-06, 7 (11/24/06).

The test to determine the propriety of discipline is whether the degree of discipline is reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense, taking into consideration appellant’s past disciplinary record. In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06).

In deciding whether discipline imposed is within the range of reasonable alternatives, hearing officer will not disturb agency’s determination unless it is clearly excessive or based substantially on considerations unsupported by a preponderance of the evidence. In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06), citing In re Armbruster, CSA 377-01 (3/22/02), Adkins v. Div of Youth Services, 720 P.2d 626 (Colo. App. 1986).

Magnitude of potential harm caused by misconduct may be considered in assessing level of discipline to be imposed. In re Simpleman, CSA 05-06, 9 (5/16/06).

The correct test to determine the propriety of discipline is whether the degree of discipline is reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense, taking into consideration the appellant’s past disciplinary record. In re Simpleman, CSA 05-06, 9 (5/16/06).

Discipline is reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense if it falls within the range of reasonable alternatives available to a reasonable, prudent agency administrator. In re Simpleman,CSA 05-06, 8 (5/16/06), citing In re Armbruster, CSA 377-01 (3/22/02); Adkins v Div. of Youth Services, 720 P.2d 626 (Colo. App. 1986).

The propriety of discipline is determined by whether the degree of discipline chosen by the agency was reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense, taking into consideration the employee's past discipline. In re Mestas, CSA 37-05, 8 (8/4/05), citing In re Champion, CSA 71-02, 18 (7/31/02).

The agency is required to assess the degree of discipline that is reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense and that takes into consideration appellant's past record. In re Garcia, CSA 175-04, 8 (7/12/05).

To determine whether discipline is reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense, it must be within the range of reasonable alternatives available to a reasonable, prudent agency administrator. In re Garcia, CSA 175-04, 8 (7/12/05), citing In re Armbruster, CSA 377-01 (3/22/02); Adkins v. Division of Youth Services, 720 P.2d 626 (Colo. App. 1986).

In determining whether the discipline is within the range of reasonable alternatives, the hearing officer will not disturb the agency's determination of the severity of the discipline unless it is clearly excessive or based substantially on considerations that are not supported by a preponderance of the evidence. In re Garcia, CSA 175-04, 8 (7/12/05), citing In re Douglas, CSA 154-02, 166-02, 5 (1/27/03).

Discipline is not excessive if it is substantially based on considerations that are supported by a preponderance of the evidence. In re Lucero, 162-04 (4/15/05), citing In re Gustern, CSA 128-02, 20 (12-28-02).

Demotion

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 Dismissal 

Dismissal was appropriate where human services clerk admitted improper issuance of a food stamp electronic bank transfer card in nine separate acts of dishonesty over ten days, including two false signatures, violation of two policies, clandestine meetings to conceal her actions, and making false statements at the beginning of an investigative interview.   In re Lopez, CSA 41-12, 4 (4/5/13). 

Hearing officer did not misinterpret City's stated purpose of discipline by upholding termination where findings were supported by record evidence and termination was not unreasonable under the circumstances, which included ample notice that her behavior toward her subordinates was problematic, refusal to take responsibility for her conduct, and personal damage to her employees arising from her conduct.  In re Dineen, CSB 56-11, 7 (12/20/12). 

Where petitioner did not argue her discharge was too harsh or inappropriate, the CSB will not address it. In re Roybal, CSB 60-11A, 2-3 (8/2/12).

Termination was reasonable where deputy sheriff fraternization with an inmate: caused the department to lose trust in him, ruined personal and professional relationships within the agency, and  forced his friends to chose between protecting him and jeopardizing their own careers.  In re Romero, CSA 01-12, 10 (4/17/12).

Termination appropriate where supervisor’s acquisition of free equipment replacements in violation of agency’s contract with vendor damaged agency’s relationship with vendor, her actions placed a subordinate’s career in jeopardy, and supervisor failed to take any responsibility for her actions In re Roybal, 60-11, 10 (3/13/12).

Appellant’s dismissal was reasonable despite having no prior discipline where his conduct endangered co-workers, violated the Agency’s policy against engaging in horseplay, contradicted a direct order, and his attitude throughout the disciplinary process demonstrated an unwillingness to acknowledge and correct the behaviors that led to his dismissal.  In re Napoli, CSB 74-10, 5 (8/18/11).

Dismissal of lead youth worker at family crisis center was not excessive for failing to intervene in resident assault or to enforce discipline in violation of center policies, in the face of employee's statements both denying and accepting responsibility for his conduct.  In re O’Meallie, CSA 92-09, 7 (6/18/10).

Although employee was highly-rated and dedicated and her only previous discipline was a verbal reprimand, dismissal was appropriate where employee disobeyed two direct orders and failed to meet performance standards, adversely affecting her chief assigned project and relationships with team members, and prior counseling, mentoring sessions, warnings, an improvement plan, and extensive remedial training to reinforce standards over a five-month period did not correct her behavior or belief that she had done nothing wrong, indicating that lesser discipline would not alter her behavior.  In re Harrison, CSA 55-07, 58 (6/17/10).   

Hearing officer's finding that resignation was involuntary was reversed where appellant told his supervisor and director "I quit" after being warned they would accept any future threats to quit, and words unambiguously expressed a clear intent to resign.  In re Smith, CSA 14-10A (11/4/10), citing In re Augustine, CSB 05-09 (9/30/09). 

Dismissal was warranted based on airport technician's unauthorized use of a $2.5 million emergency mobile command vehicle bearing sensitive equipment for the purpose of a sexual liaison, despite ten years without discipline.  In re Jones, CSA 88-09, 7 (5/11/10).

Appellant’s offensive public announcement about a co-worker, without more, would have been insufficient to justify his dismissal.  In re Carter, CSA 87-09, 9 (2/17/10).

Appellant’s dishonesty and attempts to influence witnesses and implicate an innocent co-worker during an investigation were sufficient to support dismissal.  In re Carter, CSA 87-09, 9 (2/17/10).

Deputy sheriff's unjustified use of force against an inmate, that resulted in a significant financial cost to the city, was sufficient to justify her dismissal.   In re Norman-Curry, CSA 28-07 and 50-08, 23 (2/27/09).

Deputy sheriff's dishonesty about her unjustified use of force against an inmate justifies dismissal.   In re Norman-Curry, CSA 28-07 and 50-08, 23 (2/27/09).

Deputy sheriff's unexcused berating of an inmate, coupled with her open defiance of, and challenge to a superior officer, justifies a significant penalty or dismissal.   In re Norman-Curry, CSA 28-07 and 50-08, 23 (2/27/09).

When an employee’s violations of a career service rule are egregious, even an exemplary work history may not protect the employee from dismissal.  In re Sawyer and Sproul, CSA 33-08, 17 (1/27/09).  

Appellants’ disobedience of clear and reasonable order, statements that they were in full compliance with the orders, and breach of ethical duty to avoid conflicts of interest were egregious violations of rules and law.  In re Sawyer and Sproul, CSA 33-08, 17 (1/27/09).

Dismissal was not excessive where decision-maker gave employees ample warning, notice of their violations, and opportunity to come into compliance, and they willfully refused to do so.  In re Sawyer and Sproul, CSA 33-08, 18 (1/27/09).

Termination was proper where agency performed a thorough investigation into its allegations against appellant; agency reviewed appellant’s performance and disciplinary records which established a long-standing pattern of behavior of ignoring agency rule; and appellant continued to deny wrongdoing, making it unlikely a fifth suspension would correct the same inappropriate behavior. In re Galindo CSA 39-08, 13 (9/5/08).

Termination was appropriate where agency concluded theft and absenteeism was a continuation of long-standing pattern of behavior ignoring agency rules based on review of performance and disciplinary records.   In re Galindo, CSA 39-08, 13 (9/5/08).

Appellant failed to present any credible evidence that termination was rooted in bias against city employees rather than the underlying facts supporting discipline.   In re Galindo, CSA 39-08, 13 (9/5/08).

Where appellant took substantial steps toward providing name of informant in child sex abuse case to attorney who offered to waive fees in exchange for that information, termination was not unreasonable despite lack of previous discipline and pressure placed on appellant by attorney.   In re Catalina, CSA 35-08, 11 (8/22/08).

Termination of deputy sheriff was appropriate for soliciting a prostitute where charge raises enormous potential for deputy’s compromise in handling those arrested for or convicted of similar charges.   In re Griffith, CSA 41-08, 4 (8/14/08).

Deputy’s admission of a basis for criminal charge of soliciting a prostitute, and resulting compromise of his duties, constitute a violation severe enough to preclude progressive discipline and justify dismissal, despite lack of prior discipline and satisfactory performance reviews.   In re Griffith, CSA 41-08, 5 (8/14/08).

Dismissal of deputy for soliciting a prostitute was not clearly excessive, and was based on considerations supported by preponderance of the evidence.   In re Griffith, CSA 41-08, 5 (8/14/08).

Termination was inappropriate where agency failed to prove the majority of its charges, and the agency concluded appellant was incapable of changing his behavior, despite his apology and previous improvements after criticism.  In re Sienkiewicz, CSA 10-08, 17 (7/14/08).

Where agency proved appellant neglected his duty and failed to meet performance standard by not communicating important information to co-worker, a one-week suspension is substituted for termination given appellant’s past disciplinary and work record, and demonstrated willingness to improve his performance.  In re Sienkiewicz, CSA 10-08, 18 (7/14/08).

Termination was inappropriate based on one minor unintentional violation of policy where appellant performed satisfactorily in position for 18 years with only one written reprimand.  In re Mounjim, CSA 87-07, 19 (7/10/08).

Termination based substantially on considerations unsupported by preponderance of the evidence is excessive discipline.  In re Mestas et al., CSA 64-07, 61-07, 62-07, 67-07, 42 (5/30/08).

Appellant’s failure to follow up on customer request for promotional pay, causing delay in payment of $123, and her failure to locate missing leave slips, do not merit termination.  In re Mestas et al., CSA 64-07, 41 (5/30/08).

Where 18-year employee was rated successfully in last review, and her manager was satisfied with her methods and performance, there was no substantial reason why discipline less than termination would not achieve employee’s compliance with career service rules.  In re Mestas et al., CSA 64-07, 42 (5/30/08).

Termination was improper where it was based on manager’s conclusion that lesser discipline would show favoritism, rather than basing conclusion upon career service standard whether lesser discipline may achieve compliance.  In re Mestas et al., CSA 64-07,  43 (5/30/08).

Termination was too severe where appellant’s performance failures were partly mitigated by lack of training, complexity of tasks, changes in staff and agency structure, unresolved personality conflicts, and most allegations were not proven.  In re Mestas et al., CSA 64-07, 43 (5/30/08).

Termination was not substantially conceived to correct performance failures where failures were substantially mitigated by lack of training, complexity of tasks, changes in staff and agency structure, unresolved communication issues, and more lenient treatment of other employees based on the same wrongdoing. In re Mestas et al., CSA 64-07, 44 (5/30/08).

Termination was not warranted where only claims proven were failure to follow up on a customer’s request for promotional difference pay of $123.20 and failing to notify a supervisor about leave slip issues, only past discipline was reprimand 4 years ago, and there was no evidence that progressive discipline would not achieve appellant’s compliance with the rules. In re Mestas et al.,CSA 64-07, 41 (5/30/08).

Agency’s dismissal was excessive when it was based substantially upon considerations unsupported by a preponderance of the evidence.In re Mestas et al., CSA 64-07, 42 (5/30/08), citing In re Armbruster, CSA 377-01 (3/22/02), and Adkins v. Div of Youth Services, 720 P.2d 626 (Colo. App. 1986).

Termination of employment may be appropriate for a single egregious event that results in substantial harm or violates a fundamental tenet of an agency’s mission. In re Strasser, CSB 44-07, 3 (2/29/08).

Where appellant’s actions violated the very mission of her agency, and she continued through hearing to deny wrongdoing, thus suggesting a lesser penalty would not correct the inappropriate behavior, dismissal was appropriate penalty. In re Abdi, CSA 63-07, 32 (2/19/08).

Termination was appropriate for premeditated pattern of false statements in attempt to cover up payroll clerk’s dishonesty after past discipline, resulting in minor financial impact on city.  In re Feltes, CSA 50-06, 7 (11/24/06).

Termination of deputy sheriff for dishonesty and playing cards while on duty guarding felony inmates was reasonably related to offense when deputy had been disciplined every year since his hire, had just returned from a substantial suspension for dishonesty, and continued to deny any wrongdoing. In re Simpleman, CSA 31-06, 11 (10/20/06), affirmed CSB 8/2/07.

Termination of deputy sheriff with long history of discipline who continued to deny wrongdoing was reasonable under rule.  In re Simpleman, CSA 31-06, 10-11 (10/20/06), affirmed CSB 8/2/07.

Termination for sexual harassment was reversed when conduct was found at hearing to constitute only infrequent disobedience of order to cease using terms of endearment with co-workers. In re Hernandez, CSA 03-06, 12 (5/3/06).

In this de novo hearing on the appropriateness of appellant’s termination, the agency bears the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence both that appellant violated the disciplinary rules as alleged, and that termination was within the range of discipline that can be imposed under the circumstances. In re Hobley, CSA 61-05, 4 (12/19/05), citing Turner v. Rossmiller, 532 P.2d 751 (Colo. App. 1975); In re Gustern, CSA 128-02, 20 (12/23/02).

Where appellant had two suspensions and a written reprimand during the past year, termination for dissemination of a vulgar e-mail was within the range of reasonable alternatives available to the agency. In re Garcia, CSA 175-04, 8 (7/12/05).

Termination was justified based on employee's responsibility for assault on supervisor after two lengthy suspensions for similar acts. In re Moreno, CSA 138-04 (5/25/05).

Since CSR § 16-40 D and Executive Order 94 can be read to be consistent, the former does not invalidate Executive Order 94’s language mandating dismissal for second violation of city drug policy in the employee’s career, and agency did not violate career service rule by relying on a first offense that occurred more than five years before second offense. In re Williams, CSA 56-04, 4 (5/06/05). (decided under former §16-40 D).

Termination was reasonable for violation of Executive Order 112 two months after similar incident. In re Katros, CSA 129-04, 11 (3/16/05).

Termination was justified despite lack of prior discipline and excellent past performance when appellant was absent two months beyond the expiration of his authorized leave and more than six weeks beyond his requested extension of that leave. In re Kinfe, 161-04, 7 (3/16/05).

Where appellant playfully slapped her co-worker harder than she intended during a friendly conversation, causing temporary pain, termination was not narrowly tailored to correct the behavior, nor reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense, and did not take into account appellant's past record, requiring modification of penalty to a one-day suspension. In re Freeman, CSA 40-05, 75-04, 10 (3/3/05). 

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Progressive discipline

The penalty of demotion is not excessive when there is more than sufficient evidence in the record to justify its imposition. In re Serna, CSB 39-12, 3 (10/17/2013).

Three day suspension was appropriate despite lack of previous discipline where appellant transferred an assignment to a co-worker without permission, insulted his supervisor using profanity, and told his supervisor to leave him alone, resulting in serious damage to their working relationship.  In re Oyama, # 07-13, (6/4/2013).

Dismissal of human services clerk who improperly issued public benefits card was appropriate because the nature of her dishonest actions and the importance of honesty in her job gave the agency little basis to anticipate that any less severe penalty would serve the purposes of discipline under the career service rules.  In re Lopez, 5 (4/5/13).

Discharge was a reasonable and necessary punishment where appellant continued to deny wrongdoing despite proof of serious misconduct.  In re Redacted CSB 67-11 (4/4/2013). 

Hearing officer did not misinterpret City's stated purpose of discipline by upholding termination where findings were supported by record evidence and termination was not unreasonable under the circumstances, which included ample notice that her behavior toward her subordinates was problematic, refusal to take responsibility for her conduct, and personal damage to her employees arising from her conduct.  In re Dineen, CSB 56-11, 7 (12/20/12). 

Termination appropriate despite appellant’s exemplary past performance where the severity of her violations and failure to acknowledge any wrongdoing did not require the agency to assess a lesser penalty.   In re Roybal, 60-11, 10-11 (3/13/12).

Appellant’s termination was consistent with principles of progressive discipline, where Appellant continued to exhibit intimidating and hostile behavior towards co-workers, even after he was suspended for five days for such conduct a year prior and was given a second chance, his supervisor counseled Appellant repeatedly on professionalism, and he failed to accept responsibility for his actions.  In re Weiss, CSA 68-10, 13 (2/14/11).       

Five-day suspension was appropriate discipline where call-center agent mistreated an angry caller, was tardy and absent from her desk on multiple occasions, and had received verbal and written reprimands and a three-day suspension for misconduct and previous violations of attendance policies, however, her performance was mostly satisfactory or better.  In re Jackson, 39-10, 11 (10/7/2010).     

Dismissal was warranted based on airport technician's unauthorized use of a $2.5 million emergency mobile command vehicle bearing sensitive equipment for the purpose of a sexual liaison, despite ten years without discipline.  In re Jones, CSA 88-09, 7 (5/11/10).

Earlier conduct leading to discipline may be considered to prove that employee was on notice that the conduct warranted disciplinary action.  In re D’Ambrosio, CSA 98-09, 7 (5/7/10).

An agency is prohibited from disciplining an employee twice based on the same conduct by virtue of the city charter’s requirement that discipline may only be imposed for good cause. In re D’Ambrosio, CSA 98-09, 7 (5/7/10); citing In re Roberts, CSA 179-04, 7 (6/29/05). 

A lesser degree of discipline than dismissal would have been unlikely to correct the offending behaviors where appellant persistently denied he made an offensive public announcement about a co-worker, then attempted to subvert the investigation.  In re Carter, CSA 87-09, 9 (2/17/10).

Where appointing authority’s disciplinary decision was based on a preponderance of the evidence and was not clearly excessive, her decision on the degree of discipline must be sustained.  In re Carter, CSA 87-09, 10 (2/17/10), citing In re Weeks, CSB 26-09 (12/23/09). 

Where appellant was disciplined within the past year for unauthorized leave, the agency's choice of a two-day suspension for second unauthorized leave was neither excessive nor based substantially upon considerations unsupported by the evidence.   In re Lottie, CSA 132-08, 5 (3/9/09).

One-day suspension that was considerably shorter than previous five-day suspension was a reasonable penalty for proven misconduct under the principles of progressive discipline as an attempt to give appellant who had expressed a desire to change the harmful tenor of his work relationships an opportunity to do so.   In re Schultz, CSA 70-08, 6 (3/2/09).

Where past discipline has not corrected deputy sheriff's ongoing defiance of authority and abuse of inmates, and appellant consistently denied all responsibility for her actions, facts indicate it is unlikely that appellant's conduct will improve under lesser discipline.  In re Norman-Curry, CSA 28-07 and 50-08, 25 (2/27/09). 

Appellants’ denials of wrongdoing, while continuing to disregard their superior’s reasonable orders make it clear that a penalty less severe than dismissal would not achieve their compliance with the career service rules.  In re Sawyer and Sproul, CSA 33-08, 17 (1/27/09).

Appellant’s continued denial of wrongdoing renders it unlikely that a fifth suspension would correct the same inappropriate behavior for which he had received previous reprimands and suspensions over the course of 23 years of employment.   In re Galindo, CSA 39-08, 13 (9/5/08).

Four-day suspension was affirmed for second violation for misuse of work time by paralegal when verbal reprimand for similar offense two months before did not achieve the desired compliance.   In re Blan, CSA 40-08, 7 (7/31/08).

Career Service Rules require progressive discipline to correct inappropriate behavior or performance. In re Diaz, CSA 92-05, 10 (1/31/06).

Progressive discipline is not required in aggravated cases, particularly where a lesser penalty is unlikely to achieve compliance.  In re Abdi, CSA 63-07, 32 (2/19/08).

Agency reasonably concluded that progressive discipline required the imposition of more severe penalties, given the fact that less severe discipline had not corrected the behavior. In re Owens, CSA 139-04, 8 (3/31/05).

Outburst at meeting merited written reprimand where verbal reprimand imposed for a similar incident four months before did not improve behavior. In re Green,CSA 130-04, 5 (1/7/05).

 Suspension 

Three day suspension was appropriate despite lack of previous discipline where appellant transferred an assignment to a co-worker without permission, insulted his supervisor using profanity, and told his supervisor to leave him alone, resulting in serious damage to their working relationship.  In re Oyama, # 07-13, (6/4/2013).

Fifty-day suspension was appropriate for deputy who created courtroom emergency by wearing his  uniform and gun to his child support hearing, against agency policy, and was dishonest about the circumstances of the incident, but his exemplary work ethic, performance, and lack of prior discipline mitigated against termination.  In re Strauch, CSA 37-11, 9-10 (12/20/11).    

Modification from termination to a 5-day suspension appropriate where Agency only proved four out of fourteen alleged violations, none of which was egregious; appellant’s disciplinary history was minor; and appellant was effective; but her sarcasm with co-workers persisted in an environment where effective communication is critical.  In re Leslie, CSA 10-11, 20-21 (12/5/11

Where the most egregious sexual harassment violations against appellant were not proven, 75-day suspension was excessive in view of his immaculate disciplinary history.  In re Gutierrez, CSA 65-11, 17 (8/28/12). 

While most severe allegations of sexual harassment were not proven, and therefore did not justify a 75-day suspension, appellant’s somewhat questionable commitment to reform justified a 30-day suspension. In re Gutierrez, CSA 65-11, 17 (8/28/12).  

Five-day suspension was proper despite lack of previous discipline where employee supervisor was dishonest, frequently conducted personal business during work hours using city property, and failed to acknowledge wrongdoing.  In re Valdez, CSA 90-09, 7 (3/1/2010).   

Three-day suspension for two unauthorized absences affirmed where agency attendance policies were violated, policy provided for discipline for two absences per year, appellant was disciplined for same reason previously, and appellant's absences created hardship on co-workers and agency.   In re Turner, CSA 76-08, 8 (1/16/09).

Five-day suspension is appropriate discipline for violation of regulation setting field trip fees and neglect of duty to maintain professional demeanor.  In re Mounjim, CSB 87-07, 8 (1/8/09).

Hearing officer’s decision to reverse appellant’s dismissal was modified to 5-day suspension where appellant overcharged public for field trip and neglected duty to maintain professional demeanor by initiating and escalating confrontation with significant risk of harm to her superiors.  In re Mounjim, CSB 87-07, 8 (1/8/09). [reversing In re Mounjim, CSA 87-07 (7/10/08)].

Two-day suspension for four attendance violations and angry confrontations with payroll clerk where appellant had prior discipline for attendance issues and negative interactions with coworkers and a number of remedial measures were taken to assist appellant in improving in these areas.  In re Williams, CSA 53-08, 6 (12/19/08).

20-day suspension for three relatively minor violations of city breaks and lunch policy after 14 and 16 years of employment without discipline is excessive in light of written reprimand of another employee from the same team with same disciplinary history for being in restaurant for over 30 minutes and reporting it as work time.   In re Compos, et al, CSA 56-08, 20 (12/15/08). 

20-day suspension is modified to 5-day suspension for violations of lunch policy on three days in keeping with agency intent to reverse the development of bad work habits, given employees' long and excellent work record, absence of previous discipline, and immediate correction of laxity after notice of discipline.  In re Compos  et al, CSA 56-08, 20, 21 (12/15/08).

20-day suspension is modified to 5-day suspension for three violations of break and lunch policy occurring within two days, indicating the existence of a pattern, and the trust relationship needed for employees who schedule their work days with a great deal of independence, given employee's long and excellent work record, and minor previous discipline.   In re Compos et al, CSA 56-08, 21 (12/15/08).

Three-day suspension was appropriate where appellant was careless and failed to meet performance standards in failing to communicate with his supervisor despite three reprimands within six months for similar violations, and appellant’s testimony showed that he did not believe he violated his communications plan. In re Hill, CSA 69-07, 7 (1/23/08).

Five-day suspension was proper for acts of negligence and carelessness continuing recent pattern of performance problems where appellant was a long-term and valuable employee, and performance since the suspension has shown steady improvement. In re Butler, CSA 78-06, 6 (1/5/07).

Where appellant escalated what had been mere teasing into a physical confrontation resulting in injuries to co-worker, 30-day suspension was proper, despite appellant’s clear disciplinary record and positive reports from supervisors. In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06).

Deputy sheriff’s 45-day suspension for dishonesty and playing cards while on duty guarding felony inmates was reasonably related to offense when deputy had been disciplined for dishonesty on two other occasions, but later acknowledged his wrongdoing. In re Martinez, CSA 30-06, 9 (10/3/06).

30-day suspension was not excessive for engaging in fight with co-worker, despite lesser discipline for co-worker, when appellant escalated an incident involving teasing into a physical confrontation resulting in injuries to co-worker.  In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06).

Given appellant’s extensive previous discipline for almost identical violations, four-week suspension was within range of discipline that could be imposed by a reasonable administrator. In re Diaz, CSA 13-06, 8 (5/31/06).

30-day suspension was within range of reasonable alternatives for deputy sheriff sleeping while on duty. In re Simpleman, CSA 05-06, 9 (5/16/06).

30-day suspension was appropriate for employee who asked police for special treatment based on his position as deputy sheriff when arrested while off duty for incident arising from failing to pay for beer at a bowling alley. In re Mergl, CSA 131-05, 9 (3/13/06).

Five-day suspension calculated based upon appellant’s absences over the agency average was within the range of penalties that may be applied by a reasonable manager. In re Garcia,CSA 123-05, 6 (2/27/06).

Five-day suspension was appropriate for unauthorized absences after employee received ample notice of the seriousness of her absenteeism in the form of stricter attendance expectations, and previous discipline for same misconduct. In re Edwards, CSA 21-05, 8 (2/22/06).

Two-week suspension was appropriate when previous discipline including shorter suspension did not correct similar past behavior and performance deficiencies. In re Diaz, CSA 92-05, 11 (1/31/06).

15-day suspension was appropriate penalty for recreation supervisor’s angry confrontation with referee at girls’ basketball game, resulting in his escalating an already emotional competition and being ejected from the building. In re Trujillo, CSA 44-05, 7 (11/14/05).

One-day suspension was well within range of reasonable alternatives for performance mistakes and attendance violations that continued despite previous discipline for the same misconduct. In re Diaz, CSA 45-05, 10 (9/7/05).

One-day suspension was not inappropriately harsh under CSR §16-20 for a single remark to a female co-worker who reasonably interpreted it as an insult to her moral standards.  In re Smith, CSA 17-05 (7/07/05).

A three-day suspension based upon appellant's repeated requests of a co-worker to log her into her time records was justified by the severity and frequency of the misconduct, and its adverse effect on a co-worker.  In re Roberts, CSA 179-04, 6 (6/29/05).

The penalty of a three-day suspension was appropriate given the seriousness of the pattern of conduct in which appellant engaged, and its adverse effect upon her co-worker.  In re Roberts, CSA 179-04, 7 (6/29/05).

The three-day suspension was well within the range of reasonable penalties for a zookeeper's failure to secure a bear, among the most serious possible violations at the zoo, especially in light of his past disciplinary history and denial of responsibility for his conduct.  In re Owoeye, CSA 11-05, 7 (6/10/05).

Appellant's pattern of behavior over three months in disregarding the rules she disagreed with and criticizing her supervisor in front of his staff and manager justifies a conclusion that the offenses were serious and merited the imposition of a five-day suspension, despite appellant's lack of previous discipline. In re Lucero, CSA 162-04 (4/15/05).

Ten-day suspension was justified for appellant's sleeping on the job based upon similar offense one month before the incident, and five disciplinary actions within the previous ten months. In re Owens, CSA 139-04, 8 (3/31/05).

Recent similar violation, expression of intense hatred toward co-worker, and appellant's public role within the agency aggravated the seriousness of incident to justify a three-day suspension. In re Routa, CSA 123-04, 6 (1/27/05).

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Verbal reprimand

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Written reprimand  

Written reprimand was not excessive for 2.5 hours of unauthorized leave, given appellant’s pattern of tardiness. In re Vigil, CSA 110-05, 9 (3/3/06).

Supervisor’s consideration of two past written reprimands that were later reduced to verbal warnings did not render the penalty of a written reprimand improper, since the same supervisor imposed all discipline and agreed to the reduction of the past reprimands, and only the degree of discipline changed between the time it was imposed and the appeal hearing. In re Williams, CSA 65-05, 7 (11/17/05).

Since written reprimand succeeded in its intended goal to give appellant formal notice of the need to improve after continuing disregard of departmental policies, discipline was appropriate. In re Schultz, CSA 156-04, 10 (6/20/05).

Written reprimand was appropriate given the pattern of noncompliance with the no-smoking rule, as balanced by appellant's admirable past discipline record, where discipline succeeded in its intended goal to give appellant formal notice of the need to improve.  In re Schultz, CSA 156-04, 10-11 (6/20/05).

Five-day suspension was proper despite lack of previous discipline where employee supervisor was dishonest, frequently conducted personal business during work hours using city property, and failed to acknowledge wrongdoing.  In re Valdez, CSA 90-09, 7 (3/1/2010).   

Three-day suspension for two unauthorized absences affirmed where agency attendance policies were violated, policy provided for discipline for two absences per year, appellant was disciplined for same reason previously, and appellant's absences created hardship on co-workers and agency.   In re Turner, CSA 76-08, 8 (1/16/09).

Five-day suspension is appropriate discipline for violation of regulation setting field trip fees and neglect of duty to maintain professional demeanor.  In re Mounjim, CSB 87-07, 8 (1/8/09).

Hearing officer’s decision to reverse appellant’s dismissal was modified to 5-day suspension where appellant overcharged public for field trip and neglected duty to maintain professional demeanor by initiating and escalating confrontation with significant risk of harm to her superiors.  In re Mounjim, CSB 87-07, 8 (1/8/09). [reversing In re Mounjim, CSA 87-07 (7/10/08)].

Two-day suspension for four attendance violations and angry confrontations with payroll clerk where appellant had prior discipline for attendance issues and negative interactions with coworkers and a number of remedial measures were taken to assist appellant in improving in these areas.  In re Williams, CSA 53-08, 6 (12/19/08).

20-day suspension for three relatively minor violations of city breaks and lunch policy after 14 and 16 years of employment without discipline is excessive in light of written reprimand of another employee from the same team with same disciplinary history for being in restaurant for over 30 minutes and reporting it as work time.   In re Compos, et al, CSA 56-08, 20 (12/15/08). 

20-day suspension is modified to 5-day suspension for violations of lunch policy on three days in keeping with agency intent to reverse the development of bad work habits, given employees' long and excellent work record, absence of previous discipline, and immediate correction of laxity after notice of discipline.  In re Compos  et al, CSA 56-08, 20, 21 (12/15/08).

20-day suspension is modified to 5-day suspension for three violations of break and lunch policy occurring within two days, indicating the existence of a pattern, and the trust relationship needed for employees who schedule their work days with a great deal of independence, given employee's long and excellent work record, and minor previous discipline.   In re Compos et al, CSA 56-08, 21 (12/15/08).

Three-day suspension was appropriate where appellant was careless and failed to meet performance standards in failing to communicate with his supervisor despite three reprimands within six months for similar violations, and appellant’s testimony showed that he did not believe he violated his communications plan. In re Hill, CSA 69-07, 7 (1/23/08).

Five-day suspension was proper for acts of negligence and carelessness continuing recent pattern of performance problems where appellant was a long-term and valuable employee, and performance since the suspension has shown steady improvement. In re Butler, CSA 78-06, 6 (1/5/07).

Where appellant escalated what had been mere teasing into a physical confrontation resulting in injuries to co-worker, 30-day suspension was proper, despite appellant’s clear disciplinary record and positive reports from supervisors. In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06).

Deputy sheriff’s 45-day suspension for dishonesty and playing cards while on duty guarding felony inmates was reasonably related to offense when deputy had been disciplined for dishonesty on two other occasions, but later acknowledged his wrongdoing. In re Martinez, CSA 30-06, 9 (10/3/06).

30-day suspension was not excessive for engaging in fight with co-worker, despite lesser discipline for co-worker, when appellant escalated an incident involving teasing into a physical confrontation resulting in injuries to co-worker.  In re Delmonico, CSA 53-06, 8 (10/26/06).

Given appellant’s extensive previous discipline for almost identical violations, four-week suspension was within range of discipline that could be imposed by a reasonable administrator. In re Diaz, CSA 13-06, 8 (5/31/06).

30-day suspension was within range of reasonable alternatives for deputy sheriff sleeping while on duty. In re Simpleman, CSA 05-06, 9 (5/16/06).

30-day suspension was appropriate for employee who asked police for special treatment based on his position as deputy sheriff when arrested while off duty for incident arising from failing to pay for beer at a bowling alley. In re Mergl, CSA 131-05, 9 (3/13/06).

Five-day suspension calculated based upon appellant’s absences over the agency average was within the range of penalties that may be applied by a reasonable manager. In re Garcia,CSA 123-05, 6 (2/27/06).

Five-day suspension was appropriate for unauthorized absences after employee received ample notice of the seriousness of her absenteeism in the form of stricter attendance expectations, and previous discipline for same misconduct. In re Edwards, CSA 21-05, 8 (2/22/06).

Two-week suspension was appropriate when previous discipline including shorter suspension did not correct similar past behavior and performance deficiencies. In re Diaz, CSA 92-05, 11 (1/31/06).

15-day suspension was appropriate penalty for recreation supervisor’s angry confrontation with referee at girls’ basketball game, resulting in his escalating an already emotional competition and being ejected from the building. In re Trujillo, CSA 44-05, 7 (11/14/05).

One-day suspension was well within range of reasonable alternatives for performance mistakes and attendance violations that continued despite previous discipline for the same misconduct. In re Diaz, CSA 45-05, 10 (9/7/05).

One-day suspension was not inappropriately harsh under CSR §16-20 for a single remark to a female co-worker who reasonably interpreted it as an insult to her moral standards.  In re Smith, CSA 17-05 (7/07/05).

A three-day suspension based upon appellant's repeated requests of a co-worker to log her into her time records was justified by the severity and frequency of the misconduct, and its adverse effect on a co-worker.  In re Roberts, CSA 179-04, 6 (6/29/05).

The penalty of a three-day suspension was appropriate given the seriousness of the pattern of conduct in which appellant engaged, and its adverse effect upon her co-worker.  In re Roberts, CSA 179-04, 7 (6/29/05).

The three-day suspension was well within the range of reasonable penalties for a zookeeper's failure to secure a bear, among the most serious possible violations at the zoo, especially in light of his past disciplinary history and denial of responsibility for his conduct.  In re Owoeye, CSA 11-05, 7 (6/10/05).

Appellant's pattern of behavior over three months in disregarding the rules she disagreed with and criticizing her supervisor in front of his staff and manager justifies a conclusion that the offenses were serious and merited the imposition of a five-day suspension, despite appellant's lack of previous discipline. In re Lucero, CSA 162-04 (4/15/05).

Ten-day suspension was justified for appellant's sleeping on the job based upon similar offense one month before the incident, and five disciplinary actions within the previous ten months. In re Owens, CSA 139-04, 8 (3/31/05).

Recent similar violation, expression of intense hatred toward co-worker, and appellant's public role within the agency aggravated the seriousness of incident to justify a three-day suspension. In re Routa, CSA 123-04, 6 (1/27/05).

Contact Us

OHR Employee Relations Unit
201 W. Colfax Ave., Dept 412
Denver, CO 80202

For general employee relations questions contact:
Peter.Garritt@denvergov.org
HR Supervisor, Employee Relations and Records
720 913-5671

Mark.Croteau@denvergov.org
Staff HR Professional
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ADA Coordinator
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