Employee Relations- Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a client partner?

A. A client partner serves as a liaison between the manager and the employee in addition to interfacing with both groups to assist with the resolution of workplace issues.

Q. Do client partners provide any training and development assistance, or any other type of assistance?

A. A client partner assists managers with policy and procedure interpretation, the administration of disciplinary actions when necessary and appropriate, and provides training and education to managers on various HR-related topics.  A client partner also assist the employee with understanding how various policies and procedures impact them, making referrals where appropriate to other HR divisions, and acts as an overall general source of HR-related information to employees who need general assistance.

Q. What employee relations functions to client partners perform?

A. Client partners are also actively involved with helping to develop various employee recognition programs and activities, such as the annual picnic, ice cream socials, stress and wellness week, etc., which serve to illustrate the tremendous value we place on our workforce, and to recognize those employees who display superior customer service, tenacity, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.


Q. What is Progressive Discipline?

A. Progressive Discipline is the disciplinary action process utilized to administer corrective action when an employee’s behavior does not conform with organizational policies, procedures, protocol, and standards.  The progressive disciplinary process is designed to give employees an opportunity to correct the inappropriate behavior through a series of disciplinary actions that may ultimately end in termination if the employee’s behavior cannot be changed.  By taking an employee through these progressive steps of discipline, the hope and desire of the Dimensions management team is that the behavior will be corrected before the employee reaches the termination stage.

Q. What are the Steps Included in Progressive Discipline?

Informal Counseling: Prior to moving to the first step of progressive discipline, a manager or supervisor will first have an informal counseling session with an employee to put them on notice that their behavior is inappropriate and violates organizational policies. This counseling session is held with the expectation that the employee will correct the behavior immediately thereby alleviating the necessity to move forward with progressive discipline.

Formal Counseling: In the first step of progressive discipline, an employee will receive what is called a “formal counseling.”  Formal counseling is considered a written form of a verbal coaching.  Formal counseling is usually issued for a first occurrence of the behavior violation.  A formal counseling will be removed from an employee’s personnel file, if after one (1) year, the employee does not receive any additional disciplines for the same or similar behavior.

Written Warning: A written warning is usually the second step of discipline in the progressive disciplinary process for a behavior violation.  A written warning will include a review of the Dimensions Healthcare System policy/policies that have been violated, as well as, a description of the violating behavior itself.  Please note, however, that a written warning may also be issued for a first occurrence, if the violating behavior is considered a serious violation of Dimensions Healthcare System’s policies and procedures.

One (1) to Five (5) Day Suspension: Suspension without pay for up to five (5) working days is the next step in progressive discipline and may be used at any time when the nature of the violating behavior is sufficient to require this action, or whenever the employee has been guilty of numerous minor violations or for the repetition of the same violating behavior, which the employee has previously received a Written Warning within a relatively close time frame. The number of days of the suspension shall be at the discretion of the Department Manager and the Human Resources Department.

Termination: Termination is the final step in progressive discipline and may be taken for a serious behavior violation or for repetition of a behavior for which the employee has received a suspension.  A termination must be approved by the Department Director and Human Resources.

Union Representation

Q. What is a Union?

A. A union is an organization representing a collective group of individuals who all have a community of interest with regard to the category of work they perform. One of the union’s main responsibilities is to collectively bargain the wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment of its members.   A union acts as the represented employees exclusive agent for these purposes.  In order for the union to become your exclusive representative, a sufficient number of employees must show an interest in being represented.

Q. What is a Bargaining Unit?

A. A bargaining unit is a collective group of individuals who all have a community of interest with regard to the category of work they perform who are (under U.S. law) represented by a single labor union in collective bargaining and other dealings with management.

Q. What does it mean to be exclusively represented?

A. If through the representation process, the union represents you, it also represents all employees in the same or similar job classification throughout Dimensions Healthcare System.  The union has the authority and the exclusive right to negotiate with Dimensions Healthcare System management on the amount of wages, benefits, among other things, the employees will receive and the working conditions the employee will be subject to work under.

Q. What is a Collective Bargaining Agreement?

A. A collective bargaining agreement is an agreement setting forth the terms and conditions of employment for union members that have been negotiated for by the Union and the Employer.  A collective bargaining agreement or CBA will usually include information about wages, working hours, training, health and safety, the procedures for filing grievances and arbitrations, the rights and responsibilities of the Union, and other general information pertaining to a union member’s rights.

Q. What is a Grievance?

A. A grievance is any unsettled complaint by a union member, the bargaining unit, or the Union, on behalf of a class of grieving employees, regarding a misinterpretation, misapplication, or violation of the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Q. What is Arbitration?

A. A grievance that has been properly processed, but has not been settled through the grievance procedure, may be submitted to arbitration by the union for appeal, review and final determination an independent arbitrator.


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