Progressive Discipline

5.01     Guidelines for Disciplinary Action

To operate an organization such as the Town of Greenville Fire Department in a safe, orderly and effective manner, certain rules and regulations are necessary. The orderly direction of personnel includes the administration of discipline by supervision. It is the desire of the department to exercise a style of management that creates an attitude and organizational climate in which individuals will willingly conform to established standards and rules and regulations. Supervisors are expected to seek to build in the department a sense of personal responsibility and self-discipline. We are fortunate in the Town of Greenville Fire Department that most individuals do recognize that acceptance of some limitations on their conduct and performance is necessary to achieve their goals and the goals of the department.
An important aspect of discipline is that each individual should know what, how, and why he/she is supposed to do his/her job; he/she should know what the management policies and rules and regulations are; and he/she should be systematically instructed as to performance standards. Rules and performance standards should be fair, attainable with reasonable effort, and be consistent from job to job. The attached guidelines for disciplinary action are directed towards communicating basic, general rules and regulations and standards to all individuals.
Even under ideal conditions, some individual may occasionally violate rules and regulations, exhibit unacceptable behavior, or fail to meet performance standards. In accordance with the department's concept of positive, corrective discipline only minor warnings are assigned for minor offenses under the guidelines. For the average fire fighter such minor action is sufficient to prevent a repetition. If minor offenses occur repeatedly, the penalty becomes more severe. A very serious offense may bring immediate suspension and/or termination.
It is our belief that the guidelines for disciplinary action are fair, reasonable and attainable and will benefit fire fighters of the department and our citizenry by insuring a better work climate, fair treatment of fire fighters and an increased level of public service to the community.
Counseling, warning and reprimands are the direct responsibility of all officers in the fire department.

Counseling is a teaching process that gives fire fighters a better understanding of what their job consists of, what is expected of them as fire fighters and what they should be doing to better themselves and the fire department in their day to day activities.

Warnings are corrective measures taken for first offenses, of a minor nature, and should be sufficient to prevent a repetition.

Reprimands are given for infractions of a more serious nature.

Counseling, warnings and reprimands are to be documented, in writing, signed by a chief officer and offending party and then placed in the individuals files. Occurrence forms should be used for this purpose.

All individuals in the Town of Greenville Fire Department are members of a team working together to provide the services to which our citizenry are entitled. Any fire fighter who fails to follow the necessary rules and regulations governing job performance, attitude and conduct is not only failing to do his/her duty to the department and for the public, but is adversely affecting the image of all public service fire fighters.

Any large organization must have rules and regulations and standards of performance to insure that efficient and effective services are provided in an orderly manner. Such rules, regulations and standards are not adopted to restrict fire fighter rights, but rather to provide working guidelines which will assure fair, equitable and consistent treatment to individuals. The following guidelines for disciplinary action are structured to provide for equality of treatment in discipline. (However, in recognition of the fact that the circumstances of each infraction or occurrence may differ in many respects from the circumstances in somewhat similar situations, the department retains the right to treat each occurrence on an individual basis and without creating a precedent for other cases which may arise in the future). Examples given in any rule do not limit the generality of the rule. The guidelines for disciplinary action are not to be construed as a limitation upon the retained rights of the department but are merely a guide. The guide provides recommended penalties to apply for specific offenses. However, a more severe penalty may be issued than that which appears in the guide if it is felt necessary in the best interest of the department. It is recognized that violations of rules and regulations or standards of performance in the department and operations that affect safety, health and/or welfare of citizens may necessitate more serious disciplinary action than contained in these guidelines.

The guide is divided into five (5) levels which reflect the seriousness of the offenses. In each level and for infraction, consideration will be given to the severity of the offense, the actual or potential cost or damage involved, time interval between infractions, then length and quality of service records and any other pertinent matters. In imposing disciplinary action on a current infraction or offense, the department will not take into consideration any prior infraction of department or departmental rules which occurred more than two (2) years previously.

Minor Infractions are considered Level 1-3
Major Infractions are considered Level 4-5
Minor Infractions will be cleared from an individual’s file provided no additional infractions are accumulated during a period of one year.
Where combinations of offenses have occurred, whether at the same or different levels of offense, the department may combine the penalties in a cumulative manner, as its judgement is warranted.
Any officer or acting officer shall have the authority to immediately relieve from duty, any fire fighter in his/her unit, where said fire fighter is alleged to have committed or engaged in a major infraction of conduct or performance where the continued attendance of said fire fighter at that time shall be offensive to the public or fellow fire fighters. In such instances, it shall be the responsibility of the officer or acting officer to fully document the reasons for such action and to recommend appropriate formal action.

Description of Offenses- Offenses detailed below are ranked by their level of severity. Level one infractions being the least severe to a level five being the most severe.

LEVEL 1 OFFENSE

  • Engaging in horseplay, scuffling, malicious mischief, conduct distracting to others and other disorderly conduct.
  • Neglecting or disregarding job duties by loafing, loitering or ignoring requests for duty assistance.
  • Unsatisfactory or careless work performance which fails to meet standards required for a Town of Greenville firefighter.
  • Creating or contributing to unsanitary conditions or poor housekeeping. 
  • Unauthorized posting or removal of bulletin board materials or department property at any time
  • Engaging in political activities while on duty or on department property.
  • Failure to report or return from an authorized Leave of Absence.
  • Failure to keep the department notified of proper address and telephone number.

LEVEL 2 OFFENSE

  • Violation of a safety rule where the violation does not endanger life, property or equipment.
  • Willful violation of written rules, regulations, procedures or policies.
  • Immoral or indecent conduct on department property while on duty.
  • Officers or acting officers who knowingly fail to take official cognizance of violations.
  • Discourtesy to persons with whom a department member come in contact with while in the performance of official duties.

LEVEL 3 OFFENSES

  • Conduct or actions which threaten the safety of department personnel, property or equipment.
  • Threatening, intimidating, coercing or interfering with fellow fire fighters or supervision at any time, including abusive language.
  • Operation, using or possessing department apparatus and equipment in a matter to which the member is not authorized and/or trained.
  • Divulging confidential department or personnel information to any unauthorized individual or organization at any time.
  • Failure to report an accident or personal injury in which the department member was involved while on the job, on the day of the accident that personal injury occurred.
  • Malingering or feigning illness or disability in order to evade the performance of duty. Leaving assigned work area during working hours without permission.
  • Leaving assigned work area during working hours without permission.

LEVEL 4 OFFENSES

  • Use, sale or being under the influence of alcohol or controlled/illegal substances while on duty. Personnel under a physician’s care and taking medication shall adhere to al instructions issued with medications.
  • Being in possession of (having on the firefighter’s person) alcohol or controlled/illegal substances while on duty or on department property. 
  • Insubordination by refusal to perform work assigned work duty, failure to comply with written/verbal instructions from and/or conduct towards officers or acting officers. 
  • Leaving assigned post before being relieved or excused by the officer in charge where operations are continuous and may affect the safety of department personnel or the public.
  • Chronic absenteeism, unauthorized and/or unexplained.
  • Unauthorized and/or unsafe use of department equipment, apparatus, or property.
  • Fighting and/or the provocation of a fight while on duty.
  • Use of department uniforms or equipment in activities on or off duty which may be seen as detrimental to or reflecting poorly on the department or the Town of Greenville.

LEVE 5 OFFENSES

  • Violating safety rules that endanger the life, health and safety of department members or the public.
  • Operating any department vehicle or apparatus while under the influence of alcohol or controlled/illegal substances at any time.
  • Deliberately sabotaging, destroying or damaging department and/or firefighter personal property at any time.
  • Theft or unauthorized removal from department locations, any department property or the property of any department employees.
  • Engaging in criminal conduct or acts of violence or making threats of violence towards anyone while on duty or when representing the department or the Town of Greenville. (Being convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the first degree as described by Wisconsin State statutes is grounds for immediate termination).
  • Unlawfully obtaining money, services, goods or consideration by use of one’s position.
  • Unauthorized possession of firearms, weapons or explosives on department property.
  • Knowingly harboring a communicable disease which may endanger other department personnel and the public without taking appropriate preventive measures and/or treatment.
  •  Knowingly falsifying personal or department records, including fire fighter applications, accident or medical records or reports, purchase orders, time sheets or any other report, record or application.
  • Destroying evidence or giving false testimony.
  • Failure to submit or provide evidence of required physical examination.

Occurrences and Guidelines

OFFENSES

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

 

LEVEL 1

Cautioning
(Reprimand)

Up to and 
possibly 
including 
2 week suspension

Up to and possibly including 2 month suspension

Up to and possibly including 3 month suspension

Up to and possibly including suspension or discharge

 

LEVEL 2

Cautioning
(Reprimand)

Up to and possibly including 2 week suspension

Up to and possibly including 1 month suspension

Up to and possibly including 3 month suspension or discharge

 

 

LEVEL 3

Up to and possibly including 2 week suspension

Up to and possibly including 1 month suspension

Up to and possibly including 3 month suspension or discharge

 

 

 

LEVEL 4

Up to and possibly including 1 month suspension

Up to and possibly including 3 month suspension or discharge

 

 

 

 

LEVEL 5

Up to and possibly including 3 month suspension or discharge