An appointing authority may discipline an employee for reasons related to the employee’s performance including, but not limited to:
•the employee is incompetent or inefficient in the performance of the employee’s duty;
•the employee is an individual with a disability who with a reasonable accommodation cannot perform the essential functions of the position; or
•the employee is not currently qualified for the position.
The disciplinary procedure for performance-related reasons is outlined in COMAR 17.04.05.03, and closely parallels the provisions of SPP § 11-106. The MOU has also added additional requirements. Before imposing discipline for performance-related reasons, the appointing authority shall:
(1) Investigate the employee’s performance, including the most recent performance appraisal;
(2) Notify the employee in writing of the deficiency, and provide an explanation of the employer’s position. The written notice must include specific instances of unacceptable behavior on which the proposed action is based, the performance standards or behavioral elements involved in each specification of unacceptable performance, and a description of the efforts made by the employer to assist the employee in improving performance;
(3) Meet with the employee to hear the employee’s explanation, unless the employee is unavailable or unwilling to meet; and,
(4) After determining the appropriate discipline, give the employee written notice of the disciplinary action to be taken, and the employee’s appeal rights, and inform the employee of the effective date of the disciplinary action.
When an employee has been given an overall rating of “unsatisfactory” on an end-of-cycle performance appraisal, the employee has 180-days from issuance of the rating to improve to the level of “satisfactory”. Failure to rate satisfactory at the end of the 180-day period shall result in the employee’s termination from State service.
In addition, an employee may be denied a pay increase (otherwise known as an “increment”) in any year if: the appointing authority has imposed the denial as a disciplinary action under Title 11, Subtitle 1 of the State Personnel and Pensions Article (SPP); or because of an extension of probation under SPP § 7-403, lack of productivity, or excessive, unexcused absenteeism. An employee may not be denied a pay increase for reasons of performance unless substantial reasons of performance were cited on the employee’s midyear or end-of-cycle performance appraisal forms.
Pursuant to the MOU Art. 19, Sec. 3, the employee must be notified in writing when an increment is being denied. This notification must identify specific incidents of unacceptable performance, including reference to the performance standards or behavioral elements, and must provide a description of what the employer will do to assist the employee and what the employee must do to improve the unacceptable performance.