HR

PURPOSE: To establish consistent and defined policies for changes in the County's workforce (reference A).  A Decision Maker has the option to do one or more of the following: Reorganization, Reduction in Hours, Furlough, Layoff, or Job Changes.

SCOPE: This Policy and Procedure applies to all employees of Larimer County and employees of the Office of the District Attorney, Eighth Judicial District, with the exception of employees of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office pursuant to Larimer County Policy BCC P# 15A (reference C).

RESPONSIBILITY: The Human Resources Director administers this Policy.

REVISION LOCATOR:

1.   Title (was titled as Reductions in Force)
2.  Enclosure 1 (added)
3.  Reference B (was HR Policy 331.3; deleted)
4.  Reference D
5.  Purpose
6.  All Sections revised

 

POLICY AND PROCEDURE:

I.   PROCEDURE:

A.   When a Decision Maker believes it is appropriate to reorganize, make a permanent reduction in hours, conduct a furlough or layoff, they will submit a business plan to the Human Resources Director, or designee.  The business plan needs to include a general description of the proposed action, a current and proposed organizational chart, the reasons for the proposed action, the anticipated benefits and results of the proposed action, the anticipated impacts of the proposed action on the department or office's employees (reference A) and any other information deemed helpful for the review and approval process.

B.   The Human Resources Department will work with the Decision Maker to ensure compliance with County policies and applicable laws as well as provide support to the Decision Maker and any affected employees.

C.   Employees who are separated as a result of this Policy are not entitled to recall rights.  Separated employees may apply for employment when positions are posted.

II.  REORGANIZATION:

A change in the organizational structure or position changes that impact more than one employee.

III.    REDUCTION IN HOURS:

A.    The Decision Maker will determine which employees will have their work hours permanently reduced, or employees may request that their work hours be permanently reduced.  The employee, Decision Maker, and the Human Resources Director must sign a written voluntary FTE reduction agreement if the reduction is voluntary.

B.     The permanent reduction of an employee's work hours may result in a change in the affected employee's leave accruals and insurance premiums.

IV.   FURLOUGH:

A.  A temporary leave from work that is not paid for a set period of time.

  1.  An involuntary furlough is when the Decision Maker determines which employees will have their work hours reduced and may determine which workday(s) the furlough(s) will occur.
  2. A voluntary furlough is when employees may volunteer to be furloughed, and if so, may choose the furlough day(s) at the Decision Maker's approval.
  3. After receiving approval from Human Resources, the Decision Maker will ask the individual employee being furloughed to sign a furlough notice.  The Decision Maker should request this template from a Human Resources Generalist.  The approved request must be received in Human Resources no later than the deadline for Payroll paperwork.

B.  Impact on Benefits and Leave Accruals:

1.   Furloughed employees will continue to receive benefits per the Benefits Policy.  Furloughed employees should contact the Benefits staff for questions regarding required premium payments.

2.   Employees on furlough will continue to accrue leave, but are not permitted to use paid leave balances while on furlough except as needed to cover benefits premiums.

a.  If the furloughed employee is Exempt, he or she will be paid on an hourly basis during the furloughed work week(s).
b.  Furloughed employees will not perform County work during the furlough period and will not be paid a wage or salary during the hours that they are on furlough.

V.   LAYOFFS:

A.  The separation of an employee in a job that has been eliminated.

When the layoff of one or more employees is necessary, the layoff will occur in the following order:

  1. Temporary employees in the identified jobs;
  2. Probationary Regular employees in the identified jobs;
  3. Limited Term employees hired after April 18, 1990 in the identified jobs;
  4. Post-Probationary Regular employees in the identified jobs in the following order:
    a.  Employees with the least favorable performance records.  All performance evaluations, corrective actions, and disciplinary actions issued within five years prior to the proposed effective date of the layoff must be considered in making this determination.
    b.  If the evaluated performance of two or more employees is considered equal, the employee with the lowest number of years of current consecutive County service would be laid off before the employee(s) with greater seniority.  Periods of employment as a Temporary employee will not be counted.
    c.  If there are still two or more employees under consideration for layoff, the Decision Maker will see assistance from the Human Resources Director, or designee.

B.  Leave with Pay:

  1. Limited Term employees hired prior to April 18, 1990 and all post-probationary Regular employees being laid off will be offered the opportunity to enter into a legally-compliant separation agreement (reference D) with Larimer County which would include Administrative Pay.
  2. The amount of Administrative Pay is determined by the length of County service as outlined below.
    a.  An employee with three current consecutive years of County service or less will receive Administrative Pay for four weeks after the effective date of the layoff.
    b.  An employee with more than three current consecutive years of County service will receive Administrative Pay for eight weeks after the effective date of the layoff.
    c.  Periods of employment as a Temporary employee cannot be counted in determining years of service.

VI.   EMPLOYEE NOTIFICATION:

A.   Communication:

In determining when and what to communicate to employees, the Decision Maker will consult with the Human Resources Director, or designee.

B.   Written Notice:

An employee who will be affected by a reduction in hours, furlough, or layoff will receive written notice of the action.  The notification will include a statement of what has made the action necessary.  The written notice will be accompanied by a copy of this policy.

C.     Notice Period:

Unless there is a compelling business reason approved by the Human Resources Director for not giving an employee a notice period, an employee will receive a minimum of five business days advance written notice.  At the Decision Maker's discretion, the employee may continue to work or may be placed on leave with pay.  A representative from the Human Resources Department may be present at the time the affected employee receives the notice.

VII.  REEMPLOYMENT AFTER LAYOFF:

A.  If a laid-off employee is rehired within one year from the effective date of layoff, the following conditions will apply:

  1.  accrue leave at the same rate as the employee accrued leave at the time of separation; 
  2.  fully completed prior years of service may be counted for vesting purposes as provided for in the Retirement Plan Document; and
  3.  restart at the same contribution level in the County Retirement Plan prior to the layoff.

VIII. JOB CHANGES:

A.   Creation of a New Job:

1.   A draft job description must be submitted to the Human Resources Generalist by the Decision Maker or designee.  Human Resources may determine a current job description is suitable for this request.

2.   Human Resources reviews the draft job description, analyzes comparative market information, establishes internal equity, and assigns the appropriate paygrade.  Human Resources will provide the final job description to the Decision Maker or designee.

B.   Reclassification of an Existing Job:

1.   Jobs are reclassified when there are ongoing and significant changes in the employee’s job responsibilities.  Job descriptions are not intended to be all inclusive of the content of a specific job, but rather serve as a broad description of the general nature and level of the work involved.

2.   Reclassification of an existing job may be initiated through a submission of a Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) (enclosure 1) or a written request that is reviewed and approved by a Human Resources Generalist. 

a.   The PDQ must be completed by the employee and submitted to the employee’s supervisor for review and signature.  The supervisor will then forward the questionnaire to the Decision Maker or their designee for review and signature.  It is then submitted to Human Resources for review.

b.   Final reclassification decisions will be made by the Human Resources Generalist.  An appeal of the final decision may be submitted in writing to the Human Resources Director, and must include justification.  Reclassification appeals will be reviewed by the Human Resources Director and their decision will be final.

c.   An employee may not be reclassified within the first six months the employee is hired in, promoted to, or reclassified into that position. 

d.   Approved reclassifications may not be effective any earlier than the date the completed Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) was received in the Human Resources Department.

3.   Employees whose positions are under review for reclassification are not eligible for Out-of-Title Pay, unless approved by the Human Resources Director, or designee.

IX.  PROBLEM SOLVING OPTIONS:

A.   Involuntary Furloughs, Reorganizations, and Reductions in Hours:

If an employee believes there has been a violation of County policy or there has been an illegal action, the affected employee must file a Problem-Solving Request as outlined in Human Resources Policy and Procedure 331.8 (reference B).  The filing of a Problem-Solving Request does not delay the effective date(s) of the action.

B.   Layoffs:

1.   Appeal Rights:

a.   An employee may file an appeal if they believe the layoff is in violation of the County policy or is not legal by following the procedure outlined below (Section IX, B, 2).
b.   Disagreement with a Decision Maker's determination regarding organizational needs and/or utilization of resources is not grounds for an Appeal.
c.   The filing of an Appeal does not delay the effective date of a layoff.

2.   Appeal Procedure:

a.   The Appeal must be in writing and filed with the Human Resources Director or designee and a copy must be sent to the Decision Maker who initiated the layoff.
b.   Clearly state the employee's reason(s) for believing the procedures outlined in County policy were not followed or the reason for believing that the layoff was done for illegal reasons.
c.  Describe the solution the employee is seeking through the Appeal.
d.   State whether the employee requests an administrative hearing on the Appeal or review by the Human Resources Director without a hearing:
e.   Time Period for Filing:

1)   An Appeal must be filed within five business days after the employee’s receipt of the notice of layoff.  If the employee fails to file the Appeal within this time period, the Appeal will be considered untimely and a voluntary waiver of the employee's Appeal rights.
2)   The untimely filing of an Appeal may be waived if the Human Resources Director finds good cause to extend the time period.

3.   No Administrative Hearing Requested:

a.  The Human Resources Director, or designee, will review the following:

  1. The employee’s written Appeal
  2. Whether the Decision Maker's decision was reasonable and in compliance with policy.
  3. Both the employee and the Decision Maker are required to participate in this process.

b.  The Human Resources Director, or designee, will issue a written decision within a reasonable period of time.  The written decision will address all issues raised in the Appeal.

  1.  If the decision is to reverse or modify the Decision Maker's decision, the decision will outline all actions the Decision Maker must take in order to resolve the Appeal.
  2. If the decision is to affirm the Decision Maker's decision, the decision must advise the employee that the decision is final.

4.   Administrative Hearing Requested:

a.   If the employee requests a hearing, it will be conducted by a Hearing Officer selected by the County Attorney.  In addition to any other qualifications deemed necessary or appropriate by the County Manager, the Hearing Officer will have experience in conducting administrative hearings and preparing written decisions.  The Hearing Officer is authorized to make all procedural decisions relative to pre-hearing matters and conduct of the hearing.
b.   The Hearing Officer will promptly schedule the administrative hearing, giving consideration to the complexity of the issues involved and the schedules of the participants.  The Hearing Officer will make a good faith effort to schedule the hearing within 35 calendar days after receipt of the Appeal.  The participants shall be notified in writing of all matters regarding the hearing process.
c.   The participants in the hearing process include the employee, the employee's attorney, if any, the Decision Maker, the County Attorney or designee acting as the Decision Maker's representative, and any other individual deemed necessary by the Hearing Officer.
d.   The Human Resources Director or designee will be responsible for advising all participants, including the Hearing Officer, about the Appeal process and the applicable policies, procedures and rules.
e.   The employee and the Decision Maker will exchange exhibits and witness lists seven business days prior to the hearing and rebuttal exhibits and witness lists three business days prior to the hearing.  The party on whose list a witness appears will be responsible for ensuring the appearance of that witness.
f.    The employee or the County may request a prehearing conference be held by the Hearing Officer to discuss issues such as hearing procedure, witnesses and exhibits.
g.   If the County believes current County employees listed as witnesses by the employee are not necessary or so numerous as to be burdensome and/or impractical, the County may request the Hearing Officer to review the list of such County employees and determine whether attendance of that employee is required.
h.   The Colorado Administrative Procedures Act, C.R.S. 24-4-101, et seq. shall apply with respect to issuance and enforcement of subpoenas.  The Hearing Officer is authorized to sign and issue subpoenas consistent with the Act.  Upon failure of any witness to comply with such subpoena the employee or County on whose behalf the subpoena is requested, may petition any district court to compel attendance of the witness or take such other action as set forth in the Act.
i.   Neither party is entitled to formal discovery.  The County will make available appropriate records requested by the employee which are relevant to the issues raised in the Grievance.
j.   The procedures for the conduct of the hearing will be informal and the rules of evidence and civil procedure shall not be strictly applied.  All testimony will be provided under oath.  The Hearing Officer may administer oaths and receive or reject evidence and testimony.  Witnesses and exhibits will be approved based on their relevance to the issues raised in the Appeal and hearing efficiency.  Hearsay will be allowed.  The hearing will be closed to the public and witnesses will be sequestered.  The hearing will last no more than one business day, unless otherwise directed by the Hearing Officer.
k.   The scope of the hearing will be limited to a review of the reasonableness of the Decision Maker's decision and the underlying facts.  The employee will have the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence as to any disputed issue of fact and overcoming the presumption of the reasonableness of the Decision Maker’s decision.  Notwithstanding that the employee carries the burden of proof, the County will present its case first.
l.    At the hearing, the employee will appear in person, with or without an attorney.  If the employee chooses to have an attorney, it will be at the employee's expense.  If the employee chooses to be represented by an attorney, the employee must notify the Human Resources Director within five business days after the filing of the Appeal.  By entering an appearance on behalf of the employee or the County, each counsel agrees to be prepared to commence the hearing within the schedule set by the Hearing Officer.
m.    The hearing will be electronically recorded as deemed appropriate by the Hearing Officer.  Either the employee or the Decision Maker may request that the hearing be recorded and transcribed by a court reporter. The party requesting a court reporter shall be obligated to pay the reporter's fee. If the hearing is recorded by a court reporter, each party shall bear the cost of obtaining a transcript.
n.   No later than ten business days after the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall issue a two-part Decision consisting of:

1)      findings of fact; and
2)      a conclusion affirming the Decision Maker's decision, modifying the Decision Maker's decision, or reversing the Decision Maker's decision.

o.  If the Hearing Officer's decision is to reverse the Decision Maker's decision or modify the decision, the Hearing Officer may further provide for an award of appropriate remedial measures.  Such measures shall be limited to reinstatement of the employee to the employee's former job or grade/pay, payment of back wages, and reinstatement of benefits.
p.   The Hearing Officer's decision is final and not subject to further internal review or appeal.  Review of the final decision may be requested under Rule 106 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure by either party.  The employee waives any de novo judicial review of the underlying issues.

 

 

____________________________
Tom Donnelly
Chair, Board of County Commissioners
(Approved by BCC - Consent Agenda - 09/17/2019)
(Signature on original filed in Records Management)

 

Distribution:
All County Department and Elected Officials
Records Management SOP Manual (original)

 

CK/vl

 

DATE:   September 17, 2019

EFFECTIVE PERIOD:   Until Superseded

REVIEW SCHEDULE:   Every five years in July, or as needed

CANCELLATION:   Human Resources Policy and Procedure 331.7.03C; May 12, 2015

ENCLOSURE(S): 

  1. Position Description Questionnaire - LCHR-25 (03/17)

REFERENCE(S):

A.  Governing Policy Manual: Policy 3.2 - Treatment of Staff
B.  Human Resources Policy and Procedure 331.8 Corrective and Adverse Actions; Grievance Procedure; and Problem Solving Process
C.  Larimer County Policy BCC P# 15A, Sheriff’s Department Personnel Policies
D.  Human Resources Policy and Procedure 331.4, Section XVI, Separation from County Employment

courthouse-offices

Human Resources Department

200 West Oak, Suite 3200, Fort Collins, CO 80521
Monday - Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm
Ph: (970) 498-5970 | FAX: (970) 498-5980
Email Human Resources