My InfoAssociation of Part-Time Professors of the University of Ottawa

Article 6 : discipline and discharge

6.1 A member may be disciplined only for just, reasonable, and sufficient cause. Such disciplinary action shall be fair, reasonable, commensurate with the seriousness of the violations, and based on the principle of progressive discipline.


  • The Employer accepts the concept of progressive discipline. In this context, the Employer shall warn an employee in writing that discipline may follow the repetition of the act or omission complained of or the failure of the employee to bring her/his work up to a reasonable standard by a given date. Such date shall allow the employee reasonable opportunity to correct the problem(s) referred to in the letter of warning.
  • The decision to send a letter of warning will not be considered as discipline and will be not used for current or future employment decisions.
  • Notwithstanding the preceding, it is understood that the Employer retains the right to discipline a member for just cause without having first issued a letter of warning.

6.3 Notwithstanding 6.1 and 6.2, in exceptional circumstances, the Employer retains the right to discipline a member for just cause without having first issued progressive discipline. In such cases, the Employer must take reasonable steps to consult with the Association prior to the imposition of such discipline. It is further understood that the Employer is not precluded by this Article from relying on and introducing as evidence at any stage of the grievance and arbitration process the member's previous disciplinary record related to the alleged offense.

6.4 There are three (3) steps in the progressive discipline process:

  • a letter of reprimand which includes detailed reasons for the expected improvements by the member in a given time;
  • suspension without pay;
  • dismissal for cause.

6.5 Prior to imposing discipline, the dean or her/his designate, where appropriate:

  • shall notify the employee in writing of the time and place of a meeting to discuss the matter and shall advise the employee of her/his right to APTPUO representation at that meeting;
  • shall, where the discharge or the suspension without pay of the employee is being considered, delay the imposition of discipline for seven (7) calendar days (pro-rated for sessions other than Autumn/Winter but not less than three (3) working days), on request of the employee.

It is agreed that the Employer has the right in exceptional circumstances to suspend an employee with pay during the period of its consideration of the matter, including the delay in 6.5 (ii), and prior to the imposition of any other discipline.

6.6 Disciplinary letters and related documentation shall be removed from the employee's personnel file after twenty-four (24) months.

6.7 A complaint is receivable and can be reviewed by the Dean only if it meets the following conditions:

  • it is a written complaint setting out the facts alleged against the member;
  • the complaint is signed and dated by the author or authors;
  • the alleged facts do not date back more than twelve (12) months prior to the Dean receiving the complaint.
  • However, this excludes complaints about harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and sexual violence.

  • A complaint sent by email is considered as signed.

6.8 Where a dean, or his/her delegate, receives an unsolicited signed complaint, in accordance with 6.7, by a student against a member and determines that further action is required, the dean or his/her delegate shall forward a copy of the complaint to the member after having removed, if possible under the circumstances, the sections of the complaint which could lead to an identification of the author of the complaint.

6.9 Where the dean forwards a complaint to the member, he shall invite the member to comment on the complaint either orally or in writing within ten (10) working days. He shall also write to the member to contact his APTPUO representative. No action may be taken by the dean until a copy of the complaint has been sent to the concerned member and the ten (10) working day period has expired. After receiving comments from the member, the Dean must inform him/her of the next steps within twenty (20) working days.

6.10 If the dean determines, after the expiry of the ten (10) working day period, that further action may be required, and if the complaint concerns teaching practices, the Dean shall appoint two independent tenured professors from the same field to audit the member's course and to report on whether any action is required in light of the complaint.

6.11 The member shall not be removed from his teaching responsibilities unless the professors auditing the member's course recommend and the dean agrees that an immediate replacement is required to avoid irreparable harm to the students. In all other cases concerning teaching practices, the member shall be allowed to continue teaching until the end of the term and shall be advised of resources available at the University to improve teaching skills.

6.12 All disciplinary investigations shall be treated as confidential by the Employer, the Union and the Employee.

6.13 The Employer agrees that an employee shall not be disciplined solely for failure to perform her/his duties because she/he is arrested and/or incarcerated provided that the employee notifies her/his Supervisor of the arrest and/or incarceration and the expected duration thereof as soon as possible. The Employer, however, reserves the right to discipline an employee for just cause for failure to perform her/his duties for reasons other than arrest and/or incarceration or for activities which may have been related to or coincident with the arrest and/or incarceration. Further, it is understood that loss of salary for failure to perform scheduled duties shall not constitute discipline in the context of this article. It is also understood that no disciplinary steps will be undertaken during the time a member is seriously ill or hospitalized, provided the member has informed the chair of the illness and provided the Manager, Occupational Health, Disability and Leave, Human Resources, has received a medical certificate confirming the illness and indicating an appropriate date by which the treating physician believes the member should be able to resume her/his duties. It is understood that in the case of a grave illness, the member is not required to submit the medical certificate until this becomes possible; it is also understood that any delay in the disciplinary process due to the condition of the member’s health shall not prejudice the Employer’s right to begin or to proceed with the disciplinary process when the member is judged to be capable of returning to work.

6.14 An employee who is disciplined shall be advised in writing of the nature of the discipline, of the reasons for the disciplinary action and of her/his right to initiate a grievance and to be represented by the Union.

6.15 If an employee wishes to grieve his/her discipline, Steps 1 and 2 as set out in 4.3 shall be modified in the following manner:

  • at Step 1, the dean shall replace the chairperson;
  • at Step 2, an APTPUO Union officer shall meet with the management of Faculty Affairs.

Subject to 4.5, time limits for these steps remain as set out in 4.3.

6.16 The identity of a student complainant is privileged information and will not be disclosed under any circumstances, but where a dean has taken disciplinary action based on a written complaint and the matter is referred to arbitration, the arbitrator at the request of the APTPUO may order that the identity of the student be disclosed to him or her.

6.17 Notwithstanding 6.2, any warning or discipline shall not be used against an employee after a period of twenty-four (24) months from the date of the warning or discipline except where it can be shown that the previous warning or discipline was for conduct similar to that giving rise to the current warning or discipline.

6.18 Unless there are recognized mitigating circumstances identified in writing, when a member obtains a third consecutive evaluation with an average of 3.1 or below 3.1 for a given course, the dean may withdraw the member’s right to teach that course for one year. In such a case, the dean shall communicate this decision to the member in writing.