This is a template - a guide to assist a manager in preparing for an investigative interview. It is to be adapted to the situation before the interview by the supervisor using Word. It can then be further adapted during the interview, either in pen or Word.
If the employee is a bargaining-unit employee and the employee requests union representation, you must obtain the certified steward for that work location. If that union steward is not available, reschedule the interview until they, or the union’s alternative is available. To avoid delays in interviewing the employee, check union steward availability prior to scheduling the interview. Click here to see Weingarten Rules for Supervisors. Non bargaining-unit employees may also request representation during investigative questioning if the employee has a reasonable belief disciplinary action may ensue. These employees have a free choice of representation, subject to conflict of interest rules. Click to see ELM §651.2. and read ELM §650, generally. If the employee refuses to discuss the matter, advise them that they must cooperate in any postal investigation, click to see ELM §665.3. Advise them that their failure to explain their side of the story will mean that you will be unable to consider whatever they might have to say when you are making a decision as to whether disciplinary action may be appropriate. Even if the employee refuses to answer one question, continue to ask each question and note in the response that the employee refused to answer.
Attendance issues range from AWOL to tardiness so exact questions on this template must be created by the manager conducting the interview. It is important to review each individual instance of questionable leave that you have set out below in the worksheet. You may have to explain that they were approved for pay purposes, but nonetheless fail to meet our attendance rules or standards.
Be sure to exclude from consideration any leave for which Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was approved or should have been approved. One line of questioning may be to clarify which leave is subject to FMLA. Determine through eRMS and medical documentation provided whether the employee is entitled to FMLA protection for any of the absences. Discipline cannot be issued for FMLA-protected absences. Click for ELM §515. For further guidance, contact the FMLA Coordinator or Labor Relations.
Gather the Forms 3971, 3972, applicable TACS reports, any 5-day letters, and/or medical documentation and use the questions below to discuss the dates that the employee was late, absent, called-in sick, AWOL, etc. Keep these documents with you for the interview and be prepared to share them with the employee. Be sure to include them in the file that will be sent to the Labor Relations Office for filing.
Remember that to see the complete attendance picture, a Form 3972 will usually need to be reviewed for about a 12-month period surrounding the questionable absences.
Delete this page from the completed Investigative Interview that you will submit. Interviewer _____________________________________________
Employee Interviewed _____________________________________________
Date/Time of Interview _____________________________________________
Others Present _____________________________________________
Location of Interview _____________________________________________
Notes on Employee Behavior and/or Body Language
Explain that there are questions regarding their attendance and that information will be shared with them for their response.
Check here when you inform the employee that “This is an Investigative Interview and the information discussed may lead to disciplinary action.”
QUESTIONABLE ATTENDANCE WORKSHEET
For periods of absence of 3 days or less, supervisors may accept the employee's statement explaining the absence. Medical documentation or other acceptable evidence of incapacity for work or need to care for a family member is required only when the employee is on restricted sick leave (see 513.39) or when the supervisor deems documentation desirable for the protection of the interests of the Postal Service. Substantiation of the family relationship must be provided if requested.
ELM §513.362 Over Three Days
For absences in excess of 3 days, employees are required to submit medical documentation or other acceptable evidence of incapacity for work or of need to care for a family member and, if requested, substantiation of the family relationship.
ELM §513.363 Extended Periods
Employees who are on sick leave for extended periods are required to submit at appropriate intervals, but not more frequently than once every 30 days, satisfactory evidence of continued incapacity for work or need to care for a family member unless some responsible supervisor has knowledge of the employee's continuing situation.
ELM §513.364 Medical Documentation or Other Acceptable Evidence
When employees are required to submit medical documentation, such documentation should be furnished by the employee's attending physician or other attending practitioner who is performing within the scope of his or her practice. The documentation should provide an explanation of the nature of the employee's illness or injury sufficient to indicate to management that the employee was (or will be) unable to perform his or her normal duties for the period of absence. Normally, medical statements such as "under my care" or "received treatment" are not acceptable evidence of incapacitation to perform duties. Supervisors may accept substantiation other than medical documentation if they believe it supports approval of the sick leave request.
ELM §513.365 Failure to Furnish Required Documentation
Employees are required to be regular in attendance. Failure to be regular in attendance may result in disciplinary action, including removal from the Postal Service.
ELM §665.42 Absence without Permission
Employees who fail to report for duty on scheduled days, including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, are considered absent without leave except in cases where actual emergencies prevent them from obtaining permission in advance. In emergencies, the supervisor or proper official must be notified of the inability to report as soon as possible. Satisfactory evidence of the emergency must be furnished later. An employee who is absent without permission or who fails to provide satisfactory evidence that an actual emergency existed will be placed in a nonpay status for the period of such absence. The absence may be the basis for disciplinary action. However, once the employee provides management with notice of the need for leave in accordance with Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)-required time frames, and the absence is determined to be FMLA protected, the employer must change the AWOL to approved FMLA-LWOP, and delete the AWOL status from the record.
Investigative Interview Template: Attendance Chicago Labor Relations Office, Rev. 11/24/2008