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Due Process and Grievance Procedures

Due Process Procedures are implemented in situations in which a supervisor, faculty member, or other staff member raises a concern about the functioning of a psychology doctoral intern.  It ensures that decisions made by the training program regarding interns are not arbitrary, subjectively biased, or otherwise unfair.  It requires that the training program establish procedures which are applied equally to all interns and provide clear procedures to appeal to the training program’s actions. These procedures are a protection of intern rights and are implemented in order to afford the intern with every reasonable opportunity to remediate problems and to receive support and assistance.  These procedures are not intended to be punitive. 

 General due process guidelines include:

1.     Presenting in writing at the outset of the training year the general rights, responsibilities, service, and performance requirements for interns as outlined in the Psychology Internship Training Manual.

2.     Providing formal written evaluation at standard interim and final points in the training sequence, with provisions for intern response.

3.     Using input from multiple professional sources when making decisions or recommendations regarding the intern’s performance and/or behavior.

4.     Delineating the procedures and guidelines involved in making decisions regarding inadequate performance and/or problematic behavior.

5.     Coordinating all actions taken in response to major identified deficits through the SHCS Associate Director/Training Director, with review by supervisors and staff.

6.     Instituting, when appropriate, a plan for remediation for the identified inadequacies, including a time frame for required changes and consequence for not rectifying the inadequacies.

7.     Providing written procedures to the intern which describes how the intern may appeal the training program’s action. Such procedures are included in the Psychology Internship Training Manual and are made available to the intern at the outset of the training year.

8.     Ensure that interns have sufficient time to respond to any action taken by the training program.

9.     Documenting, in writing to all relevant parties, the actions taken by the training program and its rationale, with review by the SHCS Director.

10.  Communicating with the academic programs about any major concerns of interns and coordinating with them regarding how to address such issues.

 If an intern’s professional development or behavior during the internship becomes a concern, this information will be directed to the Associate Director/Training Director for discussion with the intern regarding necessary action. If discussion of the concern with the intern is sufficient, and potential action(s) can be agreed upon, no further procedures are needed. If, upon discussion with the intern, it is decided that additional feedback or action is needed, a meeting of the intern, the Associate Director/Training Director, and the intern’s supervisors will be arranged. The Director will be apprised of such circumstances and the plan of action reviewed with her. Agreement with the intern on an action may include further training in a specific area, referral to personal therapy, or an agreement regarding a specific behavior. If the concern is of sufficient gravity, the intern’s academic program will be informed. In order to ensure fair and predictable resolution of disputed issues, the following Due Process and Formal Grievance Procedures are agreed upon between all interns and professional staff.

 I. Definitions of Inadequate Performance and/or Problematic Behavior

Inadequate performance and/or problematic behavior is defined broadly as an interference in

professional functioning which is reflected in one or more of the following ways: 1) an inability and/or unwillingness to acquire and integrate professional standards into one's repertoire of professional behavior; 2) an inability to acquire professional skills in order to reach an acceptable level of competency; and/or 3) an inability to adequately manage personal stress, psychological difficulties, emotional reactions, and/or interpersonal professional relations, which interfere with personal and/or professional functioning.

Criteria that link this definition of inadequate performance and/or problematic behavior are incorporated into the competency-based evaluation forms that are completed by supervisors at regular intervals during the training year. It is a matter of supervisory judgment, with the concurrence of the Associate Director/Training Director, as to when difficulties in an intern's behavior reaches the threshold of inadequate rather than representing less serious but problematic issues. For purposes of this document, a problem distinct from being inadequate refers to aspects of an intern’s behaviors, attitudes, or character which, while of concern and requiring remediation, are perceived to be not unexpected or excessive for professionals in training. Inadequate performance and/or problematic behavior typically become identified when it includes one or more of the following characteristics:

 1.     the intern does not acknowledge, understand, or address the problem when it is identified.

2.     the problem is not merely a reflection of a skill deficit that can be rectified by academic or didactic training.

3.     the quality of services delivered by the intern is sufficiently negatively affected.

4.     the quality of professional relationships of the intern is seriously and adversely affected.

5.     the problem is not restricted to one or more minor areas of professional functioning.

6.     a disproportionate amount of attention by training personnel is required to attempt to ameliorate the consequences.

7.     the intern is unable/unwilling to carry out expected training program responsibilities; and/or.

8.     the intern's behavior does not change as a function of feedback, remediation efforts, or other corrective experiences over time.

 

Administrative Hierarchy and Definitions

California State University San Marcos SHCS’s Due Process procedure occurs in a step-wise fashion, involving greater levels of intervention as a problem increases in persistence, complexity, or level of disruption to the training program. Roles included herein are defined as follows:

Supervisor: Any faculty member who provides teaching or direct supervision in the role of primary or delegated supervisor for individual or group supervision to an intern.

Associate Director/Training Director: The supervisor who functions as the Director of Training.  She leads the internship Training Committee and serves as a voting member.

Director: The administrator who functions as the lead of Student Health and Counseling Services.  She provides direct oversight to the department.

 Initial Procedures for Responding to Inadequate Performance by an Intern

1.  If an intern’s performance is deemed as less than satisfactory or problematic by any supervisor, the Associate Director/Training Director, or Director either during a training meeting, in individual or group supervision, as “below expected level” on a midyear or final evaluation form, or if a supervisor notifies the Associate Director/Training Director in writing that an intern’s progress is less than satisfactory in:

a.     The acquisition of professional skills and competencies.

b.     Knowledge and use of professional ethical standards and/or.

c.      Appropriate management of personal concerns and issues as they relate to professional functioning.

2.   These concerns are identified before a formal University evaluation period has occurred, the following procedures will be initiated:

a. The Training Committee will meet within seven (7) working days to discuss the unsatisfactory rating and determine what action needs to be taken to address the issues reflected in the rating.

b.  The Associate Director/Training Director will meet with the intern and notify him/her that such a review occurred and that the Training Committee and Associate Director/Training Director welcome information or a written statement from the intern regarding his or her response to the unsatisfactory rating.

c.  After discussing the problem and response the intern may have submitted, the Training Committee and Associate Director/Training Director may adopt any one of the following actions or another action deemed more appropriate for a particular situation:

                     i.     Issue an “Intern Remediation Plan” that formally acknowledges in writing:

1.     That the rating has been brought to the attention of the intern.

2.     That the Training Committee is aware of and concerned about the rating.

3.     That the Training Committee will identify the appropriate person(s) to work with the intern to rectify the problem or skill deficits addressed by the rating through an additional learning plan.

4.     That the behaviors associated with the rating are not significant enough to warrant more serious action at this time.

5.     The intern will sign the acknowledgement of receipt of the Intern Remediation Plan and return original to the Associate Director/Training Director.

6.     A copy of the signed intern Remediation Plan is provided to the intern, primary supervisor, and the DCT at the intern’s home institution.

                  ii.     Place the intern on “Probation.” This status defines a relationship in which the Associate Director/Training Director and relevant supervisors actively and systematically monitor, for a specific length of time, the degree to which the intern addresses, changes, or otherwise improves the behavior(s) associated with the unsatisfactory rating. A written probation statement is given to the intern that includes:

1.     The specific behaviors associated with the unsatisfactory rating.

2.     The specific recommendations for rectifying the problem.

3.     The time frame during which the problem is expected to be rectified.

4.     The procedures designed to ascertain whether the problem has been rectified.

d.     The Associate Director/Training Director will then meet with the intern to review the action taken by the Training Committee. When the Training Committee has assigned the intern to probationary status, the intern may choose to accept the conditions outlined or may choose to appeal the action. The procedures for appealing the action are presented in the following section, Intern Appeal Process within Student Health and Counseling Services.

                       i.     If probationary status is assigned, the Associate Director/Training Director will notify the intern’s graduate program, indicating the nature of the problem, the action of the Training Committee, and the rationale for the action. The intern will receive a copy of the letter sent to the graduate program.

                        ii.     Once the Probationary Notice is issued by the Training Committee, it is expected that the status of the rating will be reviewed no later than the time limits defined in the probationary statement.

e.     If a problem or unsatisfactory rating is rectified to the satisfaction of the Training Committee, then the intern, graduate program, and other appropriate individuals will be informed and no further action will be taken.

f.       If a problem or unsatisfactory rating is not rectified to the satisfaction of the Training Committee, then the intern, graduate program, and other appropriate individuals will be informed in writing of the next steps to be taken.

g.      In special cases, the intern may be allowed to switch supervisors within SHCS.  This option would be applicable in situations in which it is believed that the intern’s difficulties are the result of a poor “fit” between the intern and supervisor and that the intern could be successful in a different supervisory relationship.  This option would require a meeting of a review panel convened by the Associate Director/Training Director and consisting of herself, the intern’s primary supervisor, and at least two other members of the Training Committee.  Additional parties who are knowledgeable about the intern’s abilities may be involved in order to inform decision making.  This meeting, if deemed necessary by the Associate Director/Training Director, will be convened within five (5) working days of the original meeting discussed in 2(a).

3.  If the Training Committee determines that there has not been sufficient improvement in the problematic area stipulated in the statement of probations, the team communicates in writing to the intern that the conditions for revoking the probation have not been met. The Training Committee may then adopt any of the following actions or another action if deemed more appropriate for a particular situation. All of the actions will be communicated by the Associate Director/Training Director to the intern in writing within five (5) work days of the determination of the Training Committee.

a.     Continue the probation for a specified period of time.

b.     Recommend suspension whereby the intern is not allowed to continue engaging in certain professional activities until there is evidence that the behavior in question has improved or will improve sufficiently. The intern’s graduate program will be notified of this recommendation for suspension.

c.      Recommend to the Director of SHCS that the intern be terminated from the training program. The intern’s graduate program and APPIC will be notified of this recommendation. 
Termination would be invoked in the following cases:

                         i.     Severe violations of the APA Code of Ethics.

                         ii.     When imminent physical or psychological harm to a client is a major factor.

d.     An intern may choose to appeal the action of the Training Committee by submitting, to the Associate Director/Training Director within 10 work days, a written notice of such appeal. The appeal should include information as to why the intern believes the actions of the Training Committee are unwarranted. Failure to submit such an appeal within 10 work days or failure to provide reasons why the actions of the Training Committee are perceived as unwarranted will be interpreted as compliance with the action of the Training Committee.

e.     Within five (5) work days of receipt of a formal appeal, the Director will implement Review Procedures as described in the next section and inform the intern of any action taken.

 

 Review Procedures

1.     When needed, a Review Panel will be convened by the Director to make a recommendation to the Director about the appropriateness of the Remediation Plan/Sanction for an intern’s problematic behavior OR to review a formal appeal filed by the trainee.

a.     The Panel will consist of three staff members (none of whom are functioning in a supervisory role for the intern) selected by the Director with recommendations from the Associate Director/Training Director and the trainee who filed the appeal. The Director will appoint a Chair of the Review Panel. If the dispute is with the Director, the responsibility to appoint the Review Panel will remain with the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs.

b.     In cases of an appeal, all parties involved have the right to hear the expressed concerns of the training program and have an opportunity to dispute or explain the behavior of concern.

c.      Related to a grievance, the intern has a right to express concerns about the training program or SHCS staff member and the SHCS program or staff has the right and responsibility to respond.

2.     Within five (5) work days, a Panel will meet to review the appeal or grievance and to examine the relevant material presented.

3.     Within five (5) work days after the completion of the review the Panel will submit a written report to the Director (or Associate Vice President of Student Affairs if the dispute is with the Director), including any recommendations for further action. Recommendations made by the Review panel will be made by majority vote if consensus cannot be reached.

4.     Within five (5) work days of receipt of the recommendation, the Director (or Associate Vice President of Student Affairs if the dispute is with the Director) will either accept or reject the Review Panel’s recommendations. If the Director (or Associate Vice President of Student Affairs if the dispute is with the Director) rejects the recommendation, the Director (or Associate Vice President of Student Affairs if the dispute is with the Director) may refer the matter back to the Panel for further deliberation and revised recommendations or may make a final decision.

5.     The Associate Director/Training Director informs the intern(s) and/or staff members involved and necessary members of the training staff of the decision and any action taken or to be taken.

6.     The DCT of the intern’s home institution is notified and the decision or any action taken or to be taken.

7.     If the intern disputes the Director’s (or Associate Vice President of Student Affairs’ if the dispute is with the Director) final decision, the trainee has the right to file a formal grievance by following steps outlined in the following section, Formal Grievance Process.

  

Formal Grievance Process

In the event that an intern does not agree with any of the aforementioned notifications, remediation, or sanctions, or with the handling of an appeal – the following grievance procedures should be followed:

 1.     The intern should file a formal grievance in writing with all supporting documents, with the Director. The intern must submit this appeal within five (5) work days from their notification of any of the above (notification, remediation or sanctions, or handling of an appeal).

2.     If the intern files a formal grievance in writing to disagree with a decision that has already been made by the Director, then that grievance is reviewed by the Director in consultation with the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. The Director will determine if the original decision is upheld.

3.     In the event that the above procedures are exhausted, and the grievance cannot be resolved in house, the grievance procedures highlighted in Article 10, of the California Faculty Association 2014-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement, http://www.calstate.edu/hr/employee-relations/bargaining-agreements/contracts/cfa/2014-2017/article10.pdf will be activated.

4.     At any point in the review procedures or appeals process, the intern can initiate the CBA grievance procedure given in (b) above.