Due Process Procedures
a. Performance Evaluations
AACI expects satisfactory performance and behavior from all interns. At the end of each semester, intern performance evaluations shall be prepared and conducted by the primary clinical supervisor, with input from other supervisors, and reviewed by the Internship & Training Manager. The intern will also complete a self-evaluation at the end of each semester. The primary clinical supervisor will review the evaluations with the intern. The intern can acknowledge the discussion by signing the evaluation. The intern is entitled to respond to the evaluation in writing; these comments will be attached to the original evaluation and placed in the personnel file. One copy of the completed review is given to the intern, another will be sent to the intern’s academic institution, and another is to be placed in the intern’s personnel file, which is maintained by the Internship & Training Manager.
Unresolvable conflicts that arise may be addressed through the grievance due process procedures.
b. Definition of Problematic Conduct
Interns may be subject to disciplinary action for unsatisfactory work performance or misconduct, including but not limited to:
- Fraud in securing internship
- Possession of an illegal weapon
- Incompetence, inefficiency, or negligence in the performance of duties
- Under the influence of alcohol while on duty or while representing AACI
- Taking, possessing, being under the influence of, or offering for sale any controlled substance while on the job, as defined in the California Health Safety Code, Division 10 and the Uniform Substance Act of 1973
- Addiction to or the use of any controlled substance which affects job performance
- Unauthorized absence for more than three days
- Persistent refusal to carry out policies and procedures
- Disgraceful personal conduct
- Use of official position for personal advantage
- Conduct reflecting discredit to AACI
- Falsification of records
- Conversion of or taking any property for the benefit of or use by any intern, employee any other person
- Failure to disclose a conflict of interest
- Unlawful harassment
Intern disciplinary determinations concerning inappropriate or unprofessional conduct will require both notice and a hearing.
If an intern’s performance is below standard level, or an incident of misconduct occurs, the supervisor will discuss the issues directly and promptly with the intern. The intern will receive a verbal warning from their primary clinical supervisor of the concern that has been raised about their conduct.
If concerns about the intern’s conduct continue to be an issue, the intern will receive a written warning from their primary clinical supervisor. A copy of this notice will be given to the Internship & Training Manager and placed in the intern’s personnel file. A written warning to the intern formally acknowledges:
- that the Internship & Training Manager is aware of and concerned about the performance rating
- that the concern has been brought to the attention of the intern
- that the primary clinical supervisor and the Internship & Training Manager will work with the intern to rectify the problem or skill deficits
- that the behaviors associated with the rating are not significant enough to warrant more serious action
If appropriate, a written action plan with a reasonable timeline for improving performance will be accorded and signed by the intern. The Internship & Training Manager will meet with the intern and his/her supervisor to develop the written corrective action plan, which will include:
- a description of the intern’s unsatisfactory performance
- actions needed by the intern to correct the unsatisfactory behavior
- the timeline for correcting the problem
- what action will be taken if the problem is not corrected
- notification that the intern has the right to request a review of this action
The written corrective action plan may also include:
- Schedule Modification – a time-limited, remediation-oriented closely supervised period of training designed to return the intern to a more fully functioning state. Modifying a intern’s schedule is an accommodation made to assist the intern in responding to personal reactions to environmental stress, with the full expectation that the intern will complete the internship. This period will include more closely scrutinized supervision conducted by the regular supervisor in consultation with the Internship & Training Manager. Several possible and perhaps concurrent courses of action may be included in modifying a schedule. These include:
- increasing the amount of supervision, either with the same or other supervisors
- change in the format, emphasis, and/or focus of supervision
- recommending personal therapy
- reducing the intern’s clinical or other workload
- requiring additional specific training
The length of a schedule modification period will be determined by the Internship & Training Manager in consultation with the primary clinical supervisor and the Director of Mental Health Programs. The termination of the schedule modification period will be determined, after discussions with the intern, by the Internship & Training Manager in consultation with the primary supervisor and the Director of Mental Health Programs.
- Suspension of Direct Service Activities – If it is determined that the welfare of the intern’s clients is being jeopardized, direct service activities will be suspended for a specified period as determined by the Internship & Training Manager in consultation with the primary clinical supervisor. At the end of the suspension period, the primary clinical supervisor in consultation with the Internship & Training Manager will assess the intern’s capacity for effective functioning and determine when direct service can be resumed.
If the Internship & Training Manager determines that there has not been sufficient improvement in the intern’s behavior to remove the modified schedule or suspension, then the Internship & Training Manager will discuss with the primary clinical supervisor and the Director of Mental Health Programs possible courses of action to be taken. The Internship & Training Manager will communicate in writing to the intern that the conditions for revoking the probation or modified schedule have not been met.
This notice will include the course of action the Internship & Training Manager has decided to implement. These may include continuation of the remediation efforts for a specified period or implementation of another alternative. Additionally, the Internship & Training Manager will communicate to the Director of Mental Health Programs that if the intern’s behavior does not change, the intern will not successfully complete the internship.
If further remediation is required, a hearing will be scheduled within two weeks of the request. The Training Committee, which is composed of the Director of Mental Health Programs, the Internship & Training Manager and two (2) Mental Health Clinical Supervisors, will determine further action based upon the intern’s rectification of the problem or failure to progress.
One of the following decisions will be made after the hearing:
- A recommendation to lengthen the time the intern has been given to improve performance or rectify problematic conduct.
- A recommendation for Administrative Leave, the temporary withdrawal of all responsibilities and privileges in the agency. If the probation period, suspension of Direct Service Activities, or administrative leave interferes with the successful completion of the training hours needed for completion of the internship, this will be noted in the intern’s file and the intern’s academic program will be informed. The Internship & Training Manager will inform the intern of the effects the administrative leave will have on the intern’s stipend and benefits.
- A recommendation to dismiss the intern from the program. Dismissal from the Internship involves the permanent withdrawal of all agency responsibilities and privileges, when specific interventions do not, after a reasonable period, rectify the impairment and the intern seems unable or unwilling to alter his/her behavior. When a intern has been dismissed, the Internship & Training Manager will communicate to the intern’s academic department that the intern has not successfully completed the internship.
Either administrative leave or dismissal would be invoked in cases of severe violations of the APA Code of Ethics, or when imminent physical or psychological harm to a client is a major factor, or the intern is unable to complete the internship due to physical, mental, or emotional illness.
A intern may choose to appeal any decision made at the hearing. If the intern chooses to appeal, it must be presented to the Internship & Training Manager no later than ten (10) working days after the hearing. Appeals should address the reasons why the intern thinks the decision was inappropriate and should specify the outcome sought. A second hearing with the Training Committee will then take place within five (5) working days of receipt of the appeal. The intern reserves the right to present all evidence supporting his/her case, and the Training Committee will review the request for appeal together with any written supporting documents to determine if the appeal presents a substantial question within the scope of review. The scope of review shall be limited to the following:
- Appropriateness of Termination: In cases appealing the appropriateness of termination, the appeal board shall uphold termination unless termination is shown to be clearly unreasonable (i.e., that which has been clearly and fully proven to have no sound basis or justification in reason).
- New Evidence: In cases appealed on grounds of new evidence, the intern must show that such evidence could not have been discovered by due diligence prior to the original hearing.
- Due Process: In cases appealed on the grounds of denial of due process, the moving party must show that the adjudicatory process of the initial hearing was not conducted in conformity with properly prescribed procedures.
The Training Committee will decide at the end of the hearing to either uphold or abdicate the original decision. Once a final decision has been made, the intern and the intern’s doctoral program will be informed in writing of the decision.
II.Due Process for Intern Grievance of Supervision or Training
It is the intent of AACI to provide every reasonable opportunity for an intern to discuss any subject matter with members of management and to provide prompt solutions to work-related problems. Management is to provide the opportunity to discuss a suggestion or problem with an intern at any reasonable time.
Any intern who has a work-related concern or problem concerning conditions of the internship should use the following steps toward obtaining an answer, solution or decision to the problem as soon as the problem arises.
Trainees/interns will not be disciplined in any way for using the grievance procedure described below:
- The intern should first discuss the issue with the immediate supervisor. Every effort should be made to find an acceptable solution.
- If the intern is dissatisfied with the outcome, he/she may submit a formal written grievance to the Internship & Training Manager within five (5) working days of the last informal meeting. The written notice should specify the basis for the grievance, the results of the informal discussions with the immediate supervisor, and the specific action requested to remedy the grievance. If the Internship & Training Manager is the focus of the complaint, the written notice should be submitted to the Director of Mental Health Programs.
The Internship & Training Manager shall meet with the Grievant and all other individuals named in the grievance, review the issues thoroughly, and respond in writing within five (5) working days after the meeting.
If the intern is dissatisfied with the Internship & Training Manager’s response, he/she may file a Notice of Appeal with the Training Committee within ten (10) working days of receiving the Internship & Training Manager’s decision. The Training Committee consists of the Director of Mental Health Programs, Internship & Training Manager and two (2) Mental Health Clinical Supervisors. If any of these parties is the focus of the complaint, that person shall not participate in the Training Committee’s deliberation process.
Within ten (10) working days from receipt of the Notice, the Training Committee shall set a date for a hearing. The Training Committee shall hear the appeal during the hearing, which is open only to the Grievant, the Internship & Training Manager, and his/her representative. The Training Committee shall establish procedures that are considered necessary to conduct the hearing. The Training Committee shall review any pertinent written materials, and shall elicit testimony from the Grievant, his/her immediate supervisor, Internship & Training Manager, and/or others as appropriate.
The Training Committee has authority to sustain, modify, or rescind a specific personnel action, or require management to take any action deemed appropriate. The Training Committee shall notify the parties of its final decision in writing within ten (10) working days after conclusion of the hearing.
The decision of the Training Committee shall be final and binding on the intern and the Agency.
All timelines in these Grievance Procedures may be extended by mutual consent in writing of the Grievant and management or the Training Committee.
No intern shall suffer reprisal or retaliation for filing a grievance.