238 – Separation From Employment

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Policy

This policy provides procedures for the separation from employment for all Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) personnel and ensures that all honorably and qualified retired sworn personnel and former reserve personnel desiring to carry firearms are in compliance with the applicable state and federal statutes that address the right to carry firearms.

Definitions

Former Reserve Law Enforcement Officer: A person who has served in that capacity not less than a total of fifteen years with one or more state or local law enforcement agencies.

Honorably Retired Peace Officer: A former peace officer who:

  • Previously served but is not currently serving as an elected, appointed, or employed peace officer under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 2.12, “Who Are Peace Officers,” or other law;
  • Has a Texas peace officer license and has served a cumulative total of fifteen years of full-time service as a peace officer [TCOLE Rules, Title 37, Section 211.1 (a)(32)];
    • NOTE: An honorably retired peace officer does not carry any peace officer authority.
  • Did not retire in lieu of any disciplinary action;
  • Was eligible to retire from a law enforcement agency in this state or was ineligible to retire only as a result of an injury received in the course of the officer’s employment with the agency; and
  • Is eligible to receive a pension or annuity for service as a law enforcement officer in this state or is ineligible to receive a pension or annuity only because the law enforcement agency that employed the officer does not offer a pension or annuity to its employees.

Qualified Retired Peace Officer: A person who has served in that capacity with one agency for twenty years or more, and the officer is receiving retirement or pension benefits as a result of that service, or a person who has served in that capacity not less than ten years with one or more state or local law enforcement agencies.

Termination of Employment: An employee who has been discharged from employment due to any sustained disciplinary actions or criminal charges.

Voluntary Resignation: Any formal notice to an employer of the voluntary termination of employment by an employee or any job abandonment by an employee where he or she fails to report for duty and is absent without an excuse for more than three (3) consecutive work days.

Procedure

Voluntary Resignation from the HCSO

Separation from employment is reported on Harris County Auditor’s Form 3418, “Change in Status of Employee,” in accordance with Harris County personnel regulations. The circumstances of separation are outlined below.

When a HCSO employee wishes to resign his or her employment voluntarily, the procedures delineated below will be followed:

  1. The employee will submit a resignation letter to his or her immediate supervisor specifying the intent to resign and a specific date the resignation will become effective. Provide as much notice as possible, but the HCSO requires a minimum two-week notice. The employee shall also forward a copy of the resignation letter to the Human Resources director.
  2. Upon receipt, the immediate supervisor shall promptly forward the resignation letter through the chain of command to the bureau commander.
  3. No later than the day after the employee completes his or her last assigned shift, all HCSO uniforms and all other county-issued equipment not specifically named shall be turned in to Uniform Supply, Monday through Friday during normal business hours. The employee shall be given a receipt for all returned property.
    • NOTE: Failure to turn in all county-issued equipment will delay receipt of the employee’s final paycheck.
  4. The employee will provide the Human Resources Division with the receipt from Uniform Supply, his or her HCSO identification card, magnetic facility access card, and, if applicable, the HCSO-issued badge and mini badge.
    • NOTE: Employees will reimburse Harris County for lost or unaccounted for county or HCSO-issued equipment. Lost or stolen equipment must be reported by the employee, and a copy of the incident report will be submitted to the Human Resources director.
  5. After the employee has accounted for all issued equipment, he or she will be requested to complete an exit interview.
  6. The employee will proceed to the payroll section to sign the appropriate paperwork for disposition of accumulated funds with the Harris County District Retirement System and to ensure proper closure of the employee’s accounts so that the final paycheck may be processed. The payroll section is open Monday through Friday during normal business hours.

The procedures as outlined above apply to all personnel regardless of rank or assignment.

Discharge from the HCSO

An employee whose employment is terminated will be discharged in accordance with HCSO regulations, Harris County regulations, and Civil Service regulations.

With Less Than One Year of Service: An employee with less than one year of creditable service who is discharged shall not be allowed severance pay or allowance for unused vacation in accordance with Harris County personnel regulations.

With One Or More Years of Service: An employee with one or more years of creditable service who is discharged shall be allowed two (2) weeks’ severance pay or allowance for unused vacation, whichever is greater. An employee on leave of absence or who has not received pay during the current year will not be entitled to pay for his or her unused vacation in accordance with Harris County personnel regulations.

Retirement from the HCSO

When a HCSO employee becomes eligible for retirement, the procedures delineated below will be followed:

  1. The employee shall contact the retirement section of the Harris County Auditor’s Office to confirm his or her true retirement eligibility status. Prior to the employee’s last day of work, an appointment should be made with that office to sign proper retirement paperwork.
  2. The employee will submit a retirement letter to his or her immediate supervisor specifying the intent to retire and a specific date the retirement will become effective. Provide as much notice as possible, but the HCSO requires a minimum of thirty days written notice or two weeks’ notice with approval by the Sheriff or chief deputy. The employee shall also forward a copy of the retirement letter to the Human Resources director.
  3. Upon receipt, the immediate supervisor shall promptly forward the retirement letter through the chain of command to the bureau commander.
  4. At least two weeks prior to the employee’s last assigned shift, he or she will report to the Human Resources Division to have photographs taken. The photographs will be used to prepare the retirement identification card. If there will be a retirement ceremony, the bureau supervisor shall arrange to retrieve the retirement badge and identification card the day before the ceremony. If a ceremony is not planned, the employee shall make arrangements with the Human Resources Division to exchange his or her current badge and identification card for the retirement credentials on his or her last day of work.
  5. No later than the day after the employee completes his or her last assigned shift, all HCSO uniforms and all other county-issued equipment not specifically named shall be turned in to Uniform Supply, Monday through Friday during normal business hours. The employee shall be given a receipt for all returned property.
    • NOTE: Failure to turn in all county-issued equipment will delay receipt of the employee’s final paycheck.
  6. The employee will provide the Human Resources Division with the receipt from Uniform Supply, the HCSO identification card, magnetic facility access card, and, if applicable, the HCSO-issued badge and mini badge.
    • NOTE: Employees will reimburse Harris County for lost or unaccounted for county or HCSO-issued equipment. Lost or stolen equipment must be reported by the employee, and a copy of the incident report will be submitted to the Human Resources director.
  7. After the employee has accounted for all issued equipment, he or she will be requested to complete an exit interview.
  8. The employee will proceed to the payroll section to sign the appropriate paperwork for disposition of accumulated funds with the Harris County District Retirement System and to ensure proper closure of the employee’s accounts so that the final paycheck may be processed. The payroll section is open Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
  9. The procedures as outlined above apply to all personnel regardless of rank or assignment. For additional information, refer to the Harris County personnel regulations.

Retired Sworn Personnel

Upon initial separation from the HCSO, former reserve, honorably retired, and qualified retired sworn personnel may be issued a photographic departmental identification card by Human Resources indicating their retirement status. Identification issued by the HCSO shall contain the language: “The holder qualifies for the right to carry a firearm under Texas Penal Code Section 46.15 (a)(5) and Federal Law, 18 U.S.C.A §926C.”

Leave of Absence from the HCSO

When a HCSO employee needs a leave from employment, the procedures delineated below will be followed:

  1. The employee will submit a letter requesting a leave from employment to his or her immediate supervisor specifying the effective leave date, the anticipated return date, and the circumstances which relate to the employee’s situation. Provide as much notice as possible, but the HCSO requires a minimum two-week notice on a non-emergency basis. The employee shall also forward a copy of the leave request to the Human Resources director.
  2. Upon receipt, the immediate supervisor shall promptly forward the leave from employment request through the chain of command to the bureau commander. The bureau commander shall submit his or her recommendation of approval or disapproval to the Human Resources director.
  3. If the request for leave from employment is approved, no later than the day after the employee completes his or her last assigned shift before commencing leave, all HCSO uniforms and all other county-issued equipment not specifically named shall be turned in to Uniform Supply, Monday through Friday during normal business hours. The employee shall be given a receipt for all returned property.
    • NOTE: Failure to turn in all county-issued equipment will delay receipt of the employee’s final paycheck.
  4. The employee will report to the Human Resources Division to sign the official leave of absence paperwork. The employee will provide the Human Resources Division with the receipt from Uniform Supply and turn in his or her issued HCSO identification card, magnetic facility access card, and, if applicable, the HCSO-issued badge and mini badge.
    • NOTE: Employees will reimburse Harris County for lost or unaccounted for county or HCSO-issued equipment. Lost or stolen equipment must be reported by the employee, and a copy of the incident report will be submitted to the Human Resources director.
  5. To return to duty, the employee must submit a written request to the Human Resources director stating the exact date of return. The request should be received in that office at least two weeks prior to the date of return. Failure to do so could alter or permanently suspend a return to active status. The employee will provide a copy of the request to return to duty to his or her bureau commander.
  6. If the employee is on inactive duty for more than fifteen weeks (600 hours), regardless of the reason, he or she will be required to demonstrate successfully proficiency for the active position last held by the employee before he or she will be allowed to return to duty. The proficiency testing will be coordinated through Human Resources.
  7. If the end of the allotted leave expiration date nears, and the employee is not prepared to return to duty, the employee must submit in writing a resignation letter to his or her bureau commander with a copy to the Human Resources director.

The procedures as outlined above apply to all personnel regardless of rank or assignment. A leave of absence may not extend beyond 180 days.

Military Leave of Absence

When a HCSO employee requests a military leave of absence, the procedures delineated below will be followed:

  1. The employee will submit a letter requesting military leave from employment to his or her immediate supervisor specifying the effective leave date, the anticipated return date, and include a copy of the military orders. Provide as much notice as possible, but the HCSO requires a minimum two-week notice on a non-emergency basis. The employee shall also forward a copy of the request for military leave to the Human Resources director.
  2. Upon receipt, the immediate supervisor shall promptly forward the request for military leave through the chain of command to the bureau commander.
  3. If the military leave is for a period longer than fourteen (14) consecutive days, then no later than the day after the employee completes his or her last assigned shift before commencing the leave, all HCSO uniforms and all other county-issued equipment not specifically named shall be turned in to Uniform Supply. The employee shall be given a receipt for all returned property.
    • NOTE: Failure to turn in all county-issued equipment will delay receipt of the employee’s final paycheck.
  4. The employee will report to the Human Resources Division to sign the official military leave paperwork. If the leave is for longer than fourteen (14) consecutive days, then the employee will also provide the Human Resources Division with the receipt from Uniform Supply and turn in his or her issued HCSO identification card, magnetic facility access card, and the HCSO-issued badge and mini badge.
    • NOTE: Employees will reimburse Harris County for lost or unaccounted for county or HCSO-issued equipment. Lost or stolen equipment must be reported by the employee, and a copy of the incident report will be submitted to the Human Resources director.
  5. If returning to active duty from an extended military leave (i.e., extended tour due to partial or total mobilization of the reserve components of the armed forces of the United States), the employee must submit a written request to the Human Resources director stating the exact date of return. The request should be received in that office at least two weeks prior to the date of return. Failure to do so could alter or permanently suspend a return to active status. The employee will provide a copy of the request to return to duty to his or her bureau commander.
  6. If the employee is on inactive duty for more than fifteen weeks (600 hours), regardless of the reason, he or she will be required to demonstrate successfully proficiency for the active position last held before the employee is allowed to return to duty. The proficiency testing will be coordinated through Human Resources.

If the end of the allotted leave expiration date nears, and the employee is not prepared to return to duty, the employee must submit in writing the following:

  1. Request for an extension of the current leave, specifying the beginning and the ending date. This request must be submitted to the Human Resources director.
  2. A resignation letter to his or her bureau commander with a copy to the Human Resources director.

The procedures as outlined above apply to all personnel regardless of rank or assignment. A leave of absence may not extend beyond 180 days.

Family Leave of Absence

When a HCSO employee requests a family leave of absence, the procedures delineated below will be followed:

  1. The employee will request the proper application for family leave from the Human Resources Division and will return the application upon completion.
    • NOTE: The application must also be signed by the caregiver. Provide as much notice as possible, but the HCSO requires a minimum thirty-day notice on a non-emergency basis.
  2. The Human Resources director will be responsible for notifying the employee’s bureau commander of the request for family leave and the disposition of the request.
  3. Upon approval of the request for family leave, no later than the last day after completing his or her assigned shift, the employee will turn in all HCSO uniforms and all other county-issued equipment not specifically named to Uniform Supply. The employee shall be given a receipt for all returned property.
    • NOTE: Failure to turn in all county-issued equipment will delay receipt of the employee’s final paycheck.
  4. The employee will report to the Human Resources Division to sign the official family leave paperwork. The employee will provide the Human Resources Division with the receipt from Uniform Supply and turn in his or her issued HCSO identification card, magnetic facility access card, and, if applicable, the HCSO-issued badge and mini badge.
    • NOTE: Employees will reimburse Harris County for lost or unaccounted for county or HCSO-issued equipment. Lost or stolen equipment must be reported by the employee, and a copy of the incident report will be submitted to the Human Resources director.
  5. When returning to duty from family leave, the employee must submit a written request to the Human Resources director stating the exact date of return. The request should be received in that office at least two weeks prior to the date of return. Failure to do so could alter or permanently suspend a return to active status. The employee will provide a copy of the request to return to duty to his or her bureau commander.
  6. If the employee is on inactive duty for more than fifteen weeks (600 hours), regardless of the reason, he or she will be required to demonstrate successfully proficiency for the active position last held before the employee is allowed to return to duty. The proficiency testing will be coordinated through Human Resources.

If the end of the allotted leave expiration date nears, and the employee is not prepared to return to duty, the employee must submit in writing the following:

  1. Request for an extension of the current leave, specifying the beginning and the ending date. This request must be submitted to the Human Resources director.
  2. A resignation letter to his or her bureau commander with a copy to the Human Resources director.

The procedures as outlined above apply to all personnel regardless of rank or assignment. A leave of absence may not extend beyond 180 days.

Job Abandonment

An employee who fails to report for duty and is absent without excuse for more than three (3) consecutive work days and who, during such absence, does not contact his or her supervisors concerning the basis for the absence or when he or she intends to return to work, may be considered to have abandoned his or her employment with the HCSO. The determination that an employee has abandoned his or her employment with the HCSO shall be made by the employee’s bureau commander or designee. Such determination shall be made on an individual basis, taking into account the length of the absence, the employee’s efforts (if any) to contact his or her supervisors, and any information confirming the employee’s intent to abandon his or her employment (e.g., evidence that the employee is employed somewhere else).

After an employee is determined to have abandoned his or her employment, the bureau commander or designee shall send a written notice to the employee, by both certified and regular U.S. mail to the employee’s last known address, informing the employee of such determination and that the employee’s job abandonment will be considered by the HCSO as a voluntary resignation. The employee shall also be informed in the written notice that as a consequence of having abandoned employment, he or she may not be eligible for re-employment by the HCSO.

In lieu of the resignation letter required of an employee who is voluntarily resigning, a copy of the written notice of job abandonment from the bureau commander or designee to the employee shall be forwarded to the Human Resources director.

Revision

This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

April 21, 2009

December 28, 2016

June 28, 2018

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