It is important to understand the correct terms to describe the movement of an employee to a new job or position. During the grievance procedure, the meanings and applications of the terms “transfer,” “reassignment,” and “demotion” can be confusing. The Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) is charged with setting out employment rules as well as defining them. The current DHRM rules can be found at http://www.dhrm.utah.gov.
DHRM Rule R477-1(109): An action not mandated by management moving an employee from one job or position to another job or position with an equal or lesser salary range maximum for which the employee qualifies. A transfer may include a decrease in actual wage.
Typically, a transfer is at the request of the employee and not the agency. However, an agency may offer another position to an employee. The employee ultimately makes the decision whether to accept the offer. The DHRM rule explains that in transferring positions, the agency may decrease an employee’s actual wage.
DHRM Rules R477-1(98): An action mandated by management moving an employee from one job or position to a different job or position with an equal or lesser salary range maximum for administrative reasons. A reassignment may not include a decrease in actual wage except as provided in federal or state law.
This rule offers agencies a way of moving an employee to another job position without having to defend its action in a demotion grievance. The key here is that the movement must not include a decrease in actual wage. A decrease in the employee’s actual wage would be classified as a demotion.
DHRM Rule R477-1(32): A disciplinary action resulting in a reduction of an employee’s current actual wage.
A demotion involves disciplinary action and therefore must be preceded by a Notice of Intent to Discipline. This sets out the “just cause” for the action. In cases where an employee is being disciplined, employees have the right to addresses the issue(s) set forth in the notice through the Grievance Procedure. To learn more about the disciplinary action and the Grievance Procedure, check the Utah Code, Chapter 19a, beginning at Section 67-19a-101.