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Progressive Discipline Policy

Where it appears appropriate and effective, the University will utilize a system of progressive discipline to address the remedy of situations where an employee demonstrates unacceptable conduct and/or performance. Under the University’s system of progressive discipline, each incident which may require disciplinary action will be examined carefully to ensure verification of facts and consistent application of corrective measures. Further, whenever reasonably feasible, an effort will be made to make certain the employee understands the rule that is involved, why the behavior is inappropriate or unacceptable, and specific changes which must be made in order to bring the employee’s conduct or performance to an acceptable level. The progressive discipline principle allows the employee to see the results of his/her actions if the problem persists and encourages the employee to develop good self-discipline habits so as to make further imposed discipline unnecessary.

Progressive discipline is not applicable in every instance where disciplinary action is warranted. Specifically, if an employee’s violation of University work rules or policies involves gross misconduct (such as actions which involve the violation of state or federal laws, actions involving workplace violence, public intoxication and/or disorderly conduct, etc), the employee may not be eligible for progressive discipline and instead will be subject to more serious disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination. Actions requiring discipline and the progression of disciplinary steps which will be followed may vary at the sole discretion of the University and will not necessarily be limited to those actions listed in this policy. Not all actions which might warrant discipline are specifically included in this policy.

The progression of steps of discipline may include any or all of the following:

  1. Counseling: Discussion by the supervisor with the employee of behavior which could result in progressive discipline. The discussion should be documented in the supervisor’s personal files but need not be filed in Human Resources.
  2. Verbal Warning: A verbal discussion between a supervisor and an employee about an employee’s failure to comply with a rule or demonstrated unacceptable conduct or performance. This is the first step in the formal disciplinary process. The supervisor must document that the meeting occurred, the subject of the meeting and the outcome of the meeting and submit the documentation to the employee’s file in Human Resources.
  3. Written Warning: A second or subsequent documentation of an ongoing disciplinary issue. Documentation goes to the employee’s file in Human Resources.
  4. Final Warning: At the point of progressive discipline that a supervisor has decided that the only possible consequence of further problems with performance or behavior is termination of employment, a Final Warning clearly stating the consequences should be issued and filed in the employee’s file in Human Resources. This is not to imply that an employee can only be terminated if a Final Warning is on file. It is simply advised to best insure that the employee clearly understands the implications of further failure to perform.
  5. Termination of Employment: This final step in the progressive disciplinary process requires both documentation of the rationale and circumstances and accompanying submission of a Personnel Action Sheet documenting the termination. Terminations require consultation with the Office of Human Resources.

    * Suspension: Suspension from work , with or without pay, is an OPTIONAL step in the disciplinary process. Suspending employees as punishment is not particularly effective nor is it encouraged by the Human Resources office. Suspension is generally called for when it is necessary to remove an employee from the work environment while decisions are being made on an appropriate progressive disciplinary step; for example, while investigating a sexual harassment complaint, as a result of an altercation between an employee and another individual, or when an employee is at work in an intoxicated state. Suspension can occur at any point in the progressive disciplinary process. Suspensions must be documented to the employee’s file in Human Resources. Salaried employees can only be suspended for a full day of work and can be suspended only in instances of severe or gross misconduct.

The following are some examples, but certainly not a comprehensive list, of the kinds of situations that might call for progressive discipline:

  1. Chronic and/or excessive tardiness/absenteeism
  2. Careless work resulting in waste, spoilage, or delay
  3. Leaving the work area without authorization or not being in an assigned area as designated
  4. Profanity directed at a supervisor, co-worker, student or campus visitor
  5. Inefficient or ineffective work based upon established University and/or department standards
  6. Tampering with or falsifying official University records including one’s own or another’s time card
  7. Unauthorized soliciting in University work areas during work time and/or wandering in other departments without authorization
  8. Fighting or threats of violence
  9. Failure to report an accident, injury, or hazardous situation in a prompt manner
  10. Violation of University policies including the policy on Harassment, Substance Abuse, Consensual Relations, etc.