Progressive Discipline


When a staff member’s performance, behavior or attendance is unsatisfactory, the supervisor must advise the employee of the issue(s) and give him/her an appropriate opportunity to improve to an acceptable level through performance improvement measures, such as progressive discipline, subject to collectively negotiated procedures, if applicable.

The university encourages supervisors to use proactive and progressive action whenever possible to improve performance, however depending on the nature, frequency, and severity of the issues, a supervisor has the freedom to determine what progressive actions are necessary and to take the action deemed to be appropriate under the circumstances.

Consultation with Human Resources is strongly advised prior to instituting progressive discipline.

 

Steps in Progressive Discipline

Counseling Memo – is a formal documented conversation between a supervisor and an employee used to inform the employee that an issue exists with his/her performance, attendance, or behavior and to detail the precise action needed by the employee to address and correct the identified issues. It is often the first action taken when workplace issues arise. 

Written Reprimand – is a serious, formal, documented discussion between a supervisor and an employee used to inform an employee about his or her unsatisfactory performance, attendance, or behavior and to detail specific improvements that are needed. A Written Reprimand may be used:

  1. When a Counseling Memo has not been effective in bringing about identified performance improvements.
  2. To address repeated and/or ongoing work-related issue(s).
  3. As the first action taken in the progressive disciplinary process when the performance, behavior, or attendance issue or circumstances warrant(s) this response.

Suspension – is an involuntary, short-term dismissal from the workplace that is unpaid.. Suspension is generally for a period of one to ten working days. The length of suspension is dependent upon the nature and severity of the infraction or violation. A suspension may be used:

  1. When a Counseling Memo and/or a Written Reprimand has/have not been effective in bringing about identified performance improvements.
  2. To address repeated and/or ongoing work-related issue(s).
  3. As the first action taken in the progressive discipline process when the performance, behavior, or attendance issue or circumstances is serious enough to warrant this response.

Termination of Employment – is defined as an involuntary permanent dismissal from the workplace when:

  • An employee fails to improve his or her performance, attendance, or behavior through the prior steps of progressive discipline, including a Performance Improvement Plan, if applicable (see below) or
  • Immediately, without prior notice or without prior progressive discipline, in instances of gross misconduct or serious negligence or circumstances under which the supervisor, in consultation with the HR Director, determines that the nature, frequency or severity of the work-related problem warrants such action.

Gross Misconduct or Serious Negligence – is defined as any behavior(s), action(s) or lack of action by an employee, that warrant(s) serious disciplinary action.  Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Insubordination, which is defined as refusal to carry out a specific, legal, and work-related directive or request issued by an appropriate manager.
  • Inappropriate or unauthorized release, discussion, or disclosure of confidential information.
  • Unauthorized possession, use, theft, or damage to property of the university, fellow employees, students or visitors.
  • Unauthorized possession, use, consumption, sale, or transfer of illegal drugs, weapons, or explosives on university property or while fulfilling the duties of a university employee.
  • Reporting to work under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Falsifying and/or omitting information on university records and/or requests for information, including but not limited to employment applications, time and attendance records.
  • Sleeping while on work time.
  • Actual or threatened violence in the workplace.

Performance Improvement Plans

When an employee’s performance is below expectation, the supervisor should consider placing that employee on a Performance Improvement Plan, which will detail the expectations for the employee and set structured measurable goals for improvement.

Example of Performance Improvement Plan

The HR Director can assist you in developing a performance improvement plan.