Discipline (Staff Employees)

No.  3-33   Rev.   11-11-08    Date  8-17-77     







To establish fair and consistent guidelines for the imposition of disciplinary sanctions, including termination, of staff employees; and to outline the procedures by which such sanctions are initiated and processed.



A. Discipline - Counseling or other employment action (including imposition of sanctions) undertaken to correct or modify unacceptable job performance or behavior to acceptable standards.

B. Notice - Actual personal delivery to the individual of a written statement, except that if the individual cannot be personally located at the usual place of employment during assigned working hours, notice may be given by mailing the statement to the employee at his or her last known address. If notice is mailed, it is deemed effective for all purposes when deposited in an appropriate mailbox or mail slot.

C. Human Resources Office -That office in the University charged with the administration of personnel matters.

D. Sanctions - Disciplinary measures authorized to be imposed upon staff employees including an oral or written reprimand, suspension without pay (not to exceed 10% of the gross amount payable for any payroll period) or dismissal from employment.

E. Staff Employee - A non-exempt or exempt employee in a non-faculty position who receives compensation for work or services from funds controlled by the University, regardless of the source of the funds, the duties of the position, the amount of compensation paid or the percent of time worked.  


A. General Policy

1. The University strives to provide continuous employment through effective planning and proper selection of staff employees. Under University policy, disciplinary actions and terminations are expected to be handled in a manner to achieve the least adverse effect upon the staff employee and the University.

2. When continued employment may be harmful to the University, a staff employee may be suspended pending resolution of the matter. A staff employee may be suspended with pay pending notice of and an opportunity to respond to the charges at a pretermination hearing. After the pretermination hearing the staff employee may be suspended without pay or terminated pending final resolution of the matter.

B. Probationary Staff Employees

1. Staff employees are considered as being on probationary status during the first six months of employment. It is expected that staff employees will make every effort to become competent and qualified in their jobs during the probationary period.

2. Termination or release from employment may be effected prior to the end of the probationary period with or without "cause" for any lawful reason deemed adequate by the University, including but not limited to, unsatisfactory performance, unacceptable behavior or lack of motivation.

3. The employing department maintains written documentation relating to the termination of probationary staff employees, stating problems encountered, attempts to correct them and reasons for the termination decision. Upon termination, the department's personnel file relating to the terminated employee is forwarded to the Personnel Office.

C. Employees in Non-Probationary Status

The imposition of sanctions, including the dismissal of a non-probationary employee for cause, may result for any of the following job-related reasons under circumstances that demonstrate the inability or unwillingness of the employee to meet his or her responsibilities to the University.

1. Negligence

2. Incompetence

3. Excessive absence or unauthorized absence without leave, including failure to report to work and leaving work without proper approval.

4. Misuse of University property and funds

5. Disorderly conduct

6. Fraud or falsification of employment application

7. Unsuitability to job requirements

8. Use of alcohol or drugs, or being under the influence thereof while working

9. Insubordination

10. Unjustified interference with the work of others

11. Violation of applicable statutory requirements or University regulations relating to employment practices, including but not limited to regulations prohibiting discrimination or harassment because of race, color, ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, handicap, or other legally impermissible behavior

12. Conviction of a crime by a court of competent jurisdiction

13. Violation of other generally accepted standards of conduct, where such violation creates substantial inefficiency and/or an unacceptable work atmosphere at the University


A. Disciplinary Sanctions Generally

1. Whenever feasible, staff employees should be given an opportunity to improve their performance before sanctions are imposed.

2. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, the following (they appear in the order they would normally be administered; however, it is not required that a specific sanction precede another. The seriousness of the action for which the discipline is being imposed will be taken in account in choosing which sanction is best for that specific case.):

a. Oral Reprimand

The least serious of sanctions is typically given as a first formal warning. The oral reprimand must be documented on a Discipline Form (available in the Personnel Office) and a copy given to the employee.

b. Written Reprimand

This warning is typically given as a second warning but may be given as the first warning if circumstances are serious enough to warrant such action. In most cases, a written reprimand will precede termination as a sanction. One copy of the written warning must be submitted on a Discipline Form (available in the Personnel Office) to the employee and a second copy to the Human Resources Office for filing in the personnel record.

c. Suspension Without Pay

This sanction is used infrequently and only where it is expected to have significant impact in correcting the violation. The suspension without pay cannot exceed 10% of the gross amount payable for the pay period in which it is given. It must be submitted on a Discipline Form to the employee and the Human Resources Office for filing in the personnel record.

d. Dismissal

The most serious sanction is given after previous warnings or for a violation of such a serious nature that continued employment is inappropriate or unsafe. Before termination is carried out, the Human Resource director and next level supervisor must be informed of the contemplated action. The termination must be submitted on a Discipline Form (available in the Human Resource Office) and the employee must receive a copy. A copy must also be sent to the Human Resource Office for filing.

3. Where appropriate, the University may provide an opportunity for counseling or training to aid the staff employee to become competent and qualified in his/her position and/or to correct the deficiency or problem which is the reason for the warning. Generally, such training is within the scope of normal job training and the University is not expected to train the staff employee to perform basic skills expected of every other staff employee in that classification without special training. It is primarily the staff employee's responsibility to fit the job.

4. Sanctions may be imposed upon staff employees only for one or more of the grounds described in IV, C where the supervisor determines that such sanctions will tend to induce a beneficial change in conduct, deter future violations, promote respect for the commitment to the observance of applicable regulations or promote the efficient and economical administration of University affairs. Sanctions ordinarily should be limited to measures that are deemed likely to achieve the purposes set out above, should not be disproportionately severe in relation to the grounds for their imposition and should be calculated to give due consideration to any special circumstances that may tend to reduce the seriousness of the staff employee's sanctionable actions or omissions.

5. Staff employees being formally disciplined by imposition of sanctions must be advised by their supervisor of their right to use the available avenues of review and redress, including University grievance appeals systems and or the institutional office of equal opportunity.

B. Involuntary Terminations

1. Probationary staff employees being terminated for any lawful reason are not entitled to advance notice of termination. Staff employees terminated due to a reduction in work force are entitled to notice or severance pay pursuant to PPM 3-10b.

2. All involuntary terminations require prior consultation with the Human Resource Office concerning conformity with policies and procedures, in addition to approval of the vice president or provost or other appropriate administrator of equivalent position.

3. Involuntarily terminated staff employees receive from their supervisors a written statement summarizing the problems encountered, any attempts to help them correct the problem and the cause assigned for their termination. A copy of the statement is forwarded to the Human Resource Office for inclusion in the employee's personnel file.

C. Interim Action

Whenever the University has reasonable grounds to believe that a serious violation of generally accepted standards of conduct or state or federal law has occurred and that the continued presence on the job of the employee involved in the alleged violation poses a significant hazard to others, the employee may be placed on involuntary leave with pay pending a hearing or other resolution of the problem. If the employee is incarcerated and unavailable for work, the University may, at its discretion, elect to place the employee on involuntary leave without pay.