Corrective Action

Policy

Staff members have the right to terminate their employment at any time with or without cause or prior notice, and the University of Puget Sound retains the same right to terminate a staff member's employment at any time with or without cause or prior notice, regardless of any other documents or oral or written statements issued by the University of Puget Sound or its representatives.

The university takes appropriate corrective action based on its assessment of the seriousness of the situation and the circumstances. The evaluation of the seriousness of the situation and the relevancy of the circumstances are made solely by the university's management.

Corrective action may be oral or written or may take the form of a performance appraisal indicating unsatisfactory or less than satisfactory performance in one or more areas, suspension, probation or termination. Which of these forms of corrective action are used, or whether any others are used prior to termination, will depend upon management's assessment of the seriousness of the situation.

The following are some examples of problems or conduct that may result in corrective action, up to and including termination. This list is nonexclusive.

  • Falsification of or omissions from work, personnel or other university records
  • Arrests for or convictions of crimes committed at work or outside of work which reflect unfavorably upon a staff member's suitability for continued employment
  • Violation of the civil or criminal laws on university property or while on university business
  • Abuse or violation of university policies
  • Failure to call in each day according to university and departmental policies when unable to report to work
  • Working under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol (see "Alcohol and Drug Policy" and "Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy" in the Campus-wide Policies section of this manual)
  • The manufacture, possession, use, distribution, dispensation or sale of illegal drugs or alcohol on university time or premises (see "Alcohol and Drug Policy" and "Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy" in the Campus-wide Policies section of this manual)
  • Incompetence
  • Inefficient or unproductive use of work time (including personal use of university communication, computing, or network resources, sleeping while on duty, unauthorized absence from assigned work areas)
  • Working unauthorized overtime
  • Negligent, below standard or unsatisfactory job performance
  • Neglect of duty
  • Insubordination
  • Failure or refusal to perform assigned work or carry out management requests
  • Violation of safety rules or procedures
  • Dishonesty, including but not limited to plagiarism, falsification of academic credentials, gaining unauthorized access to or falsification of university reports or records, misappropriation or misapplication of university funds
  • Patterns of absenteeism, tardiness in reporting to work, and/or in returning from break and/or luncheon periods or leaving early
  • Rude or unprofessional conduct with students, faculty, staff, or the general public
  • Engaging in or threatening physical violence
  • Any negligent act which might endanger one's own safety or life, the safety or lives of others, or which might result in damage to or destruction of university property (including driving university vehicles negligently, losing university property through negligence, etc.)
  • Carrying unauthorized persons in university vehicles
  • Having unauthorized family members, friends or animals in the workplace
  • Misuse, abuse, unauthorized possession, removal or use of university property or unauthorized charges to university accounts
  • Discrimination against or harassment of staff members, faculty members, students, or other constituents (see "Campus Policy Prohibiting Harassment" in the Campus-wide Policies section of this manual)
  • Possession of firearms, explosives, flammables or other weapons of any kind on university time or on university premises
  • Conflicts of interest or the failure to resolve a conflict of interest
  • Disclosure of confidential university information to unauthorized persons

Available Assistance

The Human Resources staff is available to discuss with supervisors and department heads the corrective action options which might be used in a particular case. Supervisors and department heads can also consult in confidence with an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counselor regarding ways in which to conduct corrective action interviews effectively. If a staff member indicates during the corrective action interview that personal life circumstances are effecting her or his job performance, the supervisor should advise the staff member of the availability of confidential EAP services (in the event the staff member is unaware of or has forgotten about the EAP benefit), but should continue to focus exclusively on job performance.

Progressive Corrective Action

The following discussion of a progression of corrective action which may be used is not, however, to be interpreted as a guarantee that all of these steps will always be used, or that they must be exhausted prior to termination, or that other forms of corrective action cannot be used. It is simply provided as an example of how a supervisor might address situations in which management has determined that using these forms of corrective action are appropriate.

If a staff member has failed to perform assigned work or has failed to perform in accordance with departmental requirements, it may be appropriate for the supervisor to first talk with the staff member about the issue. Often it is appropriate to counsel the staff member informally and in private. The supervisor should confirm whether the staff member understands the policies, procedures, work rules, or performance standards applicable. If not, they should be clearly explained.

In any case the staff member should be advised that work performance related to the issue at hand is not acceptable. The supervisor and/or staff member may develop an action plan to avoid a repeat of the occurrence. A written record of the date and content of these discussions should be kept by the supervisor.

For recurring performance problems, or for problems which should be addressed more formally in the first instance, a written warning may be appropriate. A written Corrective Action Notice is available from the Human Resources Department and may be used for written warnings. The written warning should describe the problem, suggest courses of action, suggest a time period for resolution of the problem, and identify the consequences of a repeat of the problem(s). The written warning should be presented to and discussed with the staff member. A copy of the written warning should be sent to Human Resources for the staff member's personnel file. It should bear comments from the staff member, if applicable, and his or her signature. The staff member should be advised that the signature indicates receipt of a copy of the written warning and does not necessarily indicate agreement with the contents.

If appropriate, the supervisor may suspend a staff member in a non-exempt position without pay. Prior to suspension, the staff member should be informed in writing of the reasons for and length of the unpaid suspension. The supervisor should discuss the issue with the appropriate department head and Human Resources. Supervisors and department heads are also encouraged to discuss terminations, especially those which are not proceeded by prior counseling, with Human Resources. Discharge without prior warnings or suspension, however, may be utilized whenever the university, in its sole discretion, determines that it is appropriate.

Also, at the university's discretion, staff members may be suspended while the university investigates concerns regarding serious misconduct. In such instances, the department head should contact the Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action or his or her designee. If the department head and the Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action determine that an investigation is warranted, they may notify the Director of Security Services. The Director of Security Services may take the lead and conduct the investigation.

If the Director of Security Services believes that an immediate suspension is appropriate, the staff member(s) will be notified by the department head of immediate suspension from employment pending further investigation. The Director of Security Services may also issue temporary suspensions if unable to contact the staff member's department head. The investigation may include interviews with the suspended staff member.

When the Director of Security Services' investigation is complete, a meeting should be arranged involving the department head, the staff member(s), the Director of Security Services, and the Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action. Disposition (continued employment, suspension, termination, etc.) and/or referral efforts may be discussed at this time.

University-initiated Terminations

A staff member in a non-exempt position who is being terminated by the university after completing the initial evaluation period may receive ten (10) working days' notice of dismissal or ten (10) working days' pay with attendance at work not required.

A staff member in an exempt position who is being terminated by the university after completing the initial evaluation period may receive twenty (20) working days' notice of dismissal or twenty (20) working days' pay with attendance at work not required.

Origination Date: 9/1978
Revised 1996