Standards of Conduct and Performance for Classified Employees
Date of Current Revision: November, 2011
Responsible Officer: Director of Human Resources
This policy is written to reflect James Madison University’s compliance with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s policy to ensure the clear statement of employee expectations and fair treatment of all classified employees. Standards of Conduct are designed to protect the well being and rights of all employees; to assure safe, efficient university operations; and to assure compliance with law. The ultimate goal of this policy is to help employees become fully contributing members of the university community.
The Standards of Conduct serve the following purposes:
This policy complies with Virginia Department of Human Resource Management Policy 1.60: Standards of Conduct.
Any action taken by management to address employment issues, such as unacceptable or substandard performance and/or behavior. Corrective action may range from an informal action such as counseling to formal disciplinary action.
An action taken in response to an employee’s behavior. Disciplinary actions may range from the issuance of an official Written Notice only to issuance of a Written Notice and termination. Disciplinary action may also include demotion or transfer in lieu of termination. In such cases, the university must initiate a disciplinary-related salary action. With a disciplinary-related salary action, employees may be retained in their current positions and have their duties reduced or be moved to positions in the same or lower pay band with less job responsibilities. In either case, the employee’s salary must be reduced by at least 5 percent. In no case may an employee’s salary exceed the maximum of the pay band following a disciplinary-related salary action.
Employee Assistance Program
A structured support service that assists the employee with identifying and resolving concerns of the employee that may affect performance.
Standards of Conduct:
Reasonable and acceptable expectations for work performance, conduct, and behavior.
An employee's absence from work without pay imposed by the university as a part of a disciplinary action and/or to remove the employee from the workplace pending (1) an investigation related to his or her conduct or (2) a court action.
Employee conduct or behavior that is inconsistent with state or university standards for which specific corrective or disciplinary action is warranted.
This policy applies to all classified employees. It also applies, where applicable, to those who supervise classified employees.
It is the policy of the university and of the Commonwealth to promote the well-being of employees by maintaining high standards of work performance and professional conduct. The Virginia Department of Human Resource Management has established uniform rules of personal conduct and performance as well as uniform disciplinary guidelines for classified employees.
Employees covered by this policy are employed to fulfill certain duties and expectations that support the mission and values of their universities and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner deserving of public trust. The following list is not all-inclusive but is intended to illustrate the minimum expectations for acceptable workplace conduct and performance.
Employees who contribute to the success of the university’s mission:
Corrective and Disciplinary Actions
The Commonwealth’s disciplinary system typically involves the use of increasingly significant measures to provide feedback to employees so that they may correct conduct or performance problems. It is designed to encourage employees to become fully contributing members of the organization and to enable universities to fairly, and with reliable documentation, terminate employees who are unable or unwilling to improve their conduct and/or job performance.
Counseling is typically the first level of corrective action but is not a required precursor to the issuance of Written Notices. Counseling may be an informal (verbal) or formal (written) communication which conveys that an employee’s conduct or performance was improper and must be corrected. This level of corrective action would be appropriate for conduct and/or performance issues resulting in minimal impact to business operations, to the safety and well-being of others, or that involve minor infractions of policies or laws.
Counseling may be documented by a letter or memorandum, but not on the Written Notice form. Documentation regarding counseling should be retained in the supervisor's files, and not in the employee's personnel file, except as necessary to support subsequent formal disciplinary action.
When counseling has failed to correct misconduct or performance problems, or when an employee commits a more serious offense, management should address the matter by issuing a Written Notice. The offenses set forth below are not all-inclusive, but are intended as examples of unacceptable behavior for which specific disciplinary actions may be warranted. To assist management in the assessment of the appropriate corrective action, offenses are organized into three groups according to the severity of the misconduct or behavior.
Offenses in this category include acts of misconduct that have a relatively minor impact on university business operations but still require management intervention. Active Life of Notice: Two years from its date of issuance to the employee.
Offenses in this category include acts of misconduct of a more serious and/or repeat nature that require formal disciplinary action and that significantly impact business operations. Active Life of Notice: Three years from its date of issuance to the employee.
Offenses in this category include acts of misconduct of such a severe nature that a first occurrence normally should warrant removal. Active Life of Notice: Four years from its date of issuance to the employee.
Any action, which, in the judgment of the university, undermines the effectiveness of the university’s activities, may be considered unacceptable and treated in a manner consistent with the provisions of this section. Action to remove employees from the university under this policy must be reviewed and approved by the Director of Human Resources in advance of taking final action.
Prior to the issuance of any written notices, demotions, transfers with disciplinary salary actions, suspensions or terminations, supervisors must:
Removal Due to Circumstances which Prevent Employees from Performing their Jobs
An employee unable to meet the working conditions of his or her employment due to circumstances such as those listed below may be removed under this section. Reasons include:
Prior to such removal, the appointing authority and/or Human Resource shall gather full documentation supporting such action and notify the employee, verbally or in writing, of the reasons for such a removal, giving the employee a reasonable opportunity to respond to the charges. Final notification of removal shall be via memorandum or letter not by a Written Notice form.
This policy provides guidance related to the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management Policy 1.60: Standards of Conduct. To view the Commonwealth’s Standards of Conduct in its entirety follow this link.
Supervisors of classified employees must maintain open, honest communication with employees, ensuring that expectations are clear. Supervisors should clearly communicate both when the employee performs excellently as well as when performance and behavior is substandard. Supervisors have a responsibility to communicate the potential consequences of conduct or performance issues.
Human Resources is responsible for providing guidance and support with the progressive disciplinary process including providing an Administrative Notification template, Written Notice forms and assisting managers in the application of this policy.
Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.
This policy does not apply to wage employees and faculty members.
The authority to interpret this policy rests with the president and is generally delegated to the Director of Human Resources.
Previous version: December, 2009
Approved by the President: March, 1999
Standards of conduct