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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 in Policy 1317-Standards of Conduct and Performance for Classified Employees 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.

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.

Due Process

Prior to the issuance of any written notices, demotions, transfers with disciplinary salary actions, suspensions or terminations, supervisors must:

  • Allow the Director of Human Resources or Human Resources Consultant to review the documentation for the recommended action to determine if the action is appropriate for the offense; if a referral to the Employee Assistance Program is advisable; and what the final recommendation for corrective action should be.

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