Progressive Discipline Procedures

Discipline is an approach used by management to modify undesirable performance and behavior through the use of a corrective action process. At the onset of any employee performance or conduct issues, supervisors are strongly encouraged to contact Employee Relations for assistance.

Our goal for employees is to ensure they receive training, coaching, and constructive feedback to assist in modifying their performance. Timely, appropriate, and continous feedback is essential to maintain effective performance. Inappropriate behavior/performance must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and judged by the severity of the infraction.

Step 1: Verbal Counseling/Warning

As discussed above, timely counseling/coaching by the immediate supervisor is the initial step to mentor or coach performance improvement.  The supervisor is expected to confirm or clarify expectations regarding expected behavior, performance or conduct.  The supervisor should then explain to the employee the supervisor’s concerns and describe expectations to improve the employee’s behavior, performance or conduct.

If the supervisor elects to give a verbal counseling/warning, the supervisor should summarize the discussion in a written documentation which is filed within the department, not in the employee’s official personnel file. 

Step 2: First Written Warning

A supervisor is expected to consult with Human Resources prior to issuing a first written warning.  If supported by Human Resources, the supervisor is expected to explain to the employee the subsequent incidents that led to written warning and describe expectations to improve the employee’s behavior, performance or conduct going forward. The supervisor will prepare the first written warning, and the employee will sign to demonstrate his or her understanding and agreement to correct conduct.  A copy of the signed letter should be sent to Human Resources.

Step 3: Second Written Warning (and suspension, if appropriate)

A supervisor should consult with Human Resources prior to issuing a second written warning.  If the supervisor intends to take other action in connection with the warning, such as a suspension without pay, the supervisor should confer with Human Resources to discuss whether a suspension is justified under the circumstances (if applicable).  Depending on the situation, a suspension without pay for up to 5 working days may be appropriate.

If supported by Human Resources, the supervisor is expected to explain to the employee the subsequent incidents that led to written warning and describe expectations to improve the employee’s behavior, performance or conduct going forward. The supervisor will prepare the second written warning, and the employee will sign to demonstrate his or her understanding and agreement to correct conduct. 

 Step 4: Final Written Warning (and suspension, if appropriate)

A supervisor should obtain approval from Human Resources before issuing a final written warning. The supervisor will submit to Human Resources any prior records of verbal or written warnings, any other documents requested by Human Resources, and a draft of the final written warning, which should explain the conduct to date leading up to the proposed final warning, specifically how the employee’s conduct failed to improve (if prior warnings were given). If the supervisor intends to take other action in connection with the warning, such as a suspension without pay, the supervisor should justify why a suspension is justified under the circumstances (if applicable).  Depending on the situation, a suspension without pay for up to 10 working days may be appropriate. If the warning is approved, Human Resources will be present at the meeting with the supervisor to present the final written warning to the employee.

Step 5: Termination of Employment

The last and most serious step in the progressive discipline process is a recommendation to terminate employment. This step will be taken in compliance with the procedures of A&O 4.32.

Note: Where appropriate, Human Resources may involve the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs and/or the Office of General Counsel in proceeding under this policy. Additionally, at any point during this process, Human Resources and the supervisor may agree to a facilitated discussion with the supervisor and the employee to help the supervisor and employee communicate with one another regarding the issues.

Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

As an alternative or in combination with the above process, if after ongoing coaching and feedback does not address the performance, the supervisor may work with Human Resources to develop a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to provide employees with assistance on how to improve their performance. The PIP may provide that failure to satisfactorily improve will result in immediate termination. Please note that this policy and being placed on a PIP do not alter employee’s at-will status or require that employees be placed on a PIP, or that a PIP come to a conclusion, before an employee is terminated.