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FACULTY/STAFF > DEPARTMENTS & OFFICES > HUMAN RESOURCES > HUMAN RESOURCES POLICIES > DISCIPLINE PROCEDURE (PROGRESSIVE)
Discipline Procedure (Progressive)

1.0 Policy
1.1 It is the policy of Robert Morris University to provide a progressive corrective disciplinary procedure that addresses and corrects inappropriate behavior in a fair and equitable manner. This procedure also provides assistance and support to help employees become productive members of the University.

2.0 Scope
2.1 This policy applies to full-time, regular part-time, and part-time employees.

3.0 Procedure
3.1 Corrective disciplinary action may be initiated by a department manager when an employee violates standards of work, conduct, or general performance as established by the University.

3.2 Prior to a discussion with the employee, the department manager must contact the Human Resources Department and have conducted an investigation of the situation. This investigation must be documented in writing and maintained in the departmental files.

3.3 Counseling or coaching is then recommended in an attempt to correct inappropriate behavior before the progressive disciplinary procedure is utilized.

3.4 The following steps must be taken in the corrective disciplinary procedure if counseling or coaching is unsuccessful:

3.4.1 Documented Verbal Warning - This is the first step in the formal progressive disciplinary procedure. This step is to be used when counseling or coaching is unsuccessful. The primary difference between counseling and coaching and a documented verbal warning is the corrective action to follow and advance warning of more severe discipline to follow if the behavior is not corrected. This conversation is documented. Signatures of the department manager and the employee are required. The employee's signature indicates that he/she understands the severity of the warning. It does not mean concurrence.

3.4.1.1 This warning will remain in effect for a period of at least 12 months or until the next step of the procedure is initiated.

3.4.2 Written Warning - This is the second step in the formal progressive disciplinary procedure. This step is used when counseling or coaching and the documented verbal warning prove ineffective in correcting the behavior. The details of the incident(s) are defined and described in writing to support the disciplinary action. Corrective action is prescribed as well as advance warning or more severe discipline to follow if the behavior is not corrected. Signatures of the department manager and the employee are required. The employee's signature indicates he/she understands the severity of the warning. It does not mean concurrence.

3.4.2.1 This warning will remain in effect for a period of at least 12 months or until the next step of the procedure is initiated.

3.4.3 Suspension - This is the third step in the formal progressive disciplinary procedure. This step can be utilized when documented verbal warnings and written warnings have not corrected the behavior or in the case of a serious violation of University policy. Suspension may range from a minimum of one (1) day to a maximum of five (5) days at the University's discretion. Suspension, in most cases, will be without pay.

3.4.3.1 The University has the discretion to extend the suspension period under extenuating circumstances.

3.4.3.2 In accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), exempt personnel can only be suspended without pay for a full work week.

3.4.3.3 This warning will remain in effect for a period of at least 12 months or until the next step of the procedure is initiated.

3.4.4 Termination/Discharge - This is the final step in the formal progressive disciplinary procedure to be utilized when all previous steps have been instituted, but have failed to correct the inappropriate behavior, or for a serious violation of University policy. An employee may be terminated upon recommendation of the department manager and the endorsement of the vice president of the area. The recommendations and endorsements must be communicated to the Assistant Vice President for Administration and Human Resources detailing the reason(s) for this action. All documentation will be placed in the employee's personnel file in the Human Resources Department.

3.5 The Assistant Vice President for Administration and Human Resources or designee shall review all corrective disciplinary actions for fairness and consistency. If any discrepancy or inconsistency is found, Human Resources may investigate the action and recommend an alternative.

3.6 Disciplinary action that may result in verbal warnings, written warnings, suspension or discharge, must be reviewed by the Assistant Vice President for Administration and Human Resources or his/her designee prior to actual discipline.

3.7 Steps in the progressive disciplinary procedure may be omitted depending upon the severity of the circumstances or violation.

3.8 Discipline is to be administered by at least two individuals and as soon as possible following the incident. The manager must have another managerial employee or a representative from the Human Resources Department present during the meeting.

3.9 At times, probationary periods of thirty (30) to ninety (90) days may be given in an attempt to correct the behavior of the employee. If the behavior is not corrected at the end of the probationary period or if during the course of the probationary period the inappropriate behavior continues, the University may extend the probationary period or implement the discipline that was outlined to the employee.

3.10 Categorization of Offenses - A violation of the following regulations will be grounds for progressive disciplinary action ranging from a documented verbal warning to immediate termination, depending on the severity of the offense. This list is not all inclusive, but provides examples of unacceptable behavior/conduct. Although an act of misconduct does not appear herein, it will still be subject to the progressive disciplinary procedure.

3.10.1 The following categories of offenses for different levels of discipline is intended only as a guide. Infractions will be handled on a case by case basis.

3.10.2 Category 1 Offenses - Disciplinary action for a violation of any of the following may range from a minimum verbal warning to suspension and any subsequent violations may result in further disciplinary action:
  • Poor work performance.
  • Absenteeism or tardiness (refer to Attendance/Tardiness Policy for further information).
  • Failure to notify appropriate person for absence (refer to Attendance/Tardiness Policy for further information).
  • Leaving the University or assigned area without supervisor's permission unless work requires it.
  • Abusive language to any employee, supervisor, member of the Campus Community, or visitor/guest of the University.
  • Engaging in horseplay.
  • Smoking in unauthorized areas.
  • Accepting tips and certain personal gifts (refer to Accepting Gifts from Vendors/Suppliers Policy for further information).
  • Changing starting or quitting times without proper authorization.
  • Consuming food or drink where prohibited.
  • Creating or contributing to unsafe conditions

3.10.3 Category 2 Offenses - Disciplinary action for a violation of any of the following may range from a minimum written warning to discharge and any subsequent violations may result in further disciplinary action:
  • Fighting on University property or disruptive behavior.
  • Sleeping on duty.
  • Reporting for or remaining at work while under the adverse effects of medication or drugs (refer to Drug-Free Workplace Administrative Policy for further information).
  • Reporting for or remaining at work under the influence of alcohol (refer to Drug-Free Workplace Administrative Policy for further information).
  • Mishandling, improper, or unauthorized release of confidential information (refer to Confidential Information Policy for further information).
  • Posting, altering or removing materials from bulletin boards without proper authorization (refer to Bulletin Board Policy for further information).
  • Unauthorized use of or removal of property belonging to the University, or employee, or student, or visitor, or an independent contractor.
  • Poor work performance.
  • Sexual harassment.
  • Unauthorized use of identification codes or any unauthorized use of computers or related computer systems.
  • Making false, vicious, or malicious statements concerning an employee, student, visitor, the University, or University services.
  • Disregard of safety rules or practices

3.10.4 Category 3 Offenses - Disciplinary action for a violation of, but not limited to, the following is cause for discharge/termination:
  • Excessive absenteeism or tardiness.
  • Poor work performance.
  • Willful damage to University property or equipment.
  • Falsification of a time sheet or any employee or student record.
  • Immoral, indecent or disorderly conduct.
  • Intoxication on University premises (refer to Drug-Free Workplace Policy for further information).
  • Possession or use of illegal drugs or medication on University premises (refer to Drug-Free Workplace for further information).
  • Theft or dishonesty.
  • Violation of University policies or procedures.
  • Insubordination, offensive, or uncivil attitude or conduct.
  • Fiscal impropriety.

Effective: 02/01/2000