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University of Louisville
 OFFICIAL
UNIVERSITY
ADMINISTRATIVE
 POLICY
 
 
University Staff
 
POLICY NAME
Staff Disciplinary
EFFECTIVE DATE
February 3, 1993
POLICY NUMBER
PER-5.01
 
POLICY STATEMENT
 
It is the policy of the University of Louisville to promote a culture where staff employees and supervisors may engage in constructive conversations regarding job performance or work-related conduct with a shared objective of improving unsatisfactory job performance or correcting unacceptable work-related behaviors.
 
Note: This policy does not apply to staff who are under contract with the University of Louisville Athletics Association, Inc.
 
RELATED INFORMATION
 
  1. Grounds for Discipline. Effective performance consists of meeting job performance expectations, while maintaining appropriate work-related behaviors. Consequently, discipline may be imposed whenever job performance or personal conduct issues need improvement.
  2. Progressive Discipline. The University is committed to providing progressive discipline, when a reasonable person would expect progressive discipline and an opportunity to demonstrate improvement.

    The goal of progressive discipline is to promote improved job performance or to correct unacceptable personal conduct. Progressive discipline consists of a clarification of performance or personal conduct expectations by management; followed by three distinct opportunities for an employee to demonstrate improvement, prior to termination for cause.
    However, the University reserves the discretion to impose immediate (non-progressive) discipline, as it deems appropriate, for job performance that has a material adverse impact on the department or for unacceptable personal conduct that is disruptive to the work environment or adverse to the University’s interests.
    [See examples of progressive and non-progressive discipline at Section II.F.]

      1. Clarification of Expectations, followed by 1st opportunity to improve. Examples of Clarification of Expectations include but are not limited to:
        1. Oral clarification of expectations
        2. Letter of instruction
        3. Performance improvement plan
        4. Attendance improvement plan
      2. Written Warning, followed by 2nd opportunity to improve.
      3. Final Written Warning or Suspension without Pay, followed by 3rd opportunity to improve.
      4. Termination for Cause, if progressive discipline has not brought about satisfactory job performance or acceptable work-related behavior, subject to a pre-termination conference (as provided at Section II.D.).
  3. Disciplinary Standard. The standard for management decision making with respect to imposing discipline or corrective action shall be that such decisions are reasonable – that management engaged in an appropriate fact-finding process (relevant to the circumstances) prior to making a disciplinary decision and that the decision to impose discipline is reasonable (given the facts known to the manager at the time the decision is rendered).
  4. Disciplinary Authority. The authority to impose discipline is exercised by the employee’s department head or director, provided such individual serves at least two levels removed from the employee, else the next higher level in the chain of command above the level of department head or director; else the employee’s Executive Vice President (regardless whether the EVP is two levels removed from the employee). 
 
PROCEDURES
  1. Disciplinary Actions

    1. Disciplinary actions may take the form of (1) a written warning, (2) final written warning or suspension without pay, or (3) reduction in salary, demotion in grade, or termination.

    2. The specific action taken will depend on the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding the offense, and the employee's previous record. In all instances, both for job performance and personal conduct, the University reserves the right to take such action as it deems appropriate, as determined by the employee’s disciplinary authority.

    3. Placing an employee on administrative leave with pay or requiring an employee to use his or her paid leave for any reason does not constitute a disciplinary action.

    4. Issuing a letter of instruction, a performance improvement plan, or attendance improvement plan (which serves to clarify performance expectations) does not constitute a disciplinary action.   

      Note Regarding Grievances & Appeals. Oral clarification of expectations, letters of instruction, performance improvement plans, and attendance improvement plans are not disciplinary actions and are not subject to grievance or appeal. Written warnings and suspensions without pay are subject to internal review in accordance with the Staff Grievance Policy (PER 5.03). Reductions in salary, demotions in grade, and terminations are subject to external review in accordance with the Staff Appeal Policy (PER 5.04).

  2. Delegation of Authority & Approval Required

    1. An employee’s 1st line supervisor exercises delegated authority to issue written warnings or place an employee on administrative leave with pay (pending an investigation of alleged wrong doing), without prior approval.

    2. Prior approval of the employee’s 2nd line supervisor shall be required to suspend an employee without pay or to recommend a reduction in salary, demotion in grade, or termination for cause.

    3. Prior approval of the employee’s disciplinary authority (as defined in Section I.D.), with the concurrence of the Director of Employee Relations and Compliance as to policy compliance, shall be required for a reduction in salary, demotion in grade, or termination for cause.

  3. Issuance and Effective Duration of Disciplinary Actions

    1. Disciplinary action shall customarily be taken within 15 workdays following the date on which the last alleged infraction that led to the disciplinary action was discovered by the university, unless the university determines that further investigation or review is required to determine an appropriate course of action, provided notice of such investigation or review is conveyed to the employee within the initial 15 workdays. If the university determines that such an investigation or review is necessary, disciplinary action shall customarily be taken within 15 workdays following the completion of the investigation or review. Initiating a disciplinary action beyond the customary 15 workdays requires the prior approval of the Director of Employee Relations & Compliance.

    2. A written warning shall be of no further effect 12 months after the date of the warning, provided that no additional written warning or other disciplinary action was issued for the employee for any reason during that 12-month period.

    3. A suspension without pay shall be of no further effect after three years, provided that no additional disciplinary action was issued for the employee for the same reason during the three year period.

    4. A reduction in salary or demotion in grade is a permanent change in the employee’s status, as of its effective date.

    5. Copies of all written disciplinary actions shall be conveyed to Human Resources and made a part of the employee’s official personnel record.

  4. Pre-Disciplinary Conference for Suspension without Pay, Demotion, or Reduction in Salary

    1. Prior to imposing a suspension without pay, a demotion, or a reduction in salary as a disciplinary action, the supervisor recommending such discipline will conduct a pre-disciplinary conference with the employee.

    2. The supervisor or manager will summarize the reasons he or she is recommending discipline.

    3. The employee will be afforded an opportunity to offer a statement in mitigation or extenuation or requesting reconsideration.

    4. The pre-disciplinary conference will be documented in the written disciplinary recommendation conveyed to the disciplinary authority, prior to a final disciplinary decision being made and will be incorporated in the notice of disciplinary action forwarded to Human Resources.

  5. Pre-Termination Conference

    Prior to termination of a regular status staff employee, an Employee Relations staff member in Human Resources will conduct a pre-termination conference. Prior notice of a pre-termination conference must be conveyed to the employee at least one work day in advance. The pre-termination conference shall include the following elements:

    1. Supervisory or management statement summarizing reasons for termination.

    2. Employee statement in mitigation or extenuation or requesting reconsideration.

    3. Reconsideration or affirmation of termination decision by disciplinary authority.

    4. Return to work or termination instructions, as applicable.

    An employee may be advised by the Staff Grievance Officer preparatory to a pre-termination conference. The employee may be accompanied by the Staff Grievance Officer or another person of the employee’s choosing to serve as a personal advisor during the pre-termination conference. The role of a personal advisor shall be to advise the employee and not to participate in the conference or to advocate on the employee’s behalf. Attorneys may not serve as personal advisors in the pre-termination conference.

  6. No Re-hire List

    Employees who are terminated for cause under the provisions of this policy may be determined to be ineligible for rehire; provided that the employee receives notice of being determined ineligible for rehire at the time of termination and has the opportunity to respond.

    Examples of terminations that could result in a terminated employee being determined to be ineligible for rehire include, but are not limited to: (1) multiple terminations for unsatisfactory job performance or unacceptable personal conduct (including resignations in lieu of termination) or (2) any termination for personal conduct that includes personal dishonesty, falsification, misappropriation of funds, theft, possession or sale of a controlled substance on university premises, violent conduct, harassment, or any other act or omission that in the university’s judgment would reasonably preclude re-employment. Employee Relations staff in Human Resources maintain No Rehire lists.

  7. Application of Progressive and Immediate Discipline

Progressive and immediate discipline for both job performance and personal conduct include (but are not limited to) the examples outlined in the charts which follow and are offered for illustrative purposes only. As noted in Section II.A., the specific action taken will depend on the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding the offense, and the employee's previous record. In all instances, both for job performance and personal conduct, the University reserves the right to take such action as it deems appropriate, as determined by the employee’s disciplinary authority.

 
Examples where Progressive Discipline
Is Appropriate for Job Performance

Examples where Immediate Discipline
May be Imposed for Job Performance

I. Job Performance (Progressive)

II. Job Performance (Immediate)

 

I.A. Unsatisfactory job performance (related either to
quality or quantity of work).

 

 

II.A. Refusal to perform reasonably assigned
work task (insubordination).

 

 

I.B. Negligence resulting in incidental loss of
productivity or property, but no injury to other persons.

 

 

II.B. Gross negligence resulting in material
loss of productivity or property or injury to
other persons.

 

 

I.C. Failure to follow university policies & procedures,
including college, school, division, or departmental
guidelines or work rules.

 

 

II.C. Willful disregard of university policies &
procedures, including college, school,
division, or departmental guidelines or work rules.

 

 

Examples where Progressive Discipline
Is Appropriate for Personal Conduct

Examples where Immediate Discipline
May be Imposed for Personal Conduct

III. Personal Conduct (Progressive)

IV. Personal Conduct (Immediate)

 

III.A. Time and attendance problems; excessive
absences or tardiness, unauthorized absences, or
abuse of sick leave.

 

 

IV.A. Walking off the job during an assigned
shift.

 

 

III.B. Failure to safeguard university property or funds,
including failure to make timely disposition or report
of loss, with limited adverse impact to the University.

 

 

IV.B. Failure to safeguard university property
or funds, including failure to make timely
disposition or report of loss, with significant
adverse impact to the University.

 

 

III.C. Inappropriate or unauthorized use of university
property or resources.

 

 

IV.C. Use of university property or resources
for personal gain or political advocacy.

 

 

III.D. Misuse of information technology resources,
including excessive personal use (even if during
own time).

 

 

IV.D. Intentional disruption of university computer
systems, unauthorized alteration, disclosure, or
destruction of university computer systems or
material, improper access to university computer
files and systems. Any pornographic use.

 

 

III.E. Presence at work under the influence of drugs
or alcohol, with no loss of property or threat to the
safety of others. Valid for first offense only.

 

 

IV.E. Presence at work under the influence of
drugs or alcohol that results in loss of property
or threat to the safety of others. Any multiple
offense under the influence at work. Any
possession, sale, or use of controlled substances
at work.

 

 

III.F. Discourteous treatment of other employees,
students, or the public

 

 

IV.F. Hostile, offensive, or intimidating behavior
of any kind. Harassment of any kind.

 

 

III.G. Negligence in filing complete and accurate
records of hours worked and leave taken.

 

 

IV.G. Personal dishonesty of any kind, including
knowingly furnishing false, misleading, or incomplete
information or reports to the university.

 

 

III.H. Unauthorized (but unintentional) release of
confidential information. Failure to safeguard
confidential information.

 

 

IV.H. Intentional release or any personal use
of confidential information in an employee's
custody because of his/her job.

 

 

IV.I. Theft of university property, embezzlement,
or intentional misuse of procurement cards,
regardless of amount.

 

 

IV.J. Failure to maintain credentials required
to perform the work of the position.

 

 

IV.K. Willful abuse of work time; excessive or
unauthorized breaks, surfing the web, or
willfully sleeping on the job during work hours

 

 

IV.L. Personal conduct of any kind that is
disruptive to the work environment or which
is adverse to the interests of the University.

 

IV.M. Violation of local, state, or federal law.

 

IV.N. Intentional acts or failures to act in
the workplace or in the scope of employment
that contribute to the harm of or the
unacceptable risk of harm to individuals
or property.

 

 

IV.O. Any act or omission that in the
university's judgment is deemed to be
adverse to the interests of the University.

 

 
 
 
HISTORY
 
Revision Date(s):  November 1, 2011
Reviewed Date(s): March 9, 2016
 
Comment & Review Record:
 
Endorsed by Staff Senate Grievance Committee
  May 5, 2011
1st Presentation to Staff Senate by Grievance Committee
  May 9, 2011
Approved by University Counsel as to Form & Legality
  Jun 28, 2011
Vice President & Dean Comment Period 
  Jun 28, 2011 – July 15, 2011
Re-Posted for Information (No Changes)
  Sep 2, 2011
Endorsed by Staff Senate 
  Sep 12, 2011
Reviewed by EC of Faculty Senate – No Action Required
  Oct 19, 2001
Approved by Executive Vice President & Provost:
  Oct 31, 2011
 
 
ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY
Sr. VP for Finance and Administration and CFO/COO
 
RESPONSIBLE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT/DIVISION

Human Resources
1980 Arthur Street
Phone:  502-852- 3167
Email: hrhelp@louisville.edu

The University Policy and Procedure Library is updated regularly.  In order to ensure a printed copy of this document is current, please access it online at http://louisville.edu/policies.