Corrective Action for Staff
Employees are expected to perform their work effectively and follow work-related standards of conduct. It is the intent of the University to provide a structured corrective action process to improve and prevent undesirable employee behavior and performance issues and maintain a productive work environment.
Corrective Action Process
Step I: Verbal Notification
When informal feedback and coaching have failed to produce the desired change in performance, conduct, or attendance, Step I of Corrective Action should be used. To initiate this process, the Supervisor will contact a representative of the Department of Human Resources to review the facts of the situation.
a. If the facts warrant, the Supervisor should meet with the employee to discuss the failure to meet established standards of work performance. The Supervisor should outline performance expectations, suggest corrections, and establish timetables. The consequences to the employee for not correcting the identified performance problems should be clearly communicated.
b. The discussion at this stage should be firm and fair and should ensure that the employee clearly understands the established standards and expectations with respect to the misconduct or performance that has been identified. The Supervisor should be open to consideration of any circumstances relevant to the matter. The objective of this process is to alert the employee that immediate and sustained behavior and/or performance change is required.
c. A written record of the date and content of such discussion(s) should be maintained in the appropriate files of the department or work unit and a copy given to the employee.
Step II: Written Notification
When the job performance following Step I has not resulted in the needed improvement, Step II should be administered. To initiate this process, the Supervisor will contact a representative of the Department of Human Resources to review the facts of the situation.
a. If the facts warrant, the Supervisor should provide a letter of notification to the employee listing the cause for movement from Step I to Step II and the job expectations that should be met. The consequences to the employee for not correcting the identified performance problems should be clearly communicated. A copy of this letter should be sent to the Department of Human Resources and will be included in the employee’s personnel file.
b. A discussion regarding accountability and Step II should then take place between the Supervisor and the employee. A copy of the letter will be presented to the employee. The Supervisor will then discuss the event that caused the movement to Step II, the job expectations that must be completely and consistently met, and the accountability of the employee. Any questions should be addressed at that time.
c. Step II of Corrective Action means that the employee is not currently in good standing with the University. This means that the employee is not currently eligible for transfer to another department and that, should the employee leave SMU before regaining good standing, he/she will not be eligible to return to employment at SMU. Good standing can be regained by meeting all job performance expectations completely and consistently for a minimum of three calendar months (90 days) and by not being held further accountable in Corrective Action.
Step III: Final Notification
If the employee has failed to correct the problem addressed in the previous steps of Corrective Action, the employee may be given a final opportunity to correct the problem. To initiate this process, the Supervisor must contact a representative of the Department of Human Resources to review the facts of the situation.
Courses of Action
Administrative Leave, with or without pay, may be used in conjunction with or separate from the Corrective Action process when the conduct or performance warrants the need for an employee to be temporarily removed from the work environment, often in conjunction with an internal investigation. The length of the administrative leave depends on the facts of each case and the time needed to investigate the issue (e.g., type and severity of the misconduct, previous work record of the employee, and number, types, and frequency of previous Corrective Actions). Prior to taking any administrative leave action, the Supervisor must consult with the Department of Human Resources.
Termination of Employment
Termination of employment is the most severe form of Corrective Action and should be used when acts of misconduct or unsatisfactory work performance have not been corrected by previous corrective measures or when the act of misconduct is considered very severe without regard to the previous work record or the types and frequency of previous Corrective Actions. Immediate termination of employment may occur without the application of the Corrective Action steps, depending upon the severity of the circumstances. Prior to terminating employment, the Supervisor must consult with the Department of Human Resources.
Termination of employment should, when possible, be communicated in person to the employee, but in all cases a formal notice should be provided to the employee as quickly as possible. See Policy 7.29, Termination of Employment.
a. An employee who is terminated from employment will be paid for all hours worked through the date of termination and for all accrued vacation leave consistent with Policy 7.14. Payment of accrued vacation may be denied under certain circumstances, such as theft, fraud, or other serious offenses against the University.
b. Final payments will be determined by the Department of Human Resources and the Payroll Office for hours worked and other applicable compensation, if any. The employee will be paid on the regular pay date or within 6 (six) calendar days of when the termination occurred, whichever occurs first in accordance with the state law. Any appropriate deductions or payables due to SMU will be deducted in the final paycheck.
Appeal of Employment Action
Employees who are held accountable under this policy should be advised of the University's appellate procedure. Employees may appeal an employment action directly affecting him/her by following the procedure outlined in Policy 7.25, Grievances and Appeals of University Employment Actions. Discharged individuals are not eligible to file a grievance under this policy.