Chapter Two: Personnel
Procedure Title: Progressive Corrective Action Procedures
Based On: Board Policy 3
Procedure Number: 2.15a
Date Adopted/Revised: June 25, 2001; November 21, 2006; May 15, 2007; June 22, 2007
It is the policy of South Arkansas Community College to eliminate disciplinary problems in advance as much as possible and to let employees know what specific action should be taken to meet performance standards. Whenever an employee violates a policy or procedure, performs unsatisfactorily, or does not meet the expectations established by the supervisor, the supervisor has the responsibility to implement a progressive corrective action approach. Any corrective action taken is to be just and in proportion to the seriousness of the violation. However, when an infraction necessitates immediate action, the supervisor must respond appropriately. The supervisor is encouraged to meet with an employee informally to discuss the employee's performance, need for improvement, and corrective action. To ensure that the employee has been given an opportunity to correct a deficiency, the following procedures should be followed. A new employee who is in initial employment status (within 90 days of hire) whose performance is unsatisfactory should be counseled if he or she fails to meet performance expectations and terminated if the employee continues unsatisfactory performance.
The normal sequence of corrective action progresses as follows:
- Informal Discussion and Counseling
- Step 1. Oral Warning
- Step 2. Written Warning
- Step 3. Probation/Suspension
- Step 4. Termination/Discharge
If a problem is serious, the supervisor may identify the appropriate step to initiate and not utilize the normal sequence.
- Step 1 - Oral Warning
An oral warning is an initial indication by the supervisor to the employee that the employee is not fulfilling the responsibilities of the position to which s(he) is assigned or that the employee has violated a policy or procedure. All reasonable steps should be taken to afford the opportunity for the employee to correct a deficiency or improve performance. The supervisor shall meet with the employee to discuss the performance and identify specific corrective actions. The supervisor shall state that the discussion is an oral warning.
- Step 2 - Written Warning
If the initial performance discussion does not yield corrective action, the supervisor should thoroughly investigate the issues and meet with the employee to (a) review the problem, (b) listen to the employee's views, (c) advise the employee that the problem(s) must be corrected, and (d) inform the employee that failure to correct the problem(s) may result in further disciplinary action including and up to termination. The supervisor shall document the performance problems and specify a time period for remediation and review of performance. The written warning letter should be given to the employee and a copy placed in the supervisor's department/division files. A copy should also be sent to the next level supervisor. If the employee improves performance, the supervisor should document the improvement and include the letter in the employee's department/division files with a copy to the employee and the next level supervisor and the Human Resources Office. If the situation merits immediate attention for a serious offense or violation, the supervisor may begin progressive discipline at Step 2 without giving the employee an oral warning.
- Step 3 - Probation
A serious infraction, violation of a policy or procedure or continued deficient performance shall subject an employee to probation, suspension, or termination (See Step 4). If satisfactory performance and corrective action are not achieved by giving the employee an oral or written warning, the supervisor may place the employee on probation for a specific period of time. The supervisor shall meet with the employee and review the performance expectations, corrective action to be taken, time period for improvement of performance, and the expected outcome if the employee's performance does not improve. The supervisor shall, in writing, document the probation, review of the meeting and provide the employee with a copy of the notice of probation, terms and conditions. A copy should also be sent to the next level supervisor and the Human Resources Office. While in a probationary status, the supervisor should work with the employee to let the employee know how she or he is doing and to suggest how the employee might improve. Prior to the end of the probationary period, the supervisor should meet with the employee to discuss the employee's progress. If the employee is removed from probation, a letter indicating removal shall be given to the employee and a copy placed in the supervisor's department/division files. If the employee successfully completes probation or voluntarily terminates, the letters/documents in the employee's file regarding the probation shall be maintained for at least twelve months from the date of removal from probation and then removed from the file. If the employee does not successfully complete the probation period, the supervisor may extend the probation period or terminate the employee's employment. The supervisor shall document, in writing, the extension or termination of probation.
- Step 4 - Suspension
If an employee commits a serious offense that mandates that the employee is removed from the workplace, the supervisor may suspend the employee for a specific period of time without pay. A suspension may be designed to conduct an investigation or give the employee some time to think over the seriousness of an offense and make a commitment to improve performance. The supervisor shall, in writing, document the suspension, review the circumstances and letter with the employee, and provide a copy of the letter to the employee and the next level supervisor. Some offenses that may be cause for suspension include:
- Threatening, intimidating, coercing, or interfering with the performance of other employees
- Immoral or indecent conduct on the College's premises
- Acts of sabotage or other interference of the College's business
- Defacing college property
- Smoking in unauthorized or restricted areas
- Violation of College policies.
- Step 5 - Termination
Termination shall be resorted to when an employee fails to respond to efforts to improve performance or for the most serious offenses. All reasonable steps to assist the employee should be taken prior to termination. Immediate termination may occur during the probation period. When it is determined that an employee should be terminated, the supervisor shall secure the approval of the appropriate Vice President and the President prior to executing the termination. The Director of Human Resources may be consulted regarding terminations or the progressive corrective action process. When an employee is terminated, the supervisor shall provide a letter to the employee reviewing the performance problem(s), identifying the actions taken to support the employee's improvement, and notifying the employee of termination procedures. The supervisor should also advise the employee of the appeals process regarding any condition of employment if they are not in agreement with the action taken. The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate forms are completed to affect the termination. Upon termination any departmental personnel files on the employee should be forwarded to the Director of Human Resources. The College reserves the right to conduct any investigation that it deems necessary to determine whether an employee has engaged in conduct warranting corrective action. The progressive corrective action process is a preventative approach therefore; employees may not have internal or external representation throughout the process. Termination procedures are further defined in Administrative Policy 2.15 Separation from Service, 2.16 Annual Faculty Evaluations; 2.20 Tenure, Notice of Non-Reappointment/Faculty Dismissal; 2.11 Performance Reviews-Classified.