Corrective Action Procedures - Non-Exempt Staff

Last updated 07/16
Applies to Non-Exempt Staff
Related Policies:


Corrective Action Steps

The University policy of corrective action consists of four steps which are generally administered in progressive order. However, in some cases, the seriousness of the infraction or performance issue may warrant skipping one or more steps in the process. To assist supervisors in determining the appropriate level of corrective action in a particular situation, and to promote consistency in the application of the corrective action process, a chart at the end of this section provides examples of infractions and appropriate action steps.

Documented Conversation

The supervisor will provide a warning to the employee through a documented conversation with the employee in order to improve the performance and/or attendance concerns and put the employee on notice that additional performance and/or attendance issues will result in corrective action. If performance and/or attendance does not improve, corrective action will be taken. The supervisor should notify his/her HR Consultant to determine when and to what extent corrective action should be taken, up to and including possible termination.

First Level Warning

The first level warning is a formal method of informing an employee of a relatively minor violation of University or department rules or of failure to perform job duties in an acceptable manner. Generally a first level warning occurs after an employee has received counseling from their supervisor related to the issue(s), and it is intended to encourage the employee to change the behavior.

Second Level Warning

The second level warning is used when performance and/or attendance problems persist or when action more severe than a first level warning is warranted.

Suspension Without Pay

A suspension without pay of three or more scheduled working days is issued when performance and/or attendance problems persist or when the offense is so serious that a first and/or second level warning is not appropriate. The supervisor should consult with an HR Consultant before an employee is suspended. An HR Consultant can be reached via e-mail at or by calling 631-5900.


If all prior disciplinary actions do not resolve the situation, or if the nature of the violation is so serious that a first or second level warning or a suspension is not appropriate, the employee is subject to termination. The supervisor must consult with a HR Consultant before an employee may be terminated. An HR Consultant can be reached via e-mail at or by calling 631-5900.

Corrective Action Track

Performance and/or attendance issues are addressed as a single track in the corrective action process. For example, an employee who has been issued a first level warning for a performance issue would receive a second level warning for an attendance issue that warrants corrective action.

Length of Time Corrective Action Remains Active

Corrective action is active for a period of two years. Therefore, if there is cause for further corrective action within two years, the next level of corrective action normally will be taken. If it is more than two years, but less than five years, from the last similar corrective action, the same level of corrective action generally should be applied. If it has been five or more years since the last corrective action, no reference should be made to the previous corrective action.

Corrective Action Memo Contents

Any corrective action taken must be supported by appropriate documentation. When corrective action is initiated it should be documented in a written memo from the supervisor to the employee. The employee and the supervisor receive and retain a copy of the corrective action memo for their records while the original is forwarded to the Office of Human Resources, ATTN: HR Consultant, 200 Grace Hall for placement in the employee’s personnel file. The corrective action memo should include the following:

  • The action being taken (i.e., first level warning, second level warning, suspension, or termination.)
  • The specific violation or problem for which the action is being issued. (e.g., performance, behavioral issues, or attendance)
  • Specific instances of problem behavior or violations including dates and times.
  • Review of past counseling discussions or corrective action steps, if any.
  • Description of the impact of employee’s behavior on organization or work group.
  • Statement of expectations and established time frame to be achieved.
  • Description of consequences (e.g., if this step fails, you may be subject to further corrective action up to and including termination of employment.)
  • Reference to the Complaint Procedure for Staff (Non-exempt) and to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if appropriate, and how to access each.
  • Supervisor’s signature.
  • Employee’s signature (including the following statement: “Employee signature does not necessarily indicate their agreement, but only that they have received this memo.”) If the employee declines to sign it, this should be noted on the memo.

The corrective action memo should include vocabulary which can be easily understood by the employee and be stated in a factual and objective manner.

Planning for the Corrective Action Meeting

Before the Meeting

  • Conduct a thorough investigation of the incident or issue including interviewing the employee or any individuals who witnessed the incident or have first-hand knowledge of the performance problem.
  • Review any notes you have made regarding the problem, including supporting documents such as copies of previous Corrective Action memos, if applicable, memos, attendance records, or informal notes on counseling sessions.
  • If suspending or terminating the employee, review your plans with your supervisor and a HR Consultant from the Office of Human Resources.
  • Prepare a draft of the corrective action or termination memo and an outline of the points you need to cover during the meeting.
  • Anticipate questions that the employee will likely ask and be prepared with answers or a commitment to get back to the employee if the answer is not known.
  • Arrange with the employee to meet with you in your office or other private area. Time the meeting when the employee is least likely to be confronted by co-workers, especially if a suspension or termination is being done. Most often, the end of a work day and end of a work cycle are preferred.

During the Meeting

  • State the specific problem in terms of desired job performance as compared to actual job performance.
  • Review previous counseling sessions or corrective action steps that have been taken.
  • Give the employee a chance to respond and explain.
  • Describe for the employee the specific change in job performance you expect.
  • Ask the employee to confirm his/her understanding of your expectations.
  • Tell the employee the corrective action step you are taking (i.e., First Level Warning, Second Level Warning, Suspension without Pay, or Termination).
  • Indicate your confidence in the employee’s ability to perform properly in the future, if appropriate.
  • Review the corrective action procedure and the consequences if stated expectations are not met.
  • Refer to the Complaint Procedure for Staff (Non-exempt) and the Employee Assistance Program, if appropriate, and how to access.
  • Give a copy of the signed corrective action memo to the employee.

After the Meeting

  • Briefly summarize the meeting in writing for your files with factual comments and examples of what occurred.
  • Forward the original corrective action memo to the Office of Human Resources, ATTN: HR Consultant, 200 Grace Hall.
  • Monitor the employee’s performance and maintain open communication to provide the employee with the opportunity and support for correcting the problem.

Role of the Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program is an available resource to employees who may be experiencing problems outside of work that are impacting performance or attendance. Supervisors should feel free to remind employees of this service at any time during the supervisor/employee relationship. At the second level warning or suspension step, the supervisor may choose to a make mandatory EAP referral if appropriate.


Termination of employment is the final action when all other appropriate steps have failed to achieve desired improvements. In addition to the guidelines previously stated in this document, there are additional considerations when the termination of an employee becomes necessary. For example:

  • It may be advisable to have a management witness present and/or security personnel on standby during the termination meeting.
  • Obtain information from the HR Consultant in the Office of Human Resources in advance concerning such issues as benefits, insurance, and final pay.
  • Remember to confirm the employee’s current address and telephone number.
  • Collect all University property in the employee’s possession (keys, ID Card, parking decal and access card, gate opener, pagers, cell phones, tools, manuals, etc.)
  • Most importantly, take advantage of the support network that exists to assist in the various stages of Corrective Action. This includes management in your department, the HR Consultant, and the Employee Assistance Program.

Sample Infraction Guidelines

The following list is intended as a general guideline. Individual circumstances are evaluated in consultation with the Office of Human Resources when considering corrective action. Therefore, a fully inclusive listing of all the reasons that will justify corrective action and/or termination is not possible. The infractions listed are merely examples of the types of unacceptable conduct that could result in corrective action or discharge.

Example Infraction Action Steps
1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense 4th Offense
Loitering or loafing during working hours first level warning second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Failure to report absence in a timely manner as required by department procedures first level warning second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Excessive tardiness first level warning second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Excessive absenteeism first level warning second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Failure to meet job standards first level warning second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Failure to meet department dress code first level warning second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Failure to work scheduled hours (leaving early or working overtime without permission) second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Failure to punch in/out second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Posting, removal or defacing of notices, signs, or writing of any form on any bulletin boards or University property without permission second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Willful violations of safety rules or University safety practices second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Obscene or abusive language second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Failure to report on-the-job accident or injury to supervisor second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Inappropriate conduct towards other employees, students, visitors second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Uncooperative or unprofessional behavior in the workplace second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Improper use of University property and resources second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Sexual/Discriminatory Harassment second level warning 3-day suspension termination
Failure to report absence for 1 to 2 days 3-day suspension termination
*Threatening, intimidating, or coercing employees, students, or visitors on University property at any time 3-day suspension termination
Misrepresentation of paid/unpaid leave benefits (sick, jury, funeral,FMLA) 3-day suspension termination
Challenge, criticize, obstruct, abuse or interfere with supervisor; willful failure to do an assigned job or follow a supervisor directive 3-day suspension termination
Sleeping on the job 3-day suspension termination
Possession of firearms or weapons on University property 3-day suspension termination
Unauthorized release of confidential, sensitive, or highly sensitive data 3-day suspension termination
Being in areas outside of assigned responsibilities without approval 3-day suspension termination
*Reporting to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs 3-day suspension termination
*Possession of unauthorized alcohol/drugs or use of alcohol/drugs on the job 3-day or more suspension termination
Theft of University, other employee’s, visitor’s or student’s property minimum 30 day suspension termination
Insubordination – direct refusal to do an assigned job or obey an order termination 3-day suspension termination
Sale or trafficking alcohol or illegal drugs/controlled substances on University property or during work time termination
Fighting (aggressor & victim if participant) termination
Falsifying time cards termination
Failure to report to work for three consecutively scheduled workdays without notifying immediate supervisor termination
Falsification of Employment Application or other necessary data requested during the employment process termination
Immoral conduct or indecency during working time termination
Deliberate destruction or damage to University property or property of fellow employees in any manner termination

*Mandatory EAP referral required.

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