Human Resources Manual

Policy No.: 5-10 This policy applies to:
Policy Name: Counseling and Correction Non-exempt staff
Effective Date: 08/01/04   Exempt staff
Revised: 08/01/08    Faculty

Policy

This policy provides guidelines for managers and supervisors in working with employees when the supervisor has a concern about an employee’s performance or conduct.

Loyola University New Orleans needs the very best skills, efforts, and performance of its employees to fulfill its mission, and operates from the assumption that employees take their work seriously and conduct themselves with pride and self-respect. We believe that our employees will rarely lapse from excellent work or adherence to established rules and regulations. We also believe that our employees will quickly correct any lapse in their work or violations of policies, if these problems are brought to their attention in a professional, cooperative manner that assumes they want to improve.

Supervisors are responsible for communicating performance and conduct standards to employees, for guiding, training and developing their employees, and for providing opportunities, if appropriate, to correct performance or behavior deficiencies. Employees are responsible for understanding supervisors' performance and conduct expectations and for actively participating in counseling and corrective action efforts.

Supervisors may use a variety of counseling and corrective action approaches as needed to address the specific nature of each problem professionally and constructively. The goal is to identify and resolve problems as early as possible through timely and effective partnership with employees.

The use of Counseling and Corrective Action does not change the ultimate at-will status of employees. Managers and Supervisors may modify these guidelines as conditions may require.

Employees are ineligible to post for positions within the University while on a current performance improvement plan.

Procedure

Counseling

Depending upon the severity of a situation, usually the first step before formal corrective action would normally be informal counseling. Counseling should be an initial verbal discussion between supervisor and employee to inform the employee of a problem at the earliest possible opportunity. The intent of counseling is to prevent a problem from becoming more serious or prolonged.

A written record of the counseling is necessary to register what took place. The counseling should take place in a private setting, and be based on specific facts. It should express confidence in the employee’s ability to improve and indicate the supervisor’s willingness to assist. Informal counseling is not a form of corrective action; however, it can be referenced at a later date if corrective action is taken. This discussion can take place during periodic performance evaluations or as a stand-alone counseling.

Steps in Counseling an Employee:

  • Identify the problem: The supervisor or employee must first identify the problem(s). Examples might include poor work product, strained working relationships, attendance deficiencies, missed deadlines, etc. The problem can be defined as the “gap” between the manager’s expectations and the employee’s performance.
  • Employee and supervisor assess and clarify scope of problem: Problems can stem from skill deficiencies, lack of clear communication, behavioral styles, personal crises, procedural or structural obstacles or some combination of these and other factors.
  • Supervisor establishes clear performance or conduct expectations with the employee for correcting the problem and works with employee to identify appropriate measures to correct the problem: Employee needs to know what will be viewed as successful resolution of the problem and what support and/or resources may be available to help meet expectations.
  • Employee accepts responsibility for correcting the problem and takes appropriate action: Examples might include obtaining training for skill problems, making other transportation or family arrangements for attendance problems, receiving guidance to understand and stop offensive behavior, etc.
  • Supervisors and employees communicate regularly regarding progress: This step usually includes discussions and written documentation that describes progress toward agreed upon improvements.
Performance Improvement Plans

Corrective Action is normally implemented after counseling has failed to correct the problem. However, corrective action may be used without counseling. Normally, corrective action is used to draw the employee's attention to the seriousness of a specific incident or a pattern involving performance or conduct. The following describes the most common corrective actions. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, some or all steps may be bypassed. Documentation of all formal corrective actions will be filed in the employee’s personnel file and does remain as a permanent part of the record. If twelve consecutive months pass without further corrective action, previous corrective actions will normally not be considered when determining future corrective action.

  • First Corrective Warning: A first warning is a conference in which the supervisor informs the employee of the inappropriateness of a specific incident or occurrence involving performance or conduct. The supervisor makes documents this discussion using the Performance Improvement Plan Form and forwards copy of the documentation to HR for the personnel file. If twelve consecutive months pass without further corrective action, previous corrective actions will normally not be considered when determining future corrective action.
  • Critical Warning: A critical warning may be given for more serious or repetitive incidents of unsatisfactory work performance or conduct. The warning contains a description of the incident, how the incident or situation fails to meet performance or conduct standards, and the correction expected. The employee is asked to sign the Performance Improvement Plan Form. If the employee declines, the supervisor will note the refusal on the form or have a witness to the discussion. If twelve consecutive months pass without further corrective action, previous corrective actions will normally not be considered when determining future corrective action.
  • Final Written Warning: The employee is advised using the Performance Improvement Plan Form that failure to correct performance or conduct within a specified time will result in termination of employment.
  • Administrative Leave (optional): This paid leave may be an appropriate step to provide a cooling-off period, a time of reflection for an employee, or during an investigation. Supervisors should discuss the need and appropriateness of an Administrative Leave with Human Resources before granting one.
  • Dismissal: If a corrective action is unsuccessful or the problem or misconduct is so severe that counseling and corrective action are impractical, an employee may be dismissed in consultation with the next level of management and Human Resources. The Vice President of the division where the individual is employed will normally be consulted. All approvals must be obtained before an employee is informed of the dismissal.

    Immediate dismissal, after a review of the facts but without going through all the steps of the correction process, may occur due to serious misconduct, including but not limited to illegal activities, discrimination, harassment, drug or alcohol abuse, or acts of physical violence. Human Resources must be consulted and involved before immediately dismissing an employee.

APPEAL OF CORRECTIVE ACTION PLAN

The Dispute University's Reconciliation Procedure is available to all employees who wish to appeal a corrective action.

The University’s Grievance Procedure is available to all employees who wish to appeal a termination decision