Date Posted: 08/29/2003
A system of progressive discipline may be used for encouraging
an employee to correct unacceptable behavior and to adhere to
the Rules of Employee Conduct. CSU reserves the right to determine
those steps necessary considering all aspects of each individual
case. The following corrective and disciplinary actions shall
be used as appropriate:
Degrees of discipline are progressive and are used to insure
the employee has the opportunity to correct their performance.
There is no set standard of how many verbal warnings must be given
prior to a Written Warning or how many Written Warnings must precede
termination. Factors to be considered are:
For serious offenses such as (fighting, theft, threats of violence,
the sale or possession of drugs or abuse of alcohol on CSU Property,
etc.) termination may be the first and only disciplinary step
taken. Any step or steps of the disciplinary process may be skipped
at the discretion of the Office of Human Resources and Department
Management after investigation and analysis of the total situation,
past practice and circumstances.
In general, several verbal warnings should, at the next infraction,
be followed by a Written Warning, followed at the next infraction
by suspension, then discharge. This is especially true in those
cases where the time interval between offenses is short and the
employee demonstrates a lack of desire to improve his/her performance.
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Georgia is an employment-at-will state. Cause is not necessary
to terminate employment. An employee can be discharged as a result
of a serious offense or as the final step in accumulation of infractions
for which a warning notice or notices have been written.
Documentation is an essential element of any human resources
program. With respect to accurate performance appraisals, documentation
ensures that a manager accurately remembers the goals that he
has set for an employee, whether performance standards were met,
why standards were not met, and how an employee performed months
before. Without documentation, a manager is unable to provide
an employee with specific examples of performance. The more complete
and accurate the documentation, the easier it is for a manager
to make and substantiate an evaluation.
A second use of documentation is to improve feedback between
a manager and an employee. Ideally, feedback should be given immediately;
however, when this cannot be done, documentation is a reminder
of what occurred.
Third, documentation is critical when a manager needs to substantiate
his actions to others. In the event that an evaluation, pay raise,
or disciplinary action is questioned, documentation will be the
key to supporting that action. Memory alone will not be substantial
enough to support a decision when grievances, unemployment hearings,
human rights complaints and unjust discharge suits arise.
Fourth, documentation will help to support a supervisor's position
that he/she did or did not do something. For example, did a supervisor
explain a new policy or rule to an employee, inform an employee
about a disciplinary policy. Thus documentation provides verification
that employees heard and understood new rules and policies.
Finally, documentation can also be used as a record of an employee's
training and development. Supervisors can document career counseling,
training, developmental opportunities, how an employee performed
during training, and an employee's career goals.
The Verbal Warning is a conversation between a supervisor and
an employee held in private about a disciplinary or performance
problem. It is the first step of the progressive discipline process.
The purpose of the Verbal Warning is to correct a performance
or disciplinary problem by bringing it to the employee's attention
in a serious yet friendly manner.
The Verbal Warning should be used after the supervisor is sure
of the following:
The employee will be counseled by the supervisor following an
infraction of the rules in order to:
There are several procedures which must be followed whenever
a Verbal Warning is given:
Note: Verbal Warnings usually take a short time
and, when well handled, are sufficient to take care of most disciplinary
Many supervisors think that Verbal Warnings do not have to be
documented. This is not true. All disciplinary actions must be
"I talked to Emily Brewer today about her attendance record
and gave her a Verbal Warning. Since January 1, Ms. Brewer has
been absent from work on 12 occasions for a total of 17 days.
Ms. Brewer said, 'You can't make people work when they are sick,'
and argued about the Verbal Warning. I told her that she could
get a medical leave of absence if she needed it, but that I expected
her to be here everyday."
(Supervisor) / (Date)
Informal Record Department File
An informal record is made of the verbal warning by the supervisor
and put in the employee's department file. Written Warning Definition
-- A WRITTEN WARNING is a documented formal conversation between
a supervisor and an employee about a disciplinary or performance
problem. It is the second step of the progressive discipline process.
The purpose of the Written Warning is to correct a performance
problem by discussing it with the employee and providing a written
record of that conversation.
The Written Warning is usually used only after a Verbal Warning
has been given and no change in performance has resulted.
A written warning notice is issued to document the fact that
the employee has been officially advised of the precise nature
of his or her misconduct and warned that any future violations
will result in further disciplinary actions, including disciplinary
suspension, possible termination (or, if appropriate "will
result in termination"). The employee is invited to make
a written statement on the warning notice and requested to sign
the notice. If the employee refuses to sign the notice the supervisor
should indicate the fact and reasons on the warning notice form.
Before the Meeting:
Prepare for the meeting by reviewing your notes on the
Verbal Warning conversation and any other material.
Ask the employee to come into an office, conference room or other
During the Meeting:
State the specific problem in terms of actual performance
and desired performance. Refer to previous casual conversation
and the previous Verbal Warning. Give the employee a chance to
respond and explain. Tell the employee the specific change you
expect in his/her performance and indicate your confidence that
he/she will change. Have the employee confirm that he/she knows
exactly what you expect. Tell the employee that you will write
a memo to him/her summarizing the conversation.
After the Meeting:
Write a short memo to the employee summarizing the conversation.
Advise the appropriate people of the conversation and distribute
the copies of the memo. Monitor the employee's performance to
make sure that the problem has been corrected.
Required Information -- The memo must contain the following information:
Have the employee sign the memo. If the employee refuses, a statement
regarding your attempt to have the employee sign and his/her refusal
to do so.
The Written Warning should be made no later than the end of the
day following the conversation.
A copy of the notice is given to the employee, one is retained
by the department, and one is sent to the Office of Human Resources.
(The warning notice becomes a part of the employee's personnel
A disciplinary suspension is normally a period of one (1) to
five (5) days. Exempt employees whose performance or conduct merits
a suspension will be suspended for a minimum of 5 days. The employee
is relieved of his or her job assignment because of serious or
repeated instances of misconduct and shall forfeit pay as a result
of the suspension. Also, these are situations where there is no
specific instance of conduct that is so outrageous that justifies
termination; but, there is a pattern of conduct where the employee
has continually engaged in one minor infraction of the rules after
another and has received a documented verbal and/or written warning
for rule(s) infraction(s).
An investigative suspension is a period during which time an
employee is relieved of his or her job because of alleged serious
misconduct. An employee may be placed on investigative suspension
when it is necessary to make a full investigation to determine
the facts of the case, such as fighting, insubordination or theft.
Normally investigative suspension is a leave with pay.
Instruct the employee to leave CSU property. Determine where
you can contact the employee and inform him/her that you will
do so immediately following investigation of the incident. Prepare
your recommendations as to the appropriate course of action. Review
all supporting documentation to assure accuracy and completeness.
Review your action plan and all supporting documents with the
Office of Human Resources.
If after the investigation: If discharge is warranted, the discharge
shall be effective on the date of the termination interview.
If misconduct is determined, but not of a sufficiently serious
nature to warrant discharge he employee shall receive a warning
notice and may be placed on disciplinary suspension. If no misconduct
is determined, the employee shall return to work within the prescribed
Prepare your recommendation as to the appropriate course of action.
Review all supporting documentation to assure accuracy and completeness.
Review your action plan and all supporting documents with the
Office of Human Resources. Department Supervisor Responsibilities
Make certain that all employees of the department understand the
rules and regulations which should govern their behavior. Point
out and discuss rule infractions, and when appropriate, give verbal
warning. Document all pertinent facts relating to the misconduct.
Record dates and substance of verbal warnings. Consult the Office
of Human Resources when the issuance of a warning notice appears
warranted. Issue the approved warning notice for repeated infractions
or a serious offense. Recommend disciplinary suspension when the
employee's conduct is such that a level of discipline greater
than a written warning notice but less than termination is desired.
Disciplinary suspension action cannot be taken without the approval
of the department head and the Office of Human Resources.
Document suspension stating reasons and length of suspension
with a memo to the individual and a copy to the individual's personnel
file. Recommend demotion or discharge when the employee's conduct
justifies such actions. Discharge or demotion cannot be taken
without the approval of the department head and the Associate
Vice President for Human Resources.
Office of Human Resources Responsibilities Insure all disciplinary
actions are consistent with policy, past precedents and fairly
administered. Review all of the circumstances which led to the
warning notice, and approve the appropriateness of the action.
Review and thoroughly investigate supervisory recommendations
involving disciplinary suspension, demotion or discharge and approve
or disapprove such recommendations prior to action being taken.
Approve any investigative suspension and conduct the required
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