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Performance Management: Corrective Action

Corrective action generally follows a course of progressive discipline that will use increasingly serious actions if there is no sufficient improvement or if there is repeated failure to correct unacceptable conduct or work performance. The purpose of corrective action is to correct and resolve employee poor performance. Prior to taking any corrective action, managers and supervisors are required to consult with Employee and Labor Relations.

Represented and Professional and Support Staff

For represented employees the applicable collective bargaining agreement defines what constitutes corrective action. For non-represented (PSS) employees, Personnel Policy for Staff Members (PPSM 62) – Corrective Action, defines what constitutes corrective action. Therefore, it is important to review the applicable policy or labor agreement if an employee’s conduct or performance is not satisfactory.

Corrective action steps may include, but not limited to:

  • Verbal Warning
  • Written Warning
  • Suspension
  • Demotion

Generally, at least one written warning will be given to an employee prior to proceeding with any other corrective action; however, no written warning will be needed if the corrective action is a result of misconduct or work performance that an employee knew or reasonably should have known was unacceptable.

Corrective action for PSS and represented employees is measured against a “just cause” standard. Just cause is a burden of proof or standard that an employer must meet to justify discipline or discharge for represented employees. The standards of just cause require that work rules or orders are reasonable; that the employee receive adequate notice of the work rule/order and the consequence of possible failure of non-compliance; that a sufficient and fair investigation/fact-finding is conducted; that the documentation supports the unsatisfactory conduct or performance; and, that the discipline is appropriate and consistent.

Weingarten Rights

When an employee reasonably believes that a meeting with their supervisor may result in corrective action, the employee may request and is entitled to representation. This right to representation is known as “Weingarten Rights.”

Notice of Intent

Certain corrective actions, such as suspension over five (5) days, demotions, and salary decreases require a written notice of intent which must include the following:

  • Intended corrective action:
  • Reason for the action;
  • Materials/documentation (if any) on which the action is based;
  • Proposed effective date(s) of the action;
  • Specific expectations for future performance or conduct, and;
  • A statement that the employee has the right to respond orally or in writing to the University’s intended action(s). This is commonly referred to as the Skelly Notice or Skelly rights.

If an employee requests a review of the intended action, a designated management representative will review the employee’s response. The reviewing manager can uphold, modify or overturn the intended action and will send a written decision to the employee’s supervisor.

Based upon the findings of the reviewing manager’s report or if the employee does not request a review of the intended action, the supervisor prepares a letter informing the employee of the action to be taken, attaches a copy of the reviewing manger’s report, and, if corrective action is taken, informs the employee about his/her appeal rights under university policy or the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

Managers and Senior Professionals (MSP)

The university’s Corrective Action Policy does not cover MSP employees. However, unless the conduct and/or failure to meet work performance standards is so severe to warrant immediate termination, it is recommended that supervisors give an employee prior notice of his/her unsatisfactory performance and/or conduct and develop a plan for the employee to improve and succeed. This notice should be in writing and may be in the form of a Letter of Concern, Letter of Warning or a Letter of Expectations. A good practice when issuing one of these letters is to provide the MSP employee with a copy of the documentation supporting the conduct or performance issue, specify the expectations for future performance or conduct, and the potential consequences for not meeting expectations or standards.