608 Disciplinary Procedures
 
Employees are expected to meet University standards of performance, ethics, and professionalism. The University follows a progressive discipline philosophy which is designed to, whenever possible, give employees who fail to meet standards an opportunity to improve. As part of progressive discipline, areas of concern are clearly explained to employees, clear action steps for improvement are outlined, and a follow-up is scheduled to review progress. Progressive discipline is a constructive way to improve employee performance; however, with each occurrence requiring discipline, the severity of the sanction increases to include suspension and/or termination. The level at which disciplinary action begins is determined by the immediate supervisor, in coordination with Human Resources, based upon the facts related to the conduct in question. The following outlines various steps in the progressive discipline plan.

For disciplinary actions under Levels I write a "memo to the file" and under Levels II, III, and IV use the on-line form at trojan.troy.edu/hr/forms.html. This documentation is to be completed by the supervisor and signed by both the supervisor and the employee. If the employee refuses to sign, that should be indicated on the memo and witnessed by another party. After the form is signed, forward a copy to Human Resources for inclusion in the employee's personnel file.

Examples of Infractions and potential action steps

Employees are prohibited from engaging in conduct listed below and may be disciplined up to and including termination. The following list has been established to serve as examples of behavior that could warrant a range of disciplinary sanctions. This list is not exhaustive and is only a guideline of progressive disciplinary action; the violation will dictate the action taken and the circumstances of the offense could require more aggressive discipline than listed below.

Example Infraction 1st Step of Discipline
Loitering or being idle during working hours Formal Discussion
Failure to report and/or record absence in a timely manner Formal Discussion
Failure to meet Professional appearance or departmental dress code Formal Discussion
Failure to meet performance standards on a consistent basis Verbal Warning
Failure to record work time appropriately such as submitting time late
(falsification of recorded time will result in termination)
Verbal Warning
Excessive tardiness Verbal Warning
Neglect of job duties Written Warning
Posting, removal or defacing of notices, signs, or writing of any form on any bulletin boards or University property without permission Written Warning
Willful violations of safety rules or University safety practices Written Warning
Obscene or abusive language Written Warning
Failure to report on-the-job accident or injury to supervisor Written Warning
Inappropriate conduct towards other employees, students, visitors Written Warning
Improper use of University property to include using university property for personal use Written Warning
Smoking within non-smoking areas Written Warning
Excessive absenteeism Written Warning
Sexual/Discriminatory Harassment Potential suspension during the investigation/sanction determined based on outcome of investigation
Willful violations of purchasing policy or University purchasing practices Suspension
Threatening, intimidating, or coercing employees, students, or visitors on University property at any time Suspension or Termination
Misrepresentation of paid/unpaid leave benefits (sick, jury, funeral, FMLA) Suspension
Sleeping on the job Suspension
Theft or destruction of University, other employee's, visitor's or student's property Suspension during investigation/sanction determined based on outcome of investigation
Insubordination or direct refusal to do an assigned job or task Suspension
Possession of firearms or weapons on University property Suspension or Termination
Unauthorized release of confidential data Suspension or Termination
Operating state-owned vehicles, equipment or private vehicles on state business without proper license & insurance, or operating in an unsafe manner Suspension or Termination
Reporting to work under the influence or in possession of alcohol or drugs Suspension or Termination
Leaving during work hours without permission Suspension or Termination
Fighting Termination
Causing or attempting to cause physical injury to another Termination
Falsifying time cards Termination
Falsification of any information to include Employment Application or other necessary data requested during the employment process Termination
Immoral conduct or indecency during working time Termination
Deliberate destruction, damage, or careless misuse of University property or property of fellow employees in any manner Termination
Inability or unwillingness to perform assigned duties in an acceptable manner Termination
Excessive Garnishment or for those requiring bonding, any situation that prohibits bonding Termination
Willful violation of rules, regulations, or policies. Termination
Acts considered by the University as major misconduct, insubordination, gross negligence or disregard of obligation to the University as an employee. Termination
Acts that violate discrimination or harassment policy and/or law. Termination
Failure to report to work for three consecutively scheduled workdays without notifying immediate supervisor Considered job abandonment and resignation of position

608.1 Resignation

All employees are required to notify their supervisors of their resignation as early as possible. The normal notification is a minimum of two weeks prior to the final working day. Notification should be in writing, with a copy to the Human Resources Office. Additional separation paper work may be required from the employee (for details see Section 8.3). Resigning employees will be paid during the next regularly scheduled pay period.

608.2 Dismissal

608.2.1 General

All recommendations regarding dismissal or termination are made at the Senior Vice Chancellor level or above. Dismissals/terminations will be discussed with Human Resources, the immediate supervisor, and the effected employee. The University recognizes that dismissal/termination for any reason is a serious matter. In cases of dismissal of any employee because of lack of funds or reorganization, the employee will be notified at least four weeks in advance if circumstances and advance knowledge permit. Reorganization includes, but is not limited to, the elimination, combination, restructuring or alteration of a service division as well as contracting services to a vendor. These employment decisions may not be appealed.

608.2.2 Procedures for Issuing Notice of Termination

Before a non-probationary, regular full-time employee may be terminated for cause, the immediate supervisor must coordinate with Human Resources. The letter of Notice of Termination is a written notice that cites the reasons for the termination. Prior to the supervisor presenting the Notice of Termination to the employee, Human Resources will review and the appropriate Senior Vice Chancellor must approve the termination. The supervisor must present the notice of termination in person, if at all possible; if not, by certified or registered mail or any other method of delivery where reasonable proof of delivery can be established, at the employee's last known residence. The supervisor shall simultaneously inform the employee of the right to an appeal as outlined below in Section 8.2.3.

608.2.3 Appeal of Notice of Termination

A regular, full-time employee may appeal a Notice of Termination. The employee has two working days from the date of receipt of the notice of termination to request an appeals. Delivery Receipt of Notice for certified mail is reasonable proof that delivery has been accomplished. The request should be submitted in writing, to the Chair of the Personnel Advisory Committee either by email or written notice.  If the employee requests an appeal, the Chair of the Personnel Advisory Committee will schedule an appeals hearing within a reasonable time frame based on the need to coordinate schedules and obtain pertinent information. If an appeal is requested, the appellant will be eligible for health benefits through COBRA. If reinstated, sick leave and annual leave do not accrue during the elapsed time for the appeals process.


Termination Appeal’s Hearing
  1. Coordination between the Chair of the Personnel Advisory Committee and the appellant will occur to determine location and venue for the hearing; if requested, attending the hearing via video conference may be available. If a terminated employee must travel for attendance at the appeal hearing, expenses will not be paid by Troy University. Failure of the appellant to appear shall not prejudice the case nor prevent the committee from hearing the case and rendering a decision.  If the proceedings concern a group appeal, no more than three (3) members of the group may be present at the hearing.

  2. A committee of impartial employees with no direct relationship to or involvement in the situation will be appointed by the Chair of the Personnel Advisory Committee, hereafter referred to as the Appeals Committee.  The hearing is an internal and informal, process; however, the appellant may bring a representative or attorney to the hearing for advisement purposes only.  This person will act solely in an advisory capacity to the employee and will not be permitted to take a direct role in the proceedings. The University reserves the right to have its attorney(s) present.

  3. The appeals committee will accumulate and study the statements of fact in the case. The employee(s) and the supervisor will be notified, in writing, or any other method of delivery where reasonable proof of delivery can be established at least three (3) working days prior to the hearing of the location, date and time. Pertinent materials will be available to the appeals committee and the appellant at the scheduled hearing. The appeals committee may discuss the appeal with the employee's supervisors or other University employees as needed to make a determination.  The appeals committee may ask any university employee to produce evidence related to the termination and question any witnesses that may have relevant information to the termination. The university and the appellant will be allowed to question all witnesses appearing at the hearing. Each party will be allowed to present or refute any evidence heard by the appeals committee. The appeals committee may grant adjournments of reasonable length to enable either party to investigate evidence. University employees, administration and the appellant will cooperate with the appeals committee in obtaining witnesses’ statements, attendance at hearings, and making evidence available as needed.

  4. A reasonable time shall be set aside to conduct the hearing in order to provide ample time for presentation of all materials by both parties.  A general outline of the order of procedure will be provided by the Chair of the Personnel Advisory Committee.  A record (tape recorded or otherwise) of the hearing may be made by a representative from Human Resources, if deemed necessary.  The committee reserves the right to call additional witnesses if the situation warrants this action. The parties interested will be notified as to the time and place of the meeting.

  5. The Appeals Committee, findings of fact and recommendation to uphold, abate, or reverse the termination will be submitted in a written report to the Office of the Chancellor. The Office of the Chancellor will provide a final determination of each appeal reaching that level.

  6. The Chancellor may request further investigation or information from the appeals committee prior to approval. The appeals committee, upon gathering and review of new information, will reconsider findings as necessary. If reconsideration dictates, the committee may require a new hearing and subsequent steps of recommendation and Chancellor’s approval.

  7. Terminations may be overturned if based on discriminatory or harassing practices or if the termination is found to be without merit.

  8. If the appeals committee recommends a reversal or abatement of the termination, a petition for back wages and reinstatement of leave that would have accrued may be submitted to Human Resources. The determination of allowable back wages will be determined by the Senior Director of Human Resources and the appropriate Senior Vice Chancellor. 

NOTE: Copies of the decision will be provided to the appellant and all parties involved. When warranted by unusual circumstances (illness, extended absence, etc.), the Chair of the Personnel Advisory Committee may extend or modify time limits in this procedure and may waive the limits of appellants allowed to be present set by the procedure.

608.2.4 Immediate Dismissal

While the University may use progressive discipline, termination may also be the first level of the disciplinary action should the misconduct warrant such action. A determination will be based on factors such as severity, frequency, and degree of deviation from expectations. Please see ePolicy 608 chart for examples of offenses that warrant immediate termination. When an employee is terminated for cause, the employee shall be removed from the payroll and lose any and all accrued ¬University benefits.

608.2.5 Separation Procedures

All terminating employees (except for retirement) are required to complete separation forms, which will be provided by the supervisor or the Office of Human Resources. Upon completion, these forms must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources before the final payroll can be processed.

608.2.6 Service Retirement

Employees should notify the supervisor and the Office of Human Resources at least three months prior to the scheduled retirement date. Retirement policies and procedures are prescribed by the Teachers' Retirement System.

608.2.7 Disability Retirement

Employees should notify the supervisor if a disability retirement is requested. Upon notification, the supervisor should contact the Office of Human Resources to initiate retirement administration. Disability retirement is administered in accordance with the policies of the University’s disability insurance carrier, the Teachers' Retirement System, and/or Social Security Administration. The University reserves the right to require documentation from a physician in validating claims of disability.