4.2.2 Termination for Unsatisfactory Performance

Policy Section: Termination

Policy Number and Title: 4.2.2 Termination for Unsatisfactory Performance
Applicable to: All Regular Employees
Effective Date: July 1, 2012

Purpose

Termination of employment for unsatisfactory work performance is a serious matter that requires careful evaluation and the approval of the Office of Human Resources.
 
Unsatisfactory work performance can encompass a variety of behaviors that include, but are not limited to:
  • inability to complete work assignments or correct errors in a reasonable amount of time;
  • inability (for whatever reason) or unwillingness to learn new tasks or skills or to work collaboratively; and
  • inability to exercise good judgment.  
When such conduct is identified, the supervisor should communicate with the employee to takecorrective action, which may include coaching for improved performance.
 
Supervisors should consult with the Office of Human Resources as early as possible about the employee’s unsatisfactory performance. There may be instances where unsatisfactory performance may result in immediate adverse employment action, up to and including termination.

Application

Where a Formal Period of Evaluation (or PIP) Is Implemented

If appropriate, a supervisor should establish a formal period of evaluation or performance improvement plan (PIP) during which time the employee can correct performance. The supervisor should summarize in writing for the employee:
  • a description of the unsatisfactory work performance;
  • standards and expectations that must be attained;
  • an explanation of the period of evaluation; and
  • a statement that, unless the level of improvement is made and sustained, termination of employment will occur.
At the end of the formal period of evaluation the supervisor will determine if the work performance meets the established standards.
 
If the recommendation is that the employee will continue employment, the supervisor will give the employee written notice of this together with a clear statement of expectations for the future.
 
The supervisor is not required to provide the employee with another period of evaluation if the performance does not continue to meet established standards unless there is a clear set of new circumstances.
 
If there is evidence that the employee cannot or will not improve, the supervisor should confer with the Office of Human Resources  about termination of the individual's employment. 
Where a Formal Period of Evaluation (or PIP) Is Not Implemented
There may be occasions where unsatisfactory performance may result in immediate discipline, up to and including termination. Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to:
  • the length of time the employee has been employed or has been in the position,
  • the seriousness or egregiousness of the unsatisfactory performance, and
  • the impact the unsatisfactory performance has on the essential business needs of the University or the department, e.g., unsatisfactory performance in a position that requires close and/or regular interaction with students, and the grade level or supervisory responsibilities of the employee. For example, University administrators with supervisory responsibilities and/or in higher grade levels need not be provided with a formal evaluation period prior to being subjected to an adverse employment action.
Collective Bargaining Agreement
Employees represented by a collective bargaining agreement should refer to their specific contract.

Roles

Supervisor
Identifies areas or patterns of unsatisfactory work performance and discusses problem and ways to improve with employee.
 
Consults with the Office of Human Resources if unsatisfactory work continues.
 
Meets with the employee to discuss the formal period of evaluation and to identify the specific areas within the employee's job description where demonstrated and sustained improvement must occur in order to continue employment.
 
Establishes a reasonable period of time, relative to the nature of the problem, for the employee to demonstrate improved performance. Provides feedback to the employee on a regular basis.
 
Notifies the Office of Human Resources that the employee has been placed in a formal period of evaluation. Provides feedback to the employee on a regular basis.
 
Continues to update the Office of Human Resources on the employee's progress in meeting the terms of the PIP.
 
At the end of the formal period of evaluation, notifies the Office of Human Resources regarding the outcome.
 
If the recommendation is to terminate employment, the supervisor will do a final review with the Office of Human Resources.
 
Meets with the employee to notify of termination and final day in the workplace; confirms termination in writing.
 
Prepares Termination/Retirement Form and forwards to the Office of Human Resources. Verifies forwarding address with the employee and sends records of terminating employee to the Office of Human Resources for inclusion in the personnel file.
 
Collects keys, identification card, documentation where appropriate and other University property from terminating employee. Advises employee that all library materials should be returned prior to effective date of termination (see: 4.0.2 Return of University Property).
Office of Human Resources
Consults with the supervisor on the employee's unsatisfactory work performance and advises the supervisor about procedures for evaluating performance.
 
May counsel the employee on improving work performance. May discuss other employment or training options with the employee.
 
Provides the employee with information about the University grievance procedure.
 
May conduct an exit interview with the terminating employee.
 
Reviews and processes Termination/Retirement Form.

Contacts

Office of Human Resources
(609) 258-3300

Last revised October 15, 2003.