The university’s ability to fulfill its special educational mission depends on employees who are competent in the performance of their job duties and who comply with university policies, including the Church Educational System Honor Code ("Honor Code") Accordingly, the purpose of this policy is to establish a framework for safeguarding the university’s reputation and resources from employee misconduct while also treating employees in a fair and equitable manner.
In cases of employee Misconduct or Substandard Job Performance, the university may take corrective action commensurate with the nature and severity of the offense. The application of this policy is an effort to recover the investment that the university makes in its employees and is not an abrogation of the principle of at-will employment.
The employment relationship between the university and an administrative or staff employee exists at the will of either party and may be terminated at any time and for any cause whatsoever or no cause, other than for reasons prohibited by law.
The following terms (capitalized in the text) will have the specific meanings given:
3.1 Disciplinary Action
A management decision affecting an employee’s pay, status, or organizational placement that is taken to correct unacceptable employee behavior. Depending on the nature and severity of the offense, Disciplinary Action can include:
- Verbal Counseling - A conversation between an employee and his/her supervisor that informs the employee Substandard Job Performance and/or unacceptable behavior and can include, for example,, setting a time limit for the behavior to change, and/or identify support that will be provided to effect the change. Before pursuing further Disciplinary Action after Verbal Counseling, a supervisor should generally consult with the Human Resources department. Supervisory notes or memos to the employee’s personnel file may be used to document the date and content of the Verbal Counseling event.
- Written Warning - A formal written account entered into the employee’s personnel file that documents the continued Substandard Job Performance and/or unacceptable behavior and can include, for example, a description of supervisory efforts to correct the behavior, and/or of the timing and ensuing consequences that may follow if the behavior is not corrected. The employee's supervisor should give a copy of the written warning to the employee and ask the employee to sign a copy of the document to acknowledge its receipt. If the employee refuses to sign an acknowledgement, the supervisor should document the delivery of the warning and attempt(s) to obtain the employee's signature, which documentation should be placed in the employee's personnel file.
- Suspension with Pay - A temporary compensated release from job responsibilities not to exceed one work week, unless extended by a decision of the appropriate vice president.
- Suspension without Pay - A temporary ban on an employee’s ability to perform work for the university with the accompanying loss of pay for the duration of the ban. The length of the suspension should be commensurate with the nature of the alleged problem and the employee's past employment record. Notice of a period of Suspension Without Pay should specify the reasons for the action, its length, and the conditions on which the employee may be allowed to return to work. For exempt employees, a suspension without pay cannot be less than one work week.
- Termination - Notice that, as of a date certain, the employee no longer has a job with the university. In most circumstances, the university should pay discharged employee all wages due within three working days following the later of the discharge date or the applicable next regular pay day.
Behavior that violates applicable federal or state law or regulation or that does not comply with university policy, including the CES Honor Code or the university Personnel Conduct Policy.
3.3 Progressive Discipline
A sequence of Disciplinary Actions, each, progressively more intrusive than its predecessor, designed, in part, to give an employee who has been disciplined opportunities to correct behavior and/or demonstrate a good faith commitment to the university. It is not necessary for every Disciplinary Action to progress through every step of a Progressive Discipline regime. Although the university provides guidelines for Progressive Discipline, employees may not rely upon Progressive Discipline being in effect. Immediate termination can be the result of fighting or inappropriate physical contact, the discovery of theft of monies or services, egregious disruptive insubordination, or other serious employee Misconduct.
3.4 Substandard Job Performance
After job expectations have been communicated and/or appropriate training/orientation have been completed, persistent failure to perform the critical functions of a job at an acceptable level of proficiency.
4.1 Determination of Need for Corrective Action
Supervisors and the other members of their management chain monitor the job performance and personal behavior of the employees for which they have direct responsibility. When supervisors become aware of the following conduct, they may take appropriate corrective action:
- Violation of the Honor Code, federal or state laws and regulations, or university policies.
- Refusal or failure to follow the reasonable directives of an employee’s supervisor or other applicable upper level managers.
- Substandard Job Performance.
- Unexcused absences, unauthorized work schedule, excessive tardiness, poor work ethic, or excessive breaks.
4.2 Appropriateness of Disciplinary Action
The decision and responsibility to discipline or terminate an employee rests with line management. However, line management should generally consult with the Human Resources department before proceeding with serious discipline or termination procedures unless, in rare cases, the seriousness of the situation requires direct and immediate action. The determination of appropriate Disciplinary Actions should be based on consideration of the nature, severity, context, and history of the behavior. Analysis of the following factors should lead to the appropriate and timely Disciplinary Action correlating to the behavior in question.
- Validity of evidence - Disciplinary actions should be based on verifiable facts and/or information that will withstand adversarial scrutiny. Accordingly, supervisors will need to have confidence that the evidence leading them to take a Disciplinary Action is accurate, reliable, and pertinent. If there is a question about the evidence or a need to conduct an investigation to obtain all relevant information, a less intrusive Disciplinary Action may be justified pending determination of the appropriateness of a more intrusive action.
- Safety - If there is compelling evidence that allowing a given behavior to continue or allowing a particular employee to remain in a specific work situation would put others at risk of harm or injury, a more intrusive Disciplinary Action may be appropriate.
- Legal liability - When a particular behavior creates a potential legal liability for the university, the Disciplinary Action taken should be selected to limit such liability.
- Institutional reputation - Behaviors that have the potential to damage the university’s reputation should not be allowed to continue, but the Disciplinary Action needed to effect this result may be less intrusive than actions required by an immediate safety threat.
- Financial impact - Behaviors that contribute to organizational inefficiencies or financial loss to the university should be addressed in a timely manner.
- Recoverability - The university’s investment in its employees is substantial, creating a preference for Disciplinary Actions that have a likelihood of helping an employee to become a profitable contributor to the university's long run success. When problematic behavior is rooted in competency deficiencies or attitudinal inertia, the Disciplinary Action employed should point a path for rehabilitation.
4.2.2 Substandard Job Performance
Unintentional Substandard Job Performance issues respond to and deserve the rehabilitative advantages offered by a course of Progressive Discipline.
4.2.3 Willful Misconduct
Application of more intrusive Disciplinary Actions, depending on the nature of the offense and whether or not the employee shows remorse, may be necessary for incidents of willful misconduct.
Faculty members are employed on an annual contract basis and are not at-will employees. In addition to the other provisions of this policy, Faculty members are accorded the following special considerations.
4.3.1 Principles of Faculty Discipline
Faculty members, whose behavior or job performance merits Disciplinary Action as outlined in this policy, have a right to a disciplinary process that adheres to these principles:
- Progressive - Except in cases where immediate threats to personal safety or risk of serious legal liability are at issue, Disciplinary Action should be progressive, beginning with the lowest level of intervention deemed appropriate to effectively address the problem;
- Notice - Unless extraordinary circumstances prevail, before any Disciplinary Action can be taken against a faculty member, the faculty member should receive clear notice of the concerns, expectations, and possible consequences for noncompliance if the behavior is not corrected.
- Opportunity to correct - Except where the nature of the offense warrants immediate termination, a faculty member thus notified should be given a reasonable period of time to correct the problem.
4.3.2 Contract Renewal
- Without continuing faculty status - The university may choose not to renew the appointment of a faculty member without Continuing Faculty Status (CFS) at the expiration of his or her contract for any reason as long as that reason does not violate a statutory right. The university may terminate the appointment before the expiration of a contract for adequate cause only. Such action is an involuntary termination and is appealable under this policy. Non-renewal of a contract resulting from an unsuccessful review in the rank and status process is appealed through the Faculty Rank and Status Policy process only.
- With continuing faculty status - The university may terminate the appointment of a faculty member with CFS for adequate cause only.
4.3.3 Special Considerations of Adequate Cause
Faculty members are subject to the same behavioral expectations given in Section 3.4 of this policy. In addition, Disciplinary Action may be warranted under these conditions:
- Material violation of professional standards or ethics directly related to the faculty member’s discipline, including loss of licensure or certification.
- Conduct or expression that is in violation of the university’s statement on academic freedom.
4.3.4 Faculty probation
In addition to the Progressive Discipline levels defined above, in cases of faculty Substandard Job Performance, the faculty member may be put on a probationary status not to exceed one year in duration. While on probationary status, the faculty member may continue to teach classes, conduct research, and be involved in institutional service activities. However, the notice of probationary status may stipulate actions such as reassignment, pay restrictions, or other consequences deemed necessary. If, at any point in a probationary period, it is evident that progress toward normal status is not being made, the probationary status may be revoked and Termination action taken without further notice.
4.3.5 Right of appeal
An employee has a right to request an objective review of any Disciplinary Action as provided in the Grievance Policy.
5. RELATED POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Academic Freedom Statement
Faculty Grievances Policy
BYU–Hawaii Hiring Rank and Status Policy
Executive Sponsor: Academic Vice President, and Administrative Vice President
Approved by President’s Council: 12/12/2016
Full revision history maintained by Human Resources.