02.5.18 - Progressive Discipline Policy

Human Resources: Employee Relations

Last Updated: 12/21/2021

Original policy date: 05/01/1995

Applies to: Faculty, Staff, Postdoctoral Fellows

 

Policy Established on

May 1, 1995 (Version 1); January 31, 2018 (V2); May 3, 2018 (V2, Modified)

Policy Status, Date of Last Update

Current, as of December 21, 2021 (V2, Second Modification)

Next Scheduled Review Date

December 1, 2023

 

I. Rationale
The purpose of this policy is to present a process for providing notice of deficiencies in conduct, performance, or related policy violation.
 
II. Stakeholders Affected by this Policy
Compliance with this policy is mandatory for all faculty and staff who are compensated by Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). Residents, fellows, postdoctoral trainees, and students in any BCM school or program may be excluded from this policy if progressive discipline is addressed in other policies relevant to their role.
 
III. Definitions
N/A
 
IV. Policy
A.    After consultation with the Employee Relations department, supervisors or issuing authorities will issue formal progressive discipline warnings to address deficiencies in performance, conduct, or policy violations via the steps outlined below. Progressive discipline should be presented to employees in a meeting or in a similar format. The employee receiving the progressive discipline may sign or otherwise formally acknowledge receipt. The employee will be provided with a copy of the first and second written warnings.
B.    The final and signed/acknowledged documentation of all formal warnings or disciplinary actions must be provided to Employee Relations. This documentation will be maintained by Employee Relations as a confidential record of an employee’s history. Second Warnings and/or Final Warnings will be recorded in SAP and maintained in the employee’s Human Resources file with the Employee Records department.
C.    A rebuttal is the appropriate method to challenge a warning. Employees may rebut formal progressive discipline through the process outlined below (see Section VI: C). Supervisors are required to respond to rebuttals, and Employee Relations works to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and BCM policies by reviewing each rebuttal response before it is sent to the employee. Employees who believe that a warning or resulting disciplinary action violates BCM policy (e.g., 02.2.25) may be able to file a grievance (see Section IX, below).   
 
V. Responsibilities
Supervisors or issuing authorities with questions regarding the scope of this policy, how to apply its principles and/or Procedures, or who wish to discuss proposed Actions should contact the Employee Relations department via email (employeerelations@bcm.edu) or phone (713-798-4346).
 
VI. Procedures for Implementation and Review
A.    Steps in the Formal Progressive Discipline Process.
1.     Preliminary Step: Verbal Counsel.
a.   It is recommended; however, not required, that the department, supervisor, or potential issuing authority discuss with an employee any potential or present concerns with performance, conduct, or potential policy violations to allow opportunity to remedy before a formal progressive disciplinary action occurs.
2.     Step One: First Warning.
a.   A First Warning is a formal disciplinary action which is documented in a written format. The First Warning is documented using the BCM Disciplinary Action Report Form (see Section VIII, below) or other written documentation containing substantially similar information, and a copy will be given to the employee. 
b. The documentation should include:
1)     Acknowledgement that this is the first step in the disciplinary action process;
2)     Summary of the concerning actions;
3)     Expectations moving forward; and
4)     Specific language representing that if the problem is not corrected or if additional concerns arise, further disciplinary action may occur, up to and including termination.
3.     Step Two: Second Warning.
a.   A Second Warning is a formal disciplinary action which is documented in a written format. The Second Warning is documented using the BCM Disciplinary Action Report Form (see Section VIII, below) or other written documentation containing substantially similar information, and a copy will be given to the employee. 
b. The documentation should include:
1)     Acknowledgement that this is a secondary step in the disciplinary action process;
2)     Summary of the concerning actions;
3)     Expectations moving forward; and
4)     Specific language representing that if the problem is not corrected or if additional concerns arise, further disciplinary action may occur, up to and including termination.
c.   An employee is ineligible for promotion, transfer, equity and merit increase or bonus for six months following the date a Second Warning is presented. In addition to Employee Relations’ documentation of the Second Warning, Second Warnings are recorded in SAP and maintained in an employee’s Human Resources file with the Employee Records department.
4.     Step Three: Final Warning or Termination.
Final Warning:
a.   A Final Warning is a formal disciplinary action which is documented in a written format and may include unpaid suspension (for a period of one to three days) or other long-term or permanent actions, at the discretion of the department in conjunction with Employee Relations department. The Final Warning is documented using the BCM Disciplinary Action Report Form (see Section VIII, below) or other written documentation containing substantially similar information. 
b. The documentation should include:
1)     Acknowledgement that this is a final step in the disciplinary action process;
2)     Summary of the concerning actions;
3)     Expectations moving forward; and
4)     Specific language representing that if the problem is not corrected or if additional concerns arise, further disciplinary action may occur, up to and including termination.
c.   An employee is ineligible for promotion, transfer, equity and merit increase or bonus for six months following the date a Final Warning is presented. In addition to Employee Relations documentation of the Final Warning, Final Warnings are recorded in SAP and maintained in an employee’s Human Resources file with the Employee Records department.
OR
Termination:
d. A termination is conducted through communication notifying an employee of the end of their employment and rationale for the termination. This is the last step in the disciplinary process and is a decision made in consultation with at least one of the following: Employee Relations, the Office of General Counsel, and/or the Title IX Coordinator. 
 
B.    Exceptions and Discipline outside the Formal Progressive Discipline Process.
1.     New Hires: Poor Job Match.
a.   During the first six months of employment, if an employee’s conduct or performance demonstrates the lack of requisite skills or ability to satisfy the expectations of the job, the employee may be considered a poor job match. 
b. In such cases, a supervisor or issuing authority may follow the expedited process outlined below:
1)     Present a First Warning or Second Warning within the first six months of employment; and
2)     If further issues arise, or if corrections are not sustained, at any time within a 90 day period following the presentation of the warning, the department may choose to proceed with termination.
2.     Serious Misconduct or Significant Decline in Performance.  
a.   At the discretion and approval of at least one of the following: Employee Relations, the Office of General Counsel, Executive Compliance Committee (or designee), and/or the Title IX Coordinator, it may be appropriate to bypass steps in the formal progressive discipline process. These determinations are made on a case by case basis and generally reflect serious violations of BCM policies.
C.    Rebuttal.
1.     Employees are given the opportunity to respond to formal progressive discipline by submitting a written rebuttal to the supervisor or issuing authority.
2.     The rebuttal should:
a.   Include a list of facts or issues disputed by the employee;
b. Include evidence that the progressive discipline was either unreasonable or inappropriate under the circumstances;
c.   Be submitted no later than five business days from the date the progressive discipline was presented; and
d. Be submitted via email to the supervisor or issuing authority and to Employee Relations at employeerelations@bcm.edu.
3.     In cooperation with the Employee Relations department, the supervisor or issuing authority is expected to respond to the rebuttal in writing no later than five business days from the date of receipt.
VII. Stakeholder Compliance
N/A
 
VIII. Tools
·         BCM Disciplinary Action Report Form: Supervisors or issuing authorities are suggested to use this form to document Verbal, Written, and Final Warnings.
·         Faculty Bylaws
IX. Related Policies
X. Applicable Laws, Regulations & Standards
N/A