EMPLOYEE EVALUATION ANDDISCIPLINE Sheila Bryant, Director of Affirmative Action Carlene Smith, Associate Director of HR April 17, 2008
Purpose To provide a formal and consistent method for documenting job performance standards. To facilitate communication between supervisors and employees.
Purpose To promote and maintain job efficiency. To determine training needs. To serve as a partial basis for salary increases, promotions, terminations, etc.
An Accurate Evaluation: • Can be a morale booster • Allows you to keep employees on track • Increases productivity • Allows goal setting • Provides means of communication • Creates needed documentation • Helps avoid retaliation claims
An Inflated or Inaccurate Evaluation is… Nothing but TROUBLE !!!
Worst Case Scenario • It will be difficult to terminate an employee who has gotten high evaluations. • It will be difficult to defend the termination of an employee who has gotten high evaluations to the EEOC or in a courtroom before a jury.
Doing the Evaluation • Refer to documentation compiled during the year. • Review job description. • Review Performance Goals set for the year. • Start with “Meets Expectations.”
Doing the Evaluation • Based on documentation, rate up or down if appropriate. • Always provide comments or basis for high or low marks. • Attach additional pages and copies of disciplinary documents.
When Meeting with Employees • Be prepared. • Give and allow feedback. • Provide specific, supporting comments. • Be respectful and professional. • Don’t get personal – comment on the performance, not the person. • Set performance goals together.
Performance Goals • Performance goals let employees know the expectations for their jobs & the standards they’re expected to meet. • To be useful tools, goals should relate to specific duties & responsibilities and/or employee development. (refer to the job description) • Employee & supervisor should develop written prioritized performance goals that are measurable, observable and doable. • Action plans for achieving goals will help employees meet challenges & improve performance. • Employees’ ability to meet performance goals is the basis for performance appraisals, rewards & discipline and employee development.
What do you do if there are prior inaccurate evaluations? • Review employee’s job description for accuracy and currency. • Meet with employee to discuss your expectations. • Indicate that you will evaluate accordingly. • Provide the employee a chance to comply. • If needed, provide reasonable assistance.
DOCUMENTATIONor“File Building” Produce it as needed throughout the year. It should be: • Contemporaneous • Consistent • Clear
Disciplinary Policy/Process • Purpose is to correct employee’s conduct and warn that repetition of this or similar behavior can result in discharge. • No disciplinary action involving probation, suspension or dismissal is to be taken against any employee until disciplinary action discussed with HR Director or designated representative, except when, in judgment of employee’s supervisor, immediate suspension is necessary to protect safety of persons or property or similarly grave reason.
Disciplinary Policy/Process • Samples of misconduct not warranting immediate discharge for first offense but disciplinary action should be taken: • Improper use of university time • Improper use of equipment • Failure to follow required safety practice • Repeated or unreported absenteeism or tardiness • Disregard for general university policy • Failure to report an accident
Disciplinary Policy/Process • Supervisory Responsibility • Explain how employee has failed in meeting requirements or how conduct is unacceptable. • Give employee a clear understanding of exact expectations and why. • Give employee an opportunity to account for actions or lack of actions. • Take disciplinary action if situation warrants.
Disciplinary Policy/Process All disciplinary discussions should be conducted in a climate conducive to good understanding and reasonable discussion. Supervisors must completely document all disciplinary actions and ensure that copies (with employee’s signature acknowledging receipt) are forwarded to HR for inclusion in personnel file.
Disciplinary Policy/Process • Verbal warning – record date of warning and other pertinent information; maintain in department • Written warning- if orally counseled more than once during 6 month period; issued by supervisor; copy forwarded to HR for personnel file • Probation - supervisor consults with division head and Director of HR. Written probation letter issued to employee outlining change in status, problems encountered and desired corrective action. Employee may be terminated at any time without notice during probationary period.
Disciplinary Process • Time Off Without Pay – Imposed separately or in conjunction with probation. Employee is facing possible termination if performance doesn’t improve. Supervisor consults with division head and Director of HR to determine necessity of LWOP and duration of period. Letter of warning issued and copy placed in HR personnel file. Division head is final approval authority. • Termination – Supervisor documents recommendation and discusses with division head; supervisor reviews case with HR Director; HR Director reviews with division head. If a decision is made to terminate, division head notifies employee in writing of the decision.
Disciplinary Process • When immediate suspension is necessary to protect the safety of persons or property or for similar reasons, supervisor directs employee to leave the University premises at once and either (a) report back to supervisor the following day or (b) to remain away until further notice. Procedures regarding Time Off Without Pay to be followed promptly. Refer to APSU Policy 5:053 Discipline Procedures for Non-Faculty Employees
Start Discipline When… • You see a pattern emerging absenteeism, missed deadlines • The conduct causes disruption in the office • A policy or rule is violated
Don’t wait to address the problem. • Don’t diminish or alter responsibilities. • Follow through on “promised” discipline.
Elements of Documentation Produce contemporaneously with conduct Include: • Date of document • Name of employee and supervisor • Name(s) of those present at meeting • Type of discipline
January 26, 2007 To: Sue Smith, Secretary II From: Tom Jones, Registrar Re: Verbal Warning
Elements of Documentationcon’t. • Any prior disciplinary measures taken • Reason(s) for discipline State facts, not conclusions or assumptions Provide specific examples Include dates, times, location, witnesses • Describe impact • Cite any applicable policy or rule
On Jan 12, I counseled you on the need to report to work on time - 8:00. You reported to work on Jan 4 at 8:15, on Jan 9 at 8:23 and on Jan 12 at 9:49. On Jan 18 you came in at 9:13 and today you arrived at 8:43. This violates Policy II-B(1)(c). When you are late there is no one at the front desk to answer the phones or handle walk-ins.
Elements of Documentation,con’t • Any progress, or the lack of progress since last disciplinary action • Expectation(s) Be specific; indicate required outcomes by specific dates if appropriate • Periodic meetings
When you received the First Written Warning three months ago (copy attached), it was expected that you would complete the scanning and filing for the ABC Project, and the inventory of software licenses by January 31. Since then, you have finished 6 of the 10 modules of the Project, and you have taken inventory from 2 departments.
You are expected to have all 10 modules of the project completed by Feb 22, and have the inventory of all 10 departments done by Feb 28. To ensure that you are making satisfactory progress we will meet each Friday at 10:00.
Elements of Documentation, con’t. • Any training or assistance that can be offered • Any training or assistance that was provided
- In order to assist you in completing this assignment, you will attend the Banner training scheduled for Tuesday, April 1. - You attended the conference on electronic file management back in October 2007 so that you could set up and manage the office files.
Elements of Documentationcon’t. • Any corrective action taken • Possible consequence if not corrected • Employee’s response or comments • Signature of employee Provide signed copy to HR file and employee
If you do not meet these deadlines or make sufficient progress within the next 5 weeks in order to meet these deadlines, further disciplinary action including probation or termination may be taken. If you have any questions concerning this, please let me know.
I have had the opportunity to read this document, and to ask questions and provide comments concerning it. I have also been given a copy of this document. _________________ Sue Smith _________________ Date
Probation Include: • Prior disciplinary steps • Length of probation with beginning and ending dates of observable employment • Improvement must be significant and sustained • Possible termination at any time
After a review of your file, including prior disciplinary actions concerning your performance (attached), you are being placed on disciplinary probation effective today. The probationary period will be in effect for 3 months of observable performance during which your employment may be terminated at any point should there be insufficient improvement or lack of continued and continuous improvement in your ability to carry out the following list of particulars.
Additionally, subsequent to successful completion of this probationary period, any instances of unacceptable conduct or unsatisfactory performance will result in further disciplinary action, up to and including termination. [List expectations – to do or not to do.] Failure to comply with any of the items listed above will lead to your dismissal.
My signature indicates that I have read this document. I have also had the opportunity to respond to and to make comments about, as well as, to ask questions concerning its content.
Meetings with Employees • Give the employee notice that work is unsatisfactory • Counsel the employee on expected performance standards • Offer help and assistance in meeting standards Ask for feedback and explanation. Document the meeting.
Document, Document, Document Religiously make notes to file whether an employee is being disciplined or not Stick to the facts: date, time, what happened, witnesses, discussion with employee, your response Review and use in decisionmaking process re: next disciplinary step Review prior to evaluation
Sue Smith, Notes to File, 2006 1/14 – 20 min late getting back from lunch; registration; discussed 4/21 – didn’t have slides ready for PP for Pres Council mtg.; had reminded her week before 6/9 – did a great job organizing the staff retreat; lined up speakers; did presentation on communication – well received 9/28 – submitted report with numerous statistical errors; asked her to correct, get to me by 9/29 9/30 – got “corrected” report – still too many errors. Since due tomorrow, had to correct it myself. Late getting out. Written warning issued.
Keep in mind that all documents – including emails - are public record. They will become evidence in a trial.
Can This (Employment) Relationship Be Saved? • Could be less costly than getting a new employee advertising and interviewing time training a new employee • Remediation / Rehabilitation more training change, within job description • Plays well to a jury
Is Termination Appropriate? • Have you done everything you could to have produced a different outcome? • Have prior disciplinary steps been taken? • Was the employee made aware of problems and possible consequences? • Did you adequately investigate the incidents? • Has the employee had the chance to respond?
Have you thoroughly documented? • Would this be consistent with prior terminations / discipline? • Does the “punishment fit the crime”? • Is the employee in a protected class? • Is there any basis on which the employee could claim retaliation?
Retaliation “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any of his employees…because he has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice…, or because he has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing [concerning such.]” Title VII
Retaliation, con’t.Potential Claimants • Member of protected class: race, color, religion, sex, nat’l origin, age, disability • Complained or filed a grievance (based on the above) • Cooperated in investigation of grievance (based on the above) • Engaged on protected activity (e.g., FMLA, 1st amdmt, Whistleblower, workers comp)
Retaliation, con’t. To prove a claim, plaintiff must show: • He engaged in a protected activity • He suffered an adverse employment action • There was a casual connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action
Examples of Adverse Employment Action • Unjustified evaluations • Accelerated disciplinary action • Sudden enforcement of previously unenforced policies • Assigning more onerous work • Denying ATB salary increases • Giving undeserved negative reference to prospective employer