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Disciplinary Action Policy for Staff


Staff may be disciplined for reasons of inadequate performance, misconduct, violation of established policies and procedures, or other cause. This policy outlines the disciplinary actions which may be taken for staff. 

Applies to: 

Unclassified professional and university support staff appointed to regular positions.

Juniper Gardens
Policy Statement: 

It is the responsibility of every employee to practice self-discipline, to adhere to the expectations and instructions outlined by the employee’s supervisor and as provided in a position description and to perform duties in a manner consistent with the applicable laws, regulations, policies, minutes and resolutions of the State of Kansas, the Kansas Board of Regents, and the University of Kansas.

Initiating Disciplinary Action
When supervisors are considering disciplinary action, they should do so in consultation with their administrative channels and with Human Resource Management (HRM) before initiating disciplinary action.

Disciplinary action for misconduct or inadequate performance may include a written reprimand, suspension without pay, involuntary demotion, or dismissal. Work history, legitimate mitigating circumstances, and the nature and/or pattern of the misconduct or performance inadequacy may be taken into consideration when determining the appropriate disciplinary action.

The appropriate administrator, in consultation with HRM, may review a written reprimand and will review a recommendation for suspension, involuntary demotion, or dismissal from unit heads. If it is agreed that disciplinary action is warranted, the written reprimand will be issued, and the administrator or delegate for Unclassified Professional Staff (UPS) or HRM for University Support Staff (USS) will issue the written notice of proposed suspension, involuntary demotion, or dismissal.

Disciplinary Action Notice
Only administrators (or their designees) as specified in the Chancellor's Delegation letter are authorized to issue written reprimands and disciplinary action letters for suspension, involuntary demotion, or dismissal to Unclassified Professional Staff (UPS). Written reprimands should be issued through the University’s performance management system and are usually issued by supervisors or department heads.

Administrators may designate HRM to issue the disciplinary action notices for suspension, involuntary demotion, or dismissal to unclassified professional staff. HRM will issue those notices to university support staff.

The disciplinary action letter will provide the staff member with an opportunity to respond to the proposed suspension, involuntary demotion, or dismissal by a deadline specified in the letter before the final decision is made. A staff member may have duties reassigned or may be administratively relieved from duties with or without pay, depending on the circumstances, pending the outcome of these disciplinary actions. Duty reassignment and administrative relief from duty are not disciplinary actions.

Staff may appeal a written reprimand to HRM within 5 working days of its issuance as measured by the appealing employee’s work schedule.

University Support Staff (USS), not otherwise precluded, who are not within their probationary period may appeal a suspension, involuntary demotion or dismissal to the Disciplinary Action Hearing Board which serves in an advisory capacity to the Provost for a final agency action. http://policy.ku.edu/provost/disciplinary-action-hearing-board-support-s...

An Unclassified Professional Staff (UPS) member may, by the deadline specified in the notice letter, discuss the suspension, involuntary demotion, or dismissal with the administrator taking the disciplinary action. If the unclassified professional staff reports directly to the administrator taking these disciplinary action and has discussed the action with that individual, the employee may appeal that decision to an administrator designated by the Provost or Chancellor for that purpose.

An appeal of disciplinary action will not stop the action nor change the effective date of the action. Any adjustments will occur after the effective date of the action. The final disciplinary decision made by the administrator or HRM represents the University’s final agency action and is not subject to further review or subject to a grievance within the University.

Finalized Disciplinary Action
Staff whose employment is ending will be notified when the termination is finalized and if they are ineligible for rehire by the University for one or more years as determined by HRM. 

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Staff who are appointed to temporary positions and staff who are within their probationary period are “at will” employees and are therefore exempt from the provisions of this policy. Their appointments may end as specified or at any time earlier without recourse.

Resignation in lieu of termination may preclude eligibility for rehire as determined by HRM.

Non-reappointments of unclassified professional staff are not disciplinary actions. This policy does not apply to non-reappointments, or to terminations of “serve at the pleasure of” appointments.

This policy does not apply to staff covered by a Memorandum of Agreement whose provisions specify a disciplinary action process.


Human Resource Management
103 Carruth-O’Leary Hall
1246 W. Campus Road
Lawrence, KS  66045

Approved by: 
Vice Provost for Administration and Finance
Approved on: 
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Effective on: 
Saturday, July 1, 2017
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

Counseling – Includes verbal or written counseling for inadequate performance and/or misconduct. Written documentation should be used to codify corrective measures outlined in counseling. (Counseling Policy)

Disciplinary Action – Includes written reprimands, suspension without pay, involuntary demotion, or dismissal for inadequate performance and/or misconduct.

Inadequate Performance – The performance of one’s job duties which does not meet an acceptable level of standards and/or expectations of a supervisor and/or manager.

Misconduct – Any action or behavior that is in violation of University policy, is contrary to professional standards of conduct, or is disruptive to effective University operations.

Termination, dismissal, disciplinary action, suspension, firing, demotion
Change History: 

09/25/2020: Updated Chancellor's Delegation letter.
05/23/2019: Updated counsel policy link in definitions section. 
03/12/2019: The title VP for Administration and Finance no longer exists. Future approvals will be made by the Vice Provost for Operations.
06/29/2017: Policy uploaded into Policy Library.
Previously section C.4.k of the 1998 Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff and included in the University Support Staff Handbook. The language from C.4.k has also been reproduced in II.E.6 of the current Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, with this statement: “The content of this section is being reviewed by the Department of Human Resources in 2009-2010, with approval by the Provost. If you have specific questions during that time please call HR at 785-864-4946 or email hrdept@ku.edu .” Previous information was also provided in the retired Handbook for University Support Staff. This policy supersedes those documents.

Personnel: Staff Categories: 
Grievance & Appeals
Workplace Rules & Guidelines

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