Washburn University Policies, Regulations and Procedures Manual

F. Employee and Labor Relations

Table of Contents

1. Purpose

2. Definitions

3. Performance Reviews

4. Employee Relations

5. Standards of Conduct on the Job

6. Problem Resolution Process

7. Children in the Workplace


1. Purpose
.  To set forth the regulations and procedures concerning job performance reviews, Employee relations, and standards of conduct.

2. Definitions

2.1 “Personnel Decisions” means decisions relating to, but not limited to, salary increases, promotions, transfers, demotions, suspensions, and dismissals.

2.2 “Reviewer” means the supervisor of the Employee designated to complete the performance review for an Employee.

3. Performance Reviews (reviews). A formal review of Exempt and Non-Exempt Employees’ work performance shall be conducted.

3.1 Type and Frequency of Reviews. The types of reviews are:

  • Probationary (to be completed near, but prior to, the end of the established probationary period);
  • Annual (to be completed once a year as scheduled by the Director of Human Resources); and,
  • Special (to be completed as scheduled by the supervisor).

3.2 Exceptions. 

3.2.1 Reviews are not required for temporary, seasonal, and Student Employees.

3.2.2  United Steel Workers Local 370 L-4 are subject to probationary reviews only.

3.3 Desired Results. The purpose of the reviews is to: 

  • Facilitate communication between the Employee and the supervisor;
  • Provide a documented, supportable basis for making personnel decisions;
  • Provide supervisors with a means of keeping Employees informed about performance expectations and progress toward achieving them;
  • Provide formal recognition of the Employee’s contribution to the University;
  • Serve as a tool for performance improvement; and,
  • Encourage Employee development.

3.4 Rating Period. All reviews shall be based upon work performance during a defined period of time. The rating period is determined by the:

  • Applicable probationary period (See Subject B. Recruitment and Employment);
  • Annual review deadline established for the year; or,
  • Supervisor in cases of special reviews.

3.4.1 For probationary reviews, the beginning date of the rating period is the first day of employment, transfer, promotion, or extended probationary period. The ending date is near, but prior to, the end of the applicable probationary period.

3.4.2 For annual reviews, the beginning date is the first day following the end of the most recent performance review. The normal ending date is near, but prior to, the annual deadline announced by the Director of Human Resources. 

3.4.3 For special reviews, the beginning date is the first day following the end of the most recent performance review.  The ending date for special reviews is established by the supervisor.

3.5 Completed Reviews. The completed and signed "Employee Performance Review" form shall become a part of the Employee’s personnel record.

3.6 Review Procedures.

3.6.1 The supervisor shall:

  • Evaluate the Employee’s performance and complete the "Employee Performance Review" form; 
  • Base evaluation upon observation and documented examples of the Employee’s performance throughout the rating period. As appropriate, the supervisor may use feedback from customers and coworkers when evaluating the Employee’s performance;
  • Sign and submit the completed review form to the reviewer for comments and signature on the review form before meeting with the Employee. (When the supervisor is a Department Head, the individual may sign as both supervisor and reviewer);
  • Meet with the Employee to discuss the Employee’s performance and review;
  • During the review session, give the Employee an opportunity to sign the "Employee Performance Review" form;
  • Explain the signature verifies the Employee has had opportunity to discuss the review, and does not indicate the Employee is in agreement; and,
  • Inform Employees of their level of achievement, observed strengths and weaknesses throughout the rating period. 

3.6.2 The reviewer shall:

  • Review the completed "Employee Performance Review" form before it is presented to the Employee;
  • Work with the supervisor to arrive at mutually agreed changes, if any, in the review;
  • Add comments as the reviewer deems appropriate; and,
  • Sign and return the form to the supervisor.

3.6.3 The Employee has the right to add comments to the review form:

  • Prior to signing the form; or,
  • Within a 10 day period after receiving the form.

3.6.4 The supervisor and/or reviewer may add comments to the review form in response to the Employee’s comments.

3.6.5 No comments shall be added to the Employee’s personnel file unless presented to the supervisor, reviewer, and Employee.

3.6.6 The Employee has the right to appeal the overall review through the problem resolution process (See Section 6 below). Exception: reviews cannot be disputed by an Employee serving the initial probationary period.

3.6.7 A copy of the completed and signed review form shall be given to the Employee at the end of the review session. The copy shall include all signatures.

3.6.8 The supervisor may retain a copy of the completed form. 

3.6.9 The supervisor is to submit the completed and signed form to Human Resources by the:

  • Deadline announced by the Director of Human Resources;
  • End of the probationary period; or,
  • End of a special review period set by the supervisor. 

3.6.10 The Director of Human Resources may return inaccurate or substandard review forms for correction or modification.   The Director shall return the review form to the supervisor through the reviewer.

3.7 Confidentiality. All individuals with authorized access to an Employee’s review shall keep and maintain its confidentiality. 

3.8 Form Availability.   The University "Employee Performance Review" form is available in the Human Resources Department and on the Department’s web site.

4. Employee Relations. 

4.1 Open and Informal Discussion. University Employees shall strive to maintain an open and informal environment for the discussion of Employee working conditions.

4.1.1 Employees concerned about working conditions are encouraged to discuss their concerns with their immediate supervisors.

4.1.2 An Employee may request the Director of Human Resources to provide information which may assist in addressing the Employee’s concerns.

4.2 Productive Work Environment. The supervisor is responsible for establishing and maintaining a work environment conducive to productive work performance.

4.2.1 The supervisor shall provide Employees effective:

  • Orientation;
  • Training;
  • Performance reviews; and,
  • Regular meaningful communications.

4.3 Corrective Action—General. Standards of conduct, set forth in Section 5 below, have been established for Employees to promote consistency throughout the University regarding work performance and conduct standards. The University follows a practice of progressive discipline.

4.3.1 When the supervisor becomes aware of an apparent rule violation or infraction, the supervisor shall take appropriate steps to determine the facts of the situation.

4.3.2 When conduct violations occur, the supervisor is responsible for initiating corrective action. The intent of the action shall be to improve the Employee’s work performance and ensure conduct consistent with established standards.

4.3.3 The corrective action initiated depends upon the severity of the violation.

4.3.4 Punitive corrective action by the supervisor is required when the mistake(s) or rule infraction(s) is (are):

  • Deliberate; or,
  • Of major seriousness.

4.4 Verbal warnings. Verbal warnings provide notice to an Employee:

  • A rule infraction has occurred or might occur should the Employee persist in whatever conduct the Employee is taking; and,
  • Written warning may ensue if the conduct continues after the verbal warning. 

4.5 Written warnings. If a written warning is necessary, it shall state:

  • The specific problem;
  • What action(s) must be taken by the Employee;
  • The time period in which the action(s) must be taken; and,
  • What further corrective action may be taken should the Employee fail to comply.

4.5.1 The Employee shall be asked to sign a copy of the written warning. The purpose of the signature is to show the Employee is aware of the warning. The signature does not indicate agreement by the Employee. 

4.5.2 If an Employee refuses to sign, the supervisor and a witness to the event shall sign a statement to the effect the refusing Employee saw and was informed of the warning. 

4.5.3 The supervisor shall:

  • Submit the signed copy to the appropriate office for inclusion in the Employee’s personnel file; and,
  • Give a copy to the Employee.

4.6 Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). If a performance improvement plan is necessary, it shall:

  • Be established to outline performance expectations for a specified time period;
  • Include consequences of failure to meet the expectations by the end of the designated period; and,
  • Be reviewed with the Employee at the beginning and periodically throughout the time period.

4.6.1 A copy of the PIP shall be forwarded to the appropriate office for inclusion in the Employee’s personnel file.

4.7 Corrective Action—Punitive.   When written warnings have not resulted in corrected conduct, punitive corrective action may include, but not be limited to, depending upon the nature of the violation:

  • Withholding wage or salary merit increases for a period of time;
  • Suspension from work; or,
  • Termination from employment.

4.7.1 Employees may be suspended from work:

  • With pay for conduct violations, set forth in Section 5 below, pending a review of the situation; and,
  • Without pay upon conclusion of the review.

4.7.2 Employees may be terminated from employment without warning for offenses listed in Group 1 violations of good conduct.

4.8 Employee Appeal. Employees sanctioned for a rule violation(s), may seek redress through the appropriate problem resolution process. See Section 6 below or the Faculty Handbook Section Three, VII. 

5. Standards of Conduct on the JobIn the performance of their duties Employees are to know and adhere to:

  • Applicable federal, state, and local laws;
  • University policies, rules, and regulations; and,
  • Generally accepted standards of civil and ethical behavior.

5.1 Conduct Violations. Violations are grouped into 3 categories to facilitate consistency in the administration of corrective action. Mitigating or aggravating circumstances may exist which shall be weighed in determining the proper disciplinary action to be taken. 

5.1.1 In addition to the standards indicated by the violations listed below, there may be standards of conduct specific to a Department. The supervisor shall discuss Departmental standards of conduct with the Employee.

5.1.2 Group 1 violations of good conduct may result in immediate discharge from employment without regard to length of service or previous conduct record. These violations include, but are not limited to:

  • Theft or dishonesty while performing job duties;
  • Intoxication on the job;
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages or cereal malt beverages during working hours except for the responsible consumption of such beverages at a University sponsored or co-sponsored event;
  • Performing or attempting to perform work duties under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance;
  • Unlawful use of controlled substances on University premises;
  • Perpetration of a criminal offense during working hours or in the performance of job duties;
  • Willful damage of University property;
  • Willful damage of property of another on University premises or during performance of work duties;
  • Deliberate falsification or omission of a material fact by the Employee on the employment application or other official University records;
  • Disorderly conduct or interference with orderly conduct of University business;
  • Public exposure of a sex organ in the presence of another person during work hours or on University premises;
  • Threatening another person on University premises, or during the performance of work duties, placing such person in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm;
  • Physically touching, pushing or striking of another person on University premises, or during the performance or work duties;
  • Gross neglect of University duties;
  • Willful disregard of obligation to the University as an Employee;
  • Insubordination; and,
  • Other acts considered by the University as constituting major misconduct.

5.1.3 Group 2 violations of good conduct are slightly less serious, but call for immediate disciplinary action. The appropriate disciplinary action often is a suspension even for the first offense. These violations include, but are not limited to:

  • Sleeping while on duty;
  • Gambling while on duty;
  • Refusal to work when needed without a good reason. Situations of need include, but are not limited to, emergency call-ins, overtime, or special events;
  • Smoking in no smoking areas;
  • Disregard for University security or fire regulations;
  • Leaving the Employee’s assigned work area prior to the end of any work period;
  • Failure to return to work at the end of any authorized leave period;
  • Repeated tardiness in reporting for work;
  • Repeated absences from work; and,
  • Unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.

5.1.4 Group 3 violations are less serious in nature and, when standing alone, would not justify immediate discharge or disciplinary suspension. These violations include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to immediately report any injury suffered by the Employee on the job;
  • Failure to report any illness or injury affecting the Employee’s ability to effectively perform the Employee’s duties; 
  • Neglecting work duties including, but not limited to, loafing, and wasting time;
  • Excessive time taken for “breaks”;
  • Failure to comply with safety precautions;
  • Devoting time to other than University work assignments during working hours;
  • Creating or maintaining unsanitary or hazardous conditions;
  • Failure to report to work when scheduled to work;
  • Failure to take appropriate care of assigned workspace or property; and,
  • Failure to notify supervisor, before, at or about the beginning of the scheduled work period, of an unscheduled absence.

5.1.5 Employees serving in their initial probationary period are considered to be employed on a trial basis and may be formally disciplined and/or discharged for any standard of conduct violations during the probationary period.          

6. Problem Resolution Process

6.1 Employee and Supervisor Resolution. Employees and supervisors are expected to work together, on a day-to-day basis, to resolve differences and/or situations which are causing dissatisfaction. If a matter is not resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, further attempt at resolution may be appropriate.

6.2 Resolution Assistance. Employees may seek assistance to address work situations with which they are dissatisfied. To do so, non-faculty Employees shall follow the steps set forth below. (Faculty members shall follow the procedures set forth in the Faculty Handbook.)

6.2.1 The first step is for either the Employee or supervisor to request mediation.  Mediation is a formal process using a neutral third party as mediator for the purpose of providing an open forum for discussion and resolution of a problem. The mediation will be conducted by the Director of Human Resources. 

6.2.2 If the Director of Human Resources declares the mediation is unsuccessful, the Employee may submit the concerns in writing to the immediate supervisor on the "Problem Resolution" form. The form is available in the Human Resources Department or the Department’s website. Normally, a response shall be given to the Employee by the immediate supervisor within 5 working days from receipt of the Problem Resolution form. 

6.2.3 If the Employee is not satisfied with the supervisor’s response or does not receive a response within a reasonable time, the Employee may present the "Problem Resolution" form to the appropriate Department Head. The Department Head shall discuss the matter with the Employee and shall make a decision within a reasonable time.  The Department Head shall inform the Employee of the decision in writing. 

6.2.4 If the Employee is dissatisfied with the decision, the Employee may submit the "Problem Resolution" form to the appropriate Area Head. The appeal to the Area Head must be submitted by the Employee without delay. The Area Head shall make a decision as soon as is practical and upon making the decision shall inform the Employee in writing.

6.3 Final Decision. The decision of the Area Head is expected and intended to provide the final disposition of the problem. 

7. Children in the Workplace.

7.1 Principles to Follow. When children are present in the workplace the following principles shall be followed:

  • The parent is solely responsible for the child at all times. The parent shall accompany the child at all times and shall not ask nor permit any other Employee, Student or other person to supervise a child;
  • The presence of the child may not disrupt the work environment or negatively affect the productivity of the Employee, other Employees, or Students;
  • The Employee’s supervisor may ask the Employee to remove the child from the workplace at any time; and,
  • A child with an illness preventing the child from being accepted by a regular day care provider or from attending school, shall not be brought to the workplace under any circumstances.

7.2 Visits Allowed. Brief, non-recurring and infrequent visits by children of Employees shall be permitted.

7.3 Visits Not Allowed. The frequent, regular, or extended presence of a child or children during work hours shall not be allowed for reasons including, but not limited to:

  • The potential for interruption of the Employee’s work;
  • Health and safety issues for the Students, Employees and child(ren); and,
  • Liability to the University.

7.4 Cooperation with Employees. Departments, when workload permits, shall cooperate with an Employee in the use of breaks, meal periods and leave for addressing family responsibilities.