41 Disciplinary Actions

Policy Statement (Board Approval Date:  03/22/11)

Murray State College is an “at-will” employer.  The contents included in this manual in no way modify or amend the right of the College as an “at-will” employer in originating or terminating employment of personnel.  “At-will” employment is for no specified term and is terminable at the will of either the employee or the employer.  Disciplinary actions including probation, suspension with or without pay and dismissal may be taken at the will of the college.


Performance problems at MSC will be addressed with disciplinary actions including probation, suspension with or without pay and dismissal. Particularly serious problems include, but are not limited to, misconduct, insubordination, inefficiency, drug and/or alcohol use, inability to perform satisfactorily the duties of the position in which employed, violation of College policies, conduct unbecoming a public staff member, conviction of a felony, or any other just cause.  In cases of routine problems meriting disciplinary action, the College may follow any or all of the guidelines included in this procedure.  The guidelines are not expected to be rigidly applied but will be suitable for most College discipline situations. Depending upon the circumstances and the supervisor’s judgment in individual cases, repeating a step, jumping a step, or moving to immediate dismissal may be appropriate.  If any employee is placed on probationary status all actions of any Tenure Committee are suspended during the probationary period.   Probationary employees do not have access to any grievance or appeal procedure regardless of employment status.

Supervisors are expected to document all disciplinary action.  The disciplinary action documentation should contain a clear description of the behavior that prompted the discipline, the action taken by the supervisor, and how the employee’s conduct must change within a specified timeframe.  Employee may be placed on probation at any time as recommended by the supervisor.  Verbal warnings should also be documented in the employee’s departmental file.  All documentation must be factual and complete.  No policy or procedure can cover all situations that might arise.  Whenever there is a question regarding a situation, seek advice or guidance from the appropriate officer and/or Human Resources before taking any action.  Keep a record of the matter for future reference and use. (for additional information please reference the Google Drive:  HR Processes)

Recommended Disciplinary Guidelines:

  1. Verbal Warning: This is usually the first step in the procedure.  It involves a discussion between a supervisor and an employee about a minor work performance problem.  The objective is to correct the problem by indicating how actual performance falls short of desired performance.  This step should ensure that no employee is disciplined for a violation of a policy or procedure he/she might reasonably not know about.
  2. Written Warning: This is usually the second step in the procedure if a verbal warning has not corrected the problem.  If the offense is of a serious nature, a written warning is an appropriate first step.  It formalizes a discussion between a supervisor and an employee about a performance deficiency.
  3. Plan of Improvement: The purpose of the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is to define serious areas of concern, gaps in work performance, reiterate Murray State College’s expectations, and allow the employee the opportunity to demonstrate improvement and commitment.  The PIP template is located on MSC Forms.
  4. Disciplinary Leave/Suspension: An employee may be placed on disciplinary leave/suspension when it is in the best interest of the College to do so.  This step is usually taken after unsatisfactory performance has not been corrected following the verbal and written warnings.  It may be taken as a first and final step before dismissal in the event of a major offense.  An employee returning to work following this leave must agree to work in a manner that includes following rules and regulations and correcting unsatisfactory performance as outlined in the Plan of Improvement.
  5. Dismissal/Termination: Dismissal/Termination may occur when previous steps have been used but performance has not changed or when an employee has committed a major offense.  A major offense includes, but is not limited to, willful misconduct, dishonesty, posing a threat to College operations or the safety and well-being of the individual or other employees, or behavior that is unacceptable to the College.  Examples would include falsification of records, stealing, disruptive behavior, insubordination, threatening or committing any violence, and/or violation of College policies and procedures.  As a courtesy and a safety precaution, MSC Campus Police will assist with any termination of employment.  An officer will be available to assist with the removal of personal property at the time of termination.   Campus Police may find it necessary to clear a work station or office suite prior to or during a termination.  If you are given directives from Campus Police to vacate the area; please follow the directives of the office for your safety as well as others.  (for additional information please reference the Google Drive:  HR Processes)

Before finalizing a decision to dismiss employment, supervisors are encouraged to provide an opportunity for the employee to respond or offer explanation to the allegations that are the basis for the proposed dismissal/termination.  The supervisor may recommend dismissal through the administrative structure to the administrative officer over his/her area.  The administrative officer may then recommend dismissal/termination to the President.  The President will make the final decision regarding dismissal/termination of all employees.


Murray State College Institutional Policies and Procedures Copyright © by Murray State College. All Rights Reserved.

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