Staff Manual: Discipline

[Discipline, SPG 201.12]

Revised 04/97.


This entry applies to staff conduct, whether by act or omission, that interferes with or affects in any way the orderly and efficient operation of the University. It includes:

  • Violation of rules and regulations;
  • Unsatisfactory work performance caused by careless or malicious conduct;
  • Off-duty behavior that adversely affects work performance or morale.
  • Failure to meet employment requirements because of inability or insufficient training is covered in the Inadequate Performance section in the Counseling policy.


Whenever possible in cases of staff misconduct, the supervisor should give the employee an opportunity to change his/her behavior before resorting to formal measures. Formal discipline is a very serious matter which requires detailed documentation and specific procedures. Except in emergencies, the supervisor should always consult the Library Human Resources Office before taking any formal disciplinary steps.



  • Learns the facts, e.g., whether alleged misconduct really took place, what the circumstances were, what consequences followed; asks the employee for his/her account. (Often an incident will turn out to be a case of misunderstanding rather than misconduct.)
  • Explains the nature of an act of misconduct to the employee, i.e., the rule or principle that was violated and the action that the employee should have done, not done, or done differently.
  • Tells the employee how to correct his/her behavior in the future.
  • Considers other forms of counseling if misconduct continues.
  • Follows procedures for dealing with inadequate work performance if the employee's problem may be caused by inability or insufficient training rather than by misconduct. (See the Inadequate Performance section in the Counseling policy).
  • Considers referring employee to the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program if his/her misconduct may be caused by personal problems. (See the Personal Problems section in the Counseling policy).
  • Consults Library Human Resources Office if counseling proves ineffective.

Helping people change their behavior without seeming to threaten or to condescend takes careful forethought, since virtually everyone is initially defensive about giving and receiving correction.

The Library Human Resources Office will gladly advise supervisors who seek guidance in any phase of the counseling or disciplinary process.


There may be no time to consult the Library Human Resources Office safely when:

  • The employee is endangering the personal safety of him/herself or others; or
  • The employee is endangering University property or the personal property of others; or
  • The employee is otherwise seriously disrupting the work of the unit.

In such cases, the supervisor should instruct the employee to cease or to leave the area at once. If the employee refuses, the supervisor should first notify the Department of Public Safety (763-1131 or 911), then the Library Human Resources Office (764-2546) for further instructions.

Employees so instructed are to absent themselves until they can control their behavior or for the remainder of their shift. Once the employee has left the area, the supervisor should contact Library Human Resources for guidance.

Page maintained by Richard L Schrader
Last modified: 12/18/2009