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Corrective Action for Classified Staff


Progressive corrective action seeks to affect positive change in an employee’s performance and/or behavior. Addressing employee performance issues can be challenging. However, clear, direct, and timely feedback reinforces expectations and can resolve performance issues before they become more serious. The steps described in this guide establish a systematic approach to dealing with performance issues. Your Human Resources Consultant (HRC) is experienced in handling employee relations issues and will be able to assist in identifying an appropriate course of action.

For management, progressive corrective action maintains order and seeks to ensure University and department policies and work standards are met. For staff members, progressive corrective action documents areas where improvement is needed, sets a course of action, and identifies the consequences if performance expectations are not met. This process helps the employee by establishing predictable and equitable treatment standards, and promotes fair decisions.

Employees Covered by this Guide

This guide provides supervisors with information on progressive corrective action when an employee's job performance or behavior is unsatisfactory. It describes and includes tools for determining the level of corrective action that may be appropriate.

The guide applies to Classified Non-Union and Contract Classified employees covered by the following contracts:

If your employee is not represented by any of the groups above, contact your Human Resources Consultant (HRC) for guidance.

Elements of Managing Performance

The purpose of progressive corrective action is to correct and resolve employee performance problems while retaining the employee as a productive member of the staff. However, if an employee engages in serious misconduct or if efforts at assisting the employee to improve performance or behavior are unsuccessful, dismissal may be the most appropriate action.

A sound performance management program is based upon the employee having an accurate description of the position's duties and responsibilities, an orientation to University and department policies and procedures, and any training that is necessary to be successful in the position. The University has resources available to help supervisors enhance their performance management skills including programs provided by Professional and Organizational Development.

Understand Probationary and Trial Periods

Newly hired classified employees serve a probationary period. The length of the probationary period is determined by the contract or policy covering the employee. Be sure to review the individual contract, or contact your unit's HRC for assistance.

Employees who move from one classified position to another classified position, or who are rehired from a layoff list, may serve a trial period. The purpose of probationary and trial periods is to give you an opportunity to determine if the employee is a good match for the position, whether the employee can meet the position's requirements and whether the employee should be allowed to achieve permanent status in the position.

During the probationary or trial period it is especially important to monitor and provide feedback on your employee's work performance and behavior. If you identify performance or behavior concerns during an employee's probationary or trial service period that counseling and coaching do not correct, review the situation with your unit's HRC to determine if the probationary or trial appointment should be ended. While there is no "just cause" standard for ending a probationary period appointment there are procedures that must be followed and dates by which action must be taken, see below.

NOTE: In the unlikely event that you believe an employee's behavior may present an immediate threat in the workplace you should notify the proper authorities consistent with the requirements of the University's Policy and Procedure on Workplace Violence.


Establish Work Standards

As a supervisor, you have a responsibility to establish and communicate the performance expectations and standards that will guide an employee's work. Work standards should be clear, reasonable, attainable and equitably applied. Work standards, rules and practices should be reviewed regularly and updated if necessary.

Ending a Probationary or Trial Appointment

If you determine that it is appropriate to end a probationary or trial period appointment, contact your HRC who will make sure that all of the necessary procedures are followed and that the employee is properly notified.

There are unique bargaining unit requirements or rules that govern UW staff. Be sure to review the applicable contract or rules, and consult with your HRC.

Learn More

View UW Administrative Policy Statement on Corrective Action for Classified Non-Union Staff.

Review specifics on corrective action in UW labor contracts.

Corrective Action