Date Issued: 10/80
Date Revised: 07/09
Regulations and procedures are necessary for the orderly progress of every organization. UAB’s policies and regulations are intended to facilitate productivity and satisfactory working relationships based on trust, self-discipline, and respect for the rights of others. Depending on the gravity of the situation and whenever possible and feasible, the University of Alabama at Birmingham will work with an employee through a "progressive disciplinary" process which means that the least severe level of corrective action applicable to the situation will be explored before invoking more harsh levels of discipline. The goal of progressive discipline is to retain employees and to improve an employee’s performance while at the same time documenting the efforts of the employer in the event of discharge. The following are approved progressive disciplinary steps:
Oral Warning: The first step in most disciplinary actions is oral warning. This may be given by an employee's supervisor for substandard performance, poor attendance, and other types of minor offenses or misconduct that occur for the first time. The supervisor should keep notes of oral warnings in the department/unit file. These notes are official documents of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and may become a part of the employee's UAB personnel record.
Written Warning: A written warning may be given by an employee’s supervisor for substandard performance, poor attendance, misconduct, and other types of more serious offenses that occur after the first oral warning. A written warning may be given instead of an oral warning for first-time gross misconduct or major offense. All written warnings should be addressed to the employee in memorandum form. If there has been a prior oral warning given to the employee, it should be referenced in the first written warning. The supervisor should ask the employee to sign the written warning as proof of having received it. A signed copy of all written warnings should be sent to HR Employee Relations to be placed in the employee’s official, permanent personnel record. If the employee refuses to sign the written warning, that should be noted, and the unsigned copy should be sent to Employee Relations. An employee who receives three written warnings during an 18-month period (whether or not the first two written warnings resulted in probation and/or suspension) may be terminated without proceeding through the remaining steps in the disciplinary process.
Imposed Probation: Depending on the gravity of the situation, if after an oral warning and a written warning an employee continues to demonstrate substandard performance, poor attendance, misconduct, and other types of offenses, the employee may be placed on probation by the immediate supervisor with the approval of the department/unit head for a period not to exceed 90 calendar days. This action normally occurs after written warning based on the severity of the misconduct or infraction. The employee should be given a written memorandum indicating the beginning and ending dates of the probation. A copy of this document should be sent by the department/unit to Employee Relations to be placed in the employee’s official, permanent personnel record. If an employee fails to progress through, or satisfactorily complete the imposed probation period, further disciplinary action up to, and including, discharge may occur. Merit wage increases will not be given to the employee during this period. Vacation and personal holidays will continue to accrue but will not be granted during this period of imposed probation. Imposed probation does not affect an employee’s access to the official Problem Resolution Procedure.
Suspension: Continued substandard performance, poor attendance, insubordination, misconduct, and other serious offenses or behavioral problems may result in a suspension without pay not to exceed ten working days. Suspension may occur after one written warning for minor or major offenses or as the first step if the infraction is serious enough. Employees arrested and charged with a felony, if not discharged, may, at the option of UAB, be suspended without pay pending disposition of the case. All suspension notices will be given in writing by the appropriate supervisor, will be approved by the department/unit head, and will be sent to HR Employee Relations to be placed in the employee’s official, permanent personnel record. No vacation, holiday, or sick leave benefits will be paid by UAB during suspension
Administrative leave without pay, may be imposed in cases in which the operation of UAB warrants such action. Administrative leave most often is used when it is believed that normal unit operations or safety would be affected or when UAB officials need time to gather information for determining the specific corrective action which needs to be taken. Human Resources for UAB should be consulted before administrative leave is imposed and should concur with the decision. The fact that administrative leave has been imposed should be documented in writing and should be sent to Employee Relations to be placed in the employee’s official permanent personnel record.
Discharge: Continued substandard performance, poor performance, insubordination, misconduct, and other serious offenses or behavioral problems that continue after other disciplinary actions have been taken may result in discharge from UAB. Discharge also may occur without notice and/or without pay in lieu of notice. The recommendation for discharge must be approved by the department/unit head. An employee who receives three written warnings during an 18-month period may be terminated without proceeding through all the remaining steps in the disciplinary process (that is, imposed probation and/or suspension). Discharge will occur after a careful review of the case with the appropriate administrator, the appropriate dean, or the appropriate department/division head and a review of the case by the HR Consultant or the Employee Relations Office for documentation adequacy and compliance with UAB policy.
Sometimes demotion may be used as a remedy and not as a step in the progressive disciplinary process when an employee cannot perform assigned job duties satisfactorily. It is most often used when an employee’s skills are not matched to the job assignment. It may be possible to demote the employee into a position of lower classification in the same department with a resultant decrease in salary. If a demotion is given but without a decrease in salary, the exception to allow this must be approved by the appropriate vice president, the Provost, or the Director of Health Systems and by the Chief Human Resources Officer for UAB. If there is a vacant, lower-level position in another department, the receiving supervisor should be fully aware of the situation causing the demotion and should agree with the reassignment. All demotions should be documented in writing, and the documentation should be sent to Employee Relations to be placed in the employee’s official, permanent personnel record. Also, an ACT document should be completed indicating the change in status and pay.
The written record of any corrective action taken should be forwarded to the Employee Relations Office where it will be maintained in a disciplinary log. This process will help insure that discipline administered across campus for the same or similar offense(s) is handled consistently.