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HR-601 Discipline Guidelines


The following guidelines outline corrective disciplinary actions for unsatisfactory behavior and performance.  This policy applies to administrative, service, and support benefit-eligible employees, and student employees.

HR Policy Provisions

  1. University of Missouri employees are responsible for ensuring job performance which contributes to its missions.  The University provides a range of support to promote employees’ success in performing their responsibilities. At times, it may be necessary to have disciplinary measures available to address performance or workplace behavioral problems.  The goal of employee discipline is to protect and promote the University’s missions by appropriately addressing performance or workplace behavioral problems of employees, including
    1. informing employees of performance or workplace behavioral problems;
    2. clarifying what constitutes acceptable performance or workplace behavior;
    3. instructing employees on what actions must be taken to correct the problem;
    4. warning of what actions will be taken if the problem is not corrected; initiating actions with appropriate consequences for performance or workplace behavioral problems, including but not limited to termination of employment.
  2. Any of the following disciplinary actions may be imposed by the University depending on the University’s judgment of what action is necessary to address employee conduct.  The actions are listed in order of a progression in which they generally will be applied, but the University, at its discretion, may determine which action is necessary.  This may involve initiating disciplinary action at any point along the progression, including termination, or imposing subsequent disciplinary action that skips or repeats steps in the progression.
    1. Verbal Warning - An employee may be issued a verbal warning to bring a performance or behavior concern to the employee’s attention. The employee should be informed that the discussion is being conducted to issue a verbal warning. Written documentation summarizing the verbal warning, (e.g., email communications letter or discipline template form) should be placed in the employee’s file within a reasonable time; this is meant as a best practice, not a strict requirement.
    2. Written Warning – An employee may be issued a written warning to document a performance or behavior concern.
    3. Suspension - An employee may be suspended without pay for a period of one or more full workdays.
    4. Termination – An employee may be terminated based on the seriousness or repeated performance or workplace behavior concerns.
      1. While employment may be terminated at any time without cause, examples of conduct that may result in termination without prior warnings (“Summary Termination”) include:
        • Theft;
        • Intoxication on the job;
        • Violence or threat of violence;
        • Conviction of a felony;
        • Negligent, careless or intentional performance that results in damage to property or individuals or the risk thereof;
        • Sleeping during working hours;
        • Falsification of timekeeping records and other university records; or
        • Violations of University policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
      2. When allegations are serious enough to warrant a summary termination, it may be advisable to suspend an employee pending investigation. Supervisors should contact the applicable University, MU Health Care, or UM System Human Resources before a summary termination is initiated.
  3. An investigation may be conducted at the University’s discretion. Employees should be informed of the investigation, and supervisors shall contact the appropriate University, MU Health Care, or UM System Human Resources before beginning an investigation.
    1. Refusal by an employee to participate in and/or otherwise cooperate with workplace investigations may be considered insubordination and subject to disciplinary action.
    2. Departments may consider placing employees on unpaid leave during an investigation. Pay may be restored to the employee if the investigation of the incident or infraction absolves the employee of wrongdoing.
  4. The University may, at its discretion, take other actions to address employee performance or behavior, including but not limited to performance coaching and performance improvement plans.
  5. Documentation of disciplinary actions should be provided to Human Resources and included in the employees’ official personnel file.
  6. Employment with the University is “at-will” and may be terminated at any time.  Nothing in this policy provides any contractual rights regarding employee discipline, nor shall anything in this policy be construed to modify or alter in any way the at-will employment relationship between the University and its employees.

See Also

Collected Rules and Regulations, Section 180.060: Personnel File
Collected Rules and Regulations, Section 600.060: Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment

HR-102 Equal Opportunity Program
HR-413 Administrative Leave
HR-501 Performance Appraisals
HR-602 Grievance Procedure for Administrative, Service and Support Staff

Records Management

Date Created: 09/01/2005

Updated: 09/15/2013; 01/20/2022

Reviewed 2022-01-20