50.21 - Documenting and Addressing Unsatisfactory Performance of Classified Staff

Last updated November 7, 2006

A. General. Any UI classified employee who receives an overall rating of unsatisfactory or needs improvement as a result of performance evaluation may be placed in a performance-related probationary status that lasts for ninety (90) days. A classified employee in entrance-probationary status who receives an overall performance evaluation of less than satisfactory may be extended in entrance-probationary status for up to an additional 90 days, during which time he or she is ineligible to be certified, and is not eligible for a salary increase [FSH 3340] based on performance. A previously certified employee may also be placed in performance-related probationary status following an evaluation that indicates an overall performance of less than satisfactory, or following a violation of university policy. During these 90 days the probationary employee's performance is evaluated every thirty (30) days [FSH 3340].

B. Process. After completing a performance evaluation and/or otherwise documenting less-than-satisfactory performance, the supervisor notifies Human Resources and also meets with the employee and notifies him or her that he or she is being placed on probation. The notice informs the employee about the specific performance concerns, actions that need to be taken to improve performance satisfactorily, the time during which improvement is expected, and the consequences for failure to make improvements. The usual duration of performance probation is 90 days, and performance is evaluated at 30-day intervals. If probation is successfully completed, the employee is certified. If probation is not successfully completed, employment may be terminated or the employee may be demoted to a position in which he or she is certified at the discretion of the UI. [See FSH 3360]. The role of HR is to provide guidance to the supervisor regarding the procedural steps to be followed and provide information to the employee about UI procedures and expectations.

C. Procedure. The supervisor completes an initial employee performance evaluation by comparing the employee's performance to the job description responsibilities [See APM 50.08]. The performance evaluation may be a scheduled evaluation (such as an annual evaluation, or a routine evaluation during entrance probation), or it may occur following observation of a particular situation or activity.

C-1. Required Documentation. After completing an evaluation that documents performance as less than satisfactory, and prior to any further action, the supervisor forwards a confidential copy of the evaluation to Human Resources and to the dean or director. A letter informing the employee that he or she is being placed on probation will be developed by the supervisor in collaboration with Human Resources and the dean or director, or designee. The letter will:

i) Identify specific problems and corrective actions needed. The probationary letter should address specific problems that have been documented and the corrective actions that need to be accomplished during the probationary period.

ii) Identify the dates of subsequent 30-60-90 day reviews. These dates are to inform the employee and HR when the reviews are to be completed and submitted. If requested, HR will work with the supervisor to ensure evaluations are completed on schedule.

iii) Identify specific consequences. The probationary letter should incorporate the sentence: "should your performance not improve during this 90-day probationary period, further disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including possible termination of employment".

iv) Offer assistance to the employee. The letter can also reference employee assistance services available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), services which are confidential and free to the employee, and/or training opportunities which may be available and which may help the employee improve performance.

v) Develop a performance development plan (PDP). A performance development plan should be developed by the supervisor to clearly articulate the expectations for success in the position. A sample form and guidance in developing this performance tool is available from Human Resources.

C-2. Schedule Employee Conference. The supervisor schedules a conference with the employee to deliver the letter and answer any questions. The supervisor should make a note to the file regarding the date and time the letter was discussed, and the substance of the conversation with the employee.

C-3. Follow Through with Timely Evaluations. The supervisor is responsible to count the days, and specifically to ensure the 3rd review does not go beyond the 90 calendar days (89 days is permissible, 91 days is not).

C-4. Consult with HR. The supervisor should consult with the Director of Employment Services, or designee, and the dean or director of the employee’s college or administrative unit (or designee) prior to completing the 90-day evaluation if demotion or termination is recommended.

i) If performance has improved, the employee will become certified in the position.

ii) If performance has not improved and it appears that demotion, suspension termination or other disciplinary action will be recommended, the Director of Employment Services advise on the procedures to be followed. These procedures are legally required, and involve providing the employee with notice of contemplated action and an opportunity to respond before the final decision on the action is made or the action is initiated. [See FSH 3360 and 3930]

D. Information. Questions or problems regarding the progressive probationary process can be addressed to the Director of Employment Services in Human Resource Development (208) 885-3616.