Disciplinary Action and Termination for Cause

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[The following was approved on May 26, 1993, in accordance with provisions set forth in SIU Board of Trustees 2 Policies C.]

  1. Introduction
    1. The following statement, relating to the faculty and administrative/professional staff (the latter to be hereafter referred to as staff) of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 1) provides guidelines for addressing allegations of misconduct or unsatisfactory job performance, and 2) describes the process to be followed where charges may result in termination for cause. [Procedures applicable to civil service employees are found in the State Universities Civil Service System of Illinois Statute and Rules.]
    2. Faculty and staff who fail to comply with any policies or regulations of the university are subject to disciplinary action depending upon the nature and severity of the infraction. Certain university policies directly address specific categories of misconduct and contain within them procedures for handling charges, e.g., research misconduct and sexual harassment. Disciplinary action for violation of other university rules and regulations shall be implemented pursuant to the procedures herein set forth.
    3. It is the intent of this statement to provide a consistent procedural framework for resolving issues of performance and conduct between faculty/staff and supervisors and for avoiding erroneous or unjust disciplinary actions on the part of supervisory personnel.
  2. Sanctions
    1. Disciplinary sanctions for violation of university policies or regulations or other performance-related cause, which may be determined in accordance with this statement, include the following:
      1. Disciplinary reprimand or warning. An immediate supervisor may reprimand or warn a faculty/staff member concerning unsatisfactory performance or unacceptable conduct, either orally or in writing, as a disciplinary measure.
      2. Disciplinary probation. A department head may inform a faculty/staff member in writing that he/she has been placed on disciplinary probation, indicating at such time any conditions accompanying such status.
      3. Disciplinary suspension. A department head, with prior approval from the next administrative level, may impose upon a faculty/staff member disciplinary suspension without pay for up to 30 calendar days.
      4. Termination of employment for cause (see procedures in section IV, below).
    2. An employee may also be temporarily relieved of assigned duties with pay or may be suspended with pay pending investigation of an alleged violation.
    3. Copies of any documents used in determining or imposing disciplinary sanction shall be placed in the faculty/staff member's personnel file in accordance with the requirements of the SIUC policy on personnel files. Previous disciplinary sanctions may be taken into account in considering further discipline.
  3. Disciplinary Procedures
    1. Before any formal (i.e., written) disciplinary sanction for violation of university policies or regulations or other misconduct may be imposed, a faculty/staff member shall be afforded 1) notice in writing of the specific charge of misconduct, 2) a meaningful opportunity to be heard and to present any relevant information in response to the charge, 3) the right to assistance in such proceedings by an adviser of his/her choice, and 4) an opportunity for appeal, pursuant to the applicable grievance procedure.
    2. Unless grounds are clearly present warranting implementation of termination proceedings, employees shall be afforded corrective discipline utilizing counseling, warnings, and/or suspension, as the facts and circumstances dictate.
    3. In cases where disciplinary suspension without pay, but not termination, is proposed, the written notice to the faculty/staff member shall include the reasons for and length of the proposed suspension, providing copies of any documents, or the opportunity to review such documents, on which this determination has been based.
  4. Procedures for Termination for Cause
    1. When allegations or other information relating to the conduct or performance of a faculty/staff member in his/her professional capacity may lead to termination for cause, the procedures herein described shall be followed. These procedures apply to tenured faculty appointments, as indicated in section IV.B of Tenure Policies and Procedures (Personnel Policies, III.C.5), and to non-tenured faculty or staff appointments prior to their expiration. They are not applicable to the nonrenewal of term or continuing appointments, either by expiration or by advance notice, as set forth in section II.C of Tenure Policies and Procedures (Personnel Policies, III.C.5) or the policy on nonreappointment affecting administrative/professional staff (Personnel Policies, II.C.5).
    2. In cases where other university procedures address allegations of specific forms of faculty/staff misconduct, e.g., for research misconduct or sexual harassment, those are the procedures to be followed. Charges considered under those procedures may result in recommendations for disciplinary sanctions, up to and including termination of employment.
    3. When termination for cause of a faculty/staff member's appointment is being considered, the appropriate administrative officer (usually the dean and/or unit head) should ordinarily first discuss the matter with the faculty/staff member in personal conference. Although the matter may be resolved by mutual consent at this point, if a mutually satisfactory resolution does not result, the administrative officer may undertake further inquiry into the situation to determine whether termination proceedings should be instituted. The administrative officer may appoint adviser(s) to gather and review the relevant facts and to make a recommendation regarding such determination. The faculty/staff member shall be given an opportunity to provide information relevant to the allegations or concerns. This review process shall, to the greatest extent possible, be kept confidential.
    4. If the administrative officer determines that proceedings for termination should be instituted, a recommendation to that effect, with written charges supporting that action, should be submitted to the appropriate vice chancellor. [In this document, references to vice chancellor shall be understood to include all administrative officers reporting to the chancellor.] The charges shall contain a clear statement setting forth the cause(s) for termination in sufficient detail to inform the faculty/staff member of the nature of the conduct on which the charges are based. Although determining if adequate cause for termination exists must be made on a case-by-case basis, such a finding shall be related to the behavior and performance of the faculty/staff member in his/her professional capacity and includes such matters as 1) dishonesty or other unethical conduct; 2) demonstrated incompetence, failure to perform reasonable assignments, or neglect of duty; 3) violation of laws or university policies, such as the prohibition against unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment, illegal use of controlled substances, etc.; and 4) abuse of the employee's position of employment or misuse of university resources.
    5. If the vice chancellor approves the written charges for termination, notice of the charges, in person or by certified mail, shall be served on the faculty/staff member by that officer or designee. With the notice of written charges for termination, the faculty/staff member shall be provided copies of, or an opportunity to review, any relevant documents before a hearing on the matter, as described in IV.F, below, is conducted.
    6. The vice chancellor shall convene a hearing on the charges, the participants at such hearing being the vice chancellor or designee, the faculty/staff member, other administrative officers as appropriate, and the faculty/staff member's adviser, if any.
      1. The faculty/staff member may submit a written response to the charges, with supporting documentation.
      2. The hearing shall be held on a date not less than 10 university work days, nor more than 30, following the receipt of charges;
      3. At the hearing, the faculty/staff member shall be apprised of any additional evidence in support of the charges and shall be allowed to rebut the charges, offering explanation of his/her position in the matter.
      4. The faculty/staff member shall be entitled to be accompanied by an adviser of his/her choice at the hearing.
    7. Within 5 university work days following the hearing, the vice chancellor will make one of the following determinations on the case: 1) cause for termination exists and termination is warranted; 2) cause for termination does not exist, but a lesser disciplinary sanction is warranted; 3) no cause for termination exists, and no disciplinary sanction is warranted. The vice chancellor will notify the faculty/staff member in writing of his/her finding in the matter. A decision that termination for cause or other sanction is warranted shall indicate the effective date of such termination or disciplinary sanction. If a formal grievance is undertaken in accordance with section V, below, termination of employment or other disciplinary sanction shall not occur until a final decision has been rendered by the Chancellor of SIUC.
    8. Formal Grievance 
      If the faculty/staff member believes a termination is without adequate cause, he/she shall have the opportunity to receive a formal hearing at the level of the Chancellor of SIUC in accordance with applicable university grievance procedures. Other disciplinary sanctions may also be appealed at the appropriate level, pursuant to the grievance procedures. Any grievance must be filed within the time limits specified in the applicable grievance procedure.
    9. Decision by Chancellor 
      If the decision of the chancellor, following appeal under the university grievance procedures, affirms the determination of the vice chancellor, the faculty/staff member may submit an application for appeal to the Board of Trustees, in accordance with the requirements of the Board of Trustees Bylaws (VI.2). The decision of any Board of Trustees review is final and may not be appealed.