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Employee Discipline

Policy Statement

Western New England University has implemented a progressive discipline policy and procedures that are designed to provide a structured corrective action process to improve and prevent a recurrence of undesirable Faculty and Staff behavior and performance.

Reason for Policy

The purpose of progressive discipline is to assist employees by being clear and precise about problems and the consequences if the same or other mistakes or misconduct reoccur. It is important that discipline is applied in a fair and consistent manner.

Who Is Governed by this Policy

Faculty and Staff


Progressive discipline is a method of discipline that uses graduated steps for dealing with problems related to an employee's conduct or performance. The ultimate objective of progressive discipline is to help employees correct conduct problems and resolve performance issues in the earliest stages. WNE strives to provide a consistent, objective, and fair process for discipline. WNE encourages open communication between a supervisor and their employee with the goal of improving employee productivity and increasing retention. 

Performance and Conduct Issues that are not subject to Progressive Discipline include, but are not limited to:

  • Illegal behavior
  • Violence
  • Threatening words or actions
  • Substance abuse or intoxication while at work

Such behavior will be reported to Public Safety and may be reported to local law enforcement authorities.  Such behaviors are grounds for immediate termination. Some other behaviors not listed here are to subject to progressive discipline and may be subject to immediate termination. 


Progressive Discipline: A formal method of discipline in which incremental steps, involving increasingly serious penalties, are instituted. A sequence might involve a verbal warning, written reprimand, suspension (with or without pay), and finally termination.

Suspension: A disciplinary action in which an employee is sent home, with or without pay, for a specified period of time.


Outlined below are the steps of Western New England University’s progressive discipline policy and procedures. WNE reserves the right to combine or skip steps depending on the facts of each situation and the nature of the offense. Some of the factors that will be considered are whether the offense is repeated despite coaching, counseling, or training; the employee's work record; and the impact the conduct and performance issues have on the organization.

Step 1: Counseling and verbal warning–The Department Head, Supervisor, or Dean will:

  • Discuss with the employee the nature of the problem or the violation of University policies and procedures.
  • Clearly describe expectations and steps the employee must take to improve their performance or resolve the problem.
  • The verbal warning should be documented.

Step 2: Written warning–The Department Head, Supervisor, or Dean will:

  • Meet with the employee to review any additional incidents or information about the performance or conduct issues and any prior relevant corrective action plans.
  • A formal performance improvement plan (PIP) requiring the employee's immediate and sustained corrective action will be issued within five business days of a Step 2 meeting.
  • The written warning will also include a statement indicating that the employee may be subject to additional discipline, up to and including termination, if immediate and sustained corrective action is not taken.

Step 3: Suspension and/or termination–When immediate action is necessary to ensure the safety of the employee or others, the immediate Department Head, Supervisor, or Dean may suspend the employee pending the results of an investigation. Some performance, conduct, or safety incidents are so problematic and harmful that the most effective action may be the temporary removal of the employee from the workplace or termination.

Suspensions that are recommended as part of the normal sequence of the progressive discipline policy and procedures are subject to approval by the Vice President of the Department and Human Resources for Staff and by the Provost and Human Resources for Faculty.

Suspended non-exempt employees may not substitute or use an accrued paid vacation or sick day in lieu of the unpaid suspension.

WNE reserves the right to combine and skip steps depending on the circumstances of each situation and the nature of the offense. Furthermore, employees may be terminated without prior notice or disciplinary action. 

Massachusetts is an at-will employment state, meaning the University or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any legal reason.   

A recommendation to terminate employment must be approved by the Vice President of the Department and Human Resources for Staff and the Provost and the Human Resources for Faculty.  Final approval may be required from the President.

Appeals Process: Employees may be granted the opportunity to present information to dispute information management has used to issue disciplinary action. The purpose of this process is to provide insight into extenuating circumstances that may have contributed to the employee's performance or conduct issues while allowing for an equitable solution.

If the employee does not present this information during any of the step meetings, they will have five business days after suspension or termination to present such information.

Documentation: Any employee placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) will be provided a copy of the plan. The employee will be asked to sign a copy of this documentation attesting to their receipt and understanding of the corrective action outlined in these documents.

Copies of these documents will be placed in the Faculty or Staff member’s official personnel file.


Employee Written Warning Notice

Document History

Policy Origination Date: January 16, 2023

Who Approved This Policy

Associate Vice President of Human Resources


Associate Director of Human Resources
Rivers Memorial