Employee Responsibilities Procedure | KCTCS

Administrative Procedures

Employee Responsibilities and Corrective Action Procedure

Procedure Number: 2.0.2-P

Current Effective Date: 01/01/2020

Original Effective Date: 01/01/2020

Revision Dates: 0

Revision Number: 0

Revision Summary: new procedure

Responsible Official: General Counsel

References: Administrative Policy 2.0.2

1.  Purpose

This Procedure defines KCTCS employees’ responsibilities in creating and maintaining a professional work environment and provides examples of conduct that could lead to discipline or other corrective action.  When an employee engages in conduct that falls within these examples or other behavior that warrants discipline, supervisors and managers should consult this Procedure to determine the formal steps available to correct employee work performance and/or inappropriate workplace behavior.

Any college level supervisor or manager contemplating employee discipline must contact their local Human Resources Director before acting.  College Human Resources Directors should communicate with the System Director of Employee Relations before taking any disciplinary action in order to assess potential institutional risks.  System Office supervisors shall consult with the System Director of Employee Relations before taking any disciplinary action.

2.  Scope

This Procedure applies to all KCTCS employees.

3.  Employee Conduct

  1. Employee Responsibilities 
    1. KCTCS strives to create and maintain a professional work environment that facilitates student success, supports KCTCS employees, promotes Kentucky communities, and meets the needs of the Commonwealth’s employers.  To do so, KCTCS expects all employees to be productive, respectful, collegial, and responsible. KCTCS employees are responsible for consistently delivering professional and competent services and for using their talent, time, and attention to achieve the KCTCS mission.  

    2. KCTCS expects employees to consistently demonstrate:
      • Dedication to customer service, accountability, and positive performance results;
      • Respect, tolerance, and civility toward others;
      • A commitment to diversity, inclusion, and the marketplace of ideas;
      • Critical thinking, flexibility, and innovation;
      • Effective, timely, and open communications; and,
      • A commitment to collaboration and continual improvement.

B.  Work Rules Infractions/Inappropriate Workplace Conduct. Conduct that may require appropriate corrective or disciplinary action appears below in a list that is not exhaustive. Other conduct may also warrant disciplinary action.

  1. Failing to perform assigned duties, including training or other professional development. Failure to perform does not require actual malicious intent but may stem from any factor that is not excused, that appears to be unreasonable, or that is willful, simply or grossly negligent, or incompetent. 
  1. Failing or refusing to comply with applicable laws, KCTCS policies and procedures, or college and departmental rules and guidelines; as noted above, the failure does not require malicious intent. 
  1. Being insubordinate (e., failing or refusing to comply with known, reasonable and proper direct or indirect instructions from supervisors or other authorized KCTCS officials).
  1. Releasing, divulging, or publishing in any manner contrary to law, policy, or other regulation information that is restricted or confidential (e., student records, employee personal information, etc.). 
  1. Dishonesty in connection with KCTCS duties and responsibilities. 
  1. Falsifying or forging KCTCS official documents or records. 
  1. Misusing KCTCS computer equipment, including tampering with or accessing any computer or software system without authorization. 
  1. Damaging or destroying KCTCS property due to grossly careless or willful acts. 
  1. Stealing, misusing, converting, or improperly disposing of KCTCS-owned or controlled property of any sort. 
  1. Inability or unwillingness to work in harmony with others, including displaying discourtesy or incivility to students, employees, or those doing business with KCTCS. 
  1. Being under the influence of alcohol, unauthorized controlled substances, or authorized but misused controlled substances while on duty or on KCTCS-owned or controlled premises, or in connection to KCTCS business. 
  1. Committing theft or fraud, engaging in illegal gambling, or violating criminal laws on KCTCS-owned or controlled premises or in connection to KCTCS business. 
  1. Possessing or using illegal or unauthorized weapons, explosives, toxic substances, or hazardous items or substances on KCTCS-owned or controlled premises or in connection to KCTCS business except as provided in Administrative Policy 3.3.23 Weapons on Campus Policy
  1. Fighting or engaging in horseplay or disorderly conduct that unreasonably endangers the workplace or KCTCS stakeholders in connection with KCTCS business. 
  1. Causing or threatening to cause bodily harm, intimidating, harassing, improperly coercing, using abusive insulting language, or otherwise interfering with the performance of others. 
  1. Having excessive and/or unexcused absences or tardiness. 
  1. Viewing, saving, posting, or sending obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, or offensive material, without valid academic or educational purpose, in hard copy, digital, video, or any other media format on KCTCS-owned or controlled premises, using KCTCS computers, networks, or other resources, or in connection with KCTCS business.

  2. Committing acts that pose unreasonable risks or dangers to the safety of KCTCS stakeholders or operations. 

4.  Procedure

  1. General 
  1. Communication. KCTCS encourages clear, frequent, and direct communication between supervisors and employees regarding expectations and appropriate workplace behavior.  When or if communication fails to generate good work performance and conduct, corrective or disciplinary measures are sometimes necessary to correct improper behavior and performance.

  2. Serious Violation of Law or Policy.  KCTCS generally uses a progressive approach to corrective or disciplinary action, but progression is not required and may not be appropriate under certain circumstances. When employees engage in serious violations of law or policy, acts or threats of workplace violence, willful violations of safety rules, or other serious matters, KCTCS may take immediate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  KCTCS reserves the right to define those activities or conduct that require immediate action.

  3. Consultation.  Supervisors and managers must consult with the College Human Resources Director (or System Director of Employee Relations for System Office supervisors and managers) to determine whether to use corrective measures and what measures are appropriate.

  4. Probationary Period. Employees in their introductory/probationary period are at-will employees and may be terminated without resort to progressive discipline.  While not required to use disciplinary progression, supervisors must still consult with the College Human Resources Director (or System Director of Employee Relations for System Office supervisors and managers) before taking any action.

  5. Contemporaneous Action.  Discipline issued closely in time to the conduct in need of correction is generally most effective.  Therefore, supervisors and managers should impose disciplinary or corrective action as contemporaneous to the performance problems, misconduct, or policy violation as possible.  This need to act quickly, however, should not prevent the supervisor or manager from the necessary consultation with Human Resources or Employee Relations.

  6. Temporary Emergency Removal.  Employees who engage in violent, disruptive, abusive, or other conduct that appears sufficiently egregious or dangerous to merit removal or suspension from the workplace may be immediately removed from the workplace for the remainder of the day or until sufficient information can be gathered to determine next steps.  Emergency removal of an employee is not a termination of employment and may not be conveyed as such.

B.  The Progressive Approach.  KCTCS commonly uses the following progressive approach to corrective or disciplinary action:

  1. Verbal Warning. The first notification to an employee regarding a specific problem may be done verbally.  Because of the nature of a verbal warning, supervisors should document the warning and retain the documentation.  The supervisor does not usually provide the documentation to the employee and does not give the documentation to the HR department for placement in the employee’s official personnel file.  
    Documentation of the verbal warning should include:
    1. the date of the verbal warning;
    2. descriptions of performance problems, misconduct, or policy violations that prompted the warning;
    3. any relevant dates; 
    4. the supervisor's expectations for the employee's improvement or correction; and
    5. the consequences of the employee's failure to meet expectations or for engaging in additional misconduct.

  2. Written Warning. A written warning is usually appropriate when:
    1. An employee who previously received a verbal warning continues the same bad conduct or poor performance;
    2. An employee who previously received a verbal warning engages in new, additional/separate misconduct; or
    3. An employee who has not received a verbal warning engages in behavior sufficiently serious enough to warrant skipping a verbal warning and progressing directly to a written warning.

      Copies of written warnings are placed in the employee’s personnel file.  The College Human Resources Director (or System Director of Employee Relations for System Office supervisors and managers) will assist supervisors with proper format and appropriate language.

  3. Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). A PIP is not primarily a disciplinary action but may be used as a disciplinary tool or in conjunction with other disciplinary tools.  

    When an employee’s behaviors and poor performance, if continued, will rise to the level of misconduct, the employee may be placed on a PIP.  The PIP in this scenario is considered a disciplinary tool and should be provided to the employee in conjunction with a written warning.  Misconduct that is not performance related should stop immediately and is not appropriate for a PIP.  PIPs identify employee performance and/or behavioral deficiencies, outline the steps the employee must take to improve, and establish a timeline for improvement or correction of deficiencies.  HR Directors or the System Director of ER, as appropriate, may assist with PIP format and counseling. 

    For more information on PIPs that are not coupled with or prompted by poor performance equivalent to misconduct, see and Administrative Policy 2.5 KCTCS Performance Review.

  4. Suspension Without Pay. Suspension is appropriate for serious offenses that do not warrant termination or when other discipline has not successfully corrected the employee’s behavior.  Suspension without Pay may be imposed for a period of one to five days, depending on the nature and severity of the conduct or violation.  Some offenses may merit suspensions without pay for longer than five days. Supervisors shall work with HR or ER to document suspensions without pay in the same manner as above and shall place documentation in the employee’s personnel file.
     
    There may be occasions when it is necessary to remove an employee while information is gathered to decide on next steps.  This type of leave is called “administrative leave with pay” and is not a suspension or other disciplinary action.  It is an administrative process which can be used when employees are under investigation. 

  5. Involuntary Demotion.  An involuntary demotion may be warranted if an employee’s performance or behavior is consistently below expectation after reasonable efforts have failed to help the employee succeed.  See Administrative Policy 2.15.2.11 regarding involuntary demotion. 

  6. Termination of Employment.  Termination of employment should be a last option when performance is the reason for termination, and for conduct-based reasons, UNLESS the conduct was so egregious that it merits immediate termination of employment without following the progressive discipline model.
    1. If all reasonable efforts to correct the employee's deficiencies have failed, or if the employee’s actions are sufficiently egregious, the employee may be terminated from employment.  
      1. Employees are terminated in accordance with the process established in Administrative Policy 2.8.2 Termination Procedures and in accordance with their employment status.

5.  Appeals

  1. Employees may appeal written warnings, involuntary demotions, and suspensions without pay through the process outlined in Administrative Procedure 2.16.2.2-P Formal Complaint Resolution Procedure.

  2. Staff may appeal a termination through Administrative Procedure 2.16.2.2-P Formal Complaint Resolution Procedure. Appeals should be addressed to the next level beyond the person who signed the employee’s termination letter.

  3. Faculty may appeal termination decisions as described in Administrative Policy 2.16.2.1 Faculty Appeals through the KCTCS Senate Advisory Committee on Appeals.

  4. Verbal warnings and PIPs may not be appealed.