Problems unfortunately do occur, and it is our job as supervisors to deal with them in a productive way. One of the perks of on-campus employment is that it teaches students how to function in a “real” job. Handling disciplinary issues now may save our students from a more costly discipline (or even termination) from that “real” job in the future.
If and when disciplinary problems arise, a supervisor should consider the following guidelines as they provide written documentation in the event of counteraction by the student. These are only suggested guidelines, however, and there may be situations when you need to act outside of them. At PLNU, employment is at the will of either the employee or PLNU. This means that a student employee may quit at any time with or without cause and PLNU may terminate employment at any time with or without cause. There is no promise that employment will continue for a set period of time, nor is there any promise that employment will be terminated only under particular circumstances.
When problems arise:
- Give the student a verbal warning stating exactly what the unacceptable behavior was and what needs to be done to correct the problem. Document the conversation.
- The second time there is a problem (it does not have to be the same problem), give the student a written warning with the same format as the verbal warning.
- The third time there is a problem, you are free to terminate the student's employment with your department. Notify the Student Employment Coordinator of this action. (A detailed email will suffice).
Grounds for disciplinary action include but are not limited to:
- Reluctance or failure to meet job requirements as listed in the job description
- Excessive use of the telephone for personal calls
- Excessive visiting with friends during working hours.
There are some situations that require more severe and immediate action. Grounds for immediate dismissal include but are not limited to:
- Falsifying time sheets
- Being at work under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal substances
- Use of University equipment or supplies for personal gain
- Disclosure or use of confidential information for any reason
- Behavior that endangers oneself or others
Behavior meriting disciplinary action could be indicative of a larger issue in the student’s life. When disciplinary action or termination is required, send a detailed email or memo to the Student Employment Office documenting the situation. This will set in motion a plan to assist the student through the Student Development Office.
We believe that most situations can be handled within departments between the student and the supervisor. In cases in which a student is uncomfortable talking with the immediate supervisor, alternatives are listed below.
- When department structure allows (i.e., the student works for someone who is not senior staff or department chair), the student should discuss the problem with the person one step above the student's supervisor. A student should go through the department hierarchy before taking the problem outside the department and, as a courtesy, should notify the immediate supervisor of his intentions.
- When a student does not have a hierarchy of people to talk with, or when that group of people has been exhausted without a resolution to the problem, the student should contact the Student Employment Office to discuss the problem with the Coordinator. The Coordinator will act as a mediator between the student and the supervisor to resolve the conflict.