Taking Corrective Action

Specifically, employees need to be clearly advised of the problem or concern that needs to be corrected and be given a reasonable opportunity to improve before any further action is taken. Before action is taken, an employee must be given notice and an opportunity to respond.  Corrective action is not considered “discipline” and is primarily focused on improving the employee’s performance, attendance or conduct. Your goal as a manager is to guide the employee to correct performance, attendance or behavior, not to punish the employee. Corrective action involves verbal or written communications from you to the employee that are designed to assist the employee in correcting the “problem” or concern, e.g., performance, attendance or conduct. Non-disciplinary corrective action typically includes informal discussions, verbal warnings and letters of concern or expectation.

In general, corrective action should be progressive, beginning with the lowest severity action before employing actions of more severity. Any formal corrective or disciplinary action must follow the principles of "Just Cause".

Performance, Attendance or Conduct Concerns

On occasion, a manager or supervisor may be confronted with a difficult employee situation or concern. Most of the concerns can usually be organized into one or more of the following areas: performance, attendance or conduct. The most important advice we can give is not to tolerate, minimize or ignore these concerns. Prompt, appropriate and consistent follow-up to any of these issues is always the best bet for improving a difficult situation with an employee's performance, attendance or conduct.

Note: Any threats of imminent violence or actual violence should be immediately reported to campus police.


  • Poor quality of work
  • Job takes more time and effort than usual
  • Deadlines are missed
  • Mistakes are made due to inattention or poor judgment
  • Complaints from customers/students/faculty/community


  • Excessive use of sick leave
  • Frequent Monday and/or Friday absences
  • Repeated absences that follow a particular pattern
  • Excessive tardiness, in the morning and/or after lunch
  • Peculiar and/or improbable excuses for absences
  • Multiple instances of unauthorized leave


  • Argumentative, difficult behavior, easily angered
  • Complaints from peers regarding poor interpersonal relationships
  • Drastic changes in physical appearance
  • Smell of alcohol and/or impaired physical ability
  • Verbal fights with co-workers/customers/others
  • Inappropriate or intimidating physical contact
  • Threats or actual physical violence towards people or property


One of the first and most important steps in effective corrective action is communication. All employees must be provided with clear expectations from their supervisor.  If concerns arise even after clear expectations have been provided to the employee, talk privately with the employee about your concerns. Be specific in describing the unacceptable performance or behavior. Avoid using conclusions.  Rather, focus on the facts. Use factual examples, not generalizations, e.g., “you were 20 minutes late on Tuesday and three days last week,” vs. “you’re always late.” Clearly state your expectation for improved performance or behavior, e.g., “I expect you to be here at 8am, your scheduled start-time.” In some situations you may feel frustrated or angry when an employee repeatedly fails to perform satisfactorily or follow the rules. Keep in mind, however, that most employees come to work wanting to do a good job. Some will require more specific and frequent feedback than others to understand what that means in your work site and in the jobs under your supervision. Frequency of feedback will largely depend on what you observe in the employee’s behavior and performance and on the cycles of the work (e.g., tardiness can be corrected immediately, but it may take days or weeks to complete a particular project or task for your review).  Employee Relations is here to guide and assist you in the corrective action process.


If the unacceptable performance, attendance and/or conduct persists, submit an HR ServiceNow ticket for advice on next steps. Depending on the circumstances, a letter of concern or expectation may be given to the employee to communicate your expectations and the need for immediate and sustained improvement. A letter of concern or expectation is not considered discipline. Supervisors are encouraged, but not required, to consult with Employee Relations before issuing a letter of concern or expectation.


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