Jun 13, 2024  
2021-2022 Employee Handbook 
2021-2022 Employee Handbook

(800) Employee Performance and Conduct

801 Performance Policy

Georgia State University supports a consistent, continuous and communicated performance management process. As required by Board of Regents policy, a formal, written performance evaluation is to be completed at least once every calendar year. Georgia State’s performance evaluation period occurs in the first quarter of each year and employees are evaluated on their performance from the previous calendar year (January - December). The performance evaluation must include an evaluation of the employee’s job knowledge, accuracy and quality, customer service, attendance and punctuality, productivity, supervision required, adaptability, organizational skills, communication skills, and interpersonal relations/teamwork. Merit-based compensation should be based upon performance as measured by the performance evaluation instrument.

802 Performance Expectations

Supervisors are should provide employees with a job description, related performance expectations, and a copy of the evaluation instrument within the first week of employment. Job specifications can be found on HR’s Classification and Compensation website: https://hr.gsu.edu/service-centers/employee-relations/performance-management/#pe

The job description should be reviewed with the employee to ensure that it accurately reflects current responsibilities and expectations. The Georgia State University Performance Evaluation Form must be used by the evaluator in evaluating his/her direct subordinates.

803 Performance Evaluations

The job performance of each Georgia State University staff member must be appraised:

  • During the provisional period (first six (6) months of employment) for new University employees;
  • After one, three, and five months of employment; and
  • Once a year for regular staff employees outside of their provisional period

Performance Evaluation Forms are available on the Human Resources website at: https://hr.gsu.edu/service-centers/employee-relations/performance-management/#pe

Completed evaluations, signed by two levels of supervision (immediate and secondary) and the employee, are to be submitted to Human Resources between February 1st and March 31st.

803.1 Interim Evaluation

Supervisors are encouraged to give continuous and ongoing feedback to employees as it relates to their performance. Supervisors should conduct at least one interim performance evaluation during the evaluation period. This evaluation does not have to be formal, but should provide feedback to recognize and reinforce positive performance, to identify areas needing improvement, and to develop an improvement plan, when necessary. This evaluation should be documented for the record.

The annual performance evaluation should not be the first time employees are made aware they are or are not meeting expectations.

804 Conduct Guidelines

Each employee is responsible for his/her own behavior. Common sense, good judgment, cooperation, and appropriate personal behavior are part of the essential responsibilities of every employee at Georgia State University.

804.1 Examples of Inappropriate Conduct

Across Georgia State University, there are common themes for performance. Though jobs may vary across the University, there are some common conducts that are unacceptable. The following are examples of some inappropriate behavior:

  • Insubordination
  • Falsification of employment or other records, including false submissions of hours worked into ADP e-Time
  • Working under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or an illegal substance
  • Inappropriate handling or disclosure of confidential information or records
  • Submission of falsified claims under the University’s medical or other insurance plans
  • Excessive absenteeism or lateness
  • Sleeping on the job
  • Failure to maintain professional standards or conduct with clients and co-workers
  • Neglect of duty or failure or refusal to perform job-related duties and assignments
  • Disrupting the work environment
  • Illegal manufacture, possession, use, sale or distribution of drugs, inebriation or unauthorized use of alcoholic beverages on University premises
  • Misuse of prescription drugs
  • Smoking and tobacco use, of any kind on University premises and/or leased property
  • Refusal to cooperate with a Georgia State investigation
  • Larceny, misappropriation, or unauthorized possession or use of property belonging to Georgia State University or any employee or visitor
  • Creating unsafe conditions or contributing to such conditions by act of omission
  • Misappropriation of departmental or organizational funds
  • Working unauthorized overtime
  • Unauthorized possession, copying, or use of the University records to unauthorized persons
  • Threatening, intimidating, harassing or coercing of another employee
  • Gambling on University premises or while engaged in University business
  • Violation of the University nondiscrimination or sexual harassment policy

The conduct listed above is not an exhaustive list of inappropriate conduct. In addition, employees participating in such conduct may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

804.2 Progressive Discipline

The Progressive Discipline process is designed to be constructive and corrective to change employee behavior in a positive manner and to promote employee success. It gives employees the information necessary to understand what aspect of work performance, attendance and/or behavior is unacceptable, identifies the improvements that are expected, and provides the opportunity for employees to demonstrate the expected improvements. The goal is to improve performance, attendance, or behavior of employees and to assist employees in taking ownership of their performance, attendance, or behavior.

It is the responsibility of the employee to adhere to the expectations outlined by the supervisor and to adhere to the standards of conduct.

It is recommended that all employees be provided an opportunity to go through the progressive discipline process; however, there are circumstances that warrant immediate termination. In addition, there is no required number of instances that a supervisor must warn or reprimand an employee before termination is warranted. Disciplinary measures range from mild to serious depending on such things as the nature and frequency of the problem. Supervisors who are considering a suspension, demotion, or termination of an employee must contact Human Resources to ensure that all appropriate laws, regulations, and policies are observed.

804.2a Progressive Discipline Steps

It is recommended that department management document all steps of the corrective discipline process as they occur, as well as warnings of further corrective action if the unacceptable performance and/or behavior is not corrected. Any disciplinary step may be omitted depending upon the severity of the incident.

In each step, department management is advised to state the next step to be taken if the performance does not improve. However, in cases of serious misconduct, the employee may be immediately terminated, or suspended from the work force.

The steps involved in the process may include verbal counseling, written reprimand, Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), suspension without pay, final warning and termination. Again, any disciplinary step may be omitted depending upon the severity of the incident. It is recommended that all disciplinary action(s) be discussed in private when appropriate and be shared with other employees on a need to know basis.

804.2b Documenting the Disciplinary Action

Disciplinary Action should be documented in a memo or letter to the employee. Documentation of disciplinary action is generally prepared in advance and given to the employee when the disciplinary action is communicated. With Verbal Counseling (which, by definition, is communicated verbally), the documentation is prepared afterwards in the form of a follow-up email or memo to the employee confirming the discussion.

Documentation of the disciplinary action taken should include the following information:

  • The date of the disciplinary action;
  • A clear description of the unsatisfactory performance or conduct with examples when possible;
  • A clear description of the corrective action or improvement the employee must demonstrate together with the time frame for doing so. What constitutes a reasonable time frame will depend on the circumstances. Some issues must be immediately corrected while it may be reasonable to extend more time for improvement in other cases; and
  • A clear description of the consequences of failing to comply. Because the circumstances of any failure to comply are unknown at the time of the current disciplinary response, a general statement such as “failure to correct the issues of concern as required will result in further disciplinary action, up to termination.”

804.2c Verbal Counseling

The initial action should be verbal counseling, whenever possible. Verbal counseling is the least formal method of disciplinary action described in this process. The goal is to describe the performance or conduct of concern and to express clear expectations for improvement. The discussion should be firm

A brief follow-up email or memo will be sent to the employee confirming the discussion date, subject matter discussed, and the agreed upon course of action to correct the problem.

A copy should be placed in the manager’s file.

804.2d Written Reprimand - with or without a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

A written reprimand should identify the problem performance or conduct issue, identify any steps previously taken to address the situation, state clear expectations for correction of the problem, and indicate that failure to correct the problem will result in further disciplinary action, which may include termination.

Although not required, the written reprimand may include a detailed performance improvement plan (PIP) with benchmarks outlined for the employee to meet over a specific period of time during which periodic meetings will be scheduled between manager and employee to review and confirm progress in the required areas of improvement. Typical PIP durations are 30, 60 and 90 days, but the timeframe is flexible depending on the issues and circumstances involved.

The written reprimand should be given to the employee. A copy of the written reprimand should be placed in the manager’s files and another copy, together with the summary of any verbal warning given before the written reprimand, should be sent to Employee Relations and HR Records Office to be placed in the employee’s employment file.

Employee Relations, Department of Human Resources, is available to assist departments and management with the warning reprimand.

804.2e Suspension

Suspension is a disciplinary action that results in unpaid time away from work. Suspension typically follows other steps in the progressive discipline process that have not resulted in the improved performance of the employee. However, there may be instances where suspension may be the first step in the process. The length of the suspension should depend upon the facts of each case, (e.g., type and severity of the behavior, previous work record of the employee, and previous disciplinary actions).

The suspension should be clearly explained in a written disciplinary warning to the employee and should indicate any possible consequences of further performance or behavior issues. Suspension should not be used in instances where administrative leave is more appropriate such as during an internal investigation.

The suspension letter should be given to the employee. A copy of the suspension letter should be placed in the manager’s files and another copy should be sent to Employee Relations and HR Records Office to be placed in the employee’s employment file.

804.2f Final Warning

A final warning is a final attempt to correct performance or conduct problems before termination. A final warning should identify the problem performance or conduct issues, identify any steps previously taken to address the situation, state clear expectations for correction of the problem, and indicate that failure to correct the problem will result in termination.

The final warning should be given to the employee. A copy of the final warning should be placed in the manager’s files and another should be sent to Employee Relations and HR Records Office to be placed in the employee’s employment file.

804.2g Performance Improvement Plan

Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) are tools that can be used to assist the employee in improving their performance. Managers and supervisors may implement a PIP as an attempt to help the employee meet the expectations of the position. It is highly recommended that supervisors and managers work with the Office of Employee Relations before administering a PIP and throughout the entire process to ensure it is being documented and administered properly. A PIP should focus mainly on the performance, the solutions, and how it will be monitored for improvement.

It is important that the employee understands and takes accountability for his/her actions during the PIP process and understands that failure to improve may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

The PIP should be given to the employee. A copy of the PIP should be placed in the manager’s files and another should be sent to Employee Relations and HR Records Office to be placed in the employee’s employment file.

804.2h Termination

Termination of an employee is a response to serious misconduct or failure to satisfactorily correct problem performance and or conduct issues.

Prior to the termination of an employee, department management is strongly advised to review the situation and related information with the Office of Employee Relations and supply appropriate documentation. This is especially important if health-related leave, accommodations, or other complex issues are involved since there may be legal issues to be considered.

It is advised, when possible, that the dismissal be communicated in writing (or, confirmed in writing if termination is first communicated verbally). The written letter of termination should include the reason for termination, effective date, rights to the grievance process and applicable information regarding the University clearance process. Department leadership is strongly advised to request assistance from the Office of Employee Relations in composing the letter of dismissal.

Employees who are terminated for cause are generally not eligible for rehire although former employees terminated for cause may, after six (6) months from the effective date of the termination, request review by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources to determine whether the former applicant may be granted eligibility for rehire. The Associate Vice President’s decision will be rendered after a review of the employee’s work records at the University and any other information deemed appropriate.

The termination letter should be given to the employee. A copy of the termination letter should be placed in the manager’s files and another should be sent to Employee Relations and HR Records Office to be placed in the employee’s employment file.

804.3 Job Abandonment

When an employee does not report to work for three (3) consecutive, scheduled workdays and does not communicate with the department as to their whereabouts or intentions regarding the job, the department may terminate the employee for job abandonment. Prior to taking such action, department leadership is advised to make reasonable efforts to contact the employee to determine the employee’s intentions regarding the job. It is strongly recommended that the department send a registered letter (return receipt requested) to the employee indicating that Georgia State University considers the employee to have voluntarily resigned from employment due to job abandonment as of the last day the employee worked.

804.3a Termination Procedure for Job Abandonment

After it has been determined by the hiring manager that an employee has abandoned his/her position (has not shown up and/or called into work for three (3) consecutive scheduled workdays) the hiring manager should move to terminate employment. The hiring manager should work with their college or division Human Resource officer to conduct the following procedures (these procedures should be followed within 24 hours of determining an employee has abandoned their job):

  • Contact Employee Relations to draft a termination letter to the employee and to discuss other steps that need to be taken in the termination process (i.e. Clearance Form, return of equipment, etc.)
  • E-mail the Manager of Card Programs and Support Services to request the P-Card, Corporate Travel Card (American Express) and PIN for use of Fuel Card, if applicable, be deactivated and no further charges be allowed
  • Contact IIT to restrict access to Georgia State University Systems
  • Contact Key Control to determine if locks need to be changed or if additional keys are needed for the department

804.4 Personal Appearance

Georgia State University is a varying environment where one person may be required to care for animals and another may be required to meet with elected officials. Due to the varying degrees of performed duties on campus, it is difficult for the University to have one uniform dress code. However, Georgia State University is a professional organization with a high level of visibility in the community. Our premises are visited by state/elected officials, students, clients and guests on a daily basis. Discretion in style of dress and behavior is essential to the efficient operation of the University. Employees are, therefore, required to dress in appropriate attire and to behave in a professional, businesslike manner. Please use good judgment in choice of work attire and remember to conduct yourself at all times in a way that best represents you and the University.

804.5 Work Environment Appearance

Employees are required to keep their work environments clean and orderly. It is suggested that before departing work, employees lock all files and cabinets and clear work materials from desk surfaces, especially materials of a sensitive or confidential nature.