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Discipline and Dismissal Regular Staff Employees

Section: Index C- Human Resources
Policy Number: C-14


The University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) encourages fair, efficient, and equitable resolution of problems arising out of the employment relationship.    This policy sets forth the university’s process for discipline and dismissal, which is intended to comply with state and federal law and University of Houston System policy 02.A.04. This policy also provides a process for ensuring that consideration is given to employee concerns in disciplinary matters.

The policy of the University of Houston Victoria is to ensure equal opportunity in all its educational programs and activities, and all terms and conditions of employment without regard to age, race, color, disability, religion, national origin, veteran’s status, genetic information, or sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity or status, or gender expression except where such a distinction is required by law. For the University’s Official Non-Discrimination Statement, see UHV Policy C-5, Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement.


This policy applies to all regular staff employees, including those serving in externally-funded positions and/or working at remote locations.
This policy does not apply to employees serving in the following positions:

Continuous service in the positions of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Administration and Finance, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Vice President for Advancement and External Relations, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean is at the pleasure of the President. If a designated position involves a joint faculty appointment, the faculty appointment will be subject to university faculty policies and procedures.

Probationary Period. A regular non-exempt staff employee is probationary and serves at the pleasure of the hiring department during the first six months of continuous employment at the university, or during the first six months of reemployment following a break in service for any reason other than a recall to work after an approved reduction in force. A regular exempt staff employee is probationary and serves at the pleasure of the hiring department during the first twelve months of continuous employment at the university, or during the first twelve months of reemployment following a break in service for any reason other than a recall to work after an approved reduction in force. An employee may be terminated at any time during the probationary period without application of the discipline and dismissal policy and procedures. If the probationary period is interrupted by any authorized leave other than earned sick leave, the probationary period will be extended by the amount of time the employee is absent from work. (References  UHV Policy C-23)

Reduction in force. Terminations due to a formal reduction in force are covered by a separate reduction in force policy and not by this discipline and dismissal policy.   (References UHV Policy C-30)

Inability to perform.  An employee who, after all available leave has been exhausted, is unable to return to work to perform job functions because of medical reasons, may be terminated without application of the discipline and dismissal policy and procedures. Terminations under this provision are not disciplinary in nature, but constitute removal from a position for continuous inability to perform for medical reasons. The HR Director and appropriate vice president must approve all such terminations before any action is taken.

Job Abandonment.   An employee who fails to report to work and/or fails to follow departmental rules for notification of absences for more than three (3) continuous workdays may be considered to have abandoned the job. Job abandonment is a form of resignation, and the employee may be released without application of the discipline and dismissal policy and procedures. An employee contesting the termination by tendering an acceptable reason for failure to report for duty and failure to follow departmental rules for notification of absence my be reinstated to the position if such reason is presented in writing to the department head within a reasonable amount of time prior to the employment of another individual in the vacant position, and if such statement is considered sufficient to excuse the failure.


Discipline: any action or series of actions taken to ensure effective or correct ineffective job performance and conformance with established work rules.

Dismissal: discharge from employment at UHV. This step is taken when positive steps to improve performance have been taken but performance has not changed; or when an employee has committed a major offense that warrants dismissal.

Regular staff employee: an employee who is appointed for at least twenty (20) hours per week on a regular basis for a period of a least four and a half (4.5) months, excluding students employed in positions which require student status as a condition for employment; and who does not hold a teaching and/or research position classified as faculty.

Non-regular staff employee: an employee appointed to a position which has a total duration of less than 4.5 months; an employee appointed to a position which is budgeted for less than 50% FTE (20 hours per week); an employee appointed to a position which will be compensated in one lump-sum payment; or an employee appointed to a position that requires student status as a condition of employment.

Externally-funded position: a staff position funded by an agency other than UHV but paid through the university payroll system.

Employee working at a remote location: a staff employee of UHV, whose regular worksite may be at a location other than UHV’s main campus, 3007 N. Ben Wilson, Victoria, Texas.

Exempt position or employee: a position that is classified as exempt from overtime regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), or an employee serving in such a position. Exempt positions are those designated by the Human Resources Department as administrative, managerial, or professional according to valid job evaluation criteria. Employees serving in exempt positions are paid on a salaried (monthly) basis.

Grievance: An employee’s expression of disagreement or dissatisfaction either by formal or informal process, with employee related concerns.  The causes for a grievance may include, but are not necessarily limited to working conditions, the interpretation or application of a rule, procedure or policy, discipline, demotion, suspension without pay, dismissal or involuntary transfer.


Discipline is a corrective process to help employees overcome work-related problems, strengthen work performance, and achieve success. It also allows for the termination of employees who will not or cannot change unacceptable behavior or performance.

Supervisors have a responsibility to   inform employees of rules to be followed, standards of conduct to be met, and work performance to be achieved.  This communication enables employees to recognize expected standards and understand consequences for non-compliance.  Supervisors shall  administer progressive disciplinary action and/or termination in accordance with university guidelines.

Supervisors are responsible for forwarding records of all disciplinary actions to the UHV Human Resources Department for inclusion in the employee's official personnel file.  Such documents must be forwarded in a timely manner. These documents are necessary to ensure employees are being advised and monitored because of unsatisfactory job performance.

Employees are responsible for learning and abiding the rules, procedures, and standards of the university and its departments, and are responsible for accomplishing the specific duties and responsibilities expected by their positions of employment.  It is generally understood that specific and detailed job specifications and instructions may be required for non-exempt staff employees.  Exempt employees, however, especially those at the higher professional and administrative classifications, are generally expected to understand the duties and responsibilities of their positions and the consequences of failing to perform according to expectations.

Since the purpose of the disciplinary process is to provide remedial action whenever possible, no disciplinary measures will be undertaken without the employee's knowledge.  Any disciplinary measure or conference will, at a minimum:

Any written reprimand or letter of suspension will be signed by the supervisor and the employee. The employee's signature will acknowledge receipt of the document but may not necessarily indicate agreement with the action. If the employee refuses to sign, the supervisor may note on the employee's signature block that the employee refused to sign.

A copy of any written reprimand, letter of suspension, or notice of termination will be placed in the employee's official personnel file in the Human Resources Department.

Authorization and prior approval. Supervisors may authorize suspension or dismissal  after receiving approval from the appropriate cabinet level supervisor, vice president and the Director, Human Resources (the HR Director), or their designees. For disciplinary purposes, the level of discipline will be appropriate to the offense. Suspensions without pay may not exceed ten (10) working days. For exempt employees, suspensions without pay must be in increments of five (5) working days, in compliance with FLSA regulations.


The university has the right to discipline or terminate a regular staff employee for adequate cause. Each case is evaluated on its own set of circumstances. The following list of infractions may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. This list is not all-inclusive.

Suspension with Pay

An employee may be suspended from employment with pay pending further investigation of a matter, including possible official actions by outside agencies. Suspension with pay requires approval by the appropriate vice president or designee.  There is no time limit for suspension with pay. Suspension with pay should be followed immediately with a thorough investigation of the  situation to determine the appropriate level of discipline, if discipline is required.

During the period of suspension with pay, an employee is considered on active assignment and may be required to be available for university business during normal working hours.

Progressive Discipline

When possible and appropriate, disciplinary action will follow a progressive sequence. The normal sequence of action is as follows

Step 1. Verbal counseling (Informal Disciplinary Measure)

Step 2. Written reprimand (Formal Disciplinary Measure)

Step 3. Suspension without pay ; and

Step 4. Dismissal from employment.

The purpose of progressive discipline is to ensure that the employee is fully aware of any performance deficiencies that exist and to provide the employee with a reasonable opportunity to improve such deficiencies.  The level of discipline must be appropriate for the offense and shall follow in a timely manner.

However, supervisors may omit any stage of the above process if, in their opinion and with the concurrence of the appropriate cabinet level supervisor, and the HR Director,  the problem cannot be corrected by a less severe form of disciplinary action.

The university specifically retains the right to immediately dismiss an employee without any requirement to pursue progressive disciplinary action when it is determined by the university that the employee's acts or omissions warrant immediate dismissal.

Verbal Counseling

Verbal counseling is considered a warning and will not become part of the employee’s official personnel file in Human Resources unless further disciplinary action occurs within 12 months.  Verbal counseling is not grievable.

A personal conference between the immediate supervisor and the employee is the appropriate disciplinary action in the following circumstances:

Documentation of Verbal Counseling.  Verbal counseling should be documented by the supervisor to provide a written record of the counseling and to provide the employee with a reminder of the work standards expected. Form A (References) may be used for this purpose.  A copy of Form A, signed by both the supervisor and the employee, should be maintained by the supervisor in departmental records.

Written Reprimand

When appropriate. A written reprimand is the appropriate disciplinary action in the following circumstances:

Preparation of written reprimand. The written reprimand will be prepared by the employee's immediate supervisor and, prior to being delivered to the employee, should be approved as to form by the appropriate cabinet level supervisor, and the HR Director.   A copy of any verbal counseling record occurring within the previous 12 months should be included with the written reprimand.   Form B may be used as a guide for preparing a written reprimand. (References)

A copy of the written reprimand, signed by the immediate supervisor and the employee, will be placed in the employee's official personnel file in the Human Resources Department.

Employee recourse.  If the employee disagrees with the cause or content of the written reprimand, the employee may appeal to the next higher supervisory authority.

Temporary Suspension Without Pay

When appropriate.  Temporary suspension without pay, not to exceed ten (10) working days, is the appropriate disciplinary action in the following circumstances:

Suspension of exempt employees.  An exempt employee  may not be suspended without pay for any increment of less than five (5) working days.

Authorization and prior approval.  Supervisors may authorize suspension without pay after receiving approval from the cabinet level supervisor, the appropriate vice president and the HR Director,  or their designees. For disciplinary purposes, the suspension will closely follow the offense which it is intended to correct, and its duration will be appropriate to the severity of the offense. Suspension without pay will not exceed ten (10) working days.

Written notice to the employee.  The employee will be given written notice of suspension without pay, as shown in Form C. (References)  In addition to the standard requirements for all disciplinary actions, the notice will clearly state the following:

Payroll action.  When an employee is placed on suspension without pay , the employing department will immediately prepare payroll documents to interrupt pay for the duration of the suspension.  These documents will be forwarded to the Human Resources Department immediately.  At the conclusion of suspension without pay, the employing department will ensure that any payroll action required to reinstate pay to the affected employee is taken immediately.

Employee entitlements during suspension.  An employee who is suspended without pay will retain status as a state employee for purposes of leave accrual, group insurance coverage, and other benefit entitlements during the suspension period to the same extent as an employee who is granted official leave of absence without pay.

Employee recourse.  The employee may appeal the suspension by invoking the university's staff grievance policy.  If it is subsequently determined that suspension was imposed without adequate cause, the employee will receive back pay for the suspension period.  Back pay will be made through supplemental payroll procedures, and the absence from work will be reclassified as an emergency leave of absence.  Records to this effect will be included in the employee's official personnel file in the Human Resources Department.

Dismissal From Employment

An employee may be dismissed after progressive disciplinary measures have proven unsuccessful upon recommendation from the appropriate authority and with the required approvals.  Discharge without prior warning or suspension may be justified for major violations or acts of misconduct.

When appropriate.  Dismissal from employment may be the appropriate action in any of the following circumstances:

Authorization and approval.  Supervisors may authorize dismissal after obtaining approval from the appropriate cabinet level supervisor, vice president and the HR Director or their designees.
The supervisor should give written notice of dismissal to the employee, as shown  in Form D (References), and consisting of the following:

  1. the effective date and time of the dismissal;
  2. the reason for the dismissal; and
  3. a description of previous attempts to correct the problem(s) which constitute the reasons for the dismissal;
  4. notification of the employee’s right to appeal the termination.

Within five (5) working days following the employee's last day of employment, the HR Director,   will mail to the employee at the employee's most current address as shown in the official personnel file, a notice of the dismissed employee's right to a post-dismissal hearing.  This notice will be sent to the dismissed employee by certified letter.  A copy of this notice will be placed in the official personnel file in the Human Resources Department.  The dismissed employee is responsible for ensuring that the Human Resources Department is aware of the correct address to which this notice should be sent.

Post-dismissal procedures

A dismissed employee is entitled to invoke the procedure described in this section only by requesting a hearing in writing.  The written request must be postmarked or received by the Human Resources Department within five (5) working days of receipt of the notice by the dismissed employee or by a person who received mail for the dismissed employee at the address on file in the Human Resources Department.

If a hearing is requested, the HR Director will act as soon as possible to select and convene a five-person Hearing Panel.  Three (3) of the Panel members will represent the employee's peers and two (2) of the Panel members will represent the supervisor's peers.  The membership of the Panel will be provided to both parties within five (5) working days, and may be challenged in writing by either party to the HR Director.  Both parties may challenge the selection of a prospective Hearing Panel member one time without a statement of reasonable cause; however, neither party may select or recommend a member of the Hearing Panel.  Any additional challenges by either party must include a statement of reasonable cause. Rulings on challenges with a reasonable cause statement will be made by the HR Director.  A potential Hearing Panel member may elect not to serve based on a conflict of interest.

After a Hearing Panel has been selected, the HR Director  will schedule a date, time, and place for the hearing.  If the HR Director is the dismissing supervisor, the appropriate vice president will designate another administrator to select and convene the Hearing Panel and to assume all hearing responsibilities normally assigned to the HR Director.

The Hearing Panel will elect its Chair.

A hearing may be postponed by the Chair of Hearing Panel for good cause if a written request is filed with the Chair no later than forty-eight (48) hours before the scheduled date of the hearing.  The Chair will be the sole judge of what constitutes good cause and may set a limit as to how many times a hearing may be postponed.

The Hearing Panel may request that an attorney from the Office of General Counsel sit as an advisor to the panel.  The attorney would be available to answer procedural questions and to assist in maintaining the decorum of the proceeding.  The attorney will not be present during the deliberations.

Hearing Procedures

The hearing procedures specified below are intended to serve as a broad outline for ensuring a fair and impartial hearing.  However, the Hearing Panel Chair may approve departure from these procedures if, in the opinion of the chair, all parties have been treated fairly and the Panel will have an opportunity to hear both sides of the dismissal action.  The Hearing Panel Chair will be responsible for maintaining decorum.


The dismissed employee may be advised or assisted at the hearing by a person chosen by the dismissed employee.  However,  the person who assists the dismissed employee is not allowed to participate in the hearing, and may not make comments to the dismissed employee which are audible to the Hearing Panel.  Any party who chooses to bring an advisor to the hearing must provide the name of the advisor to the HR Director  at least five (5) working days prior to the hearing date.  Any advisor not listed will not be allowed to attend.  If the dismissed employee’s advisor is an attorney, then an attorney from the Office of General Counsel must also be present at the hearing to advise the supervisor.

Documents and witnesses

Documents to be presented as evidence and names of potential witnesses must be presented to the HR Director at least five (5) working days prior to the hearing date.  No new information will be accepted after this date, except in compelling circumstances as determined by the HR Director or the Chair of the Hearing Panel.  In such event, the hearing will be delayed until all interested parties have had a fair opportunity to consider the new information and prepare a response, if necessary.  There will be a simultaneous exchange of documents and witness lists between the dismissed employee and the supervisor facilitated and documented by the HR Director two (2) working days prior to the hearing date.

It is the responsibility of the dismissed employee and the supervisor to notify their respective witnesses as to the date and time of the hearing.  It is not the responsibility of the HR Director to contact employees named as potential witnesses by either the dismissed employee or the supervisor and ascertain whether such employee(s) consent to provide information at the hearing.

Retaliation against any employee for participating or not participating in a post-dismissal hearing is strictly prohibited.
 Retaliation by a UHV employee will be handled as a separate disciplinary action under this policy.

Only listed witnesses will be allowed to address the Hearing Panel.  If information is made available to the Hearing Panel during the course of the hearing that the Hearing Panel deems necessary for the resolution of the hearing, the Hearing Panel is vested with the authority to request testimony from additional witnesses or request additional documentation.  The Hearing Panel can only hear testimony from additional witnesses and can only review additional documents if it allows both parties additional time to prepare a response.

The hearing, but not the deliberation, will be electronically recorded so that there is an official record of what occurred.  The HR Director will have responsibility for recording the hearing and no other recording will be allowed.  Either party may obtain a copy of the tapes, at the requesting party's expense.  The request must be made in writing to the HR Director.  The tapes of the hearing will be kept by the HR Director for at least two (2) years after the hearing date.

Opening Statements, Presentation of Witnesses, and Closing Statements

To begin the hearing, all parties entitled to be present for the hearing will be asked into the hearing room.  The Hearing Panel Chair will have the sole discretion to decide who, other than the Panel members, the dismissed employee, the dismissing department head, and advisors, if any, may be present.  The hearing will be closed and confidential.

The issues to be considered by the Hearing Panel will be limited to consideration of whether there was reasonable cause for the dismissal and whether university policies and procedures were followed.

The Chair of the Hearing Panel  will state for the record the names and positions of parties to the hearing, the date and time of the hearing, and the names of all persons present in the hearing room at the beginning of the hearing.

The Chair of the Hearing Panel  will ask each party, beginning with the dismissing supervisor, to make a brief opening statement.

The dismissing supervisor will present evidence and witnesses in support of the decision to dismiss the former employee.

The dismissed employee may present evidence and witnesses in rebuttal to the decision to dismiss.

The Hearing Panel Chair may restrict the number of persons allowed to appear as character witnesses.  In such case, the party presenting character witnesses will be asked to choose one witness who can provide a summary character assessment.

Each party may ask questions of the other party or of witnesses appearing on the other party's behalf.  The Hearing Panel Chair will have the sole discretion to determine the order and relevance of such questions.

Any member of the Hearing Panel may question the dismissing supervisor, the dismissed employee, or any witness.  After both parties and the Hearing Panel have concluded questioning the witness, the witness will be reminded that all testimony is confidential and will be excused from the room.  Witnesses will not be present during the questioning of any party or any other witness.

When all evidence and witnesses have been presented by both parties, the dismissing supervisor and the dismissed employee may each make a closing statement, subject to a time limitation set by the Panel Chair.

The Hearing Panel Chair will adjourn the hearing.

Disruptive Behavior

Disruptive behavior by any participant, as determined by the Hearing Panel, will not be tolerated and will be grounds for expulsion from the hearing.


After the hearing is concluded, the Hearing Panel will deliberate in closed session and arrive at a majority decision.

Hearing Panel Outcomes

Within five (5) working days, the Hearing Panel  will prepare and submit a report to the HR Director, who will forward the report to the appropriate vice president.  (If the vice president was involved in an earlier appeal by the dismissed employee, the findings will be forwarded to another vice president or Cabinet-Level supervisor.)  The report will state findings of fact and will make a recommendation that the dismissal either be upheld or overturned. The complete hearing file will be returned to the HR Director for storage.

Action by Vice President

After receipt of the Panel's report, the vice president will, within three (3) working days, make an appropriate decision.  The vice president will:

The decision will be delivered to the HR Director, who will then notify the dismissed employee and the supervisor.


Both the dismissed employee and the dismissing supervisor have the right to appeal to the President. Appeals must be received in the President's office not later than ten (10) working days after the person appealing has been notified of the action taken by the vice president.  If either party has requested an interview or is requested to appear for an interview by the President, then both parties must be informed. The intent of the President's review is not to hear new evidence.  The intent of this review is to insure that the hearing and recommendations of the Hearing Panel were not arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory, did not violate the rights of the parties and did not violate the concepts of fair play to both parties.

The President shall respond in writing to the appeal within fifteen (15) working days from the date of receipt.  A copy of the response shall be forwarded to the HR Director  for inclusion in the hearing file.  The decision of the President is final.

Supporting Documents:

  1. UHS Policy 02.A.04, Discipline and Dismissal of Regular Staff Employees
  2. UHV Policy C-5, Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement
  3. UHV Policy C-21, Grievance Procedures
  4. UHV Policy C-23, Probationary Period for Regular Staff Employees
  5. UHV Policy C-30, Reduction in Force
  6. Documentation of Verbal Counseling
  7. Written reprimand
  8. Notice To Employee of Suspension W/O Pay
  9. Notice of dismissal from employment


Approved by:

Signature Obtained                         01/11/22
Robert K. Glenn., Ph.D.                    Date

Originating Department: Human Resources
Next Review Date: 11/2026 (5 years)


If there are any comments and/or questions regarding this policy, please contact the Human Resources Department.