Revised September 2006
Staff employees are employed at will. That means that their employment exists and continues at the will of the organization and that the university need not provide notice, prior warning or show cause for termination of employment. By the same token, staff employees may terminate their employment at any time without the need to show cause.
Administrative employees are employed pursuant to an annual employment contract, which may be renewed or not renewed at the will of the university without the need to provide notice, prior warning or show good cause. Administrative employees may terminate their employment at any time during the term of their contract or at the conclusion of their contract without the need to show good cause, although during the term of the contract consent from the university, which will not be unreasonably withheld, is required.
Even though the employment relationship is at will and the university need not show cause for termination or non-renewal, PLU values employees and strives to make reasonable efforts, where possible, to avoid termination. Supervisors are encouraged to address performance issues as they arise before they become serious. Moreover, PLU believes discipline generally should be corrective rather than punitive and should be appropriate to the performance issue in question. Accordingly, PLU may inform employees whose performance falls below standard of their deficiencies and give those employees an opportunity to take corrective action in an effort to avoid termination or non-renewal. There are circumstances, however, in which termination is appropriate. The university expressly reserves the right to terminate any staff employee or non-renew any administrative employee for any reason. Prior notice, prior warning and good cause are not required for termination or non-renewal.
Each disciplinary situation is different and the university reserves the right to take whatever corrective action it feels appropriate in any given situation. The following options for corrective action apply to both staff and administrative employees:
- Attempt to bring about improved performance;
- Special performance appraisal;
- Counseling as appropriate;
- Oral warning;
- Written warning;
Corrective action should be taken after consulting with Human Resources. Generally, employees who are currently on probation will not be considered for open positions or vacancies on campus. There is no guarantee that any particular corrective action will be taken prior to termination and no obligation on the part of the university to follow any set procedure with regard to disciplinary decisions. For instance, termination may follow an oral warning without first having a written warning. The university reserves the right to take any particular corrective action as it deems appropriate to the circumstances.
Moreover, the university may impose on an employee, as a condition of continued employment, an obligation to participate in the Employee Assistance Program or other counseling directed at behavior and/or substance abuse issues.
The university further reserves the right to suspend an employee, without pay, pending investigation of an act of misconduct, which may result in termination. If the employee is reinstated to his or her position, that employee will be reinstated without break in service and may receive back pay for the period of suspension, depending on the specific facts and circumstances involved.
Non-Renewal of Contract
Administrative contracts are renewed at least sixty days before the termination of the contract. In cases where the university does not renew an administrator's contract, notification of non-renewal will be provided at least sixty days before expiration. The university may opt, at its discretion, to pay an administrator in lieu of the sixty days notice. Non-renewal of the administrator's contract may be done for any reason with or without prior notice, prior warning or cause.
After completion of the introductory period, the contract may be terminated by the employee prior to its expiration only with the consent of the university, which will not be unreasonably withheld. The contract may be terminated by the university before the expiration of its term for good cause or as may be otherwise set forth in the contract.