Missouri State University

Employee Conduct

All employees of the University are also employees of the State of Missouri. Employees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner which reflects credit both on the University and on the State. Employment is at the will of the University. Performance, work habits, conduct, or demeanor that fails to maintain standards applicable to an employee of the University will subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, as determined appropriate by the University.

9.1 Personal Appearance

The University, as a matter of policy, does not dictate a particular dress code. Employees are expected to practice good personal hygiene and use good judgment in their choice of clothing and personal grooming. Departments may specify additional reasonable requirements appropriate for their operation. Supervisors will inform employees of any uniform dress code that may be required of the position. In addition, a personal interest should be taken to ensure that work areas are kept neat and orderly. Employees should be mindful that the University is a public institution and personal and work area appearance is a reflection on the University.

9.2 Attendance

The University expects all employees to assume diligent responsibility for their attendance and promptness. Recognizing, however, that illnesses and injuries may occur, the University has established sick leave and long-term disability benefit plans to compensate full-time regular employees for certain time lost for legitimate medical reasons. (See Chapter 7 of this handbook for information regarding leave benefits.)

9.2.1 Absence

Employees must notify their supervisor or other designated department personnel, in advance, (but no later than 30 minutes after their starting time), of their inability to report for work as scheduled. Employees in custodial, grounds, and mechanical maintenance positions are required to notify their supervisor or other designated personnel in the department no later than 30 minutes before the start of their regular work schedule. In providing notification, employees should give a reason for their absence and an indication of when they will return to work.

Notification is the procedure for reporting an absence and does not serve as the supervisor's approval of the absence. Failure to properly notify the University may result in an unexcused absence. Absenteeism that is unexcused or excessive in the judgment of the University is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

9.2.2 Tardiness and Leaving Work Early

Employees must notify their supervisor if they anticipate being late to work. Tardiness that is unexcused or excessive in the judgment of the University is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Employees must obtain prior permission from the supervisor in order to leave work early.

9.3 Personal Debts

University employees are expected to meet their financial obligations in a timely manner. If an employee's wages and/or other amounts due from the University are seized by a court order of Writ of Sequestration (garnishment), the University is required to comply with such an order. Governmental liens, such as those resulting from claims for unpaid taxes, child support, bankruptcy claims and other personal debt, also must be honored.

When the University's Payroll Office receives such a court order or lien, it must pay the appropriate amount to the clerk of the court or to the governmental agency. Any defenses the employee wishes to make must be made to the court or the governmental agency and not to the University.

9.4 Disciplinary Guidelines

Employees whose work performance does not meet required standards or who violate rules, regulations or policies of the University may be disciplined according to the seriousness or repetition of the violation. While formal disciplinary steps usually are not required for dismissal of probationary or part-time employees, supervisors and department heads must contact the Office of Human Resources regarding appropriate dismissal procedures for all employees including probationary or part-time employees before taking such action.

Certain actions can cause employees to be disciplined, including but not limited to the following:

  • Insubordination
  • Refusal to obey directions or accept assignments; refusal to work required overtime
  • Inefficiency, incompetency, or inability in the performance of duties
  • Careless workmanship or negligence in the performance of duties
  • Disregarding safety and/or security regulations
  • "Horseplay" which endangers self or other employees
  • Sleeping, loitering or loafing during working hours
  • Reporting to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol; refusal to consent to drug or alcohol testing
  • Unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of controlled substances on University property or as part of University activities
  • Possession, use or distribution of alcohol on University property. The possession, use or distribution of alcohol in conjunction with University activities not on University property shall be in compliance with applicable federal laws, state laws, and local ordinances
  • Excessive, unnecessary or unauthorized use of University supplies, materials, equipment, or vehicles particularly for personal purposes
  • Unauthorized use or misuse of all computer systems, equipment, and software
  • Careless, negligent or improper use of University property including official vehicles
  • Conducting personal business on the job
  • Excessive or unauthorized use of telephones
  • Habitual or flagrant improper use of leave privileges; failure to return from approved leave of absence
  • Continual tardiness or chronic absenteeism; failure to notify supervisor of absence
  • Leaving the job during working hours without permission
  • Dishonesty or misrepresentation including falsifying employment application or work records or other University work records: including their own or another employee’s work record such as falsifying time records
  • Conviction of a criminal act or illegal activity reasonably related to conduct relevant to the workplace
  • Fighting or using obscene, abusive, or threatening language or gestures
  • Theft or not reporting one's knowledge of theft of University property
  • Gambling during working hours
  • Unauthorized possession of ammunition, firearms, explosive weapons, other weapons as defined in Missouri Revised Statutes Section 571.010(2),(6),(10),(11),(13),(17) and (18), on University premises or while on University business. Authorization to possess such items on University property may be granted by the Director of Safety and Transportation or his/her designee
  • Violating the University's nondiscrimination and/or sexual harassment policy
  • Violating University rules, policies or regulations, or departmental work rules
  • Unauthorized release of confidential information from official records
  • Disorderly or immoral conduct on the University premises
  • Smoking where prohibited
  • Misconduct off duty which reflects discredit on or causes embarrassment to the University or to the State of Missouri

9.5 Progressive Disciplinary Action

The University, at its discretion, may determine that disciplinary action less than dismissal may be appropriate in some circumstances. Any of the following disciplinary actions may be imposed by the University depending upon the University's judgment of the necessary action to address employee conduct in violation of appropriate standards.

9.5.1 First Warning

A first warning brings the problem to the attention of the employee, emphasizes the seriousness of the situation, and presents suggestions or instructions to resolve or correct the problem.

9.5.2 Written Reprimand

A written reprimand documents the occurrence and the severity and usually warns that further violations will result in suspension without pay or termination. It may be a final opportunity to improve.

9.5.3 Suspension Without Pay

A suspension without pay may be used to impress upon the employee that a behavior or work performance level must be changed or dismissal will be inevitable. Suspension results in the loss of pay for a specified period of time (usually three days).

9.5.4 Disciplinary Suspension

A disciplinary suspension may be used in cases when the infraction is of such seriousness (theft, fighting, insubordination or similar infraction) that it may warrant dismissal pending review of the facts. Disciplinary suspension should be followed immediately by a thorough investigation of the situation to determine the appropriate action to be taken.

9.5.5 Dismissal

A serious offense and repeated disciplinary problems will require dismissal. While employment may be terminated at any time without cause, examples of conduct that can result in dismissal for a single incident are dishonesty, insubordination, immoral conduct, theft, use of drugs or alcohol, or other serious conduct as outlined in the University's disciplinary guidelines (see Section 9.4).  

9.6 Other Disciplinary Actions

Depending on the severity of the offense, other forms of disciplinary action may include:

9.6.1 Transfer

An employee who constantly fails to perform the duties of his/her job according to established standards may be transferred to another position for which he/she is qualified. See Section 4.3.5 of this handbook for transfer procedures.

9.6.2 Compensation Reduction

An employee who violates University rules, regulations, or policies may be subject to disciplinary action in the form of a reduction in compensation without a change in salary grade.

9.6.3 Withholding Salary Increases

If an employee has unsatisfactory behavior or job performance, the employee may not be eligible for an annual salary increase. See Section 4.3.2.

9.6.4 Demotion

An employee may be demoted to a lower salary grade for poor performance or conduct violations.

9.7 General Provisions for Disciplinary Actions

All disciplinary actions administered by the University must be documented in writing. With the exception of first warnings, a copy of the report of disciplinary action must be given to the employee involved and a copy shall also be included as a permanent part of the employee's personnel file.

Employees represented by the bargaining unit and covered under the Memorandum of Agreement between the University and The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and/or The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union 245 have the right to request the presence of the union steward at a disciplinary meeting in which the employee is to be issued any written discipline.

If the disciplinary action take is a termination of employment, an employee will be provided a written notice stating the reason for the proposed termination and afforded an opportunity to respond to the proposed action prior to the implementation of the termination.

It is the policy of the University to be fair and impartial in all its relations with employees and to recognize the dignity of the individual. Fairness and consistency require that certain general principles of administering discipline be followed by all supervisors. Representatives in the Office of Human Resources are available to discuss the appropriate course of action in a particular case. Disciplinary action involving transfer, compensation reduction, withholding salary increases, demotion, suspension or dismissal are accomplished upon the recommendation of the department head, appropriate vice president, and with the approval of the Director of Human Resources.

By approval of this Employee Handbook, discretion in the administration of discipline is vested by the Board of Governors in the University Administration, and subject to review by the Board of Governors in certain circumstances, as authorized through the grievance procedure. An employee who feels he/she has been dealt with unfairly regarding disciplinary action is referred to the Grievance Procedure (see Chapter 10 of this handbook).