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​5.9.5 Counseling and Discipline

​​​​​​All those who serve the archdiocese are expected to strive for excellence. At times, however, a person in charge or supervisor must counsel or even discipline a member of the staff. Problems requiring such action include but are not limited to:

  • Actions that interfere with work or cause a conflict of interest

  • Behavior counter to the moral teachings and standards of the Church

  • Breach of professional ethics

  • Disclosure of confidential information

  • Dishonesty

  • Falsification of job applications or references

  • Falsification of records or information

  • Felonious behavior

  • Habitual or excessive tardiness or absence from work or from the work area

  • Harassment

  • Inability to work cooperatively with supervisors, peers, or subordinates

  • Insubordination

  • Theft

  • Threatening or causing bodily harm to others, or other coercive and/or intimidating actions

  • Unprofessional conduct in relation to all persons

  • Unsatisfactory job performance

  • Vandalism

  • Violation of the ​​​​​​​archdiocesan Acceptable Use and Responsibility Policy for Electronic Communications

  • Violation of employee rules

  • Working under the influence of intoxicants or illegal drugs

This list is not intended to be all-inclusive. The archdiocese reserves the right to decide under what circumstances counseling, disciplinary action, or greater penalties are appropriate.

All persons in charge should consult with the ​Human Resources Department​ at the Archdiocesan Catholic Center when conducting a disciplinary action. Principals should consult with the Department of Catholic Schools​ for assistance; the Office of the Legal Counsel may also be consulted, as appropriate.

See the Counseling & Discipline Policy (​HR intranet; username and password re​quired​​)​ and Employee Counseling Notice (​HR intranet; username and password re​quired​​)​.

5.9.5.1 Progressive Discipline: Suggested Guidelines

A helpful and effective model for conducting a disciplinary action is the progressive discipline process that includes the steps described below. Not all steps need to be followed; the particular disciplinary measure applied depends on the gravity of the matter.

The steps in the disciplinary process should be documented carefully. Record as objectively as possible all events, dates, times, and disciplinary actions related to the personnel problem. Formal documentation must be signed by the person in charge and staff member. A staff member should be given an opportunity to express his or her viewpoint. The staff member's written comments should be included in his or her personnel file. If the staff member refuses to sign, a witness should sign and date a statement regarding the refusal. The disciplinary action will have effect even if the employee refuses to sign. The original disciplinary document is placed in the staff member's personnel file. A copy must be given to the individual. 

Informal Counseling (Verbal)

When a problem with a staff member arises or a staff member's conduct violates archdiocese policies and procedures and/or adversely affects his or her performance or the performance of other staff, the person in charge should meet with the staff member to discuss the situation and describe the unacceptable behavior, the consequences if it continues, and a plan to correct the situation. Verbal warning should be documented using the Employee Counseling Notice (​HR intranet; username and password re​quired​​)​ that is placed in the staff member's personnel file. Serious situations may warrant an immediate written or final warning​ or termination. Consult with the Human Resources Department and, if appropriate, the Office of the Legal Counsel.

Formal Counseling (Written)

If a problem continues after informal counseling, or if the nature of a problem is severe, the person in charge prepares a formal written warning utilizing the Employee Counseling Notice (​HR intranet; username and password re​quired​​)​ and/or a memorandum outlining the improvement needed (performance improvement plan). The person in charge and a witness meet with the staff member to address the problem, state expectations, indicate consequences, and provide a plan of action with a time frame to correct the situation. For a serious problem a formal counseling notice may be issued without a previous informal counseling​ and may warrant a final warning or termination of employment. 

5.9.5.2 Documentation

As soon as the cause(s) of the dissatisfaction with the employee's conduct is determined:

  • The person in charge should confer with the employee.
  • The person in charge should present a written document stating the causes of dissatisfaction, the improvement sought, any assistance given, and the time limit for accomplishing the necessary improvement.

  • The document should state that the conference was held and includes the date and signatures of the person in charge and the employee; the employee signs as an acknowledgment of receipt and not necessarily agreement with the criticism.

  • The employee should be informed that if he or she refuses to sign the document, the expectations for improvement and terms of the document still stand.

  • If the employee refuses to sign the document, a witness should sign stating that the document was presented and the employee refused to sign for receipt.

  • The person in charge should follow up with additional documentation, if necessary.

5.9.5.3 Administrative Leave, Suspension, and Probation

When a staff incident requires immediate action and could lead to dismissal, the person in charge may place the staff member on administrative leave or suspension with or without pay while an investigation is conducted and a final decision is made. An employee can also be suspended as a punishment for a particular action. Consult with the Human Resources Department before placing a staff member on administrative leave or investigative or disciplinary suspension.

5.9.5.4 Final Warning

Several formal counselings may conclude in a final warning, in which the employee is notified in writing that unless correction or improvement is not manifested, termination​ will follow. This step is not required under all circumstances; occasionally an immediate dismissal is warranted. If the seriousness of the misconduct warrants immediate dismissal, the Human Resources Department​ and, if appropriate, the Office of the Legal Counsel must be consulted before deciding to dismiss the employee. As needed, Media Relations​ may also be consulted.


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