Positive Corrective Action (PCA)

Title: Positive Corrective Action (PCA)
Approved by
Date Approved:
Effective Date: 06/03/2019
Responsible Official: Vice President of Human Resources
Responsible University Office: HR Employee Relations
Revision History: 01/01/1995; 01/01/2002; 01/01/2005
Related Legislation and University policies: Positive Corrective Action Procedure, Termination of Employment Policy, Annual Performance Review Process Policy, Position Requirements Policy
Review Period: 5 years
Date of Last Review
Relates to: senior staff and staff who have successfully completed the orientation period
Exclusions: executive staff; senior and staff employees in the orientation period

Policy Statement

The university intends to give employees reasonable opportunity to improve their performance whenever productivity, quality, efficiency, or behavior is below an acceptable level. When performance falls below an acceptable level, corrective action may be imposed, specifically a verbal warning, written warning, suspension, or termination.

The focus of this policy is to promote employee job success by identifying the unacceptable performance and the cause(s) of the unacceptable performance, and agreeing on method(s) for improving employee performance to an acceptable level. In determining which type of corrective action is appropriate, the seriousness of the infraction (e.g. unacceptable behavior, attendance related issues, or misconduct), the employee’s past performance record, and the circumstances surrounding the matter will be taken into consideration. Since the corrective action is intended to be action-oriented, corrective action of verbal warning, written warning, or suspension will usually include dates to monitor the employee's progress. 

This policy and subsequent procedure is not progressive and does not preclude the university from terminating an employee at any time, without any previous corrective action, if circumstances warrant. The decision to use or not to use any one of the corrective actions is solely within the discretion of the university. Nothing in this policy is intended to modify the at-will nature of employment, which means the university may terminate the employment relationship at any time.

Positive corrective action options include, but are not limited to:

  • Verbal Warning: Description of unsatisfactory work performance, clarifies expectations of acceptable performance that must be attained, development of an action plan for improvement, and advising of consequences if the performance problem is not corrected.
  • Written Warning: States performance, conduct, or attendance is unacceptable, description of unsatisfactory performance, and a written warning states continuation of any unacceptable performance may result in termination.
  • Suspension: Time off without pay as part of a written warning, or for situations requiring time for the university to conduct an investigation into an identified performance or behavior problem.
  • Discharge: Termination of employment, with or without notice, and with or without prior positive corrective action.

Note: Corrective action is not necessarily a progressive process, and any level of corrective action can be imposed at any step. Supervisors may use one or more corrective actions at their discretion. While supervisors and/or HRAs may move forward with a verbal warning after consultation with Employee Relations; all other corrective actions, including written warning, suspension, or termination, must be completed in consultation with and approval by Employee Relations.

Although there is no way to identify every possible type of unacceptable performance or misconduct that may result in positive corrective action, the following non-exhaustive list provides examples of events and performance issues that may result in corrective action, up to and including termination. The university may impose corrective action for other unacceptable performance or misconduct issues.

  • Failure to comply with university policies and rules
  • Excessive absenteeism
  • Unreported absences
  • Inability or failure to properly or completely perform work tasks
  • Inability or failure to correct errors in a reasonable amount of time
  • Inability or unwillingness to learn new tasks or skills
  • Engaging in acts of dishonesty
  • Insubordination
  • Misuse of work time
  • Failure to record or improper recording of time (with or without apparent intent to defraud)
  • Theft, embezzlement, or willful destruction of university property
  • Fraud
  • Endangering life or property
  • Harassment
  • Sexual harassment or sexual misconduct
  • Disclosure or misuse of confidential information
  • Misrepresentation or misuse of authority
  • Reporting to or engaging in university-related work while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Possession or sale of illegal drugs on CWRU property
  • Failure to disclose conflicts of interest
  • Unprofessional behavior
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Threatening the physical safety of students, coworkers, managers, or supervisors, or intimidating or coercion whether implied or explicit
  • Physically or verbally assaulting someone at work
  • Arguing or fighting with students, coworkers, managers, or supervisors
  • Horseplay
  • Pranks or practical jokes
  • Failure to maintain professional interpersonal relationships with coworkers, supervisors, customers, or any member of the university community
  • Falsification of any university record, including time records
  • Making false statements on a job application
  • Sleeping on the job
  • Disregard of authorized work request
  • Failure to stay at assigned work location
  • Carelessness affecting the safety of students, employees, or self
  • Possession of a weapon, including but not limited to, firearms, ammunition, or any other instrument, device, or substance designed, intended or used to inflict harm upon persons or property at work or while on university property, excluding any exceptions as required by state law
  • Violation of Computing Ethics Policy, Acceptable Use of Information Policy, or other [U]Tech policies
  • Copyright violations, including illegal downloads
  • Violation of university Business Policies

Employees who receive a verbal warning may not transfer or be promoted for three (3) months following the verbal warning, absent an exception to transfer. Employees who receive a written warning or suspension may not transfer or be promoted for one (1) year following the written warning or suspension, absent an Exception to Transfer.

Supervisors are responsible for recognizing the need for positive corrective action necessary to prevent larger problems. Therefore, supervisors should consult Employee Relations in a timely manner to utilize corrective action.