Progressive Discipline Policy


Progressive discipline is a method regularly practiced by the Research Foundation of State University of New York (RF) in situations where an employee’s work performance and/or inappropriate behavior need improvement. The intent of progressive discipline is to help employees correct their issue(s) to become successful, productive workers. Progressive discipline provides managers and supervisors with a consistent and fair process for handling disciplinary issues and protects the legal rights of the employee and employer.

Even though the RF may use progressive discipline in addressing an employee’s performance and/or behavior issue(s), some situations may necessitate an employee’s immediate termination from employment. Refer to the RF’s Termination of Employment Policy and the RF’s procedure on Involuntary Termination of Employment for information on termination from RF employment and the RF’s status as an employer-at-will. Pursuant to the employment-at-will doctrine, the employment relationship can be terminated at any time by the employee or the employer.

For additional information and assistance in implementing progressive discipline, refer to the RF’s Implementing Progressive Discipline.


The Research Foundation uses progressive discipline to address an employee’s work performance issues and/or inappropriate behavior, including non-compliance with RF policies and procedures. The RF may use any level or combination of progressive discipline steps, up to and including termination of employment. The RF will consider all relevant factors before making decisions about disciplining, including terminating, its employees.

All employees, including supervisors and managers, are subject to progressive disciplinary action.

Progressive discipline must be implemented in accordance with state and federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws which require fairness and consistency; prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex or disability; prohibit retaliation; and prohibit wrongful discharge from employment.

Research Foundation Complaint Procedures

An employee who believes that he or she has been subject to inappropriate disciplinary action, including discrimination or retaliation, may refer to the RF’s Resolving Allegations of Workplace Discrimination or the RF’s Resolving Workplace Concerns Procedure.


The following table identifies roles and their responsibilities with regard to this policy.



All RF employees

Perform job duties as required and act appropriately in the workplace, including following RF policies and procedures.


Contact and work with the campus HR office regarding any RF employee discipline issues.

Implement progressive discipline for RF employees in accordance with this policy and refer to the RF’s Implementing Progressive Discipline for assistance in implementing progressive discipline.

Perform job duties as required and act appropriately in the workplace, including following RF policies and procedures.

Ensure that employees who report to them are aware of job performance standards, have been provided with the proper instructions and tools to perform their job, and have been given the necessary training to perform their job duties successfully.

RF operations manager/designee at the campus location

Ensure that progressive discipline for RF employees is implemented consistently at the campus location in accordance with this policy.

Provide assistance as needed to the campus RF HR office and departmental managers/supervisors who handle progressive discipline matters for RF employees.

Ensure that campus HR managers and departmental managers and supervisors who handle RF matters are appropriately trained in using progressive discipline.

Vice President for Administration & Human Resources or designee, central office

Interpret sections of the policy relating to progressive discipline and provide guidance to campus HR offices as requested regarding issues involving progressive discipline of RF employees.

Revise the policy as needed.

Additional Resources



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