Work Performance and Code of Conduct


Delta State University is committed to maintaining an environment conducive to the conduct of business and one in which the rights of others are respected. The University expects of its employees behavior consistent with the expectations of an institution of higher education.


Employee: This generally includes faculty and staff employees who are working on paid appointments by the University. It generally excludes students or temporary employees. For specific information on who is considered an employee, contact the Human Resources Department.

: An employee designated by management who exercises major supervisory functions over another employee or employees. These functions include hiring, evaluating, assigning work, and disciplining employees.

At-Will Employees:  All hourly and staff employees, who do not receive an employment contract, may be dismissed from employment for any reason or no reason, as long as it is not an illegal reason.


Part of the intent of this section is to identify typical offenses or behavior patterns for which disciplinary actions are taken. This is necessary in order to provide consistent treatment of all employees and so that the rights of some employees will not be violated by other employees.

Although this list is not an all-inclusive, the following are examples of deficiencies or offenses for which progressive disciplinary actions may be appropriate and which may result in discharge.

Examples of offenses that generally require discipline and may result in discharge:

  • Absenteeism
  • Failure to record work time accurately
  • Failure to report an accident or injury to a student, employee, visitor or self.
  • Failure to report to work on time.
  • Leaving University premises or work area without permission during work hours; unexcused absences.
  • Malicious mischief
  • Misuse of sick leave privileges and benefits
  • Neglect of duty or inattention to duty; negligence in wearing safety equipment
  • Negligence in the performance of duty or productivity not up to standards
  • Sleeping during work hours
  • Violation of common safety practices
  • Failure to cooperate in an investigation
  • Gambling on University premises
  • Inappropriate behavior in the workplace, including, but not limited to, horseplay and threatening, intimidating, coercing, bullying, or interfering with fellow employees on University property.
  • Inappropriate behavior toward, or discourteous treatment of students, visitors, co-workers
    including use of profanity and other harassing statements.
  • Negligence or abuse in the use of University property or equipment.
  • Reporting to work when suffering from alcoholic or drug-related hangover
  • Misconduct and/or inappropriate behavior in the workplace
  • Insubordination
  • Harassment
  • Violation of University policies or procedures

The following occurrences are cause for immediate discharge without notice or without pay in lieu of notice. Since a complete list of specific offenses is impossible, discharge is not limited to the situations described below.

  • Absence without notification or reasonable cause for failure to notify. Such absences for three consecutive workdays or shifts require no further follow-up prior to termination.
  • Any act of fighting on University property
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Falsifying personnel or pay records, including application for employment, clocking the time record or signing the time sheet for another employee.
  • Falsifying official records and documents of the University.
  • Fraudulent worker’s compensation claims.
  • Immoral or indecent conduct on University property.
  • Stealing from fellow employees, students, the University or others on University property.
  • Theft, misappropriation of funds, and/or unauthorized use or removal of University property.
  • Unauthorized possession of firearms, knives, or other weapons.
  • Unauthorized release of confidential or official information.
  • Reporting to work under the influence of intoxicants, including alcohol, non-prescribed drugs, or illicit drugs.
  • Unlawful possession, use, manufacture, distribution or dispensing of illicit drugs, controlled substances, or alcoholic beverages during the employee’s work period, whether on the premises of DSU or at any other site where the employee is carrying out DSU duties.
  • Violating the Ethics in Government Law (i.e., conflict of interest).
  • Behavior of any nature that discredits the University, including but not limited to, a willful misrepresentation to or on behalf of the University.
  • Behavior that interferes with the operation of the University or any part thereof.
  • Any other action, behavior, or communication that, as perceived by University officials, adversely affects the University or any sub-unit thereof.

Attendance and Absence

Employee attendance is of vital concern to the University. An employee is expected to report to work on time daily and to remain on the job throughout his/her regular work hours. Excessive tardiness or unscheduled absences can result in disciplinary action. If an employee has to be absent from work or has an urgent reason for leaving, he/she should seek prior approval from his/her supervisor or administrative head. Generally, progressive disciplinary action will be due anytime an employee exceeds three (3) occurrences of unexcused absences in a rolling six month period.


As close to the regular starting time as possible, an employee must call his/her supervisor or department head if he/she is going to be absent without prior approval. An employee is expected to explain the reason for his/her absence and indicate the date he/she expects to return to work. Employees with poor attendance records may be asked to provide a doctor’s certificate to justify an absence due to illness or injury. Any employee who does not report to work for three (3) consecutive days and does not provide proper notification to Delta State University is considered to have resigned voluntarily. An employee is expected to report to work on time daily and to remain on the job throughout your regular work hours. If you have to be absent from work or have an urgent reason for leaving, you must have prior permission from your supervisor or administrative head.

Responsibility of All Employees

University employees are expected to serve the University as they would any other efficient and progressive organization. The image of the University is presented by the words and deeds of the individual employees who deal with students, colleagues, or guests. Employees are expected to deal with the public and co-workers in a courteous, tactful, and cooperative manner.

If corrective action is necessary, the progressive disciplinary steps outlined below will normally be followed. The nature or severity of the offense will determine the first step.

Step I. Documented Oral Warning. Once an employee performance/conduct problem has been identified, or where informal actions such as counseling, training, and assistance have not brought about acceptable performance/conduct, then a discussion should take place. The employee will be informed of his/her deficiencies and acceptable performance/conduct will be discussed. The discussion will be documented and the employee will be given a copy. A documented oral warning should normally be given in private by the supervisor to an employee as a first step in correcting minor deficiencies. (Some first offenses of a more serious nature may require stronger action.) Grievance procedures for faculty and staff do not apply to documented oral warnings. A recipient of such a warning may write a rebuttal to the warning to be included with the file.

Step II. Formal Warning. Formal warnings are to be used for recurring or more serious deficiencies or where there is future possibility of more severe action including termination or after an oral warning notice has been unsuccessful. Formal warnings are to be written to the employee and must indicate the date and specific nature of the deficiency and that more severe action may result if the employee does not correct the deficiency. The employee must be provided a copy of the warning and a copy sent to the Director of Human Resources. Grievance procedures for faculty and staff do not apply to formal warnings. A recipient of such a warning may write a rebuttal to the warning to be included with the file.

Step III. Suspension. If the employee’s misconduct or poor work performance continues, the next progressive disciplinary step is a suspension without pay. The suspension will be for three (3) working days and is the final disciplinary step prior to discharge. This action is taken where previous progressive disciplinary steps have not corrected the deficiency or where the offense is of such serious nature that it may warrant discharge, pending review of the facts. Very serious offenses may be cause for immediate suspension without the steps outlined above. Notices of suspension are placed in the employee’s personnel file. The supervisor and/or department head must have written approval from his/her reporting Vice-President before initiating a suspension. The employee must be provided a copy of the suspension warning and a copy sent to the Director of Human Resources.

Step IV. Dismissal. The University recognizes that dismissal for any reason is a serious matter. Termination of the employee is a last resort after all other progressive disciplinary measures have failed or if the misconduct is of such a serious nature that immediate discharge is warranted. Recommendation for dismissal should be reasonably related to the seriousness of the employee’s performance/conduct in view of length of service and prior record. Recommendations for dismissal of employees are initiated by the supervisor and/or department head and approved by the reporting Vice-President. In cases of termination of any employee because of lack of funds or reorganization, the employee is to be notified at least four weeks in advance if circumstances and advance knowledge permit.

Dismissal of Tenured Faculty, Tenure-Track Faculty and Non-Tenure Track Faculty
Dismissal procedures for faculty are governed by the Institutions of Higher Learning Policies and Bylaws, Sections 403, 403.0104 and 404.02

Termination for Non-Instructional Personnel

Delta State University is an at will employer and as such reserves the right to terminate employment from any position at any time and for any reason. However, it is the policy of Delta State University to assist employees in improving job performance or correcting improper conduct to avoid termination when possible. If any employee is performing unsatisfactorily or exhibiting improper conduct, the supervisor will work with the employee in an attempt to improve conduct or performance. If disciplinary measures are imposed, it is essential that:


  • Each problem be investigated so that the facts of the situation are known;
  • Any action taken be primarily corrective and appropriate to the offense and applied without discrimination;
  • Employees be given forewarning of the possible consequences of their actions, except in cases of misconduct so serious that employee could be expected to know that such conduct may result in discharge; and
  • A record of the incident in which disciplinary action may result must be made.

DSU Termination Procedure
Refer to Delta State University’s Termination/Dismissal policy for the termination procedure.

Hearing Procedure for Non-Tenure Track Faculty and Non Instructional Personnel

  1. A contracted employee entitled to a hearing by virtue of a notice of intent to terminate shall have two working days from the date of receipt of the notice of intent to request in writing a hearing before a Personnel Advisory Committee.
  2. The Director of Human Resources will notify the President of the request in writing for a hearing and will provide supporting documentation for the cause of termination within two working from the receipt of the request for a hearing.
  3. The President will appoint a panel of five members outside of the employee’s work division from a list submitted by Human Resources of eligible faculty and staff within two working days of receiving notification to appeal from the Director of Human Resources. One of the panel members will be appointed as Chair by the President. The Director of Human Resources will notify the committee appointees by email.
  4. The hearing shall occur within seven working days of the receipt of the request for a hearing.
  5. Based upon the evidence presented, the committee will then make a written recommendation to the President as it deems appropriate within three working days from the date of the hearing.
  6. The President will provide a decision in writing to the employee who requested a hearing within five working days. A copy of the letter will be given to the Director of Human Resources and the committee Chair.
  7. If the President affirms the dismissal, then termination becomes final as of the date of the President’s decision. Salary ceases as of the official date of termination.

Hearings will be private. Public statements are to be avoided by all parties concerned, so that an atmosphere conducive to a fair and impartial hearing may be maintained. The committee will not be bound by strict rules of evidence, but may admit any evidence that is of probative value in determining the issues involved. The staff member will be permitted an advisor of his own choice, at his own expense, and will be afforded an opportunity to present witnesses and documentary evidence bearing on the issue involved. The advisor may not speak, question or present evidence during the hearing. The advisor may only advise the affected employee.

A different committee shall be appointed for each hearing. If the employee does not request a hearing, the employee’s salary ceases at the end of the second working day following the receipt of the notice of intent to terminate.

Human Resources reserves the right to modify the appeal and hearing timeline due to extenuating circumstances as needed.

At-will employees are not eligible to file an appeal or request a hearing for termination of employment. The salary for at-will employees will cease at the time of the receipt of the notice of intent to terminate.

Hearing and Grievance Procedures for Tenured Faculty and Tenure-Track Faculty
For procedures on filing a hearing or grievance, please see the Faculty Grievance Process and Procedures Policy and the Institutions of Higher Learnings Policies and Bylaws, Sections 403 and 404.

Responsible Office and/or Policy Owner: Office of Human Resources







  • Policy Revised: 03/25/2015
  • Cabinet Approved: 04/06/2015
  • Policy Revised/Cabinet Approved: 02/05/2018