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Employee Concerns

Employee Relations and Labor Relations

Category: RESOLVING EMPLOYEE CONCERNS
Issued: January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed: July 1, 2004
Responsible Office: HR Employment & Client Services (212) 851-7008; Labor Relations (212) 870-2801

Under authority from the President and the Trustees, the Vice President for Human Resources or his/her designee is designated as the spokesperson and representative for the University in all labor relations matters involving any recognized collective bargaining groups or organizations seeking recognition. The Vice President for Human Resources is also responsible for the administration of University HR policies.

 

Performance Management and Appraisal

Category: RESOLVING EMPLOYEE CONCERNS
Issued: April 1, 2009
Last Reviewed: April 1, 2009
Responsible Office: CUHR Employment & Client Services (212) 851-7008; Columbia University Medical Center Human Resources (CUMC-HR) and Harlem Hospital - Chief Human Resources Officer (212) 305-3819

Columbia University requires that all Officers of Administration and Non-Union Support Staff receive written feedback about their performance at least once per year.

Who is Governed by This Policy 

This policy applies to all Officers of Administration and Non-Union Support Staff of Columbia University. Officers of Instruction, Officers of the Libraries and Officers of Research should refer to the University Faculty Handbook.

Note: Employees in a bargaining unit are governed by the provisions of their respective collective bargaining agreement. Employees' rights and obligations under applicable collective bargaining agreements are not intended to be changed by this policy.

Who Should Know This Policy

All Columbia University Officers of Administration, Non-Union Support Staff, supervisors and managers should review and understand this policy. 

Human Resources representatives should review and understand this policy and contact their HR Client Manager for guidance on implementing the performance management program in their departments.  For further information, managers should review the guides to Managing Performance on the Columbia University HR Manager Toolkit.

Exclusions and Special Situations

Officers of Instruction, Officers of the Libraries and Officers of Research should refer to the Faculty Handbook.

Staff covered by collective bargaining agreements are governed by the provisions of their respective contract. Staff rights and obligations under applicable collective bargaining agreements are not affected by this policy. 

Policy Text

The purpose of this policy is to provide managers with guidelines on the University's performance appraisal process. Managers are expected to provide Officers of Administration and Non-Union Support Staff written feedback about their job performance at least once per year.

It is recommended that each performance appraisal include a review of the staff member's assigned responsibilities and an assessment of performance in the job, including strengths, achievements and areas in which development and/or improvement are needed. 

Staff members are expected to work with their manager to develop a set of measurable and achievable goals that can be worked on during the performance period.  Managers are expected to actively engage in providing feedback and coaching based on the staff member and his or her current performance for each goal. 

Columbia University's Performance Management program is designed to help managers evaluate employee performance and provide development and coaching that contributes to the employee's experience, and helps departments achieve their strategic goals.

The Performance Management program outlines three elements for successful performance management:

  • Planning Performance
  • Coaching Performance
  • Reviewing Performance

The performance management guidelines, which are published in the Human Resources Manager Toolkit, include an online performance appraisal form that is can be tailored to meet department goals and competencies and can be used for both Officers of Administration and Non-Union Support Staff.  The form is designed to be completed online and, when the process is initiated, allows staff members to log in to view their individual evaluation.

In addition, Columbia University provides in-depth training for managers on the three performance elements and on how to use the online performance appraisal form.

Managers and department Human Resources representatives are encouraged to review Managing Performance on the Columbia University HR Manager Toolkit, and contact their HR Client Manager to arrange for performance management training.

Please note that employment at Columbia University is "at-will" and nothing herein alters the nature of the at-will relationship or creates an expression of or implied contract of employment.

General Questions

Columbia University Human Resources (CUHR) - Associate Vice President and HR Client Services: (212) 851-7008

Columbia University Medical Center Human Resources (CUMC-HR) and Harlem Hospital - Chief Human Resources Officer: (212) 305-3819

Related Web Pages and Forms

For complete details on performance management, please refer to Managing Performance on the Columbia University HR Manager Toolkit. Columbia University provides a Performance Management Appraisal Form online as well.

 

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Probationary Period

Category: RESOLVING EMPLOYEE CONCERNS
Issued: January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed: July 1, 2004
Responsible Office: Labor Relations (212) 870-2801

A support staff employee is considered to be on probationary status for a sixty calendar-day period beginning with the date of employment. Upon an employee's satisfactory completion of the probationary period, he or she is considered to be a regular employee (unless the job is stated to be temporary).

During the probationary period, either the employee or the department may terminate employment without notice. The employee is not entitled to use grievance procedures.

A probationary period may be extended for sixty additional calendar days with written notice to the employee. Termination of employment while on probation or an extended probationary period must be approved by the head of the department, and must be indicated in writing to the employee with a copy of the letter to Labor Relations.

 

Probationary Performance Evaluation

Category: RESOLVING EMPLOYEE CONCERNS
Issued: January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed: July 1, 2004
Responsible Office: Labor Relations (212) 870-2801

The Probationary Performance Evaluation (Personnel Form No. 28) is designed to assist the supervisor in deciding whether or not each new support staff employee has satisfactorily completed the probationary period. The supervisor should also use the evaluation form and subsequent discussion with the employee to promote job understanding, elicit and give feedback, and aid in employee development.

The Performance Evaluation form should be completed by the supervisor no later than the thirtieth day of the probationary period and discussed with the new employee. No later than seven calendar days before the end of the employee's probationary period, the form should be revised, if necessary, and discussed with the employee.

If the employee has not satisfactorily completed the probationary period, a decision should be made and approved by the department head whether to 1) terminate the employee, or 2) extend the probationary period for an additional sixty calendar days. In either case, the employee must be told in writing. A copy of the letter plus a copy of the evaluation form should be forwarded to Employee Relations.

If the probationary period is extended, the letter to the employee should indicate the specific criteria which must be met. Before the end of the extended period, the supervisor should reevaluate the employee's performance. Employees should be informed if they have met the indicated criteria and passed the extended probationary period. If the employee has not successfully completed the extended probationary period, employment should be terminated in writing without further notice. A copy of the termination letter plus a copy of the updated evaluation form must be forwarded to Employee Relations.

 

Grievance Procedure

Category: RESOLVING EMPLOYEE CONCERNS
Issued: January 1, 1993
Revised: July 1, 2004
Responsible Office: Labor Relations (212) 870-2801; HR Employment & Client Services (212) 851-7008

The University recognizes its responsibility to provide procedures whereby an employee who feels aggrieved can seek redress. Only disciplinary action (suspension or discharge) where the validity or appropriateness of the cause is in question is considered grievable.

A grievant must begin the grievance procedure within thirty (30) days after the action which he or she is grieving.

(A grievant not covered by a collective bargaining agreement may choose to be represented at any step by a regular member of the University Faculty or Staff.)

The grievance procedure will be governed by the following conditions:

  1. Within ten (10) days of the discipline, the grievant shall present a written complaint (which should include the specific complaint and the remedy that the grievant is seeking) to the Dean or Department Head. The Dean or Department Head is expected to render a written decision within twenty (20) working days after a meeting which should be held within ten (10) days of the receipt of the grievance.
  2. If there is no resolution of the grievance at Step 1, the grievant may, within ten (10) working days of the decision at Step 1, write to the Vice President For Human Resources to appeal the Step 1 decision, stating the nature of the grievance and the basis for such appeal. Upon receipt of such letter, the Vice President For Human Resources, or his/her designee, will acknowledge receipt of the letter from the grievant in writing, indicating that the grievant will be contacted as soon as practicable to set up a Step 2 hearing. Within twenty (20) days after the hearing, a written decision shall be issued.
  3. If there is no resolution of the problem at Step 2, the grievant may, within ten (10) working days of receipt of the Step 2 decision, request in writing to the Vice President for Human Resources, or his/her designee, that the grievance be heard by a permanent neutral fact finder designated by the Vice President for Human Resources. The grievant may choose the individual fact finder from the panel of professionals available. At the fact finding hearing, Labor Relations or Employment & Client Services shall present management's case and the grievant may be represented by a regular member of the University faculty or administration.
  4. The report of the fact finder shall be issued within thirty (30) days of the close of the hearing and will be sent to the Senior Vice President in cases involving Officers of Administration, the Provost in cases involving the Libraries or Research and Vice President for Human Resources in cases involving Support Staff. In all cases, the fact finder shall send a copy to the Vice President for Human Resources. The Senior Vice President, Provost, etc. will then reach a decision based upon the report of the fact finder. This decision will be final and binding on all parties. The decision will be communicated in writing, together with a copy of the report of the fact finder, to the grievant, the appropriate department head and Labor Relations within twenty (20) working days of the receipt of the report.
  5. If, at any step of the grievance procedure, the grievant does not receive a response within the required time limit, he/she may proceed to the next step of the grievance procedure unless said time limit has been extended by mutual consent.
  6. In the event that an external procedure is commenced in court or before a government agency, the University will terminate the internal grievance procedure.

 

Discipline

Category: RESOLVING EMPLOYEE CONCERNS
Issued: January 1, 1993
Revised: July 1, 2004
Responsible Office: Labor Relations (212) 870-2801; HR Employment & Client Services (212) 851-7008

It is expected that all employees adhere to generally accepted rules of conduct and organizational behavior. If an employee's work performance does not meet acceptable standards, a supervisor should:

  1. Provide counsel, point out areas of weakness and recommend ways to overcome areas of concern.
  2. Give an oral warning to the employee and file written documentation that an oral warning was administered if the problem persists.
  3. Give a formal written warning to the employee if the employee fails to correct the problem.
  4. Give the employee a suspension or discharge based on the severity and circumstances of the case if the situation continues.

Depending upon all of the circumstances of the case and the severity of the offense, one or more of the above steps may be repeated or bypassed.

Any suspension or discharge of an employee must be coordinated with Labor Relations or HR Employment & Client Services, and no discharge shall be effective without the prior knowledge and concurrence of the Vice President for Human Resources or designee.

In the case of officers, supervisors should consult with Human Resources (either Employment and HR Client Services, or Employee and Labor Relations) on a case by case basis. The steps of progressive discipline outlined above may not be necessary or appropriate.