24. Disciplinary Action for Unsatisfactory Performance

24.1 There is an expectation that managers/supervisors will provide employees with regular feedback on performance as part of the performance planning and review process and will manage performance matters promptly and fairly.

24.2 Supervisors will undertake performance management in accordance with the procedures set out below.

24.3 For the purposes of these procedures an employee may be represented by a nominated representative.

24.4 Initial Counselling

24.4.1 Where a supervisor is of the view that an employee’s performance is unsatisfactory, the supervisor will first counsel the employee on the nature of the improvement required and will develop strategies to address the underperformance.

These strategies will be given

  • no less than four (4) weeks to take effect for professional employees; and
  • up to a semester for academic employees

having regard to the performance issues to be addressed.

24.4.2 A record of the counsel given will be kept and a copy will be supplied to the employee. At this time, and if appropriate, the supervisor will direct the employee to undertake a course of professional development or other appropriate programs designed to assist in improving the employee’s performance.

24.5 Formal Advice

24.5.1  Where a supervisor believes that counselling has not produced the desired improvements in performance, and after the relevant period of time, the supervisor will:

  • advise the Executive Director; and
  • advise the employee, in writing, of the specific areas of performance that are considered unsatisfactory, and the nature of the improvement that is required within a reasonable timeframe having regard to the performance issues to be addressed. This written advice will also include the date proposed for a review of the specific areas of performance, and the availability of professional development and other resources to assist the employee to improve.

24.5.2 The employee will be entitled to respond to the supervisor within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the supervisor’s written advice. The supervisor must give due and proper weight to any response provided by the employee. The supervisor will either:

  • confirm the advice of unsatisfactory performance and the remedial action required; or
  • modify any or all of the particulars contained in the previous advice; or 
  • withdraw the advice and ensure that no records relating to the advice are kept on the employee’s file.

24.5.3 The supervisor will review whether or not the required improvement in the employee’s performance has been made. This review will occur no earlier than the date set in the written advice.

24.5.4 Where the supervisor is satisfied that the required improvements have been made, the employee will be advised, in writing, and no further action will be taken.

24.6 Formal Report

24.6.1 Where the supervisor believes that the employee’s performance continues to be unsatisfactory, the supervisor in consultation with their Dean/Manager will make a formal report to the Executive Director. The report will state clearly the aspects of the employee’s performance that are seen as unsatisfactory, the record of attempts to remedy the problem, and the recommended disciplinary action. An academic employee may request the supervisor to consult with their academic colleagues before making a formal report to the Executive Director.

24.6.2 The supervisor will provide the employee with a copy of the report as soon as possible after it is submitted. The employee will be entitled to submit a written response to the Executive Director within ten (10) working days from the receipt of the supervisor’s report. Where the report recommends disciplinary action, the employee may request that the matter be referred to an Unsatisfactory Performance Review Panel consisting of:

  • An employee nominated by the Vice-Chancellor; and
  • An employee nominated by the employee representatives on the Staff Consultative Committee.

24.6.3 Where an employee has made a written application for a review of disciplinary action under Sub-clause 24.6.2 the Executive Director will advise the Vice-Chancellor of the request. The Vice-Chancellor will consider the request and may decide to:

(a) Take no further action; or

(b) Refer the matter back to the supervisor to ensure that the steps set out in Sub-clauses 24.4.1, 24.5.1 and 24.6.1 are complied with in substance and in a manner appropriate to the circumstances; or

(c) Convene an Unsatisfactory Performance Review Panel no later than ten (10) working days from the date of receipt of such a review application as set out in Clause 24.7.1.

24.7 Unsatisfactory Performance Review Panel

24.7.1 Where the Vice-Chancellor decides to convene an Unsatisfactory Performance Review Panel, the Panel will review the employee’s written response (where submitted), provide the opportunity for the employee to be interviewed and ensure that the employee and/or their nominated representative has adequate opportunity to respond to unsatisfactory performance concerns. The Review Panel may consider any other materials it considers appropriate and interview any other individual, as it sees fit.

24.7.2 The Panel will report to the Vice-Chancellor on the following:

  • Whether appropriate steps were taken to bring the unsatisfactory nature of performance to the employee’s attention;
  • Whether appropriate timeframes were provided for the employee to improve their performance;
  • Whether adequate opportunity was given to respond;
  • Whether due and proper weight was given to the employee’s response;
  • Whether reasonable time and opportunity was afforded to remedy the performance problem;
  • Whether there was appropriate consultation with the academic employee’s colleagues, where requested

24.7.3 The Panel will act as expeditiously as possible taking into consideration the need for procedural fairness and natural justice and will provide a report to the Vice-Chancellor and the employee within ten (10) working days following the conclusion of the review.

24.7.4 A Review Panel member has an obligation to advise of any conflict/s or potential conflict/s of interest that may undermine the application of natural justice and procedural fairness.

24.7.5 Following consideration of the report from the Review Panel, the Vice-Chancellor will then decide to:

(a) Take no further action; or

(b) Refer the matter back to the supervisor to ensure that the steps referred to in Sub-clauses 24.4.1, 24.5.1, and 24.6.1, are complied with in substance and in a manner appropriate to the circumstances; or

(c) Take disciplinary action.

24.7.6 Following consideration of the report from the Unsatisfactory Performance Review Panel the employee will be advised of the Vice-Chancellor’s decision in writing.

24.7.7 The action of the Vice-Chancellor under this Clause will be final, except that nothing in this Sub-clause will be construed as excluding the jurisdiction of any external court or tribunal which, but for this Sub-clause, would be competent to deal with the matter.

24.7.8 These procedures do not apply to probationary or casual employees.