Rhode Island School of Design employs a student employee corrective action process that provides a method for addressing problems related to job performance and student employee conduct in a manner that is fair, effective, and appropriate in light of the nature, seriousness, and frequency of the performance or conduct concern. The primary objective of the Student Employee Corrective Action Process is to support student employees in the achievement of job success while also being supportive of the student’s successful academic progress.
The responsibilities of a student supervisor are critical to the quality of work and learning that takes place on the job. Student supervisors provide the training, guidance, and instruction that student employees need to be successful. Student supervisors serve as role models for students by demonstrating good work habits and following through with employment responsibilities within a positive work environment.
Student supervisors should attempt to resolve a student attendance or work performance issue before considering termination by using some form of “coaching.” Student supervisors should discuss their concerns with the student and set a time frame within which they expect to see improvement.
All student employees are expected to meet RISD’s standards of work performance. Work performance encompasses many factors, including attendance, punctuality, personal conduct, job proficiency, and general compliance with RISD’s policies and procedures. When individual performance or conduct falls short of these standards, RISD will make reasonable efforts to provide student employees with adequate notice regarding areas for improvement and assistance in achieving improvement. However, RISD reserves the right to take immediate appropriate action, without the provision of notice or assistance, when in its judgment a student employee’s conduct, policy violation, or performance problem is of an extreme nature or there are other overriding concerns.
The student supervisor should determine the need, and has the initial responsibility, for taking corrective action. Ongoing communication and feedback should occur between the student supervisor and the student employee throughout the year and include clear performance expectations. When performance does not meet expectations, student supervisors should informally alert student employees and clearly communicate areas of needed improvement.
A general guideline for the corrective action process follows. This process may be tailored based on the facts and circumstances of each case. The student supervisor should contact the Office of Student Employment to discuss potential corrective action prior to implementing the process and should consult with the Office of Student Employment throughout the process.
In general, the Corrective Action Process consists of one or more of the following steps: discussion of performance expectations and coaching of the student, verbal warning, one or more written warnings, suspension, final written warning, and/or termination.
These steps, which are outlined in greater detail below, may be used alone or in combination, as appropriate to the circumstances. If the situation allows, they will generally be followed in a progressive sequence until the performance or conduct problems are resolved. However, some of the steps may not be appropriate or necessary to all problems. The nature of some problems may warrant an acceleration or bypassing of one or more of the steps that might otherwise be appropriate. In addition, some problems may justify immediate termination of employment. (See Actionable Behavior below for illustrative examples.)
A Verbal Warning may be issued when failure to meet behavior and/or performance expectations is observed and generally is given in a face-to-face meeting between the student supervisor and the student employee. The student supervisor should review the problem with the student employee using specific examples that indicate where and how the student employee’s performance/conduct does not meet standards.
The student supervisor should describe the relevant standards, establish expectations for improving performance and/or conduct, advise the student employee of the consequences of failure to meet such expectations, and discuss any appropriate and available assistance. The student supervisor should document the date of the session and the problem discussed in their own records. The student employee should be informed that they are receiving a verbal warning and that failure to improve performance will lead to further action up to and including termination.
A Written Warning should contain a reference to any previous Verbal Warning or discipline along with a description of the performance and/or behavior problem. The Written Warning should describe what must be done to improve performance and indicate that failure to improve and sustain performance may lead to further action, up to and including termination of the student employee’s position. The student supervisor should consult with The Office of Student Employment prior to issuing a Written Warning.
The Written Warning should be signed by both the student supervisor and the student employee. The student employee’s signature is an acknowledgment that a Written Warning has been issued, not necessarily of agreement. One copy of the Written Warning is given to the student employee, one copy is saved in the student employee’s file of the department in which the student employee is working and one copy sent to The Office of Student Employment for the student employee’s file.
If deemed appropriate by the student supervisor, a student employee may also be suspended without pay as a disciplinary sanction or suspended with or without pay pending investigation. Depending upon the results of any such investigation, the suspended student employee may be reinstated without prejudice, or may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Prior to taking action to suspend an employee, the supervisor must consult the Office of Student Employment.
Final Written Warning
A Final Written Warning may be issued when performance issues continue or the performance/conduct is of a serious nature. Termination will result if further violations or performance problems occur. A Final Written Warning should follow the same format described above for Written Warnings, but with the additional designation that it is final. The student supervisor must consult with the Office of Student Employment prior to issuing a Final Written Warning. The student employee should sign the Final Written Warning to acknowledge receipt.
Termination of Employment
Termination of employment may occur when a student employee fails to correct performance or conduct problems following a warning or when the performance/conduct problem is of an extreme nature. Termination due to performance/conduct of an extreme nature may also result in referral to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and the Dean of Students, loss of financial assistance, and/or expulsion from the college.
The student supervisor must consult with the Office of Student Employment prior to termination of a student employee.
Some actions by student employees may warrant immediate serious disciplinary action or termination. The final decision of what conduct or actions will result in such disciplinary action or termination will be determined at RISD’s discretion based on the facts of each case. Actions that the College considers serious in nature that may result in immediate serious disciplinary action or termination of student employment include, but are NOT limited to:
- assaulting, threatening, intimidating, harassing, or coercing coworkers, students, or others
- harassment, sexual or otherwise, of staff, faculty, students, or visitors
- transporting or possessing weapons, firearms, or explosives on College property
- fighting, provoking or instigating a fight, or engaging in dangerous “horseplay” that could result in injury to others or damage to property
- insubordination, willful refusal to perform assigned duties or to accept an assignment from an authorized supervisor, or any type of verbal or physical abuse of a supervisor
- possessing, using, distributing, or manufacturing alcohol or illegal drugs during work hours
- reporting to work or working under the influence of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs
- stealing, destroying, or defacing College, co-workers’, or students’ property, or using such property without authorization
- sleeping on the job
- unauthorized absence from post or duty
- knowingly supplying false time worked on a student employee time card (time card fraud)
- unauthorized possession, use, copying, or reading of RISD records, or disclosure of information contained in such records to unauthorized persons
- use of vile, indecent, or abusive language.
Student employment at RISD is at will and at the mutual consent of the employer and the student employee. RISD affirms the right of either the employer or the student employee to terminate the student employment relationship at any time for any reasons that either deems appropriate. The corrective action process set forth in this policy has been adopted voluntarily by RISD solely to give guidance to management and is not intended to give rise to contractual obligations or otherwise to restrict the at-will nature of the student employment relationship.
This policy was last reviewed/modified on: 7/30/2023
Next scheduled review will be on the following date or as needed: 4/1/2025
Vice President, Enrollment Services and Student Affairs
Individuals/offices required for review and changes
Director of Student Employment
Assistant Vice President, Enrollment Services
Director, Employment, Human Resources