Workplace Conduct Management

The section of the toolkit cover addressing employee concerns, grievances, disciplinary actions, and probationary periods. For information on professional development including manager training opportunities, visit Learning & Development.

Employees are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and appropriate manner. However, there may be occasions when workplace issues arise. The links below provide information on how to address these issues and concerns in the workplace. In addition, HR managers should review the Administrative Code of Conduct and Statement of Ethical Conduct policy for more information.

Resolving Workplace Issues

Whether you are a student, faculty member, staff, or member of the alumni, the Ombuds Office offers a confidential place to discuss workplace issues, academic concerns, issues relating to administrative paperwork and process, explanation and interpretation of policies and procedures, and many other problems.

See the Ombuds Office for more information or to set up an appointment.

As an institution, Columbia University is committed to the principles of equity and excellence. It actively pursues both, adhering to the belief that equity is the partner of excellence. Columbia University's goal is a workforce and student body that reflects the diversity and talent of New York City, the larger metropolitan area, and the nation. In furtherance of this goal, Columbia has implemented policies and programs which seek to ensure that its employment and educational decisions are based on individual merit and not on bias or stereotypes.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) has overall responsibility for the management of the University’s Student Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment and the Employment Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment.

Members of the faculty, staff and student body may contact the office to inquire about their rights under the University's policies, request mediation or counseling, or seek information about the application of the policies to specific situations.

See the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action for more information.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems which are negatively impacting their performance.

Refer staff to the Employee Assistance Program

EAP Resources for Managers

As a manager, you have access to workplace tools and referral guides to help you navigate employee management issues via the EAP website, managed by TELUS Health, formerly LifeWorks. 

Login: Columbia   password: eap

The University provides formal grievance procedures for its employees in the event of suspensions or discharge. Officers of Administration and Non-Union Support Staff must begin the grievance procedure within 30 days after the action (suspension or discharge) that precipitates the complaint. For more information, contact the Employment & HR Client Services staff.

Employment & HR Client Services

615 West 131st Street, MC 8704
Studebaker 4th Floor
Phone: (212) 851-7008
Email: [email protected] 

Separate grievance procedures for Officers of Instruction and Research are listed in the Faculty Handbook.

All employees are expected to adhere to generally accepted rules of conduct and organizational behavior. Please review the Administrative Code of Conduct and Statement of Ethical Conduct policy for a statement of these basic principles. If an employee's work performance does not meet acceptable standards, progressive discipline practices should be utilized.

If the work performance of an Officer of Administration or Non-Union Support Staff  member does not meet acceptable standards:

  • Provide counsel, point out areas of improvement needed, and recommend ways to overcome these areas of concern
  • Give an oral warning to the employee and file written documentation that an oral warning was administered if the problem persists
  • Give a formal written warning to the employee if the employee fails to correct the problem
  • Should additional steps -- up to and including termination -- be considered, please consult with your HR Client Manager first
  • Depending on the circumstances of the case and the severity of the offense, one or more of the above steps may be repeated or bypassed

Separate discipline procedures for Officers of Instruction and Research are listed in the Faculty Handbook.

For complaints of discrimination and harassment, a separate procedure applies to all Faculty & Staff, administered by the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office.

For information on grievance and disciplne procedures for union support staff, visit Labor Relations.

A Non-Union Support Staff (NUSS) employee is considered to be on probationary status for a 90 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 thirty 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 Office of Labor and Employee Relations.

Probationary Performance Evaluation Form

The NUSS Probationary Performance Evaluation Form is designed to assist the supervisor in deciding whether or not each new NUSS 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 form should be completed by the supervisor at least midway into 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 period of time. 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 The Office of Labor and 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 The Office of Labor and Employee Relations.