The purpose of corrective discipline is to assist employees in changing their performance, attendance, or behavior, as well as to protect the employer legally, if it is applied consistently and appropriately.

To assist the employee – The employees must have adequate information about their current performance, attendance, or behavior versus the desired performance, attendance, or behavior.

To assist in decreasing the employer’s liability – You decrease your legal risk, both for unemployment benefits and for discrimination lawsuits, if you can show that you had previously warned and/or counseled the employee, making clear to the employee what he was doing wrong and what he was required to do in order to meet the company’s expectations. Without such discipline (in writing) an employee may recover unemployment benefits for a termination for cause, which will cause your rates to increase.

The key is to apply your discipline consistently and appropriately.  If for example, someone is occasionally a few minutes late to work, you would not use the same discipline as you would with someone that is found to be drinking alcohol on the job.  But everyone who is tardy should be treated exactly the same way.  Your handbook should be clear about the unacceptable activities, but your personnel department must ensure consistency in the discipline and that the punishment should fit the offense.

The first thing that the supervisor or manager should do prior to issuing corrective discipline is be sure that he or she understands the facts, and if possible, document those facts.  Then the discipline should be administered promptly.

Contact our firm for assistance in administering Progressive Corrective Discipline.