Most employee lawsuits stem from employees' perceptions that they got a raw deal. So before you discipline an employee in writing, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the punishment fit the crime? Sending someone home without pay for being 10 minutes late is excessive, unless the tardiness is a repeated violation and the employee has been told that repeated incidents could end in dismissal. Document all violations.
- Did you discuss it first? Talk over the problem before you commit it to writing; it may help you draw a more accurate conclusion.
- Are the facts clear? If everyone agrees on the events in question and you have proof that what happened violated company rules, your case is ironclad. But don't make a final decision to put it in writing until all ambiguities are gone.
- Are you acting consistently? Review the discipline handed out over the past year. How does what happened then compare with the current situation?