While no federal or state law requires you to create and follow a progressive discipline policy, courts often come down hard on employers that promise progressive discipline but fail to deliver it. In fact, many employee lawsuits stem from the employee’s perception that he or she didn’t receive a “fair” deal.

That’s why the most reliable way to protect your organization from wrongful termination charges is to establish a progressive discipline system and make sure your supervisors enforce it.

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An increasing number of lawsuits have been filed in which terminated employees complain that employers have violated their own progressive discipline policies by firing the employee before working through all the rungs on the progressive-discipline ladder.

That’s why your policy should include language allowing you to skip progressive discipline and fire employees right away for particularly egregious behavior.

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