Progressive discipline is a system in which penalties increase upon repeat occurrences. The typical stages in the workplace are:
- oral warning
- written warning
- suspension or demotion
But don’t pick and choose which employees you run through progressive discipline. It’s critical to apply those procedures to all employees or none, as this new case shows.
Attend the Mastering Employee Discipline webinar with Paul Falcone, vice president of HR at Time Warner Cable, to learn how to document and discuss employee discipline in the most clear, accurate and legally safe way possible.
Equally important, you’ll find out how to avoid “codifying the damage” to your company if a plaintiff's attorney ever attempts to use your disciplinary documents against you. Register now...
Case in Point: Debbie Peirick coached the tennis team at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). In her 13th season, she led the team to its best record and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time.
Still, the school fired her because some players complained about her communication style. The problem with the firing: Peirick wasn’t given any warning about the school’s dissatisfaction, which conflicted with the university’s written progressive discipline policy. Two other male coaches who committed more serious violations (allowing underage athletes to drink alcohol) were given warnings.
Peirick, 53, was replaced with the sister of the men’s tennis coach. She was 23, had no prior coaching experience and was given a higher salary than Peirick. As you can expect, Peirick sued IUPUI for sex discrimination and the court sent the case to trial. (Peirick v. Ind. Univ.-Purdue Univ. Indianapolis Athletic Dept., 7th Cir.)
Register for Mastering Employee Discipline now and receive a complimentary copy of 101 Sample Write-Ups. The 370-page book and customizable CD are filled with ready-to-use model documents and templates that will help you write up everything from “bad attitudes” to poor work quality to attendance issues. Register now...
3 Lessons Learned
1. Follow your progressive discipline policy. If you have one in writing, make sure you train all managers and supervisors to follow it.
2. Do it to one, do it to all. Be fair and consistent when applying discipline to employees in order to avoid discrimination claims based on gender, age, religion, national origin, race/color, etc.
3. Better have a great reason to deviate and jump right to termination. The court in this case took into consideration that co-workers were “shocked” and “baffled” by the coach’s firing, noting that how the university treated Peirick was “outside the norm.” The court thought a jury could find the university’s reasons for termination to be a “pretext” for gender bias.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/4220/tennis-coachs-firing-serves-up-lesson-in-employee-discipline "
- When employee complains of bias or harassment, beware acting in ways that look like retaliation
- Use 'Soft' criteria for staffing decisions? Be prepared to back up rationale
- New Jersey Family Leave Act
- Know what's in that contract before you ask anyone to sign a noncompete
- Vague disability isn't an excuse for special treatment