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Must employers use progressive discipline?

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in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Q. Under our progressive discipline policy, employees receive an oral warning, a written warning, suspension and finally termination. If an employee’s conduct is severe enough to warrant termination upon the first offense, can we fire the employee right away, or must we follow this progressive discipline policy?

A. Employers aren’t required to maintain a progressive discipline policy. Illinois is an at-will employment state, meaning both you and the employee may end the employment relationship, at any time, with or without cause.

Therefore, to the extent you have a progressive discipline policy, the policy should clarify that employment remains at all times at-will and that certain types of misconduct may justify immediate termination without going through any progressive discipline steps.

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