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The following sample policy was excerpted from The Book of Company Policies, published by HR Specialist, © 2007. Edit for your organization's purposes.

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The most reliable way to protect yourself from charges of wrongful dismissal is to establish a policy of progressive discipline. By having such a structure in place and making your supervisors abide by it, you can ensure that any employee fired because of poor performance was treated fairly and in accordance with your company’s policies. Here are the main steps in a solid progressive-discipline policy:

  1. Oral reprimand. As soon as a supervisor perceives a worker’s performance problem, she should issue an oral reprimand. The supervisor should ask the worker if there are any long-term problems or skill deficiencies that need to be corrected. Have the manager prepare a memo to file about the conversation, in case further action is necessary.
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