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Before discipline, what should we document?

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Q. What documentation is necessary before disciplining an employee?

A.  Follow your disciplinary policy and determine if the policy mandates that discipline occur in a progressive way (i.e., verbal warning, written warning, suspension, termination). If it does, then you should not, for instance, suspend an employee if there is no documentation of a prior written warning.

If you do not have a progressive discipline policy or if the policy lets you skip steps depending on the circumstances, then no particular documentation is required before taking a disciplinary action.

Nevertheless, it is a good practice to prepare documentation supporting the reason for the discipline. That can include a supervisor’s record of the events leading to the discipline and a document provided to the employee that states the reason for the discipline and the consequences of further problematic conduct.

That documentation establishes why you took the action at the time, and is helpful if you subsequently have to defend your decision in court.

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