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Disciplining Your Workers

If you have any workplace rules or policies, there's a good chance that sooner or later they will be broken by one of your employees and that you may have to enforce those rules with some form of discipline.

Discipline doesn't mean automatic termination. In all but the most serious cases, you'll want to try to avoid terminating employees, especially if they are good workers. In fact, terminating a worker without some form of discipline policy and procedure could land you in court. Without a clear policy and evidence that the policy was used for the terminated employee, you could end up in a "your word against the employee's" situation.

What to consider for your discipline policy. Here are some topics for you to consider as you formulate your discipline policy:

  • Setting up a discipline program gives you some background on the philosophy and the goals of a discipline program. It also explains progressive discipline and what a discipline program should contain.
  • Employees' complaints assists you in dealing with employees' complaints and guides you though the process of setting up a program and a policy to manage these complaints.
  • Conducting an investigation tells you what to do once a complaint has been received and details the steps you need to take in assessing the situation. This is a process that you must master if your discipline program is to be successful.
  • Dealing with problem employees will help you with the hardest part of the discipline process - actually confronting the employee. You'll need to make decisions about whether to coach or penalize an employee and how to go about doing it.
  • Documenting disciplinary actions is a critical part of the discipline process that you must master to protect your business and justify any actions you take against employees.