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Tip Tuesday: Assessing Discipline

December 16, 2019
  • Except in cases of extreme misconduct, the purpose of discipline is to correct behavior.
  • Review and observe any collective bargaining agreement rules that may be applicable and have your facts about the employee’s misconduct (rules violations, performance shortcomings, etc,). 
  • In cases of minor misconduct, start with verbal or written counseling and cover the applicable rules, standards and expectations. Seek the help of the local union representative. Place any counseling letter or notation in the employee’s personnel file.
  • In cases of more serious or continued misconduct, formal progressive discipline ranging from reprimand to actual or record time suspension is the next step. Discipline should be assessed in accordance with the steps and principles in your Company Discipline Policy.
  • As a general guide, the amount of discipline to assess is based on:
    1. The nature/severity of misconduct
    2. the length of employee service, and
    3. the employee’s prior performance record, including past counseling and/or discipline. Place any discipline letter or notation in the employee’s personnel file.
  • Tips to successfully uphold your actions as a company or manager include:
    1. Following applicable policies
    2. Being consistent across employees given the same facts
    3. Ensuring employees know the rules and expectations; and
    4. Demonstrating prior attempts to correct misconduct.
  • ​In cases of major misconduct (assault, theft, insubordination, gross negligence, to name some), it may be appropriate to immediately remove an employee from service and investigate what happened. Safety to the operation, customers and employees is paramount. If the facts support the major misconduct happened, termination from employment may be appropriate with or without a prior record.

When in doubt, call your Labor Relations or Human Resources representative!