7 Questions to Ask When Establishing Cause for Disciplining and Terminating Employees
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Make sure you are using the proper employee discipline and termination procedures to protect you and your company from unwanted claims.Do you have a procedure for handling discipline and terminations? Are you consistent in disciplining employees that commit the same offense? How do you know? Do you attempt to address potential workplace problems through employee training and educating supervisors or do you wait for an incident to occur? In this topic, you will discover how to respond to workplace incidents. You will learn when to treat employee offenses the same and when circumstances require a tailored response. You will also learn how an improper response can expose the company to liability and create a work environment with low morale and high employee turnover. The content will help you to draft policies that can aid you in resolving workplace incidents and improve their procedures for countering a workplace incident when it occurs.
AuthorsRick Alaniz, Alaniz Schraeder Linker Farris Mayes LLP
Was the Rule or Policy Violated Known to the Employee?
• Where Is the Policy Located? How Did the Employee Receive the Policy? Does the Manager Just Have All the Policies in His/Her Head?
• The Employee Should Sign the Handbook Acknowledgement and All Separate Issued Policies to Prove That They Were Received
Was This His/Her First Violation of the Rule or Policy or Did Other Violations Precede It?
• You Should Consider the Level of Discipline to Give Based on the Number of Offenses
• Is the Employee a Problem Employee and/or a Repeat Violator? What Steps Have You Taken in the Past to Address the Issue? What Worked and What Did Not?
Was Progressive Discipline Applied to This Violation and Any Prior Violations?
• You Should Always Apply Progressive Discipline for Routine Workplace Violations (Absences)
• Some Issues May Be More Fact Specific and Require a Tailored Response (Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, etc.)
Is There Written Documentation to Support This and Any Prior Violations and the Required Corrective Action?
• You Should Record Every Workplace Violation. This Helps Protect You From Claims of Discrimination and Other Issues Should the Employee Continue the Behavior
• You May Need to Document the Response to the Discipline or Solution to the Problem. For Example, During an Investigation of a Workplace Incident It May Be Necessary to Change an Employee's Shift or Department. You Should Monitor the Employee to Determine If Any Adjustments Are Necessary After the Change Has Been Implemented
Does This Violation Warrant Termination or the Level of Discipline Applied?
• Check Your Policy. What Does It Require?
• Is This an Incident That Requires a Tailored Response? Do You Need to Consult With Legal Counsel Due to the Severity of the Situation? For Example, Was There a Major Injury or Death, Is an Employee Claiming Sexual Harassment, or Are There Wage Claims Being Made?
Have All Other Employees Who Violated the Rule or Policy Been Similarly Disciplined or Terminated?
• Your Policy Must Be Applied Consistently. Do Not Treat Employees Differently Unless the Facts Require It
Are There Any Extenuating Circumstances That Would Mitigate the Level of Discipline or Termination?
• You Should Communicate With the Employee Before Taking Final Action
• If the Employee Raises as an Excuse a Disability or If the Incident Involves Needed Medical Leave, Then You Should Likely Adjust Your Response
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