What can you do when an employee refuses to sign a memo, agreement, or notice you prepare as notice of disciplinary action? Don’t get angry. Don’t get sidetracked into an argument with the employee. You have three options:
Most employers use only three choices when it comes to dealing with problem employees: oral warning, written warning (as in, “I’m writing you up!”) and firing.
But there’s a better approach. Arm yourself and all managers and supervisors with a progressive discipline procedure – including seven choices.
I have employees who are literally accidents waiting to happen because they never seem to think before they take action. We have way too many Workers’ Comp claims. However, our foremen and supervisors don’t seem to be able to solve this problem. Can we discipline – or even terminate – employees for
“no brainer” injuries?
The answer to your question is “Yes” and “No.”
We’ll explain what we mean and elaborate on some points which may be helpful to you.
Disciplinary action should not result from an employee filing a Workers’ Comp claim or reporting a possible safety hazard. But disciplinary action typically may result when an employee knowingly and repeatedly ignores or violates a known company policy. The key word here is “known.”
How can you prove (if necessary) that your employee “knew” the policy, rule or procedure? Put your company policies and procedures in writing and have your employees sign an acknowledgement form that they received and read them.
It can not be stressed enough how important it is to have thorough documentation in an employee’s file, especially prior to an involuntary termination. You may have heard before, “If it isn’t in writing, it didn’t happen” and this is often true when it comes to lawsuits for alleged discrimination, wrongful termination, etc.
The problem is, a lot of managers don’t know how to document, or even worse – what to document.
Disciplining an employee isn’t limited to the traditional three choices: verbal warning, written warning, and firing. When you must deal with a difficult employee, you need to give yourself the flexibility of these six choices:
Thorough documentation is important in human resources management, and it can help you avoid possible lawsuits and prevail in cases that are tried in court. A primary purpose of personnel documents is to help persuade a third party such as a judge, jury, arbitrator, or mediator, that you made a reasonable and sound business decision based on the information available to you at the time. Your documents will be more credible and reliable if you use the following standard practice: