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Best Practices in Documenting Employee Discipline

Best Practices in Documenting Employee Discipline



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Published by Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Arnstein & Lehr Partner Thadford Felton discusses the best practices in documenting employee discipline.
Arnstein & Lehr Partner Thadford Felton discusses the best practices in documenting employee discipline.

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Published by: Arnstein & Lehr LLP on Jan 17, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Best Practices in DocumentingEmployee Discipline
 Thadord A. Felton
ARNSTEIN & LEHR LLP120 SOUTH RIVERSIDE PLAZA | SUITE 1200CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 60606P 312.876.6934 | F 312.876.0288taelton@arnstein.com
HERE ARE MANY BENEFITS TO DOCUMENTING employee misconduct. The documentation may help theemployee realize that certain perormance and/or behavior is unacceptable and help that employeechange his/her perormance and/or behavior in the uture. This in turn will lead to less trouble in yourdepartment specifcally and the organization as a whole.Documentation also acts as an "insurance" policy or you and the company. I the employee later challengesan action that had been taken against him/her as a result o poor perormance and/or behavior or flesa grievance or lawsuit, correct documentation can prevent such actions rom continuing beyond thepreliminary stages. To assist you in documenting employee misconduct, set orth below are some best practices to ollow.
Have An Employee Discipline Form.1.
A pre-printed Employee Discipline Form will make documentingemployee misconduct easier or managers and supervisors and it ensures that uniormity is maintainedin the process. The pre-printed fll-in-the-blank orm should, among other things, set orth blanksor basic inormation regarding the employee, the time and date o the incident, a description o theincident or which the employee is being disciplined, the specifc policy or work rule that was violated,and the action that will be taken against the employee. Make sure that the orm is flled out in a legiblemanner and that the person who is completing the orm both prints his/her name and signs his/hername on the orm so that i ollow up is necessary, you will know who to contact.
Conduct A Full And Fair Investigation.2.
Beore you decide to discipline your employee, conduct aull and air investigation o the events that led to the discipline. In certain circumstances it may beappropriate to have someone other than the employee's direct manager or supervisor conduct theinvestigation and/or review the discipline decision. I there were witnesses to the misconduct, talk to those witnesses. Note on the Employee Discipline Form the identity o any such witnesses anddocument what those witnesses had to say in a separate document. Sometimes inormation rom othersources may lead you to reconsider whether discipline is appropriate.
Get The Facts.3.
For employee discipline documentation to be eective, it must be actual. The goal incompleting such documentation is that anyone should be able to read the Employee Discipline Formand get a clear picture o what happened and why the discipline was imposed.
Be Objective.4.
In completing the Employee Discipline Form, it is important to be objective in yourdescription o the incident. Describe the conduct o the employee that led to the discipline, rather than

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