Why Progressive Discipline?

Establishing discipline procedures is critical to the effective enforcement of work rules.  Progressive discipline is a discipline system where the severity of the penalty increases each time an employee breaks the rules.  Typically the progression is from oral warnings to written warnings and finally to termination of employment.

Read Next: 7 Tips for Documenting Employee Discipline

Using progressive discipline can help you get employees back on track.  If done correctly, progressive discipline can:

* Allow managers to intervene and correct employee behavior immediately
* Improve communication between managers and employees
* Achieve higher performance and productivity from their employees
* Ensure consistency and fairness in dealing with employee problems, and
* Lay the groundwork for fair, legally defensible employment termination

While progressive discipline is not required by state or federal law, using this method of discipline will help your company stay out of legal trouble.  Progressive discipline requires you to let employees know what you expect, to be fair, consistent and objective in imposing discipline, to include employees in the process of improvement and to document your actions and decisions properly.  By following these actions, you’ll ensure that employees who are unable or unwilling to improve won’t have a legal case against you.  And, if you are consistently respectful to employees, few of them will be motivated to sue.

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