How to Discipline Employees. Disciplining employees is a process of communicating with an employee to improve unacceptable behavioral patterns or performance. Use it when methods like coaching and performance appraisals are ineffective. Disciplining employees is meant to be constructive. The goal is to guide the employee to correct their behavior or performance and not to punish employees. Take more severe actions when no improvement is shown.
Issue an Oral Warning
Set time and place to ensure privacy.
Make notes about what needs to be said before the meeting.
Clearly state that you are issuing an oral warning about unacceptable behavior. Be specific in describing the behavior. Give concrete examples that depict the problem you want to fix.
Remind the employee of acceptable behaviors and company rules. If a list is available in writing, present it to the employee.
State the consequences of non-compliance.
Note the oral warning on your calendar. If the problem persists after a specified amount of time, issue a written warning.
Issue a Written Warning
Clearly state that you are issuing a written warning. Cite proper personnel policy that supports this procedure if there is one.
Describe in detail the performance problem. Give examples stated during the oral warning along with examples that occurred since that meeting. The employee needs to understand that you see no progress since the oral warning was given.
Outline previous steps taken to correct the behavior such as coaching, performance appraisals or any other previous disciplinary action.
Describe the impact of the problem. Be specific. Give examples of how the employee's behavior directly impacts the company.
Note employee's explanation for the behavior.
Reiterate the company's expectations. Note that if immediate sustained improvement is not demonstrated, further action must be taken. If termination is a possibility, specify that in your letter.
Refer the employee to the appropriate policy or contract provision to appeal the warning.
Deliver the letter to employee and place a copy of the letter in their personnel file.
Take more severe action
Issue a suspension without pay for one to ten days.
Recommend a reduction in pay for a specified period of time.
Enact either a permanent or temporary demotion if subsequent written warnings or other disciplinary measures are not effective.
Terminate the employee
Terminate or dismiss the employee if and when adequate performance standards are not met within reasonable accommodations as required by law.
Termination is a last resort and used only when severe, documented, non-compliance issues arise.
Follow organizational standards, federal law, and union or collective bargaining procedures closely when terminating an employee.