What Is a Pre-Disciplinary Interview?

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Two businesspeople are having a discussion.
Two businesspeople are having a discussion. (Image: XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images)

Employees sometimes break company rules. Infractions may be minor, such as repeated tardiness. Other violations are more serious, as when an employee is alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment, drug use or violence at work. A pre-disciplinary interview or meeting is a procedural tool management uses to determine what happened and to decide what disciplinary action -- if any -- is warranted.

Standard Pre-Disciplinary Interview Procedure

Before a supervisor schedules a pre-disciplinary meeting, she conducts an investigation. This may involve interviewing other employees, reviewing the outcomes of similar problems in the organization’s past and examining the affected employee’s personnel file. During the pre-disciplinary interview, the supervisor questions the employee, listens to his side and identifies any mitigating circumstances before deciding on a suitable response. Disciplinary action, if warranted, can involve a written or verbal warning or reprimand, suspension or termination of employment.

When Labor Unions Are Involved

When the employee is a member of a union, supervisors must grant the employee his Weingarten Rights. The name derives from the 1975 Supreme Court decision in “NLRB vs. Weingarten, Inc.” The ruling states that an employee who is a member of a union has the right to ask for and have a union steward present at a pre-disciplinary interview to act as an adviser and witness.

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