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July 20, 2022by Barbara Flynn0

Today I’d like to talk about the disciplinary process and its importance.

I typically will get a phone call from a business owner who would like to terminate an employee for cause but waited too long.  I don’t want that to happen to you.

That’s why I’d like to have this conversation with you.  My one word of advice is Document.  Document, document, document.  My other advice is hire slow, fire fast.  I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve had a business owner call me and say so and so is out on a worker’s compensation claim or is on a medical leave and they don’t want them to come back to work because of poor performance prior to the leave.

Unfortunately, I have to say there’s not much they can do at that point because they let it go too far.  They should have addressed the performance when it occurred and not waited because now, they have a situation that they cannot control.  If they terminate at this point, they could be potential discrimination and they would probably lose the case.

Here’s my advice.  Please document all instances of discipline even if it is a verbal conversation.  You want to document everything that occurs so that down the road you have the back up and proof that you had conversations and that the offender is aware of the situation.  I always say that it should come as no surprise to someone who is being terminated if the proper documentation and communication occurred.

My other advice is to not drag your feet when you know in your gut and after you have worked with an individual that if it is not working out, let them go.  It may be a situation where you feel having a body in the seat is better than an empty seat but in the long run, that could come back to bite you in the face.

I recently had a client who had a poor performer, who they kept longer than they should have, call me and say, so and so has informed me that they are pregnant, and I was just getting ready to terminate them.  Unfortunately, it’s too late for them because they did not have any documentation showing the on-going issues at hand.  At that point, if they did terminate the person, there could be a potential discrimination case filed against them because of the pregnancy.

If you would like to learn more about the disciplinary process or any other Human Resource matter, please reach out to me.

Barbara Flynn

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