Apply this fair and firm 5-step progressive discipline policy

A progressive discipline system is the most reliable way to protect your organization from wrongful termination charges.

Harassment investigations: What to ask

When investigating an employee’s complaint of harassment—sexual or otherwise—tailor your inquiries to the facts of that case.

Patience key to lawsuit-proof firing decisions

When a fired employee sues you, winning often depends on careful documentation that demonstrates how her performance did not meet your standards.

Compare planned discipline with previous incidents

When it comes to discipline, the key is equitable enforcement. Otherwise, someone might sue.

Have bosses check their bullying behavior

More than a third (37%) of U.S. workers report they’ve been bullied at work and, they say, the majority (72%) of bullies are bosses, says a survey by Zogby International.

Consistent discipline stands up in court

Employers that consistently enforce their rules fare best when they are sued over alleged discriminatory discipline.

4 questions to ask before you issue a write-up

They're potential lightning rods for employee anger and potential legal landmines. Before you discipline an employee in writing, ask yourself these questions.

Your best practice: progressive discipline

In general, using a sensible progressive discipline program and documenting all disciplinary actions will help you justify a discharge—even in the face of apparent prejudice or bias on the part of individual managers.

Are disciplinary records clear and complete? Documentation only works if it's accurate

We say it over and over again: Document, document, document! But perhaps a little more clarity is in order: Document accurately, so there can be no doubt that you clearly recorded the details of violations that led to discipline.

Note all details that went into your decision to discipline an employee

Always record the details of your disciplinary decisions at the time you make them. Document as if you are assuming that litigation will result from every disciplinary act.

Document performance problems even if they are not serious enough to warrant discipline


Sometimes, an employee’s performance problems may not seem serious enough to warrant a formal performance improvement plan. However, you should be sure to document the problems anyway. Those records will be useful if you later have to terminate someone for economic reasons.

Three investigation lessons learned from a political controversy

Another day, another political scandal involving a politician accused of having an extramarital affair. Consider the recently exposed allegedly improper relationship between Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and a top female aide.

4 steps to thwart sticky-fingered workers

According to a National Retail Federation survey, retail employers caught 80,366 employees stealing in 2014, a figure representing one out of every 38 employees.

Document all discipline, just in case of lawsuit

Carefully document each and every disciplinary action at the time it occurs, complete with details on who said what and when it happened.

Keep track of disciplinary timing in case employee alleges continuing violations

Employees who allege they have been retaliated against for engaging in some form of protected activity don’t have long to sue. If an employee works for a government agency and alleges that his First Amendment right to free speech has been violated, the lawsuit must begin within three years.
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