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Discipline / Investigations

Date and time stamp every discipline decision

05/21/2020
Smart employers immediately and precisely document every employment decision. For example, it’s not enough to merely note the date you decided to terminate someone. Record that actual time the decision was made.

During discipline, ask productive questions

05/14/2020
A useful framework for having disciplinary conversations is to state evidence of the problem and immediately pose a question. It may help uncover the reason for a problem and engage the employee in framing the issues, owning his behavior and identifying solutions. Here are some examples.

OK to discipline for leaving work ‘feeling sick’

05/14/2020
If a worker tells her supervisor she’s having a flareup of a serious health condition and must leave, that may invoke the FMLA, the ADA or both. But a run-of-the-mill, “I feel sick and am going home” declaration isn’t protected activity.

Pandemic: Beware backlash after discipline

04/23/2020
Employees at several Amazon facilities have staged walkouts to protest working conditions they fear place them at high risk of contracting the coronavirus. The company’s heavy-handed response to the protests has generated ill-will and bad press.

Document, date every disciplinary detail

04/16/2020
Workers who suspect they are about to be fired may try to short-circuit the termination process by claiming discrimination, harassment or retaliation. It’s an intimidation tactic. Fight back with documentation of every step of the disciplinary process, with dates when key events occurred.

Always document why discipline differed

03/26/2020
Here’s an important reminder for supervisors: Before terminating a worker, make sure you take the time to review previous disciplinary records. If you have not fired another employee for breaking the same rule, call a brief time-out.

Demonstrate good faith by keeping thorough notes detailing your investigations

02/10/2020
Judges don’t want to second-guess employer decisions. But they do want to see that employers act in good faith when they terminate workers. That makes it essential to document every investigation that might lead to a firing.

When documenting discipline, note all details

02/10/2020
When an employee files a lawsuit alleging discriminatory discipline, she will point to other employees outside her protected class who were treated more leniently. It’s critical for employers to document the details that distinguish one case from another.

Track who made discipline recommendations

02/10/2020
If you leave discipline and termination decisions to specific managers, be sure to track who has input in those decisions. If you don’t conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the underlying reasons, you may end up rubber-stamping a discriminatory recommendation.

Good records: Your defense against retaliation suits

02/04/2020
Thoroughly document workplace misdeeds. For example, investigate and act on charges of deceit. Records showing you did everything by the book can defeat a retaliation lawsuit.