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Discipline / Investigations

Discipline looming? Expect complaints to be filed

08/13/2020
Employees sometimes try to head off a suspected firing by filing internal complaints. They hope their employers will be so afraid of a retaliation claim that they put the termination on hold. It doesn’t always work.

How to discipline despite ‘protected’ activity

07/02/2020
Employees who know they are about to be disciplined sometimes think the best defense is going on offense, filing internal discrimination, harassment or whistleblower complaints. If you follow your usual disciplinary rules, treat the employee just like other similarly situated workers and keep detailed, dated records, it’s unlikely a court will find retaliation.

Off-duty worker ignores social distancing: How to respond

06/18/2020
If you discover that employees have flaunted local COVID-19 guidelines outside of work, can you place them on an unpaid leave of absence to quarantine before they return to work?

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.