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Discipline / Investigations

Different punishments for breaking same rule? Cite specifics to justify harsher discipline


It’s reasonable to expect employees to obey your work rules. But employees can also reasonably expect you to apply those rules fairly. If you don’t, you risk a lawsuit. That’s why it is crucial to be specific when documenting discipline.

Have ‘the talk’ to stop hostile environment


You can’t fire everyone who makes a stupid comment—or even two. But you also can’t ignore insensitive or offensive speech, just hoping for the best. The best approach is direct: Pull the employee aside and explain that neither you nor the company tolerate racist, sexist, ageist or other offensive comments …

Same offense, different discipline: Show why harsher punishment was warranted

Even when two or more employees break the same rule, each may not deserve the same punishment. But if you don’t document why each case is different, a judge or jury could decide that discrimination was your motive for punishing one employee more severely.

When discipline differs, be sure to document why

Here’s a timely reminder that you should carefully document disciplinary actions and make sure there is no unintentional discrimination. The key is to thoroughly consider the appropriate punishment for each transgression, taking into account all the details.

Hold bosses accountable for workplace problems

Here’s an important concept to remember when disciplining managers: They are responsible for what goes on below them on the organization chart, whether they know the details or not.

Track all discipline and check for fairness

Do you monitor all discipline and make sure employees who break the same rule suffer similar consequences? It’s the best way to win discrimination lawsuits.

Same incident, two punishments: Be able to explain why one was harsher

You don’t always have to punish two employees who break the same rule exactly alike. Just make sure you explain the difference for the record. That kind of documentation will prove crucial if an employee decides to sue.

N.Y. High Court rules on disciplinary definitions for public employees

Although public employers may be aware of their obligation to provide certain types of employees with an opportunity for a hearing before imposing discipline (such as a written reprimand), the line be­­tween a nondisciplinary counseling memorandum and a disciplinary reprimand is not always clear.

Discipline meetings: 4 tips for doing them right

If they’re doing their jobs, HR and managers must periodically have “the talk” with problem employees. How this meeting is conducted can mean the difference between turning around a marginal employee and opening the organization to costly litigation.

Use discipline record to select employees for RIF

Absent a union contract or other established rule, you don’t have to use seniority to decide which em­­ployee should be laid off. You can use any objective measure.