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Discipline / Investigations

Ex-Cherry Point employee admits to embezzlement

A former employee at Marine Corp Community Services, which provides recreational and social services at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, has admitted she used a government credit card to embezzle approximately $74,000.

Beware disciplining by withholding pay raises

Any adverse employment action—including withholding an ex­­pected pay increase—can form the basis for a discrimination lawsuit. If you hold back raises to punish rule-breaking, make sure you can show you do so impartially.

Employees fighting? Sort out facts, punish accordingly

Having rules against fighting doesn’t necessarily make it easy to punish employees when punches fly. The best approach: Figure out who did what to whom, and in what order.

Patience, careful documentation pay off when disciplining underperforming employees


Reasonable employers always fare better in court than unreasonable ones. That’s one reason to keep care­­ful disciplinary records showing every­thing you did to help an employee perform well despite obvious problems. If he’s ultimately terminated, the court probably won’t second-guess the decision.

Best defense against harassment complaints: Robust policy and prompt investigations


HR professionals can’t be everywhere at once, making sure no boss ever harasses a subordinate. It will happen, even in the best, most progressive organizations. Protect against such nonsense with a robust anti-harassment policy …

Beware warnings that could limit future pay


Most HR professionals assume that a warning letter isn’t an adverse employment action and there­­fore can’t be the basis for a lawsuit. And that’s largely true. But if the warning letter also mentions restrictions on how well the employee will be rated at evaluation time, there may be trouble.

Before approving discipline, check last review

When a supervisor recommends discipline or anything else that could be viewed as an adverse employment action, be sure to check the employee’s latest evaluation before you approve it. If what the boss says is currently going on appears inconsistent with the evaluation, find out why.

When sexual harassment accusations fly, investigate and discipline right away

Here’s a lesson learned from an employer that responded correctly when an employee complained about sexual harassment. Not only did it conduct a thorough investigation that helped it win a lawsuit, but it also prevented another potential sexual harassment claim when it discovered even more egregious behavior—from the original complainant himself.

Cops: Accountant skims $333K over course of 10 years

It took 10 years, but an accounting employee of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts managed to sock away a tidy nest egg totaling more than $333,000. The only trouble, according to police and prosecutors: She built her savings account by embezzling the funds from her employer.

Categorize reasons why you impose employee discipline

You probably know you must document all disciplinary actions. Take that a step further by categorizing the discipline.