Best Disciplinary Procedures to be Executed in an Organization

Author: Kenneth Sprang
The purpose of fair and effective policy is to set forth the principles, guidelines, and procedures to be utilized by the employer in the discipline and discharge of employees. This policy may be modified and interpreted from time to time by the employer in order to achieve its paramount goal of maintaining a harmonious and effective patient care environment. This policy is not intended to nor shall it be interpreted or construed to alter the terms and conditions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Union nor to modify the at-will employment relationship of employees who are not members of the bargaining unit. This article will provide guidance on some of the best disciplinary procedures to be executed in an organization.
Optional First Step: Informal Counseling
A supervisor may, at his or her sole discretion, choose to counsel an employee informally, rather than beginning the formal discipline process. When an employee is counseled, the employee’s supervisor will make a note of the counseling in the supervisor’s file. However, nothing regarding the informal counseling will be placed in the employee’s personnel file. Step 1--verbal warning. Generally, unless an offense is very serious or it threatens the well being of other employees, patients, or the employer in general, the first time an employee is formally disciplined, the supervisor will give the employee a verbal warning. When giving a verbal warning, the supervisor will explain to the employee the conduct and related circumstances which have led to the verbal warning. Explain to the employee how he/she can improve his or her conduct so as to perform satisfactorily and avoid future disciplinary actions.
Informal Warning or Verbal Warning
Give to the employee a written performance improvement plan (“PIP”), which explains what the employee must do to improve or correct his or her conduct to avoid future discipline, and provides a specific plan and timetable for doing so. Explain to the employee that further infractions will lead to more severe disciplinary actions or penalties. Document the verbal warning in writing. Request that the employee initiate the document memorializing the verbal warning solely for the purpose of acknowledging that the employee has received the verbal warning. No reference to the verbal warning will be placed in the employee’s personnel file. In the event that the employee is subject to subsequent disciplines of any kind which results in a written reprimand, the verbal warning may be referenced by or attached to the supervisor’s written reprimand.
When to Give a Written Reprimand
The second stage of discipline routinely consists of a written reprimand (first written reprimand) which describes the conduct of the employee which has given rise to discipline. When giving a first written reprimand, the supervisor will explain to the employee the conduct and related circumstances which have led to the first written reprimand. Explain to the employee how the employee can improve his or her conduct satisfactorily and avoid future discipline. Give to the employee a written performance improvement plan (“PIP”), which explains what the employee must do to improve or correct his or her conduct to avoid future discipline, and provides a specific plan and timetable for doing so. Explain to the employee that further infractions will lead to more severe disciplinary actions or penalties. Request that the employee sign the first written reprimand solely for the purpose of acknowledging receipt of the first written reprimand.
How and When to Give a Second Written Reprimand
In most situations an employee will be given a second written reprimand (‘Second Written Reprimand”) before any more severe discipline is imposed. When giving a second written reprimand, the supervisor will explain to the employee the conduct and related circumstances which have led to the second written reprimand. Explain to the employee how he/she can improve his or her conduct satisfactorily and avoid future discipline. Give to the employee a written performance improvement plan (“PIP”), which explains what the employee must do to improve or correct his or her conduct to avoid future discipline, and provide a specific plan and timetable for doing so. Explain to the employee that further infractions may lead to suspension or discharge. Prepare a second written reprimand which describes the conduct and the related circumstances which form the basis for the second written reprimand. Give the employee a copy of the second written reprimand and the PIP. Request that the employee sign the second written reprimand solely for the purpose of acknowledging receipt of the same. The employee may submit a written response to the second written reprimand, if desired.
Procedure for Suspension for a Period of Time
Meet with the employee, the Director, Human Resources, and the Chief Executive Officer or her designee. Explain to the employee how he/she can improve his or her conduct satisfactorily and avoid future discipline. Give a written performance improvement plan (“PIP”) to the employee. Explain to the employee that further infractions may lead to discharge. Prepare a suspension notice which will describe the conduct and surrounding circumstances which have led to the suspension. Give the employee a copy of the suspension notice and the PIP (the PIP may be included in the Suspension Notice).
Two Types of Suspensions
Suspension for a specific period of time. An employee suspended for a specific period may return to work following the suspension. The suspension will be for a minimum of three (3) days, but may, depending on the seriousness of the offense, be as much as two (2) weeks. Suspension subject to discharge. A suspension subject to discharge is generally given when the employee’s conduct causes employer to conclude that the continued presence of the employee in the organization poses a threat to the safety of patients or other persons or to the orderly operation of the employer. When an employee is given a suspension subject to discharge, employer will investigate the circumstances that led to the employee’s suspension during the period of the suspension. Upon completing the investigation, employer will determine whether to allow the employee to return to work or to discharge the employee.
Procedure for Immediate Suspension Subject to Discharge
An employee who commits an act of violence or other egregious misconduct, serious safety violations, or the like may be suspended subject immediately to discharge. The employee’s supervisor will meet with the employee, the Director, Human Resources, and the Chief Operating Officer or her designee. The matter will be investigated fully as soon after the suspension as practicable. An employee who is exonerated will be reinstated with pay and no loss of benefits. Employees found guilty may be discharged without delay.

Please submit the form

what would you like to do?