Overview: Employee discipline can improve communication with employees and foster positive outcomes - but only if used effectively. An employee's professional development may be aided by any number of measures, including targeted employee training and development or a referral to counseling. However, disciplinary action should also be used to ensure compliance with work rules and to promote workplace safety. In addition, employee discipline is a natural next step if an employee has not complied with a performance improvement plan (PIP) or action plan.
Although progressive discipline may be adequate to address many situations, at times immediate suspension or termination must be used. Employers need the proper tools to tackle commonplace workplace discipline situations, such as poor attendance, substance abuse and workplace theft. These tools include a variety of resources to aid in conducting discipline successfully, including internal policies and procedures and customized warnings.
Trends: States continue to enact legislation enlarging employee protections regarding an array of activities, ranging from smoking to voting to weapons possession. In addition, employees continue to make external agency complaints or file court claims under statutes with antiretaliation or whistleblower protections, such as federal and state False Claims Acts. Depending on state law, employers may be restricted from taking a number of actions during a disciplinary investigation, e.g., employee drug or polygraph testing. In other instances, an employer's failure to adequately discipline an employee or to document the results of a disciplinary investigation may pose greater liability problems, such as in the case of an external agency probe or an employment discrimination lawsuit.
Author: Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor
The drug use rate of US workers has declined 74 percent over the past 25 years, according to a Quest Diagnostics study. The drug screening company analyzed over 125 million urine drug tests administered from the period 1988 to 2012 to reach its findings.
Certain state courts recognize a variety of claims regarding drug and alcohol testing, including negligent drug testing. New York is the latest state to do so, but the claim has long been identified as a potential liability risk leading to increased costs with respect to employee drug testing.
As mandated by the Department of Workforce Development, Equal Rights Division, employers that use honesty testing must post the Wisconsin Employee Protections Against Use of Honesty Testing Devices poster.
As mandated by the Department of Workforce Development, Equal Rights Division, all employers that are health care providers or who own or manage a health care facility must post the Retaliation Protection for Health Care Workers in Wisconsin poster.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Kansas employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to Employee Discipline
In-depth review of the spectrum of New York employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Pennsylvania employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Wyoming employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline
In-depth review of the spectrum of Federal employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to Performance Appraisals
Before disciplining employees, employers need to implement policies and procedures that enforce rules of conduct and communicate those policies to employees. This section reviews the discipline process, different discipline types, alternatives to discipline and special discipline situations, including attendance, theft, substance abuse and whistleblowers.
HR and legal considerations regarding fair and consistent employee discipline. Advice on disciplining with effective results, no discrimination.