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Employee Discipline

An effective discipline program is beneficial to both the employer and employee. It helps employees correct any shortcomings with the goal of becoming a valuable, contributing member of the workforce. Documentation created as a result of the discipline process can also help protect an employer in the event that a termination or other adverse employment decision becomes necessary.

Virtually all collective bargaining agreements between unions and employers require some form of progressive discipline, although non-union employers will generally find a progressive discipline system a positive tool as well.

Although most states fully embrace the employment at will doctrine, which in theory allows an employer to discharge an employee at any time for any lawful reason, the judicially recognized exceptions to the at will doctrine and the federal and state statutes governing the workplace, make discipline and discharge a matter that requires careful consideration. Generally, no discharge should be initiated without consultation with employment counsel.

The following are guidelines to consider in implementing an employee discipline policy.

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