Presentation on theme: "Understanding Progressive Discipline David Vestal Deputy Director ISAC (515) 244-7181 CCMS Supervisors Training Best Inns & Suites."— Presentation transcript:
Understanding Progressive Discipline David Vestal Deputy Director ISAC (515) CCMS Supervisors Training Best Inns & Suites Des Moines June 5, 2002
Employee Discipline Discipline refers to corrective actions taken by a supervisor when an employee does not abide by organizational rules or standards.
Discipline problems come in three categories: Attendance - unexcused absences, chronic absenteeism or excessive tardiness Poor performance - failure to complete work assignments, producing substandard work product, failure to meet established work requirements Misconduct - theft, insubordination, intoxication, falsifying records
Exceptions to this at-will employment doctrine : 1)an employee handbook; 2)a union contract; 3)promise made by the employer; 4)where public policy prohibits termination 5)an actual employment contract 6) the law protects the employee’s job
The board of supervisors has ultimate authority over your disciplinary policies.
Progressive Discipline The county attempts to correct an employee’s behavior by imposing increasingly severe penalties for each infraction.
Progressive discipline has definite advantages: Reassures employees - they know where they stand Assures employees that misconduct by other employees will be addressed Helps justify any employment decision Progressive discipline also has clear disadvantages: Difficult to administer - a lot of documentation Requires a formal, written policy Locks employer in to certain responses; Alters at-will status
Progressive Discipline Must Be: Immediate: To be accepted, discipline must quickly follow the offense. Understood: It is more likely that the discipline will be seen as fair if it is proceeded by clear warnings Consistent: Fair treatment demands that punishment be consistent Impersonal: Penalties should be connected to behavior, not the personality of the violator
Any system of discipline must include: Rules that are work-related Adequate notice Timely and fair investigation Substantial evidence Equal treatment Penalties in proportion to the offense
Performance Reviews Job-related Consistent and in a timely fashion Focus on behaviors Adequate Notice
Weingarten Principles: Whenever the employee believes a meeting may lead to discipline Employee can request representation before or during the meeting After the request, the employer has three choices: Grant the request and wait for the other employee Deny the request and end the meeting Give the employee the choice of ending the meeting or proceeding without the representative Employees must ask for their Weingarten rights.
Anderson v. Douglas and Lomason 1995 Case Employee was fired for possessing company property Employee sued stating that he was entitled to the progressive discipline policy Company had a disclaimer in employee handbook Court’s Decision No contract created by the handbook Progressive discipline language was not mandatory Employee was an employee at will
Jones v. Lake Park Care Center 1997 Case Employee was summarily terminated Company’s progressive discipline policy required a written warning Handbook was sufficiently definite to create a contract. She was awarded $370,000 in actual and punitive damages
Skipping Steps “If a problem is serious, the County may identify the appropriate step to initiate and not utilize the normal sequence.”
Oral Warning Point out the unacceptable behavior Explain the purpose for the rule Explain how the employee’s behavior is causing a problem Give the employee a chance to respond Consequences Specific recommendations Express confidence in the employee Document the meeting
Written Warning Identify your expectations Explain the consequences of continued misconduct Document the written warning Employee should acknowledge it Place a copy in the employee’s personnel file
Rules for Drafting Good Documents: Be truthful and accurate Review the document Have someone else review it Destroy all drafts Contemporaneous is best Memorialize earlier undocumented events
Documentation Do’s Be Specific with words, dates and actions State objectives for future performance State the consequences of not improving Have the employee sign to acknowledge receipt
Documentation Don’ts Don’t delay in documenting the discipline Don’t write comments that might indicate bias or prejudice Don’t share disciplinary information who does not have a need to know Don’t make accusations without proof
Suspension Paid or unpaid suspension This time out gives the employee the opportunity to review his behavior If salaried, don’t discipline by giving unpaid time off for periods of less than one week
Termination meetings You should: Prepare what you will say ahead of time Give an adequate reason for the discharge Allow the employee to have his or her say Make it clear that the decision is final Briefly run through the benefits Explain your county’s job reference policy Collect county property from the employee
Termination If terminated for reasons of dishonesty, immorality or illegal conduct, the employee is entitled to a “name-clearing hearing.” A person must be notified of their opportunity for such a hearing. A post-termination hearing is sufficient.
Addendum “The County reserves the right to conduct any investigation that it deems necessary to determine whether an employee has engaged in conduct warranting discipline.”