Relevance of a Workplace Policy
Corporate policies and expectations keep the company running smoothly, but at times you may face employees who break the workplace rules. A workplace discipline policy establishes a fair method of handling employees who behave inappropriately. Improperly disciplining employees can lead to accusations of discrimination or unfair treatment.
Purpose of a workplace Discipline Policy
A workplace discipline policy identifies standard procedures for disciplining employees for specific incidents that go against a company’s policies. Thus, staff members know what to expect if they break one of the established rules, which may serve as a deterrent for improper behaviour within the workplace. A properly defined policy also ensures that both management and supervisory personnel have a company-approved method of dealing with employees who break the rules.
Establishing a Policy
Firstly, review the existing sources of rules you have established for employees. Ensure that the rules are clearly stated, fair and accessible to all employees for reference. If the employees are unionized or have a collective bargaining agreement, examine those contracts to determine if they hold any guidelines about discipline and how it is handled.
A verbal warning is the lightest form of discipline offered in the workplace as the manager simply reprimands or corrects the employee, typically in a private setting to respect the employee’s privacy. The next step may involve a written warning that is placed into the employee’s permanent file.
In some cases, an infraction may warrant a suspension from work duties or a probationary period to ensure that the employee doesn’t break the same rule again. The most serious consequence is termination from employment.
All staff members should receive a copy of the discipline policy so that they are aware of the potential consequences of their actions. All employees with a management role need a solid understanding of the details of the policy and how it is implemented.
Emphasize the need for consistent use of the policy to avoid complaints of discrimination or leniency. Any discipline used with an employee needs accompanying documentation that is then placed into the employee’s file. The documentation should outline the action by the employee that inspired the discipline and how it was handled.