When you catch a staff member cutting corners on paperwork, talking rudely to a client or co-worker, showing up late to work or otherwise failing to perform their job responsibilities, disciplinary action is necessary. Some managers will just verbally address the issue and expect the employee to improve their performance.
Unfortunately, relying on verbal discipline puts your business at a disadvantage. If you take action later to terminate that employee, they might claim wrongful termination or a variety of other employment law claims. Proving that you had a legitimate business reason to terminate that worker is made much easier with written evidence of wrongful acts or bad behavior on the job.
Written disciplinary records show a pattern of problematic behavior
In order to justify an employee termination and protect your company against claims of retaliation, discrimination or wrongful termination, creating a written record of all significant performance issues is usually smart. The more information included in each disciplinary write-up, the easier it will be to show a pattern of behavior that justifies termination.
Having both a manager and the employee in question sign and acknowledge a disciplinary report is important. That way, there’s evidence that the worker was aware of the issues and told to correct it. The manager or human resources team member involved in the write-up process can also help support the company later if the issue continues.
In the future, if an employee repeats the same or similar behavior, your records will show that there was a long-standing issue with the worker prior to their termination. The more detail each report has and the more similar disciplinary issues a worker had on record, the easier it will be for your company to defend its decision to terminate that worker.