Progressive Discipline Policy: Is It Needed?

A Progressive Discipline Policy will clearly outline to your workers what will happen if they fail to abide by the workplace policies.

Regular enforcement of these policies, and of course documentation of this enforcement, will ensure that should you have an employee who consistently ignores these rules, there will be records to justify your actions when you terminate their employment.

Some examples of rules you can enforce with a Progressive Discipline policy:

Category One (1) Offenses:

  • Arriving to work late, failure to properly report workplace absenteeism or failure to provide reasonable cause for an absence from the workplace.
  • Job abandonment without prior authorization, with the exception of scheduled breaks (including lunch), or restroom visits.
  • Gambling, Disorderly or immoral/indecent conduct on the Employer’s premises.
  • Creating a disturbance that interferes with the normal job activities or endangers the safety of the other employees
  • Failing to comply with required policies and procedures regarding conduct and dress.
  • Failing to successfully meet metrics or job requirements.
  • Creation of unsanitary work conditions.
  • Engaging in malicious gossip and/or the spreading of rumors.

“Category 1 Offences” are usually dealt with first by verbal warning, then written warning(s), and possibly suspension from work. In cases where the employee continues to disregard these warnings, employment can be terminated. However, caution must be taken to carefully document all warnings and/or discipline administered under this category.

Category Two (2) Offenses:

  • Possession while on the Employer’s premises, or reporting for work while under the influence of alcohol, illicit narcotics, or non-prescribed pharmaceuticals.
  • Breaches of confidentiality and privacy policies.
  • Workplace violence, including but not limited to: fighting, assault, harassment, or possession of a weapon.
  • Willful destruction of another employee’s property, or the Employer’s property.
  • Theft, including physical and intellectual properties.
  • Insubordination.
  • Dishonest, illegal or improper business activities.

Category 2 Offences, as they might imply, usually begin with a written warning, then progress to suspension and then termination of employment for “just cause”. As in Category 1, caution must be taken to carefully document any warnings and/or discipline administered under this category, to ensure you will be successful when the employee challenges your “just cause”.