Documenting Employee Discipline- it’s as good as the paper it’s written on…
When it comes to documenting employee discipline, establishing a clear record of meetings- in addition to incidents- is imperative. Here are some things to think about: a written document after a disciplinary meeting shows proof of what was communicated to an employee and reduces the potential for miscommunication or misunderstanding. Having an employee read and sign a document after the meeting (no matter how big or small the incident) is just as important- it demonstrates that the employee understands what was communicated.
Documenting also establishes a record for conduct. It allows you to be able to identify an employee’s patterns, track performance history AND ultimately helps prevent or solve disputes. In the event of a formal dispute and even litigation, proper documentation becomes one of the most important tools to be used. Even in the most informal work environments, a good documentation practice is key. Your very small workforce may have an unconventional work environment, but your “unique” work environment cannot avoid basic lawsuits. Either failing to document or maintaining poorly written documentation with omissions and inconsistencies can be a costly mistake. Always operate with the thought that even your best employee can become your worst nightmare!
Another big mistake we have come across is reliance on policies alone. Some employers shirk responsibilities on documentation and rely on their ‘iron clad’ policies. How will that iron-clad policy help you if you cannot clearly demonstrate that it was actually followed?
Protect yourself on the front end to avoid unnecessary problems on the back end. Get covered!