The agency’s policies and procedures will include a discipline and discharge policy. It is important for the administrator/HR professional to follow the policy as written. Discipline is an important tool for managing agency personnel. Discipline can address poorly performing employees, resulting in improved performance, which benefits the employee and the agency. Following the discipline and discharge policies can also protect the agency against wrongful discharge claims. However, for discipline and discharge policies to have the appropriate effect, the agency must follow the policy as written.
An agency’s discipline and discharge policy should be clear and easy to understand. It should have specific steps of increasing discipline; a three-strikes approach is recommended. The three strikes would be as follows: first offense, written reprimand; second offense, suspension; third offense, termination. However, the agency’s policy ought to make clear that the agency is free to impose higher levels of discipline in its sole discretion. They should also make clear that certain misconduct, such as submitting fraudulent documentation or a no-call/no-show can lead to immediate termination. All disciplinary actions, and the basis for the actions, should be thoroughly documented in the disciplined employee’s record.