4 rules to make progressive discipline hold up in court.

Having a rigorous system of progressive discipline is the best way to prove in court that an employee fired for inferior performance was treated fairly. Base progressive discipline on these rules:

Rule #1: The object should be to rehabilitate employees, not punish them. Always ask an employee for a reason behind the problem. Never assume anything. Document everything that is said and done in case you have to go to the next disciplinary step.

Rule #2: Employees must understand that their behavior violates company rules. In employment law, ignorance of the rule can be used as a defense. Be absolutely clear when disciplining employees. State exactly which policy they violated and how. Give clear examples of what was unacceptable. Set the standard to be...

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