Make sure your discipline policy has the ability for quick-trigger terminations.

Progressive discipline policies are great for correcting the behavior of employees. But always leave yourself an "out" for those cases in which retaining the employee just doesn't make sense.

Your discipline policy needs the freedom to terminate workers for especially egregious mistakes or dangerous behavior without risking allegations that you treated one worker more favorably than another.

Make sure your discipline policy includes a clause that allows you to bypass the next steps in your progressive discipline process--or jump directly to termination--when the situation warrants. Document your reasoning in case of later legal action.

Recent case: Derek, an assistant police chief in Washington state, had no discipline blemishes on his record for 27 years. But one day, a police officer spotted in Derek's office an insignia that had been used during World War II by high-ranking Nazi officers.

City officials brought in an outside law firm to...

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