Track & date all steps in discipline process.

When employees realize they're about to be disciplined, some try to fight back by filing a discrimination claim or submitting a request for job-protected leave (say, FMLA). They may believe that employers can't fire anyone who has a pending legal case or is out on medical leave.

However, you are not powerless. You can still impose discipline for actions unrelated to an employee's protected status. The key: Have enough documented proof to show the discipline was already in the works before the employee invoked his or her rights.

Recent case: When Timothy learned HR was investigating him for using work email to facilitate illegal loans to co-workers, he immediately asked...

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