What to Do When An Employee Breaks the Rules

In October 26, 2017

Whether it’s a habitual bad apple committing another infraction, or even a model employee making a sincere mistake, employee discompliance is never an easy topic for employers to deal with. After all, workplace morale, employer-employee relations, staff completeness, and even legal actions all potentially lie in the balance.

However, such issues cannot be ignored — especially when they are serious and/or ongoing in nature. In this article, we will discuss a few of the most important steps that employers should take when responding to a rule-breaking employee.

Weigh the Infraction. Employee infractions that directly harm customers or other employees — such as workplace violence, sexual harassment, or safety code violations, must never be ignored. (For both legal and moral reasons.) Infractions of a more benign nature, (such as forgetting to carry out one’s cleaning duties) are easier to forgive.

Consult Company Policy. Most well-run businesses have clear company policy on almost every type of employee infraction. This can help to promote fairness, equal treatment, and employee compliance. So if your company does have an employee handbook or a similar resource, then you should definitely consult it.

Consider A Reprimand. If you, as an employer, do decide to take action, then a formal reprimand is a good place to start. Not only does this show your employees that you mean business, it also helps create a paper trail of formal documentation. In the event that you end up terminating said employee, this paper trail will provide an invaluable defense from claims of wrongful termination.

Consider Termination. Some infractions are serious enough to warrant direct termination rather than a reprimand. In these cases, however, it is still a good idea to send your employees written notice of termination, along with written (and otherwise documented) reasoning for their firing. Once again, this provides legal protection to you — and it can be good for any employees who sincerely want to change their ways, as well.

For more information on the legal side of employee reprimands and termination, visit the Precise Payroll blog online today!

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