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Disciplinary Action Policy Template

This template provides a basic structure for your disciplinary action policy.

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Disciplinary Action Policy Template

This template provides a basic structure for your disciplinary action policy.


We recognize that people make mistakes and our employees may not always follow our policies closely. We want to give our employees a chance to correct their behavior when possible and assist them in the process. We also want to ensure that serious offenses are thoroughly investigated and dealt with.

So, here are the progressive disciplinary actions you can expect in cases of misconduct.

Please note: We've made a great effort to ensure our policies are clear and fair. That said, if you find you are unsure about any policy, feel a current one needs to be updated, or think a new policy is warranted, please contact [HR]!

These guidelines and disciplinary actions apply to [all employees — including part-time, full-time, and contract workers — in cases of misconduct].

Our Disciplinary Action Policy

As we mentioned, our policies and rules are in place for good reasons so it's important that they are followed.

Should you violate any company policy, you will be subject to disciplinary action according to the severity of the infraction.

Managers: You must make it clear from the beginning why your employee is receiving disciplinary action. It must be clear that a verbal reprimand is a formal one. “Verbal” means a brief mention of an employee’s performance or an in-depth meeting if necessary.

As an employee, you must read and sign all written reprimands, both initial and final. These warnings will outline your timeframe for correcting behavior and clear expectations moving forward. If you do not follow these expectations, further disciplinary action will be taken which could result in probation or termination.

Our Disciplinary Action Process

Our disciplinary process consisting of the following 6 steps:

1. Verbal warning

When a manager or HR issues a verbal warning, they should do so privately. When appropriate, they should provide a copy of the company policy you violated, and explain our progressive discipline steps. Supervisors should provide you with any coaching or advice they need.

You will have [2 weeks] to correct your behavior before step 2 takes effect.

2. Informal meeting with your supervisor

A manager (or HR if appropriate) discusses corrective actions with you. You should receive actionable feedback on how to deal with an unintentional violation. They can review coaching or mentoring methods.

You will have [1 month] to correct your behavior before step 3 takes effect.

3. Formal written reprimand

[HR] should inform you that if you do not correct your behavior within [1 week], step 4 will take effect.

4. Formal disciplinary meeting

This meeting will be attended by [HR, Department Head, and/or your supervisor]. You will have the chance to explain your side and [HR] is obliged to investigate. [HR] must clarify that this is the final step before you are penalized.

You must correct the behavior immediately, or step 5 takes effect.

5. Penalties

This step encompasses any penalties you will receive. This usually includes the removal of certain perks and benefits (as long as they are not mandatory by law.) It may also include suspension without pay or demotion for serious offenses. We will still provide counseling in this stage if appropriate (e.g. minor cases of substance abuse.) We will apply this step uniformly and fairly. It will not result in an adverse impact on protected groups.

You must correct your behavior within [1 month] before step 6 takes effect.

6. Termination

Employees who continue to violate our policies, either voluntarily or involuntarily, by this stage will be terminated. This step will follow an official investigation by [HR] (or legal authorities when appropriate) to ensure that terminating an employee is fair. Termination for cause will refer to employees who were guilty of severe violations or felonies.

All these phases are official and managers should document them. HR must also keep records of the process from step 3 onwards.

Managers should let you know when they launch a progressive discipline procedure. For example, pointing out a performance issue is not necessarily a verbal warning and may be part of the regular feedback an employee receives. If managers judge that a progressive disciplinary process is appropriate, they must clarify this to their team members and document the step.

Each step may be repeated instead of moving forward to the next step at HR or a manager’s discretion. For example, a supervisor may choose to have more than one informal meeting with their employees (step 2) before they ask HR to issue a formal reprimand (step 3.)

Managers can make the decision to repeat a step if they:

  • Feel that the step was not properly executed the first time.
  • See signs of improvement in their employee and want to help them further.
  • Believe conditions or parameters change enough to make repeating the step necessary.

Moving Forward from Disciplinary Action

HR and your managers can choose to use and repeat whichever steps they see fit. If you, as an employee, listen and adapt to the actions necessary, you can avoid any further disciplinary action.

However, if you are unwilling to adjust your behavior, you will face further, up to and including probation/termination.  

We begin these steps when we have concrete proof of any kind of violation.

Managers: If you suspect a policy violation, you must first monitor the situation and gather enough evidence to begin disciplinary action.

If you feel the steps taken are unfair or wrongly applied, you may submit your claim to the [manager/HR] who is next in line. To be considered, this must be done within [2 days] of the disciplinary action.

HR Manager: You must keep a detailed account of all disciplinary actions taken, including a verbal warning. Be sure to include all necessary information such as any evidence, oral statements of events, and documentation of an employee’s improvement, or lack thereof.

IMPORTANT: Disciplinary action is meant to help correct behavior. We have a strict, zero-tolerance policy against retaliation by any employee as a result of administered disciplinary action.

We reserve the right to edit and revise these steps and use any other tactic legally necessary at any time, per each case. We promise to be fair and take the entire situation into account.

We know that’s some pretty heavy stuff there but we take these steps to make sure where you work is a healthy and happy one!

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