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Documenting Disciplinary Action Process Template

Use this template process to outline the documentation process for disciplinary action.

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Documenting Disciplinary Action Process Template

Use this template process to outline the documentation process for disciplinary action.

About Disciplinary Action

What Disciplinary Action Is

At our company, we believe that disciplinary action is an important tool for addressing and correcting employee behavior that is in violation of our policies, procedures, and standards.

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.


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 the employee and want to help them further.
  • Believe conditions or parameters change enough to make repeating the step necessary.

About Our Disciplinary Action Process

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).

Documenting Disciplinary Action

This standard operating procedure (SOP) outlines the steps that we follow to document disciplinary action:

  1. Before initiating disciplinary action, we provide the employee with clear and consistent feedback on their behavior, and we provide them with specific examples of the policy, procedure, or standard that they have violated.
  2. We discuss the disciplinary action with the employee, and we will provide them with an opportunity to share their perspective and feedback.
  3. We document the disciplinary action in writing, and we include specific details about the behavior, policy, procedure, or standard that was violated, as well as the consequences and expectations for the employee.
  4. We provide the employee with a copy of the disciplinary action document, and we review and discuss it with them to ensure that they understand it and that they agree to the terms and conditions.
  5. We maintain the confidentiality of the disciplinary action document, and we only share it with relevant stakeholders, such as the employee's manager, HR, and legal.
  6. We review and assess the employee's progress and behavior after the disciplinary action, and we provide them with regular feedback and support to help them improve and avoid future violations.
  7. We terminate the disciplinary action when the employee has demonstrated that they have corrected their behavior and that they are in compliance with our policies, procedures, and standards.

By following this SOP, we can ensure that our disciplinary actions are fair, consistent, and aligned with our business goals and values.

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