TAKING DISCIPLINARY ACTION: A Few Basics To Remember, Part 3

TAKING DISCIPLINARY ACTION: A Few Basics To Remember, Part 3

Continuing our exploration of the popular opinion of sanctions in the workplace, we’ll take a closer look at the importance of having a protocol to follow when ensuring a disciplined environment.


It has been discussed before that issuing disciplinary action is a responsibility. Responsibility is developed through taking action with consideration to all parties involved. And this is accomplished through setting and following guidelines for taking action.

Rules and guidelines for any action protect all parties and ensure that concerns are resolved on all fronts. This is very true when addressing offenses in the workplace. Hard facts and relevant circumstances must be carefully evaluated, and everyone involved must be given the proper opportunity to present their case before a decision can be made on the sanction.

In other words, disciplinary action must follow due process. It is the only way for a disciplinary authority to ensure just decisions.

Sadly, there are cases when due process is disregarded for dishonest reasons. It may happen because of inside politics, or because of a disciplinary authority’s vested interests, or as an act of intimidation from the management to the rank and file. When this occurs, the issuance and execution of the sanction is often fast-tracked with no regard to procedure. Valid reasons for unusual conduct are also often ignored.

It’s quite ironic to think that there are instances where an employee who is being punished for disregarding due process is given a punishment without going through due process. But it happens, and the best way to prevent it is by clearly defining what the due process is.

There must be an effort from both the management and the staff to make the disciplinary guidelines clear, especially the channels through which sanctions can be issued or repealed. Examples of this are releasing a comprehensive employee handbook or manual, regular orientations and re-orientations on policies, and refinement of the process itself to make it more efficient and reliable.

Disciplinary action is a way of maintaining order. But in the process of doing so, it must not be causing the disorder that it is trying to prevent.

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