Discipline "Rules" We've Learned from Doing Actual Discipline at Mott
- There is no single formula that can be rigidly followed when dealing with performance and disciplinary situations; each case is unique. On the other hand, there are a few underlying principles.
- Act promptly.
- Get the facts
- Keep an open mind
- Try coaching first – make sure the employee knows the rule. Coaching is NOT discipline.
Our unions would like to be involved at the coaching session even though it’s not
technically required by the labor agreement or labor law. Explain in the coaching
session that discipline will occur in the future if the conduct continues. Document
the coaching session in writing to employee, Union, HR including fact that employee
was told of consequences.
NOTE: Not every first incident should be handled with coaching – coaching is for minor performance problems. If a teacher slugged a student in class, discharge would be a potentially appropriate first disciplinary response.
- For minor performance problems, since discipline is corrective in nature, throw two
strikes before you discipline.
- First Incident – Bring the problem to the employee’s attention the first time they do something wrong. Do this by talking to them and making a written note of it; give the note to the employee.
- Second Incident – remind them of the first incident; tell them if it happens again, you’ll be forced to use the formal disciplinary process. Make a written note of the conversation and give a copy of it to the employee.
- Third Incident – invoke the formal disciplinary process.
- Involve the Union and HR early on.
- Keep a log but the log alone isn’t sufficient – you have to tell the employee what they’ve done is wrong.
- Meet face to face. TALK TO THEM; DON’T JUST SEND NOTES!!
- Be fair, firm and honest.
- Warn employee of consequences.
- Document, document, document and copy Union and employee.
- Before you issue discipline, imagine yourself in the witness chair in front of an arbitrator or judge – can you explain, in simple, clear, straightforward terms, what the employee did wrong and why you chose this particular discipline?
- When issuing notes and discipline, sign and date the original.
- Explain to employee what you’re going to do and DO IT.