Disciplinary Action

In a workplace, HR is mainly responsible for the entire employee hiring, onboarding, offboarding, and maintaining employee performance, attendance tracking, and more. Often they have to face challenges due to performance tracking and analysis. They have to think twice before deciding the poor performance.


A Disciplinary action policy helps the employer in correcting or punishing employees for their poor performance. The right steps of disciplinary action ensure the organization’s positive work environment and better employee performance.


In the glossary, we discuss the disciplinary action policy and types of disciplinary action employers should know for the right implementation.


What Is Disciplinary Action?

Disciplinary action is a policy or agreement that is effective to the employees’ misconduct, unsatisfactory performance, or violation of rules in the workplace. With disciplinary action, employers aim to correct the behaviour of the workplace without punishing the employees.


With the disciplinary action policy, employees may receive a gentle mail with information like if the maintained employee doesn’t improvise themselves as per company terms and conditions, the employers may adopt other actions to correct behaviour.


In the case of writing those mail, there should have some policies that should be maintained by the employers. Otherwise, if the action taken against the employees is made wrongly, they have the right to appeal against the company’s decision.


It is essential to follow the disciplinary action policy in a proper way before terminating the employees. But often it becomes challenging for the organization, big companies, or MNCs. Though big companies follow the steps before nominating an employee for a sudden termination process smaller organizations normally avoid such rules and regulations they instead terminate the employees who violate the rules.


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▸Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


1. When does a disciplinary action policy need to implement?

When should employers need to implement the disciplinary action policy? There must be various circumstances like when an employee violates the company policies or employee behaviour and fails to keep maintain the performance standard. These circumstances lead to disciplinary action, though how to maintain the disciplinary need solely depends on the companies and their decision.


The main purpose of disciplinary action of employers is to correct employee behaviour, and maintain discipline at the workplace but not to punish them. We are discussing some scenarios where employers must think about implementing disciplinary action in the workplace.


  • Poor Performance
  • Conflict with employees
  • Violation of company policies
  • Illegal behaviour
  • Attendance issues
  • Workplace Discrimination


➔ Poor Performance

Maintaining an average fair performance throughout the years often becomes challenging for employees. Employee performance determines the company’s success or failure. A continued weakening of employee performance leads to employee termination.


A disciplinary action is a tool that determines how to improve employees’ performance by changing their behaviour without punishing them. It is implemented against the employee who is not performing as per company standards.


➔ Conflict in the Workplace

One of the important reasons for toxic work culture is a conflict between employees, micromanagement, typical target achieving headaches, etc. A toxic work culture and conflict can cause many issues in the workplace. It can not only affect employee performance, morale, and employee turnover rate.


when an organization feels the micromanagement is continuing at its workplace. It is time to curb them through disciplinary action. It can play a vital role to maintain employee conflict and minimize micromanagement in the workplace. It saves the company from massive business losses. However, disputes can be resolved by promoting employee well-being, at the work premises.


➔ Violation of company policies

The Violation of company policies can indeed lead to employee termination. But before that, it is essential to follow the procedure and maintain the policy and guidelines. So that organization can maintain a balanced work atmosphere and correct employee behaviour instead of punishing them.


Why the company policies are essential? If employees have a legal obligation following the terms and conditions of the contract including the rule contained in a staff handbook, an organization can notice the violation of them. If organizations notice that employees fail to attain the policy,  they can take a measure of action against them.


➔ Illegal behaviour of the employee

Often in an organization, employees get engaged in illegal activities like information leaks, moonlighting, violating important data, employee harassment, etc. If employers get information constantly about those illegal activities, it is essential to implement a Disciplinary process. But before that employers have to be aware of employees engaging in illegal activities, it may be through various means, such as reports from other employees, customers, or external sources, surveillance, or internal investigations.


Once the illegal behavior is brought to the attention of the employers, they typically initiate an investigation to gather evidence and determine the veracity of the allegations.


If the investigation substantiates the allegations of illegal behavior, the employer will proceed with the disciplinary process. The employee is informed of the allegations against them and is provided with an opportunity to present their side of the story, usually through a formal notice or meeting.


Before employing them, it is also necessary to provide detailed information about the policy. So that employees get concerned about the employer’s decision.


➔ Attendance issues

In every organization, there must have an attendance policy at every organization. Often employees take random leaves without taking permission from the higher authority. Occasional absenteeism at work or not doing proper work, and failure to meet the target lead to poor performance of the employee. If the employer experience such kind of slackness activities between the employees. Then it would be the ideal time to implement Disciplinary Action.


2. What are the Benefits of Implementing Disciplinary Action Policy?

A disciplinary policy is of utmost importance in the workplace for several reasons. Here are some key reasons why a disciplinary policy is valuable


➔ Establishing expectations

A disciplinary policy clearly outlines what an organization expects from an employee. It makes an expected standard behaviour and performance within the workplace.


It sets a baseline for employees to understand what is acceptable and what is not. So that employee can keep maintaining the basic need that the company require from them and clarity helps to prevent confusion among employees.


➔ Maintaining a positive work environment

A positive work environment promotes respectful and professional conduct among employees, fostering a culture of mutual respect and teamwork.


A disciplinary policy helps create a positive work environment by addressing and discouraging behaviours like harassment, micromanagement, discrimination, or insubordination that can disrupt the company.


➔ Improving productivity and performance

When an organization fixes an expectation to maintain certain rules and policies and employees are aware to maintain the expectation and consequences for non-compliance, it leads to a balanced work culture.


A disciplinary action policy encourages employees to perform their duties effectively and efficiently. It sets standards for performance and behaviour, motivating employees to meet or exceed those standards. This can lead to increased productivity and better overall performance.


➔ Addressing misconduct and grievances

With a disciplinary action policy, an organization can run a structured process for addressing misconduct and handling employee grievances.


It ensures that allegations or complaints are properly investigated, giving all parties involved a fair chance to present their case. By having a transparent and fair disciplinary process, the policy promotes accountability and fairness for an employee.


➔ Mitigating legal risks

If an organization has a well-defined disciplinary action policy, then it is safe from any legal issues. disciplinary action is to protect the organization from potential legal issues.


Disciplinary actions are created with numerous objective criteria that reduce the risk of discriminatory practices or favoritism.


A clear policy also helps demonstrate that the organization has taken reasonable steps to prevent or address misconduct, which can be crucial in legal proceedings.


➔ Retaining good employees

The main purpose of employers is to maintain a good retention rate in the workplace. A disciplined workplace that addresses and corrects inappropriate behaviour can contribute to higher employee satisfaction and retention.


With a well-developed disciplinary action policy, organizations impose certain limitations on the workforce. It leads to a balanced work environment where employees are concerned about the actions that are taken against those who violate policies. They are more likely to feel valued and supported. This can contribute to a positive work culture and help retain top talent.


3. What are the types of Disciplinary Actions?

➔ A Verbal warning

Verbal training is the first step of the disciplinary action process. In this step, the higher authority sends a verbal warning to the employee in private. You can take it as a sincere warning from the employers and managers.


Here the employers tell about the violation or behavior that the employees did for time and discuss the organization’s expectation from him along with the corrective actions.


➔ A written warning

It is known as the second step of disciplinary action where the employee gets a mail with in-detailed information about their misconduct in the workplace that had been done for time. This step also conducts privately, where only the employer and employee get to know about the warning.


In the written warning, there can be form with a policy details. Employees have to fill up the form within the estimated timeline.


➔ Disciplinary meeting

At the time of verbal warning and written warning if in case employees speak about any issues from their side then the employer calls the higher authority and the employee for a disciplinary meeting.


In this meeting, the employee, manager, and human resources meet together to discuss the problem. HR investigates the problem and provides a chance for the employee to improve from his side as well.


After that, if the HRs don’t get any improvement, they send a message informing them about the punitive action that may take place. It includes the termination as well.


➔ Suspension

This is the step where the particular employee may receive work penalties like, he can loss of work privileges, suspension from all responsibilities, and more. Suspense generally uses for more serious offenses like theft or any violation against the company.


➔ Demotion

Before the process of termination, an often organization take a small step called demotion to feel unimportant and unmotivated. It leads to a negative impact on their poor performance. Through this step, employers compel the employee to drop his resignation as soon as possible.


It is also called the alternative option to fire the employees.


➔ Termination

It is the last and final step of the disciplinary action. The prior step is to correct the behaviour of the employee. But if an employee fails to achieve the desired outcome. Then the employers plan to terminate the employee. The offboarding process is handled by the HR specialist. In different sectors, there are numerous rules and processes for termination.


Often some major misconduct like gross negligence, theft, assault, and sexual harassment can cause severe termination of employment.

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