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Discipline (Progressive Discipline)

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Progressive discipline is a process for dealing with job-related behavior that does not meet expected and communicated performance standards. The primary purpose for progressive discipline is to assist the employee to understand that a performance problem or opportunity for improvement exists.

The process features increasingly formal efforts to provide feedback to the employee so he or she can correct the problem. The goal of progressive discipline is to improve employee performance.

The process of progressive discipline is not intended as a punishment for an employee, but to assist the employee to overcome performance problems and satisfy job expectations. Progressive discipline is most successful when it assists an individual to become an effectively performing member of the organization.

Failing that, progressive discipline enables the organization to fairly, and with substantial documentation, terminate the employment of employees who are ineffective and unwilling to improve.

Typical steps in a progressive discipline system may include these.

  • Counsel the employee about performance and ascertain his or her understanding of requirements. Ascertain whether there are any issues contributing to the poor performance, that are not immediately obvious to the supervisor. Solve these issues, if possible.


  • Verbally reprimand the employee for poor performance.


  • Provide a written verbal warning in the employee's file, in an effort to improve employee performance.


  • Provide an escalating number of days in which the employee is suspended from work. Start with one day and escalate to five.

End the employment of an individual who refuses to improve.

Additional Disciplinary Action Resources

Glossary Resources

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