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HR Insights with Ali: Violations vs. Development Plans


Posted on 9/27/2017 by Ali Oromchian, Esq.
Progressive discipline, including verbal and written violations, are corrective actions applied to violations of workplace policies and practices. They are typically outlined in the employee handbook. As you have probably read in previous blogs, I cannot stress enough the importance of your employee handbook because it works in conjunction with documentation of violations and proper termination practices. Violations fulfill two main focuses:

1. Documentation outlines a consistent pattern of poor work performance in areas like insubordination, attendance and punctuality, health and safety, etc.

2. Documentation serves as a defense if faced with unfair or unlawful termination claims- a growing concern in the ever-changing workforce climate. Even states that are permitted to exercise "at will" employment are not immune to discrimination claims under federal law.

Development plans fulfill a similar role as violations, except they are more forgiving. Typically, development plans are more like coaching than a means to termination (especially where you feel improvement is possible). Development plans will customarily include a timeline for improvement, as well as tangible goals you expect to see by the end date of the development plan. Development plans reinforce that you put your best foot forward in an effort to provide coaching and training towards this employee's success. Development plans are an effective tool in your HR toolbox.
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