Disciplining Your Employees Without Risking Legal Consequences

Building rapport with your workers and establishing clear expectations may help to reduce discord and misunderstandings. Developing a formal discipline policy can provide a valuable point of reference when you do encounter uncomfortable situations.

Situations, where you need to discipline employees, may leave you feeling frustrated and uneasy. Knowing when and how to intervene and what behaviors to avoid can reduce your risks of legal repercussions.

Escalation and empathy

Not all unpleasant behavior from your employees indicates a blatant disregard for the rules. Conflicts between employees and misunderstandings may trigger non-compliant behavior. Similarly, stress from personal conflicts outside of the workplace may impact your employees’ abilities to meet your expectations.

If you notice unwanted behavior that does not directly threaten anyone’s safety, you can issue a warning. Keep details and interactions confidential from other employees.  Have a private conversation with the individual and take the time to listen to the other side of the story. Extend empathy and do your best to understand. According to Entrepreneur, communicating and building meaningful relationships with your employees can make a substantial difference in reducing and deescalating conflict.

Documentation and consistency

As soon as you notice unwanted behavior, begin documenting every interaction. Keep detailed records that describe the incidents in question. This information can provide valuable support during disciplinary proceedings.

Another way to reduce the risks of legal repercussions is to use consistency when disciplining. Treat every employee fairly and adhere to the disciplinary policy you created. An attorney can help you develop and implement a disciplinary policy that addresses the unique needs and circumstances within your company.

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