Corporate Disciplinary Action

What steps are taken before terminating an employee?

How are corrective measures taken?

Does the employee have the right to appeal disciplinary decisions? Why or why not? If so, how does the appeal process work? If not, how will disagreements over disciplinary decisions be mediated?

Does one style work better than the other for a specific industry, job function, or level? Please explain.

What legal factors are considered upon termination? What ethical factors are considered?

Verbal Warning: A verbal warning is more serious than a verbal caution. An employee will be given a verbal warning when a problem is identified that justifies a verbal warning or the employee engages in unacceptable behavior during the period a verbal caution is in effect. Verbal warnings are documented and placed in the employee’s personnel file and will remain in effect for [specify time (e.g., three months)].

3. Written Warning: A written warning is more serious than a verbal warning. A written warning will be given when an employee engages in conduct that justifies a written warning or the employee engages in unacceptable behavior during the period that a verbal warning is in effect. Written warnings are maintained in an employee’s personnel file and remains in effect for [specify time (e.g., three months)].

4. Suspension: A suspension without pay is more serious than a written warning. An employee will be suspended when he or she engages in conduct that justifies a suspension or the employee engages in unacceptable behavior during the period that a written warning is in effect. An employee’s suspension will be documented and, regardless of the length of the suspension issued, will remain in effect for [specify time (e.g., three months)].

Onyango, G. (2017). Organizational disciplinary actions as socio-political processes in public organizations. Public Organization Review, , 1-22. doi:

Corrective action is a process of communicating with the employee to improve behavior or performance after other methods such as coaching and performance appraisal have not been successful.

All employees are expected to meet performance standards and behave appropriately in the workplace. The goal is to guide the employee to correct performance or behavior by identifying the problems, causes and solutions, not to punish the employee.

In general, corrective action should be progressive, beginning with the lowest severity action before employing actions of more severity. Any formal corrective or disciplinary action must follow the principles of “Just Cause“. 

Disciplinary or corrective action in the workforce are oftentimes difficult but they are also necessary. Corporate action plan is the process communicate to employees on the actions taken when improper behavior occurs. Corporations have standards and policies. Employees are expected to meet company standards and policies, as well as behave in accordance with those standards in the workplace. The goal of a corrective plan is not to punish employees but to keep them aligned with company policies and protect the integrity of the organization. Corporations are responsible or adopting their own plan and aligning that with company goals.

One kind of disciplinary action plan is the hot stove approach. This approach was developed by Douglas McGregor. The name is derived from the analogy of touching a hot stove and being disciplined. When someone touches a hot stove, the heat is felt instantly. This is how discipline is handled with this approach. Supervisors direct the discipline toward the act and not the person. The steps of got stove approach is

Another corrective action plan is progressive disciplinary plan. Progressive discipline is the process of taking progressively stricter action when an employee fails to correct a problem in their performance or behavior after being given reasonable time to do so. The typical steps in a progressive plan are

  • Immediate investigation- This is a prompt act of determining the facts.
  • Previous Warning-Company policies and rules are set forth and explained so that employees are aware of what is and is not appropriate behavior or actions in the workplace. When new rules and policies are put into place, they must be thoroughly explained and taught so employees are aware.
  • Consistency- when administrating disciplinary actions employees will know what punishment or consequence directly correlates with which infraction.
  • Disciplinary action-this action must be impersonal but for the protection and interest of the entire corporation.

Many disciplinary action plans have several steps that are taken before termination occurs. Ultimately it is outlined in organization guidelines and policies in what actions take place for inappropriate workplace behavior. Many companies allow an appeal process for employees to submit a justification as to why they should not have terminated or the termination was unjust. Without following the policies and procedures, employees may be subject to unlawful termination. Neither process is better than the other. It is simply contingent upon the goals of the organization. It is also vital that the policies are communicated to employees so that when a disciplinary action takes place it is fair, swift, and appropriate.

  • Counseling or verbal warning- This is a reminder to the employee of the appropriate workplace behavior. This is more informal action.
  • Written warning-This is more of a formal action. It is documentation explaining to the employee that inappropriate workplace behavior is continuing and it must stop or further punishment will occur.
  • Suspension- It is oftentimes unpaid time off for employees consequently for inappropriate behavior.
  • Termination-This often the last resort and it is sending the employee home permanently for continued improper behavior.


Jurkiewicz, John. “How Should I Fire? Four practices to have in place before terminating an employee.” Pest Control. March 2005.

Onyango, G. (2017). Organizational disciplinary actions as socio-political processes in public organizations. Public Organization Review, , 1-22.

Poe, Andrea C. “Make Foresight 20/20.” HRMagazine. February 2000.

Richard, Kerry M. “Pruning Poor Performers. Veterinary Economics. January 2006.

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