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Progressive discipline as an employment law defense tactic

Allegations of discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination can wreak havoc on your business. While such accusations can lead to costly legal action that may result in a large judgment, they can also cause extensive harm to your business’s reputation. That’s why it’s critical that you know how to defend your business from disgruntled workers who want nothing more than to cause your business harm.

The importance of progressive discipline

One way to defend against these kinds of allegations is to implement and adhere to a practice of progressive discipline. Here, an employee is given multiple notices that his or her behavior or performance in the workplace is problematic, and he or she is then afforded the opportunity to correct the issue. This leaves a paper trail of problems with the employee and the steps taken to correct it, which can justify an adverse employment action that is subsequently taken.

The steps of progressive discipline

When utilizing progressive discipline, you should start with something as simple as a written warning or letter of counseling. From there, you can increase the severity of discipline to a written reprimand that is retained in the employee’s personnel file and then jump up to suspension, if needed. Performance improvement plans can be helpful to building up employees and protecting you from litigation, too. The key is to ensure that you’re documenting your efforts to correct an identified issue and the employee’s ability to adequately remedy the problem.

Know how to justify an adverse employment action

Remember, in a discrimination or wrongful termination case the employee will argue that the basis of your employment decision was illegal in nature. You should know that from the beginning. So, if you’re facing an employment law issue, then you should carefully think through your business’s justification for acting the way it did and how best to articulate that to a court. If you think that you could benefit from assistance in that regard, then please consider consulting with a legal professional who you can trust.