What is Disciplinary action?

By Abhishek Kathpal | Updated 08 August, 2022

Every ideal business needs "discipline" to keep things running smoothly and raise employee engagement levels. Discipline, in the form of guidelines and norms, could be used as a preventative approach. Or as a corrective activity using disciplinary measures including suspension, disengagement, and questioning.

What is Disciplinary action

Disciplinary action meaning and definition

When an employee behaves inappropriately, violates the law, or performs below expectations, disciplinary action may be taken as a warning or a corrective measure. When a worker transgresses organizational policies and regulations and causes problems for the employer, this line of action is taken. A company's response to problems with a worker's performance or behavior is known as employer disciplinary action. The punishment could come in the form of a verbal or written reprimand or the loss of employee privileges. To track out issues and improve behavior, there must be discipline. Depending on how bad the incident is, disciplinary punishment may take a variety of forms, including:

a) A verbal warning

b) A written warning

c) A poor performance review or evaluation

d) A performance improvement plan

e) A reduction in rank or pay

f) Termination

Types of Disciplinary Action procedures

a) Formal procedure

officially recorded in the company's books, and strictly adhered to by the employer. Several methods can be used to follow the formal procedure:

a) A verbal caution

b) written caution

c) Assessment; performance review

d) The worker's dismissal

b) Informal procedure.

Unofficially, this is typically done by reporting managers or team leaders. Can be regarded as an informal warning and are not standardized.

It can be awkward for both the employee and the manager to impose discipline in the form of a verbal or written warning, a suspension, or termination. Even though most people dislike being reprimanded, disciplinary procedures must be in place and adhered to. However, due to the egregiousness of the violation in some situations, disciplinary action should always be taken. These consist of:

a) Violence or threats, especially when directed at clients or staff.

b) Assault or sexual harassment, particularly at work

c) Fraud, including the misuse and unauthorized use of funds

d) Thefts/Discrimination

Having a written policy in place to address such instances is essential, regardless of whether the behaviors in question lead to disciplinary action or you decide to implement a zero-tolerance policy. They not only endanger the organization but also the security of the customers and employees. Hence, implementing disciplinary action is important.

How to make effective disciplinary actions

Employee education on harassment, discrimination, and conflict resolution in the workplace. You should still give employees tools and coping techniques to reduce conflict even though workplace disputes don't always end in disciplinary action. There must be a clear attitude taken regarding harassment because it can lead to legal action against the business and negatively impact employees.

Disciplinary action stages

The stages are as follows:

a) Verbal war verbal warning is one of the stages of a progressive discipline procedure. Usually, this is the first action taken during the disciplinary procedure. Employees should be given verbal warnings in a discreet setting at this step. The precise nature of what occurred, why it violates policy, or how it falls short of performance goals, should be described, along with any necessary corrective measures.

b) Formal warning in writing.

The second step in the disciplinary process is frequently this. The manager or supervisor should utilize a write-up form to detail the incident and corrective measures in this stage. The worker must read the report form before signing that they have received it.

c) Formal disciplinary hearing.

Typically, this comes third in the discipline process. The employee, manager or supervisor, and an HR representative meet to discuss the issue at this step. The issue is looked at by HR. After this point, the employee is advised that severe action, including termination, may be taken.

d) Loss or suspension of privileges

This represents the fourth phase in the discipline process normally. In this step, the employee may be subject to sanctions such as the loss of specific rights, a suspension from part or all of their tasks, a demotion, or other suitable sanctions.

e) Termination.

Typically, management will only use this as a last resort. As a result of their involvement in disruptive situations, employees intentionally disconnect from their jobs.

Purpose of disciplinary action

Workplace misconduct is addressed by discipline, not punishment. Every employee is required to uphold the performance and conduct standards established by their immediate supervisor and to abide by all relevant rules, laws, and ordinances. Some of the aims and objectives of disciplinary action include the ones listed below:

a) To improve guidelines and rules.

b) To penalize the violator.

c) To set a good example for others in observing rules to the letter.

d) To guarantee the organization's efficient operation.

e) To improve workplace efficiency.

f) To uphold the tranquility of industry.

g) To foster better tolerance and working relationships.

h) To create a productive workplace environment.

About the Author

Abhishek Kathpal

Abhi is the co-founder at Longlist.io. Funded by US based OnDeck, Longlist is currently enabling 50+ businesses to increase their candidate and client reach outs, automating the workflow across stages.