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A half-century ago, Arbitrator Carroll Daugherty, in rendering his decision in the Grief Bros. Cooperage arbitration case, provided a series of tests to determine "whether employer had just and proper cause for disciplining an employee." As Daugherty explained it, "a no answer to any one or more of the following questions normally signifies that just and proper cause did not exist." These tests can be boiled down to five questions that every supervisor should ask himself before proceeding with a disciplinary discussion.
questions are these:
Reviewing these questions and getting affirmative answers to each one assures you that you are on solid ground in taking the action you have planned. Even more important, if any disciplinary action or discharge is ever challenged, the organization's ability to demonstrate that all supervisors consider Daugherty's tests before taking action greatly increases the defensibility of whatever action was taken.
the Meeting Be Held?
When Should the
Meeting Be Held?
Another scheduling issue involves getting all the necessary approvals before beginning the discussion. In almost every organization a supervisor must get higher management approval before proceeding with one of the more serious steps of the Discipline Without Punishment procedure. No organization I have ever worked with allows a supervisor to place an employee on Decision Making Leave or terminate the individual without at least a review by the Human Resources function and a member of the senior management team. These reviews frequently take time, and as the time between the commission of the act and the discussion of the issue expands, the impact of the discussion on the employee may decrease.
implementation of the complete Discipline Without Punishment procedure always
simplifies the approval process, but time obstacles created by out-of-town trips,
vacations of key approvers, and other schedule dilemmas may still interfere with
discussing the matter with all deliberate speed. When time delays occur, it may
be wise to say to the employee, "This situation is one that concerns me a
great deal and we will need to talk about it seriously. I will get back to you
as soon as I can and set a time for a meeting to discuss it. In the meantime,
it is important that you immediately follow all job procedures."
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