Resources for water well businesses

Do’s and Don’ts of Documenting Employee Disciplinary Action


Documenting employee disciplinary action is a critical and requires careful attention to detail. Proper documentation ensures transparency, legal compliance, and consistency within your company. To help you navigate this process effectively, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:



  1. Do Be Timely and Prompt: Document disciplinary actions as soon as possible after the incident or performance issue occurs. Prompt documentation ensures accuracy and prevents potential memory gaps.
  2. Do Use Objective Language: Maintain an objective and factual tone. Stick to specific details,avoid personal opinions, and focus on observable behavior or performance issues.
  3. Do Include Dates, Times, and Witnesses: Clearly note the dates, times, and locations of the incidents, as well as any witnesses present. Including this information strengthens the credibility of your documentation.
  4. Do Describe the Behavior or Performance Issue: Provide a detailed description of the specific behavior or performance issue that led to the disciplinary action. Include relevant examples, specific actions, and any policies or rules violated.
  5. Do Outline Previous Conversations and Warnings: If there were previous conversations or warnings, include those in the documentation. This helps establish a pattern and demonstrates that the employee was given an opportunity to improve.
  6. Do State the Consequences and Expectations: Clearly outline the consequences imposed because of the disciplinary action. Specify any changes in expectations, performance goals, or requirements. This ensures clarity and avoids confusion.
  7. Do Maintain Confidentiality: Keep disciplinary documentation strictly confidential and accessible only to those with a legitimate need to know. Adhering to privacy regulations is crucial for maintaining trust and protecting employees’ rights.



  1. Don't use Vague Language: Avoid using vague or ambiguous language that can be misinterpreted. Stick to specific and precise descriptions to ensure clarity.
  2. Don’t Make Assumptions or Speculate: Document only what you observed or were informed about directly. Avoid making assumptions or speculating on the employee’s motives or intentions.
  3. Don’t Use Biased or Inflammatory Language: Ensure your documentation is neutral and free from bias or inflammatory language. Stick to the facts and maintain a professional tone throughout.
  4. Don’t Delay or Skip Documenting Incidents: Promptly document all incidents or performance issues that require disciplinary action. Delaying or skipping documentation can lead to inaccuracies and potential legal challenges.
  5. Don’t Ignore Due Process: Follow your organization’s disciplinary policies and procedures, ensuring that employees receive appropriate notice, an opportunity to be heard, and the right to appeal, if applicable.
  6. Don’t Forget to Follow Up: Document any follow-up actions, such as additional training,coaching, or improvement  plans. Regularly review and update documentation as necessary to track the employee’s progress.
  7. Don’t Apologize: While documenting employees is never fun, it is an important job of being a leader. If you don’t document improper behavior, you aren’t doing your job. There is no reason to apologize to your employee for holding them accountable for their actions.


Remember, proper documentation of disciplinary action is crucial for both the organization and the employees involved. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can ensure fairness, transparency, and legal compliance while promoting a positive work environment.




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The material on this page is presented by Webtrol, Weber Industries, Inc., for general information purposes only and not intended as a basis for making any business, legal, or other decisions. Any reliance you place on such material is therefore strictly at your own risk.

Resources for water well businesses
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