The HR Dictionary

Disciplinary Actions

Employer disciplinary action is a response by the employer to problems with employee performance or behavior. It may come in the form of a verbal or written reprimand or the loss of employee privileges. The purpose of disciplinary action is to correct behavior and document issues. Common disciplinary actions in organizations include,

  • Written or verbal cautions
  • Paid suspension
  • Without pay suspension
  • Transferring departments or being demoted 
  • Employee termination

Behavior that Causes Disciplinary Actions

Typically, workplace disciplinary issues are related to unacceptable behavior such as bullying, discrimination, criminal conduct, harassment, high level of absence, low performance, and misuse of company assets. What kind of performance or behavior is unacceptable, as well as potential consequences for the employee, should be specified in the employment contract or employee handbook . Some cases can include:

Employers must be upfront about behavioral expectations to implement fair and effective disciplinary measures by making employees aware of the appropriate behavior, the performance standards, and the consequences for failing to meet these standards.

Disciplinary management software or modern HR management software that offers disciplinary management tools is popular among HR Managers to document disciplinary cases that arise within companies, action taken, and the way forward so no unacceptable behaviors go without consequences.