Employee discipline is a process in which the company’s management is imposing conditions or regulations on the employees with the aim of preventing or correcting undesirable or behaviors that are detrimental to the stability of the company. The purpose of employee discipline is not to embarrass nor to degrade the employee, but to promote minimum acceptable employees’ behavior and to ensure the smooth functioning of the company in a healthy work environment.
Some employees sometimes behave in an unacceptable way that will not initiate a procedure for disciplining the employees (especially if it is the first time such behavior occurs) but will start an active performance management procedure. This can be the employer’s response if the employee has done, for example, one of the following:
- made unauthorized brief absence from work;
- demonstrated negative reactions to instructions or actions for routine problems;
- refused or did not complete a routine task at a reasonable time;
- wasted paid working time; and
- sent an unauthorized email.
However, if the employee has made a more severe offense against the employee code of conduct then the employer might dismiss the employee immediately or raise a disciplinary procedure against that employee. These offenses can be related to either the employee’s performance or their conduct at the workplace and might be grouped into two main categories: minor and serious. Examples of the both include:
Minor disciplinary offenses
- ongoing bad timekeeping;
- smoking in the workplace;
- bad behavior that causes inefficiency or creates problems with the workflow and/or with colleagues;
- encouraging others to disobey the code of conduct.
Serious disciplinary offenses
- stealing company property, fraud, falsifying information or documentation;
- unjustified disagreement for the performance of certain duties defined in the contract of employment;
- conducting plagiarism, failing to discover and/or report plagiarism;
- unjustified absence from work for more than five working days during the year;
- repeated mistakes that are made often and disturb the normal process of work;
- discrimination or direct or indirect abuse of another person on the grounds of age, gender, ethnic or socio-economic background, nationality, language, disability, family status, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, philosophical or political persuasion;
- violence, threats or physical harm, abuse or intimidation of other persons at the workplace;
- breach of confidentiality;
- giving a false statement for gaining personal benefits or in order to cause a conflict;
- failure to report a conflict of interest;
- serious incapacity during working hours caused by consumption of alcohol or drugs.