Our Disciplinary Action for our Agent’s policy explains how we address our employees' misconducts or inadequate performances. Employees must be aware of the consequences of their actions. We use this policy to outline our disciplinary procedure.
This policy applies to all our employees.
The stages that may be followed when discipline is deemed necessary include the following:
1. Verbal warning
2. Corrective Actions/Counseling
3. Official written reprimand
4. Disciplinary meeting with appropriate supervisor or manager
5. Final written warning
6. Detraction of benefits
7. Indefinite suspension or demotion
The nature of the offense must be explained to the employee from the beginning of the procedure. The verbal warning may take the form of a simple oral reprimand but also a full discussion if that is necessary.
The employee must read and sign the written reprimand and final written warning. These documents include the time limit in which an employee must correct their conduct before we take further disciplinary action.
The following scenarios indicate where the disciplinary procedure starts depending on the violation:
Performance issues. Disciplinary procedure starts at stage 1. It includes but is not limited to:
• Failure to meet performance objectives
• Attendance issues
• Failure to meet deadlines
Misdemeanors/One-time minor offense. Disciplinary procedure starts at stage 1. It includes but is not limited to:
• Rude behavior to customers or partners
• On-the-job minor mistakes
• Breach of dress code/Open door policy etc.
• Involuntary Discrimination
Misconduct/Frequent offender. Disciplinary procedure starts at stage 5. It includes but is not limited to:
• Lack of response to counseling and corrective actions
• Lost temper in front of customers or partners
• On-the-job major mistakes
• Unwillingness to follow health and safety standards
Severe offensive behavior/Felony. Disciplinary procedure starts at stage 6. It includes but is not limited to:
• Corruption/ Bribery
• Breach of employment agreement
• Harassment/ Voluntary discrimination
Managers or HR may choose to repeat stages of our disciplinary procedure as appropriate. This decision depends on employees’ reaction to our disciplinary procedure, whether they repent off their misbehavior and the nature of their offense or not.
Our disciplinary procedure begins when there is sufficient evidence to justify it. When there is suspicion or hints of misconduct, managers or HR must investigate the matter first.
Appeals are allowed and must be filed to the next line of management as soon as possible.
HR and managers should document every stage of our disciplinary procedure (except the verbal warning.) If appropriate, include necessary information like evidence, testimonies and employee’s progress or improvement.
We are obliged to refrain from disciplinary actions that may constitute retaliatory behavior. A No retaliation company policy will be effective at all times to ensure there is no misuse of our disciplinary procedure.
We have the right to modify this policy or act in any other legal or reasonable way as each case demands. But, we will always enforce discipline in a fair and lawful manner.
The Maiak Rural Investment (MRIA) Agent wants to encourage a safe and pleasant work atmosphere. This can only happen when everyone cooperates and commits to appropriate standards of behavior.
The following is a list of behaviors that the company considers unacceptable. Any employee found engaging in these behaviors will be subject to disciplinary actions including reprimand, warning, layoff, or dismissal:
1) Failure to be at the work place and not ready to work on time
2) Willfully damaging, destroying, or stealing property belonging to fellow employees or the company
3) Fighting or engaging in horseplay or disorderly conduct
5) Refusing or failing to carry out any instructions of a supervisor
6) Leaving your work station (except for reasonable personal needs) without permission from your supervisor
7) Ignoring work duties or loafing during working hours
8) Coming to work under the influence of alcohol or any drug, or bringing alcoholic beverages or drugs onto company property
9) Intentionally giving any false or misleading information to obtain employment or a leave of absence
10) Using threatening or abusive language toward a fellow employee
11) Punching another employee’s time card or falsifying any record
12) Smoking contrary to established policy or violating any other fire protection regulation
13) Willfully or habitually violating safety or health regulations
14) Failing to wear clothing conforming to standards set by the company
15) Being tardy or taking unexcused absences from work
16) Not taking proper care of, neglecting, or abusing company equipment and tools
17) Using company equipment in an unauthorized manner
18) Possessing firearms or weapons of any kind on company property
DISMISSAL OF AN EMPLOYEE
If you suspect an employee has committed misconduct that may force you to dismiss them or take other disciplinary action, you should address the issue as soon as possible. A good disciplinary process is a fair way of confirming whether your suspicions are correct, and if so, what should be done as a result.
A suggested disciplinary process under New Zealand law is set out below. This process should be followed by the person making the decision on behalf of the employer, who ideally should not have been a witness or otherwise involved in the matters to be investigated, and be free of bias.
Please note that the process suggested here will not cover every situation that may eventuate. If you get stuck, get legal advice. This process should be not construed as providing you with that legal advice for your specific situation.
Find out if there were any witnesses to what happened, and if so, ask them to write and sign a statement of the events from their perspective. Where witnesses do want to disclose their identity, you need to decide to what extent you can still use the information they provide while balancing fairness to the employee who is the subject of the allegation.
Review the employee’s employment agreement and get copies of any relevant workplace policies, to see whether there are any terms in either type of document that the employee may have breached if the allegation is true.
If the employee’s employment agreement or a workplace policy sets out how misconduct must be investigated and penalised, then you must follow those procedures and adapt the following steps to suit. For example, a policy may require that an employee is given a series of warnings before being dismissed for misconduct.
The letter should include:
• a detailed description of what is being alleged;
• a list of any documents you are relying on to support the allegations. This may include witness statements and company policies that may have been breached. Be sure to enclose copies of these documents when you give the letter to the employee. Your description of the allegations and the supporting documents need to encompass all the information that will be relevant to your decision;
• a statement that you have not made a final decision on whether the allegations are true. The letter should emphasise that you are treating the allegations very seriously, but that you will not decide whether the employee has committed misconduct until you hear and consider their response;
• a statement that if you do find the employee has committed misconduct, then you may take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. This ensures the employee is under no illusion about the consequences that may follow if they are found to have committed misconduct. If you are not contemplating dismissal, but only a warning at worst, for example, then you should state that instead of referring to dismissal as the worst possible consequence;
• a request to meet with the employee at a specified date to hear their response to the allegations. This should be at least two working days after the employee will be given the letter to give them sufficient time to consider their response and seek legal advice or arrange a support person;
• an invitation for the employee to bring a support person or representative to the meeting if they wish to do so; and
• details of who to contact if they wish to ask anything about the process. It may be that they need to contact someone to reschedule the time of the meeting if it is not suitable for them or their support person, or because they wish to give their feedback in writing instead of meeting with you.
At this meeting, read through the letter you drafted in the previous step and hand the employee a copy. End the meeting by reiterating that you expect to see the employee at the next meeting to hear their response.
If the employee starts to explain themselves, stop them and tell them that you do not want to hear their side of the story until they have had time to consider the allegations and to get legal advice.
A word on suspension;
In some cases, before you end this second meeting, you may need to consider suspending the employee on pay while you carry out the disciplinary process. Your proposal to suspend can be referred to in your initial letter to the employee. You should only suspend the employee if:
• it is really necessary to protect the integrity of the process, or if there is risk to property or people;
• you have told the employee you are thinking of suspending them and given them a fair opportunity to take time to think about the proposal and to comment on whether they agree suspension is fair; and
• nothing the employee says in response to your proposal to suspend them changes your mind.
At the second meeting, start by summarising the allegations. Reiterate that you are treating them seriously and that disciplinary action, up to and including the worst consequence you have previously named (whether that be dismissal, a warning or something else), may result if you decide the employee has committed misconduct. Then ask the employee for their responses to the allegations.
The purpose of this meeting is to hear the employee’s version of events. So you should listen carefully and take notes of what the employee says (it is best if you can have someone with you to take notes, so that you can concentrate on listening to the employee). If there is anything in the employee’s response that is unclear to you, ask the employee questions. But take care when asking questions to not give the impression you have already made up your mind.
At the end of the meeting, summarise what you believe you have heard the employee say and indicate when you wish to reconvene to advise the outcome of the disciplinary process.
The employee may have suggested other people you should talk to, or other documents you should review. You should follow these leads if it is reasonable to do so. If you speak to other people, you should take statements from them and provide those to the employee for comment before reaching a decision.
If new allegations have come to your attention that you want to address together with the previous allegations already made, you will need to work through Steps 1 to 5 of this process again to gather the relevant information and present it to the employee for response before moving forward.
Once you have all the relevant information, decide whether you think the employee has committed misconduct. If there are no further leads to follow, this period of deliberation may be as short as, say, a 30-minute adjournment to the meeting. However, you should take an adequate period of time to consider everything before making your decision. It is typical for employers to allow at least a day to give such consideration to the employee’s response.
If you believe the employee has committed misconduct, go on to decide what you think the appropriate penalty should be – e.g. a warning, dismissal on notice, or dismissal without notice. Take into account such things as the employee’s length of service, their previous work record, their personal circumstances, the severity of the misconduct, whether your expectations were clear, and whether you have contributed to the event in any way when making this decision.
Dismissal without notice should only occur if the misconduct is so serious that you can no longer have trust and confidence in the employee going forward, e.g. if the employee has been deliberately dishonest, or has stolen from you.
Tell the employee whether you think they have committed misconduct and why, and if so, what your preliminary view is on what disciplinary action (ie, warning, dismissal on notice, or dismissal without notice) should be taken, if any. Ask the employee whether they think the disciplinary action you are proposing is fair and appropriate before you make a final decision.
Once you have heard from the employee on that point, adjourn again for a period of time to consider whether anything the employee has said changes your mind about what disciplinary action you should take. It could be as short as, say, 10 minutes or so. Then return to the meeting and advise the employee whether you are proceeding with the action you proposed.
End the meeting by advising the employee that you will write to them to confirm your decision.
In this letter you should summarise the allegations, the employee’s response to those allegations, and your decision and the reasons for it. Then go on to state what disciplinary action you have decided to take, if any. If you gave a preliminary view on the outcome and invited the employee to respond to that before reaching your final decision, you should refer to this in the letter also.
If you decide to dismiss the employee, advise what day is their last working day, whether they are to work out their notice period or be paid in lieu, or if they are to be terminated without notice for committing serious misconduct. You can only pay an employee in lieu of notice by their agreement or if their employment agreement gives you that right.
You can deliver this letter by email or mail – you do not need to meet with them if you do not wish.
If you want a template letter for this step, you can purchase one for immediate download by clicking the green button below.
Termination Meeting Checklist
Conduct the meeting in sequence as follows:
1. Tell the employee the purpose of the meeting. Although the reason for termination should be communicated, there is no need to go through a step-by-step analysis of the documentation supporting the reason for discharge.
2. Advise that the decision is final and cannot be reversed.
3. Where appropriate, advise that alternative in-house positions were explored.
4. Emphasize that all relevant factors were reviewed.
5. If applicable, stress that everyone involved in management activities agreed to the decision.
6. Tell the employee the effective date of the termination.
7. Review with the employee a written summary of benefits. This summary should include, where applicable, severance pay, compensation for vacation and sick time, continuation of health and life insurance benefits, other benefits and re-employment assistance.
8. Have final paychecks ready. If the employee is to leave immediately, have any final checks, benefits or vacation payments prepared and inform the employee how to collect his or her personal belongings and leave the premises.
9. Other options:
Provide the employee with a written summary of projects to be transferred to ensure a smooth transition of work if the employee will remain as an active employee for a period of time.
Outline the next steps in the termination process, such as the last day of work, return of company ID, keys and credit cards.
10. End the interview by saying that the employee will be notified of any other matters that must be dealt with, such as COBRA continued health coverage.
11. Wish the employee good luck and express confidence in his or her future.
12. Stand, extend your hand and remain standing until the employee has left the meeting site.
Employee Exit Interview Form
I would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to respond to the questions below.
All answers will be held in strict confidence. Thank you.
How long were you employed? _________________________________________
Job classification? ___________________________________________________
Why are you leaving? ________________________________________________
Would you describe your working relationship (with respect to both your particular job and your relationship with fellow workers) as pleasant or unpleasant?
Do you feel that your particular job was important and significant in the overall operation of the business?
Are there any particular practices or working conditions that either led to your decision to resign or that you feel are detrimental to a satisfactory working relationship? If so, have you any suggestions on how to eliminate them?
Are there any particular practices or working conditions that you feel are particularly beneficial to an effective working relationship and that should be maintained?
Would you care to make any other comments?
Signed: _____________________________ Date: _____________________
General Release for Employment Termination
Notice: Various state and federal laws prohibit employment discrimination based on age, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, handicap, or veteran status. These laws are enforced through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor, and state human rights agencies. If you feel that your election of [Your Business]'s severance package was coerced and is discriminatory, you are encouraged to speak with [designated person] at your earliest convenience. You may also want to discuss the release below with an attorney.
In any event, you should thoroughly review and understand the effect of the release before acting on it. Therefore, please take this release home and consider it for at least [pick a number — we recommend at least 21] days before you decide to sign it. If you do sign this release, you will have seven days after signing to reconsider your decision and to rescind your acceptance of the offer if you so desire. [Note: the preceding sentence is required only in the case of workers over 40.]
This release, unless signed by both parties, will expire as of [pick a date that coincides with the number of "consideration days" you chose in paragraph two, above].
As consideration for the following [list here the severance pay, extended benefits, or other valuable items you are agreeing to provide]: offered to me by [Your Business], I release and discharge [Your Business], its successors, subsidiaries, employees, officers and directors (hereinafter referred to as "the Company") for all claims, liabilities, demands, and causes of action known or unknown, fixed or contingent, which I may have or claim to have against the Company as a result of this termination and do hereby agree not to file a lawsuit to assert such claims.
This includes but is not limited to claims arising under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act or other federal, state or local laws prohibiting employment discrimination or claims growing out of any legal restrictions on the Company's right to terminate its employees.
This release does not have any effect on any claim I may have against the Company unrelated to this termination.
I have carefully read and fully understand all of the provisions of this agreement and release, which sets forth the entire agreement between me and the Company, and I acknowledge that I have not relied on any representation or statement, written or oral, not set forth in this document.
Signed:_________________________________ Date: ______________________
Signed:_________________________________ Date: ______________________
(for the Company)