Employee Discipline and Terminations: Company Policies and the Employee Handbook

August 31, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Documenting Discipline and Terminations to Mitigate Risk as an Employer

Lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming. When employees take legal action, it can also cause emotional discomfort and tension in the workplace.

In hopes of avoiding any business interruption related to employee discipline, companies may discontinue a relationship with a troublesome employee immediately – but a snap decision can lead to more problems down the road.

This is the first in a series of blog posts on Employee Discipline and Terminations to help employers navigate the implications of employee discipline and terminations, including mitigating the risks of employee claims. 

So, what can employers and HR managers do to mitigate the risk of a disgruntled employee seeking a lawsuit? The first step is to develop policies and procedures that facilitate accurate documentation. Keeping a detailed record of disciplinary actions will create an objective narrative of the situation and help settle differences whether the claim is handled at the company level or in court.

Company policies can help prevent a claim before it happens. Employees who are treated fairly and consistently, with documents that answer their questions on harassment claims and the company code of conduct, will feel confident that the company is objective in its use of discipline policies.

The employee handbook can be a great tool for communicating these policies to employees. From topics such as medial leave and sick days to compensation and benefits, the handbook is necessary for all employees at any size company. It sets a clear precedent for new hires that begins on their first day and should discuss all aspects of the disciplinary process as a reference for employees.

Most importantly for employers, an “employment-at-will” disclaimer will grant companies the ability terminate an employee at any time for any legal reason. Keep in mind, however, that while employers with this statement can terminate an employee under this clause, it doesn’t always mean they should. If you have questions about what to include in your employee handbook, contact your Cornerstone Consultant.

For more information on employee terminations, view our webinar on the topic hosted by Cornerstone’s Director of HR Bethany Holliday, PHR, SHRM-CP.

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Updated I-9 Form Available

August 08, 2017 | Leave a Comment

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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has implemented a few minor changes to the I-9 form. Employers can begin using the updated form now and must use it exclusively by Sept. 18, 2017. The form’s expiration date of Aug. 31, 2019, has not changed. The new form can be accessed here.

While a couple minor adjustments were made to List C in the List of Acceptable Documents, there are no significant changes to the form and nothing has changed in regards to how the document is completed.

*Link to I-9 updated 8/10 

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