An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

Disciplinary Action

What Is the Definition of a Disciplinary Action?

A disciplinary action is a reprimand or corrective action in response to employee misconduct, rule violation, or poor performance. Depending on the severity of the case, a disciplinary action can take different forms, including:

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What Types of Behavior Qualify for Disciplinary Action?

This will largely depend on the employer and the type of business they run. A bank, for example, will have much stricter rules of conduct for interacting with customers, discussing and sharing customer information, or even dress code. A more casual business with less interaction with customers, like a trucking company, will care more about how their employees adhere to road laws than if they wear a suit to work.

There are certain instances, however, that should always result in disciplinary action because of the egregious nature of the misconduct. These include:

Whether these behaviors result in disciplinary action or you decide to implement a zero-tolerance policy, it’s vital to have a written policy to deal with such occurrences. They not only put your organization at risk, but they also endanger the safety of your employees and customers.

How Should Employers Codify Rules of Behavior for Disciplinary Action?

For disciplinary actions to be fair and effective, employers need to make their expectations clear. Employees should know up front what behavior is acceptable, how they are expected to perform, and what measures will be taken if they don’t fulfill their employer’s expectations.

Here are some ways you can make your expectations clear to your employees:

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