A set of standards that must be met to justify the disciplining or dismissal of an employee.
Notice-Did the nurse know what would happen if the nurse broke the rule?
- There has to be a warning, including saying what will happen if the rule is broken. (Is the rule relevant, updated or published?)
- It can be announced or in writing. (Evidence that the nurse was notified, aware and understands)
- A boss putting up with something for a long time and then suddenly punishes someone for breaking the rule is NOT usually considered reasonable. (How long without enforcement, time of prior notice, others disciplined-when/who?)
- Some rules are so obvious that workers are expected to know that they will be in big trouble even without a warning from the boss (such as drinking at work, stealing, or refusing direct orders).
Reasonable Rule or Work Order-Is the rule important to safe and efficient operations?
- The more important a rule is, the more reasonable it is to discipline a worker for breaking it.
- (Is rule straightforward, easily understandable? Is rule consistently unbiasedly applied?)
Sufficient Investigation-Did management investigate before disciplining the worker?
- When management disciplines a worker and THEN investigates, it looks like they are looking for information to explain what they already did. (Did the discipline come before the investigation?)
- Bosses are allowed to suspend or fire a worker immediately in serious situations. (Was the union notified in a timely manner?)
- Management should bring the worker back, with back pay, if the investigation shows that the worker is not guilty or there are other facts to consider. (Employee is made whole)
- (Why suspect violation? Other witnesses, documents, policies, faulty equipment? Can nurse perform task or need additional training?)
Fair Investigation-Was management fair and objective when they investigated?
- If the boss only looks for information that will prove that a worker is guilty, it's not a fair investigation. (Were selective facts utilized?)
- Examples include if they refuse to interview witnesses who will back up the worker's story or only interview supervisors.
- (How long ago was violation? Management unbiased? Reconciled conflicting statements? Allowed representation?)
Proof-Did the investigation show substantial evidence or proof of guilt?
- Unlike criminal court, the boss doesn't have to prove his case "beyond reasonable doubt" (Must still be substantial-not flimsy)
- Bosses must have real evidence, not just guesses (What evidence supports the conclusions?)
- The boss can't say that the worker has to prove s/he is innocent – the boss has to show proof of guilt. (Management brought violation)
Equal Treatment-Were rules and orders the same for everyone and the penalty for breaking rules the same?
- If workers were not treated the same, it is harder for a boss to defend disciplining a worker under a rule. (Discrimination)
- This is one of the most common ways that bosses are unfair - that certain "picks" get treated better, not expected to meet the same production and not disciplined the same for breaking a rule. (Must be consistently enforced for all with similar records/infractions)
- Bosses can announce that they have a new rule, or are starting to enforce an old rule - so long as they hold everyone to the rule. (Must give notice)
Appropriate Discipline-Does the discipline consider how serious the situation is and the worker's past record?
- A worker with a good work history, seniority, and no record of problems should get less discipline, even for the same offense. (Fairness)
- The kind of rule which was broken should be considered in the level of discipline.
- A mistake that put other workers in danger is more serious than a paperwork mistake.
- (Discipline needs to reasonably relate to violation and record. A minor violation does not merit a harsh discipline)