Blog, Human Resources

Types of Disciplinary Measures

Every organization, private or public, has a set of standards and policies to be followed by members. Non-compliance will require management to enforce corrective actions. There are several types of disciplinary measures based on the gravity or seriousness of the problem. The following will help you determine the type of sanctions that may be appropriate.

Verbal Warning:
For less severe misconduct, this avenue will allow human resources supervisor/manager or company representative to speak to the employee and discuss concerns or infractions without affecting their personnel record. It should outline how the employee is misbehaving and what the individual should do to improve, thereby prevent future occurrences. Management should highlight the consequences if the employee fails to do so.

Written Reprimand: This disciplinary action will serve as a precedent for future reprimands. It defines the act of misconduct, the corrective action required from the employee, and repercussions if the violation is repeated. The employee should be verbally notified before adjoining the letter to the file.

Suspension: The company will suspend the employee on a temporary basis. This type of action is usually due to repeated misconduct – or because the problem requires further investigation (preventive suspension), and the presence of the employee will affect the process. Typically, this suspension will be without pay. But if the results prove that the employee is innocent, the company will be required to compensate for the lost hours/days. When suspending an employee, the company should initially submit a notification to the individual, letting the person know the reason and the actions that will be undertaken.

Financial Penalty: This type of measure is rarely used. It serves as an alternative when the employee cannot be suspended for business-related purposes (for example, if the company is restructuring, dealing with unlawful withdrawal of service, or if an individual is working overseas and cannot be replaced during the suspension period).

Demotion: Diminishing an employee’s role is one of the most drastic disciplinary actions a company can take for grave misconduct or low productivity. It’s usually used when an employee is incapable of handling their position or due to repeated misconduct or poor performance.

Termination: Before terminating an employee, the company must be completely sure that it went through due process and any relevant legal proceedings. A dismissal may occur when an employee doesn’t correct their behaviour despite constant warnings and reminders (verbally and in writing). The employer can immediately terminate an individual if they commit a serious act of misconduct, such as stealing, harassment, or breach of contract. The company’s code of conduct establishes what the consequences for specific misconduct are. Bear in mind that dismissing an employee without proper justification will have legal implications and can severely damage the company’s image and finances. Therefore, it pays to carefully consider what kind of action you should take to ensure that you can sustain the termination.

When it comes to disciplinary measures, be fair and hold everyone to the same standards. It’s important to ensure that employees are aware of these measures. Nobody likes to reprimand or be reprimanded. However, it’s necessary to ensure that the workplace stays safe and productive at all times.


– Viviana Sanchez