Q. Explain the general procedures followed in the case of a disciplinary action.
Though there is no specific procedure to be followed. Different organizations use a variety of formal and informal methods to resolve these matters. The following steps are recommended
a) An accurate statement of the disciplinary problem.
b) Collection of data or facts supporting the report of the offence.
c) Review policy and past similar incidents.
d) Identify corrective action to implement; take legal counsel to ensure that the local laws of the land are not in conflict
e) Apply the action
f) Follow-up on the disciplinary action.
(A) Accurate Statement of the Problem: The first step is to ascertain the problem by seeking answers to the following questions:
- Does this case call for a disciplinary action?
- What, exactly, is the nature of the violation or offence?
- Under what-conditions did it occur?
- Which individual or individuals were involved in it?
- When, or how often, did the violation occur?
In other words, an executive must first find out that a violation has occurred and that is entirely the fault, or at least partially the fault, of one or more subordinates. The next step is to determine and state the nature of the alleged violation of a rule, a regulation, a policy; to determine whether a request or order has been ignored or broken, and assess the seriousness of the specific offence which has been committed. It is also necessary to know exactly who and what was involved in the violation-whether a particular individual or group. Finally, it is desirable to know when and/or how often the violation occurred.
(B) Collection of data or facts support the report of the offence: Before any action is taken in a case, it is essential to gather all the facts about it. A thorough examination of the case should be made within the stipulated time limit. The facts gathered should be such as can be produced before a higher authority, if and when needed.
(C) Review policy and past similar incidents: The kind of penalty to be imposed for an offence should be determined beforehand. Should it be simple reprimand, a financial or non-financial penalty? Or should it be demotion, temporary lay-off or outright discharge?
(D) Identify corrective action to implement; take legal counsel to ensure that the local laws of the land are not in conflict: When a decision has been taken to impose a penalty, the punishment to be awarded should be such as would prevent a recurrence of the offence. If the punishment is lighter than it should be, it may encourage the violation of the same rule or another; if it is greater than it should be, it may lead to a grievance.
(E) Apply the action: The application of the penalty involves a positive and assured attitude on the part of the management. “If the disciplinary action is a simple reprimand, the executive should calmly and quickly dispose of the matter. But when severe action is called for, a fortnight, serious and determined attitude is highly desirable.
(F) Follow-up on Disciplinary Action: The ultimate purpose of a disciplinary action is to maintain discipline, to ensure productivity, and avoid a repetition of the offence. A disciplinary action should, therefore, be evaluated in terms of its effectiveness after it has been taken. In other words, there should be a more careful supervision of the persons against whom a disciplinary action has been taken.