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Progressive discipline consists of a brief series of increasingly serious warnings, culminating in dismissal if an employee fails to improve sufficiently—and lets your staff know that they won’t be fired without first knowing about your concerns. Here’s a sample policy.

Save the Trees is committed to a work environment in which employees receive clear messages when their performance needs to improve. We generally use a policy of progressive discipline to address performance concerns. Under this policy, employees who are not performing at the level they need to typically receive an informal verbal warning, followed by a formal warning and written improvement plan, followed by termination where sufficient improvement has not been made.

However, Save the Trees is an at-will employer and while it will generally take disciplinary action in a progressive manner, it reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to decide what disciplinary action will be taken in a given situation, including termination without prior warnings.

Note: We strongly advise having any written progressive discipline policy reviewed by a lawyer, so that you do not inadvertently create a legal commitment to following these steps in every situation. You want to retain the flexibility to act outside your progressive discipline policy in particularly egregious or unusual situations, so you should be careful not to create a binding commitment.

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