Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about rules of discipline:
I work in a chemical plant. I was recently leaving my workstation to go home for the day. I violated a plant policy by not having my safety glasses on in a warehouse area I was passing through as I was leaving. My immediate supervisor and her boss saw me, stopped me, and said, “You must wear your safety glasses”. I disputed their claim, since I was leaving for the day, but later found out that they were correct; I am required to wear them whether I am leaving for the day, coming in, or in the middle of my shift.
The next day, I began wondering if my supervisor would consider our conversation discipline, so I sent her an e-mail. In the e-mail, I stated that I needed to know if our little talk was coaching, a verbal warning, or any other form of discipline. I also asked if she had documented it. She sent me back an e-mail that stated that the incident as called “coaching” and that it was documented in a company spreadsheet as discipline. I never would have known that this conversation was discipline in any form had I not asked later. I almost didn’t even ask. Do I have a right as an employee to know when I have been disciplined, or can the company discipline me (build a file, call it a “verbal warning” or “coaching”, etc) without letting me know? Is there a law regarding this?
Signed, Rule Breaker
Dear Rule Breaker:
The point is that Safety is Job One in every company, and you committed a safety violation. Had this been the second, third or fourth time, they could have terminated your employment. As for whether this is a coaching, warning or whatever, you can contact Human Resources and find out exactly which it is. You have a legal right to “view” your file. Do they have to tell you? When they suspend or terminate you, they normally do; otherwise, no they don’t have to tell you anything. Have a great day!
Dan Kearney, Guest Respondent & HR Manager The Workplace Doctors Creating a workplace that is effective is an on-going collaborative process. At its best it is a process that is one of civility, respect and engagement of all in creating and implementing the rules and supporting and encouraging one another–one that might be symbolized by WEGO.