Minnesota Discipline: What you need to know
Many employers have a progressive discipline policy in place. Progressive discipline is a disciplinary model in which the severity of the penalty increases each time an employee commits an infraction. Generally, a progressive discipline scale begins with oral reprimands, followed by written warnings, suspensions, and finally, discharge. Progressive discipline procedures are most often found in collective bargaining agreements and in the public sector, but they are becoming increasingly common in the private sector.
There are two major problems with having a progressive discipline procedure in an at-will employment relationship. First, it can be time-consuming to administer the steps and generate all the accompanying paperwork. Second, a progressive discipline procedure can, under certain circumstances, transform an otherwise at-will employment relationship into a contractual one.
Despite a strong presumption in favor of the at-will standard, the Minnesota courts have held that specific statements in an employee handbook or policy manual may create an employment contract. For example, courts have upheld an implied contract claim based on a statement made in an employee handbook that employees were entitled to a warning and a probationary period before discharge (Lewis v. Equitable Life Assur. Soc. of the U.S., 389 N.W.2d 876 (Minn. 1986)).
Disclaimers in a handbook (saying, for example, that no employee is guaranteed the right to progressive discipline) might preclude such an implied contract claim (Feges v. Perkins Restaurants, Inc., 483 N.W.2d 701 (1992)). However, a disclaimer or change in a handbook will apply only to employees hired after the change or disclaimer is established ...
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Minnesota Discipline Resources
QuikStep Guide to Discipline
QuikStep guides tell you what to do, how to do it, what to say, when to say it. All QuikStep guides feature a simple step-by-step solution with detailed instructions, samples, tips, and checklists."
Audio Click 'n Train: Progressive Discipline
This movie-like version of the powerpoint presentation with audio makes it easy to deliver progressive discipline training. This ready-to-deliver meeting gives you effective toolbox training - no preparation required! Includes meeting outlines, customizable PowerPoint® slides, handouts, quiz, trainer's guide and more!"
Click 'n Train: Progressive Discipline
Complete PowerPoint® training meeting made easy to deliver progressive discipline training to your supervisors. This ready-to-deliver meeting gives you effective toolbox training – no preparation required! Includes meeting outlines, customizable PowerPoint slides, handouts, and quizzes."
HR Audit Checklists
Created by employment law experts, this unique and practical handbook provides prewritten checklists that help spot and correct compliance problems before they become costly lawsuits. You get checklists on HR policies, job descriptions, safety and OSHA, compensation programs, hiring practices, performance measurement, telecommuting, flexible work hours and much, much more. "
10-Minute HR Trainer™
Here’s the system that gives you everything you need to train your supervisors and managers on the everyday HR skills they need. In just 10 minutes per session you can deliver effective training - without the hard work of preparation. From ADA to how to avoid termination problems, you get 50 prewritten trainer outlines, reproducible handouts, plus case studies and quizzes. Free quarterly updates.