Alaska Discipline laws & HR compliance analysis

Alaska Discipline: What you need to know

Progressive discipline is a policy 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.
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If a disciplinary procedure is promised. Alaska employers should be extremely cautious about allowing anyone in the organization to make any promises to an employee or applicant. In a number of cases, the state's courts have determined that if an employer establishes a disciplinary procedure to be followed before an employee is terminated, that policy may be considered a contract.
Employee handbooks. The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that when the provisions of a personnel manual create reasonable expectations that employees have been granted certain rights (including a progressive discipline procedure before termination), the employer will be bound by those provisions (Jones v. Central Peninsula General Hospital, 779 P.2d 783 (AK 1989)).
There is more detailed information available on this subject.
Good faith and fair dealing. Employers must act in conformance with an "implied ...

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