Kansas Discipline laws & HR compliance analysis

Kansas Discipline: What you need to know

Progressive discipline is a disciplinary model in which the severity of the discipline increases each time an employee commits an infraction. Generally, the progressive discipline scale starts with an oral reprimand, followed by a written warning, suspension, and, finally, termination. Progressive discipline procedures are most often found in collective bargaining agreements and in the public employment arena, but they are also found in the private sector.
There are two major issues with having a progressive discipline procedure in an at-will relationship. First, it can be time-consuming to administer the steps and generate the supporting paperwork. Second, a progressive discipline procedure can, under certain circumstances, change an at-will employment relationship to a contractual one.
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If a disciplinary procedure is promised. Despite the fact that Kansas is an "at-will" employment state, the Kansas courts have found and enforced implied employment contracts based on oral statements, particularly in those instances in which an employer's oral "promise" was definite and certain enough to create a binding obligation.
Although a casual or stray remark regarding job security will arguably rarely, if ever, change an otherwise at-will relationship, employers should train their managers and supervisors regarding the employer's commitment to the at-will standard and should instruct them to refrain from making any specific promises or representations regarding the employment relationship to any employee.
Employee handbooks. The Kansas courts have also held that promises or statements contained in an employee handbook, such as a progressive disciplinary policy, may create an implied contract of ...

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