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4. Consequences, Rebuttals, and Employee... > Negative Consequences - Pg. 45

Consequences, Rebuttals, and Employee Acknowledgments 45 Negative Consequences It is critical that every disciplinary write-up include clear, specific, and unambiguous con- sequences of an employee's failure to improve performance. Unfortunately, many managers either leave out this Negative Consequences section altogether or paint vague pictures of what can happen if employees don't change their performance or behavior immediately. Poor Examples of Negative Consequences The following examples of weak negative consequences can leave an employee feeling unsure of your intentions: If you do not meet the performance objectives outlined in this disciplinary memo, you will be subject to serious discipline. In the future, please don't forget to lock the cash drawer at night before you leave the office. Tony, you must stop your habitual lateness and assume responsibility for your actions from this point on. Otherwise, I will be forced to take further action against you. The employee is to immediately increase her number of daily outbound collection calls. Otherwise, she will continue to fail to meet minimum performance benchmarks. The obvious weakness in these examples comes from their ambiguous consequences. Appeals to assume responsibility for one's actions, generic terms such as "serious" discipline, and hollow threats of "further action" will be interpreted against you if you are challenged in court to define what you meant. Properly Written Negative Consequences Some employers use specific time windows when doling out consequences, while others use a generic, catchall phrase for almost all situations. There is no right or wrong answer in these instances: It's simply a matter of your company's philosophy, culture, union status, and the employment laws of your state. Generally speaking, I recommend the following phrase in the Negative Consequences section of the disciplinary warning template: "Failure to demonstrate immediate and sustained improvement may result in further disciplinary action up to and including dismissal."