HANDBOOK HELPER EPISODE 6 POSITIVE PUNISHMENT « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Progressive Discipline Policy

Although seemingly straightforward, progressive discipline policies can lead to trouble if not properly written or implemented.

Progressive discipline imposes increasingly harsher consequences upon an employee’s repeated misconduct, such as:

Rightfully so, management should accord productive employees a second or third chance to mend their ways and nobody would be fired for a first-time minor infraction.

However, progressive discipline policies must be carefully drafted to allow sufficient employer flexibility to skip one or more steps in response to employees’ egregious misconduct.

Drafting Tips:

  • Specify progressive discipline policy is a guideline only and that management reserves the discretion to adjust the extent and character of the discipline to the severity of the offense, taking into account the employee’s duration of employment and prior performance and conduct record;
  • Permit the company to bypass any steps in a progression prior to termination; and
  • Confirm nothing in the policy is intended to override or conflict with the company’s at will employment policy.


Implement, regularly review and update as needed a comprehensive, clearly written handbook.

We trust this series will inform employers on the importance of having a well-written handbook to assist new hires, existing employees, and management alike. To purchase our template handbook and accompanying forms or for more information, please contact Office Manager Aimee Rosales at 626.583.6600 or email her at officemgr@tbowleslaw.com.

See also:

Cindy Bamforth
July 20, 2022

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