Laboratory Administration
Personnel management
Counseling, discipline and termination

Topic Completed: 1 November 2013

Revised: 12 March 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

Richard E. Horowitz, M.D.
Page views in 2018: 68
Page views in 2019 to date: 69
Cite this page: Horowitz R. Counseling, discipline and termination. website. Accessed December 6th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • In addition to the formal annual performance evaluation there may be ongoing evaluations acknowledging exceptional effort or achievement and these should be recognized in public
  • There may also be ad hoc evaluations because of failure to meet standards - these should be timely, specific, held in private and include counseling with a plan for improvement
  • When counseling fails to correct unsatisfactory performance, disciplinary actions need to be implemented
Progressive disciplinary actions
  • They include:
    • First a verbal warning
    • Next, verbal warning with consequences
    • Next, written counseling memo
    • Next, written memo with penalties, e.g., fine or demotion
    • Finally, dismissal / termination
Components of a disciplinary warning / report
  • Essential components are:
    • Description of the problem
    • Record and/or copies of previous warnings
    • Employee’s response
    • Penalties or remediation being instituted
    • Description of future performance expectation with time line
    • Signature of rater, employee and witness
Unsuccessful disciplinary actions
  • When disciplinary actions are unsuccessful, involuntary termination “for cause” is the consequence and the specific causes must be documented, such as:
    • Incompetence
    • Insubordination
    • Excess absence or late arrival
    • Repeated violation of employee rules
    • Verbal or physical abuse of patients, co-workers
    • Breach of HIPAA confidentiality regulation
    • Falsification of records or tests
    • Criminal activity
Other terminations
  • Voluntary retirement
  • Voluntary resignation
  • Involuntary due to downsizing
Other actions
  • When termination is other than “for cause”, the employee's contribution to the institution should be formally recognized
  • An exit interview should be conducted any time an employee is terminated, whether voluntarily or “for cause”
  • Vital information about a department, the staff and procedures often surfaces during exit interviews
    • However, exit interviews must be evaluated judiciously and in context
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