The following is the protocol we train our clients on to:
a. Correct an employee
First talk to the employee. Get their side of the story. For some offenses it could be one strike and you're out (see below) on the other hand always weigh an employee's value versus non optimum behavior. In general discipline should be done on a gradient.
Warning (Step 1)
The first time a relatively minor infraction occurs clarify the rule(s) involved. Explain what is expected in such circumstances. Generally, this type of reminder is sufficient and for most situations further action is not necessary.
Reprimand (Step 2)
For problems requiring additional action after a warning prepare a written reprimand which reviews the facts of the situation, cites specific improvement that are to be demonstrated by the employee within a clearly defined period of tim and state the disciplinary action that will result if the improvement does not occur within the time designated. This written reprimand is to be signed by both the practice owner (or office manager) and the employee after they have discussed the contents. Place in the employee's personnel file.
Penalties (Step 3)
After a reprimand, depending on the severity of the offense, if there is insufficient improvement within the stated time, disciplinary action such as suspension without pay, demotion or dismissal may result. Note: Always make sure any such steps are legal for your state.
It is important to note that the severity of the offense may warrant not following the usual sequence of warning-reprimand-penalty so the disciplinary action taken may begin at any level. A reprimand, for example, could be given for a flagrant first offense and immediate dismissal could result without prior warning or suspension in the case of major acts of misconduct or serious dereliction of duty.