Corrective and disciplinary actions

After an internal investigation verifies a breach of law or policy by an employee, the organization must identify and implement corrective and disciplinary actions.

The disciplinary actions should be no more severe than what is required to ensure that the behavior is never repeated. In some cases, such as when an employee simply made a mistake and is now terrified to lose his job, a simple conversation will do the trick. In other cases where the employee breached our trust, termination might be the only option.

When it comes to corrective actions, the ethical leader will ask herself if the breach resulted from weak controls or a bad culture. Employees can steal from the petty cash box because it is unlocked or because they are underpaid and underappreciated. The temptation to place the blame entirely on the employee is strong but often misguided.

We must remember to ask ourselves “What is wrong with our culture that made this employee do what she did?” Our culture is an outcome of how we do things. So changing our culture can be as simple as changing our processes, but formal and informal.

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