Ask HR: Deli discipline disaster.

Dear HR:

My deli cook is not documenting proper food temperatures and “use by” times for perishable food items that are sold to the public. She has failed to do it every week, and I have gone over this procedure with her multiple times. This is a major health violation and I could be liable for big fines and be shut down, putting public health and my company at risk. I have given a written warning to my employee and attempted to have her sign it, but she refused. What is my next step?


HR Answer:

Our recommendation would be that after you reviewed the written warning with the employee, and they refused to sign it – you should document on the form “Employee Refused to Sign” and date it with your signature and let the employee know that this document will be put in their employee file. This is your way of showing you gave your employee notice of performance issues and the opportunity to improve. It’s also a good idea to have another supervisor present, as a witness, for such meeting. In a traditional, progressive discipline approach, your next step would be to come up with a “Corrective Action” plan that typically involves some sort of additional training on the procedures you want corrected, along with a scheduled 7- day or 30- day performance review meeting to see if your employee has “Corrected and Improved Performance.” Make sure to inform your employee that if they fail to correct their performance, they may be subject to further disciplinary action that may include termination. For your specific scenario, scheduling a 7-day review meeting may seem more reasonable due the severity of situation.