Ask HR: Tips for disciplining employees who are also family?

Dear HR,

I have been having discipline and attendance issues with an employee who is also my son. He has missed many days of work and is not getting his work done when he is in. I have talked to him several times, but the behavior continues. I think he feels he can get away with it since I am his parent. How can I get the message through to him? I would like to suspend him for the rest of this week and dock his pay for 30 days by $0.50. Are there any legal hoops to watch for when working with family?

HR Answer,

Employees are still employees, even when family, and should be held to the same performance standards as all other employees. Consistency is the key to breaking bad habits and forming good ones. You have already given this employee an opportunity to improve their performance. At this point – I would inform the employee—both verbally and in a written notice, of their suspension and the reduction of pay. You should note on the disciplinary memo that this consequence is their “last chance” to correct their performance as “termination will follow if no improvement is seen.” Best practice is to have a discipline policy available to refer to in your employee handbook. Discipline policies should be carefully written so they do not jeopardize the ‘at-will’ status and inadvertently create an employment contract exposing you to potential legal risk. Cardinal can help you develop and implement disciplinary policies that fit your business while keeping you legally compliant with state and Federal labor laws. Just give us a call.