AJP standards require a business to have a written, multi-stage disciplinary process. Such a policy can still allow immediate termination for the most severe infractions (such as harassment, violence, or extreme negligence) as long as the policy informs employees about the possible repercussions for severe infractions. AJP standards also include the following requirements regarding discipline and termination proceedings:
- Employers must adopt a policy of dismissal only for just cause, meaning that the employer documents disciplinary actions and communicates to the employee the reason(s) for discipline or termination. Through training and written policies, employers must clearly communicate their expectations for performance and behavior which form the basis for any possible disciplinary action.
- Employees have access to their personnel files, including records of disciplinary action, so they can know their status related to the business.
- AJP standards allow (but do not require) a limited probationary period at the beginning of a new employee’s employment, during which the business may dismiss the employee without the usual disciplinary process and without stated cause. This probationary policy must have a pre-established duration and cannot be unreasonably long. The policy must also be clearly communicated to employees.
- Employees have the right to be accompanied by the representative or advocate of their choice in any meeting with management, including meetings related to disciplinary action or termination.
- Employees may file a grievance for wrongful termination with the AJP. A worker organization will investigate the grievance and attempt to find a resolution.
The following example is included in our Model Handbook for Farm Employees and satisfies the requirements of the AJP standards:
- Sample Stepped Disciplinary Process, including a probationary period for the beginning of employment.