Employee Documentation & Discipline


It’s the part of running a small business or managing a team that many dread the most – employee documentation and discipline. When building your team, you focus time and attention on hiring employees whose skillset aligns with the role and who you expect to be a good fit for the organization. Yet despite your best efforts, you will occasionally have employees who are not measuring up to your standards.

Too often, managers allow employees to continue poor behavior because they do not know how to proceed with the documentation and discipline process. Meanwhile, a toxic employee may be “holding the organization hostage” by negatively impacting everyone around them. In short, neither you nor your organization can afford not to act in these situations.

Correcting and changing employee behavior is not easy; it takes professional courage and knowledge of good processes that are legally defensible.  This session focuses on the progressive disciplinary documentation process – when someone should be written up for bad behavior, what step to take, and what should be discussed at each step. Documentation of the disciplinary action is a crucial step to ensure that the employee understands what they did wrong and consequences. By attending this session, you can work to build up your confidence with how to productively proceed during this difficult process.

In this session, we will discuss:

  • How to establish clear employee standards and processes so that your team knows what expectations are in place
  • Potential disciplinary paths, including: severance, demotion, transfer, or termination of employment
  • The importance of clearly and appropriately documenting employee misconduct and establishing consistency in internal processes
  • How to document in a remote setting
  • The processes required to have a successful discipline program
  • What to do when employee coaching is not appropriate or not enough


  • Staff who have recently taken on HR responsibilities
  • Managers who have not previously had training on employee discipline topics


Location: Grainger Hall, UW-Madison

Schedule: 8:30 am- 12:00 pm

Date: October 6, 2022

Fee: $149


Registration policy: Payment will be required at time of registration. You must have either a credit card or valid UW-Madison funding string to be able to register.

Cancellation policy: If you cancel before the program begins, there is a $25 cancellation fee. If you cancel after the program begins you will be charged for the full program fee. To cancel, call registration at 608-262-2451.

Disability Statement: Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at sbdc@bus.wisc.edu to request accommodations.

The Small Business Development Center at UW Madison is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®.


Karen Bender, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Karen is a Human Resources professional with over 25 years of experience, ranging from a large multi-national to several local start-ups. She has extensive experience working in both union and non-union environments in manufacturing, but has also worked in health insurance. Duties have included all facets of HR tasks in both a manager and director role. She has led teams that have earned recognition for their accomplishments in safety, environmental, and wellness arenas. Currently, Karen is a HR Consultant, working for a variety of companies on different projects.