counseling and signing the documentation

I recently read an article that got me thinking and thought it might make a nice topic of discussion here.

In the past, we have discussed what individual forumites do when an employee refuses to sign an acknowledgement that corrective counseling was discussed with them. Some just write "employee refused to sign" and some have other ways, such as turning the paper over and writing 'refused to sign' and having the employee sign that.

The article I read suggested that refusing to sign was insubordination so you should "make" them sign it. How does that sit with you? Could you make your employees sign something after they have refused to sign it?


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  • I think we could discipline the employee for refusing to sign the document as long as there was a statement noting that the employee's signature did not mean s/he agreed with the contents of the document. The signature only notes that s/he has been spoken to and received a copy of the document.

    Having said that, we have never disciplined an employee for refusing to sign. Our practice is to have a second manager witness the refusal to sign; and then have both management witnesses attest in writing that the employee refused. We have on occasion asked the employee to write a statement that they were refusing to sign and then sign the statment. I am amazed at how many employees are willing to do that.
  • The form we use includes an area where the employee is allowed to agree or disagree with the warning, and gives them the opportunity to state in writing why they disagree. With that in place, I can only think of a couple of times when employees have refused to sign. And for both of those, no further discipline was necessary, because they both said "I quit" and walked off the job. Which was an extreme overreaction; neither situation they were being counseled for was anything very serious and they weren't even being disciplined, just reminded of something that they needed to pay closer attention to in order to better do their job. I guess some people just can't handle any sort of constructive criticism, even when it's handled in the gentlest, most professional way.
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