Letters of expectation and corrective action plans
Letters of expectation and corrective action plans are often used as discipline even though both documents have disclaimers stating, “This is not formal discipline.” These documents should not have punitive language and should not lead an employee to believe that the letter is actual discipline. Both a corrective action plan and a letter of expectation must have clearly defined start and end dates. The employee cannot be on informal probation indefinitely.
A corrective action plan must have clear expectations outlining what behavior(s) need to change. Letters of expectation and corrective action plans should not be vague. They should not be placed in an employee’s personnel file. These documents should also not be utilized as a precursor to formal discipline (written discipline, suspension, or discharge). The documents should also not be referenced in a performance review.
Please note that if the document has a punitive tone and the employee believes that discipline can be imposed, he/she has the right to have a steward present when discussing a corrective action plan or letter of expectation.