Did the employee know or should the employee have known that the behavior could result in disciplinary action?
As a supervisor, you must communicate work rules and consequences for noncompliance (orally or in writing through posted notices, memos, employee handbooks, etc) and be able to demonstrate how the employee knew or should have known the rules. Some offenses are considered generally unacceptable and severe disciplinary action should be expected even though the rule was not explicity stated. For example:
- insubordination fighting on the job coming to work intoxicated drinking or using illegal drugs on the job
- theft of university property