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Command of the investigation / disciplinary / termination meeting.  Do not allow employees to dictate the terms of the meeting.  At the outset, define the protocol that will be followed during the meeting and follow the protocol.

Example approach:  We are here to discuss the incident that occurred on 1/1/17.  During this meeting we will all behave in a professional manner.  Any unprofessional behavior, such as raising of the voice, will result in the meeting being terminated.  I will speak first and when I conclude I will provide you an opportunity to provide a statement.  Jane Doe is sitting in at my request to serve as a witness and will take notes for me during the meeting.  I ask that you not interrupt me and I will provide you the same courtesy when you are asked to provide your side of the incident.  Do you have any questions before we begin? 

Do not let the employee derail the meeting (ex. Interrupting your statement, discussing behavior of others, etc.) and maintain order throughout.   If interruption occurs politely remind the employee of the ground rules and if the interruption continues end the meeting.  

There will be times when new / unexpected information will arise and if it does it is acceptable to delay taking any action.  You can suspend the employee pending further investigation or allow the employee to return to work.  Communicate your decision / intentions to the employee so they clearly know the outcome or that further investigation is going to occur.  

If warning documentation or termination notices that require signatures are involved, provide the employee ample time to review and always present them an opportunity to write any statement they wish.  All present, including the witness, should sign.  If the employee refuses to sign just note such on the document and move on.

Please feel free to share the SMART – HR Tip with anyone that may find benefit.

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