If you employ progressive discipline, don’t slap your employees with a bearded dragon

And by bearded dragon, I mean, well, bearded dragon.

This warning holds true even if you operate a reptile store. Chris Joseph of the Broward/Palm Beach New Times reports (here) that a Florida reptile store owner was “arrested on battery and cruelty to animal charges on Friday after he allegedly hit some of his employees with a live lizard multiple times.”

It’s all in this police report. Additionally, according to Joseph article, the same store previously had “hosted a roach-eating contest that ended up killing contestant after he choked on the dozens of roaches and worms during the contest.”

So the clear takeaway here is use bunny rabbits because they don’t hurt as much scrap those progressive discipline policies. Like the infamous “probationary period” when at-will employment begins — they’re at-will, silly — progressive discipline is a throwback to days when unions had more power in the workplace and could negotiate progressive discipline into a collective bargaining agreement. 

I’m not saying don’t give warnings and such before termination, but why restrict yourself that way?

And to those of you who say, “Silly, Meyer. We have an exception to our progressive discipline policy that allows the company to bypass progressive discipline, when deemed fit in the company’s discretion.” Well, ok, great. Just know that, when you create exceptions by deviating from the policy, you create disparate treatment claims.

Don’t handcuff yourself, consider ditching the progressive discipline policy. Instead, just treat employees fairly and equally.

Updated: