BizQuiz: Do you know how to fire? (Answer 6b)
What you say in a disciplinary meeting can be used against you later on in a wrongful termination lawsuit. You need to use what I call the "broken record" response. Julie says, "But my car wouldn't start this morning!" You reply, "Julie, I understand, but as you know, I gave you a verbal warning and a written warning, and you were late again this morning. I'm therefore terminating your employment." Julie protests, "But Cindy was late this morning, and you aren't firing her." You reply as before, "Julie, I understand. But as you know I gave you a verbal warning and a written warning, and you were late again this morning. I'm therefore terminating your employment." But, but, but! No matter what the employee says, you repeat, "Julie, I understand, but ..." Finally, the employee will get the message and leave the practice.
Now, pay attention. This part is very important: If you go off on a tangent and talk about the other employee or anything that's not related to the termination, you may set yourself up for a defamation of character or wrongful discharge suit. Remember to always use the broken record response. Always.