Many federal agencies do not have a formal alternative discipline policy in place, a report by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board suggests. Such policies, which encourage managers to address the cause of the employee's misbehavior instead of just doling out punishment, are seen as more effective in many cases and can help reduce the paperwork created by the traditional system of probations, suspensions and terminations. Alternative discipline "is a great tool for supervisors to consider if they have an employee who is engaging in misconduct," MSPB Chairman Neil McPhie said. "It empowers [management] to work with the misbehaving employee in order to craft a solution that has the greatest potential to change that employee's conduct."

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