If you have a problem employee, it is important to document those problems.  Written counseling serves many purposes.  Michael Fox discusses a case in which the employer did not document those problems and lost a claim for discrimination because of that failure.  Of course, he assumes the alleged work problems were genuine.  Maybe they were genuine and maybe they were not.  If the issues were genuine, then it is even more important to document those problems.  A good employee, or a formerly good employee, as this lady appears to have been, deserves a chance to improve.  

Of course, as Mr. Fox notes, it hurt the employer that it did not follow its own progressive discipline process.  That failure to follow its own policies can help show that the employer’s concerns are not genuine and have been fabricated.