WASHINGTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission, which failed to stop Bernard Madoff’s long-running investment fraud despite repeated warnings, has disciplined seven agency employees over their handling of the matter but did not fire anyone, a person familiar with the actions said.

An eighth employee resigned before disciplinary action was taken, the person said.

The SEC’s head of human resources had recommended that SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro fire one individual, according to a second person, an official involved in the process. The human resources head took that position after a law firm hired by the SEC to advise it on the disciplinary actions also recommended that the employee be fired, the official said.

The law firm, Fortney & Scott, “recommended formal disciplinary action, including removal from service,” for an assistant regional director at the SEC, the agency’s inspector general said in an August report.

The punishments given the employees varied and included suspensions, pay cuts and demotions, according to the first person familiar with the matter. An employee who received one of the most severe sanctions got a 30-day suspension and a demotion. Another was given a pay cut of about 6 percent. At the low end, one employee was suspended for seven days, another for three days and yet another was issued a “counseling memo,” which is a step below a reprimand.

The SEC’s disciplinary process with respect to the Madoff matter was concluded months ago, SEC spokesman John Nester said Friday.

When the law firm advising the SEC recommended that an employee be fired, it included a qualifier, the second person familiar with the matter said. If the SEC thought it was important to avoid losing that individual’s services, it could consider a different punishment.

The people who spoke about the disciplinary process did so on condition of anonymity.