Dealing with Problem Employees
Every office has a problem employee. They’re chronically late. They don’t meet deadlines. They don’t accept criticism, etc. When they begin to sense their employment is in jeopardy, they start to blame others for their failings, suddenly claim they are being harassed or targeted, demand leave, etc. More often than not, these are the employees who turn around and try to sue their employers after they’ve been terminated. Even more frustratingly, these same individuals will typically allege they were model employees before their termination. So how can you, as an employer, protect yourself?
There are a number of strategies for avoiding employment litigation. The first is, no matter what the size of your business, always document employee issues. If an employee isn’t meeting expectations, you should make the employee aware of this fact. There’s nothing wrong with having a verbal discussion, but make sure that you always document your actions so that there is a written record. For example, take five minutes after the discussion to email the employee a quick summary of what you discussed. If issues persist, additional warnings should follow, with a written record of the warning always placed in the employee’s file. Taking a few minutes to create a written record of an employee issue could be the difference between scaring off a litigious ex-employee and incurring thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend against a frivolous suit.