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Good performance reviews don’t outweigh later discipline

by on
in Firing,Human Resources

Sometimes, an employee does something so outrageous that you have no choice but to fire her. If she sues, you may worry that her past good reviews will create trouble. They won’t if you documented the incident leading to the discharge, preferably with witness statements.

Recent case: Phyllis, a patient service representative, had earned good reviews that praised her “people skills.” But then she got into an argument with a patient, which several co-workers witnessed. Her super­­visor deemed Phyllis’ conduct a breach of professional standards and recommended termination.

After she was fired, Phyllis sued. She tried to use her old reviews as evidence that her supervisor was lying about the argument.

She didn’t get far, since the hospital had witness statements and other ­evidence to justify its decisions. Her case was tossed. (Oliver v. University of Pennsylvania, No. 10-7493, ED PA, 2013)

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