Documentation is key if you decide not to retain a probationary employee — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Documentation is key if you decide not to retain a probationary employee

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in Firing,Human Resources

Sometimes, it becomes obvious soon after hiring an employee that he is not going to work out as expected. But what if you still want to give him a chance?

The key is making your expectations clear and then documenting any problems that show he can’t meet your expectations.

Recent case: Tony, who is black, graduated from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy and was hired as a probationary state trooper. He had to complete a one-year on-the-job training program before being hired as a regular trooper.

Problems began surfacing by Tony’s first quarterly evaluation, when a check showed he had twice been stopped for traffic violations while driving his own vehicle. Co-workers also complained that he had communication problems and essentially a bad attitude.

By the final evaluation, the team re­­sponsible for recommending discharge or retention recommended extending probation. During the extension, Tony was again stopped for a traffic violation. At the end of the extension, the team voted against retaining him.

Tony sued, alleging race discrimination.

But the court tossed out his lawsuit. It reasoned that the State Police had documented problems—the traffic stops and poor attitude—that justified not retaining Tony. He had no evidence to show that anyone outside his protected class had racked up similar problems and been retained. (Reaves v. Pennsylvania State Police, No. 14-1555, 3rd Cir., 2015)

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