Companies that fire lots of employees get sued for discrimination by many of the castoffs. But all those terminations may be an indication of employee/management personality conflicts, not discrimination.
For most managers, conducting effective performance reviews is the most daunting part of their job. Don’t look on it with dread! Make your performance appraisals work for you, not against you with these tools: performance review examples, tips on writing employee reviews, sample performance reviews and employee evaluation forms.
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Remind supervisors that any comments they make about race or another protected characteristic can come back to haunt the company. It doesn’t much matter whether the comments come before or after a termination decision has been made.
Q. If an employee is already on probation when she becomes pregnant, can we continue progressive discipline measures, including possible discharge?
Q. We had to terminate an employee for failure to adequately perform his job responsibilities. Can we deny him the COBRA subsidy because the termination was not a layoff or a result of the economy?
Some bosses are visibly irked when they receive a doctor’s note restricting the work an employee can perform. If the employee notices that reaction and then gets disciplined or fired, watch out for a lawsuit! Her attorney will probably try to link the timing of the doctor’s note and the adverse employment action as proof of discrimination or retaliation.
Even the best bosses sometimes blow up. An employee slacks off or messes up, and the manager lashes out. Everyone knows such outbursts shouldn’t happen. That doesn’t mean they won’t. How you handle the aftermath may make the difference between a jury trial and a smooth return to workplace normalcy.
The recession has put the brakes on pay raises in many workplaces. But too many employers have halted performance reviews at the same time. That’s a major mistake. Reason: Discharged employees who sue will have a much easier time getting to a jury trial if you can’t produce evaluations that back up your stated termination reasons.
Think your performance evaluations are tough? Try being an NFL quarterback. Bizjournals ranked all 36 NFL quarterbacks who threw at least 160 passes during the 2008 season to see who delivered the most bang for the buck. Last season’s New York Jets QB Brett Favre placed 34th out the 36 signal callers rated.
Human resources professionals know the importance of evenhanded discipline. But other managers may not be so careful, often preferring to issue casual and informal warnings that aren’t recorded anywhere, only to insist on more severe sanctions when they perceive employees crossing some indefinite line. When that happens, you run a real risk of facing a disparate treatment lawsuit.