Q. We have an employee who does not work very hard and her production is marginal. If we terminate the employee, will she be able to collect unemployment compensation?
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Most of the time, employers can win discrimination cases by showing that the same “actor” hired and fired an employee. Courts generally assume that the employer’s stated reason for discharge is the true reason and not an excuse to cover up discrimination. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can be loose with your discharge reasons.
Q. We have an employee who was out six months with a heart condition. He has had performance problems on and off since then. Now we face a morale issue because he constantly talks about his illness, and his co-workers feel he isn’t performing. If we terminate him, what is the best approach?
Do you have a manager who wants to discipline an employee who just requested a reasonable accommodation under the ADA? Before you approve the discipline, make sure the manager can document past problems or that the discipline is warranted based on a serious rule infraction that has happened since the request.
Employees who take FMLA leave or engage in other protected activities sometimes look for signs their employer is illegally punishing them. They interpret every legitimate request for improvement as retaliation. Fortunately, courts are beginning to reject those frivolous claims.
Sometimes, employees think all it takes to keep from being fired is a well-timed complaint alleging discrimination, harassment or retaliation. That, they reason, will scare an employer into overlooking poor performance or even criminal behavior. Don’t fall for it.
Soon after Gary Lizalek was hired at a Wisconsin medical firm, he informed the company that he believed, as a matter of religious faith, that he was three separate beings. The company fired all three Lizaleks. He sued, saying the company failed to accommodate his religious beliefs.
If your organization doesn’t have a solid performance evaluation system in place, you’re taking a high-stakes gamble you just might lose. Discharged employees who sue will have a much easier time getting to a jury trial if you can’t produce performance evaluations that back up why you terminated them.
Supervisors often come down hard on underperforming employees during regular performance reviews. But sometimes, completely negative appraisals can come back to haunt you if the employee later sues. Juries are more likely to believe that you terminated the employee fairly if you include some positive feedback.
How to reverse a bad situation? Practice three-way respect: 1) Respect yourself. 2) Respect your colleague. 3) Respect the problem. Jack and Mike had been college buddies, and now Jack had inherited his dad’s manufacturing business. Feeling that the business had languished, Jack had some new ideas...