Waiting to fire slacker? Document your concerns

If you have a poor-performing worker but don’t want to fire him before you have lined up a replacement, make sure you document all the problems—and your efforts to get him up to expectations.

Recent case: Monte was often late clocking in, had multiple unexcused absences and produced numerous defective parts. He was written up for all these but wasn’t fired immediately.

When he was let go, he sued, alleging discrimination. Monte claimed he had met all his employer’s legitimate expectations and therefore must have been fired for some reason other than poor performance. He argued if he had been such a bad employee, he would have been fired sooner.

The court dismissed Monte’s case after the employer showed the actual performance record and explained it wanted to give him every opportunity to improve. (Pepper v. Precision Valve, No. 12-2449, 4th Cir., 2013)