Ohio employees who are discharged for just cause aren’t entitled to unemployment compensation payments. But Ohio courts frequently hesitate to cut off unemployment benefits for one-time conduct that may be outrageous—as long as the employee doesn’t have a history of past disciplinary problems and the employer has a progressive discipline program it didn’t use.
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.
So, your tasked with assessing employee performance and writing performance reviews. Where do you get started?
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Q. Our state agency’s board is considering terminating a legal secretary who seems to have been a supporter of one of our attorneys who was discharged for both performance problems and being disloyal to our board. We understand that, under the patronage dismissal doctrine, we can terminate employees who supported the political opponent of our agency’s elective head. Can the board likewise discharge the legal secretary for her seeming disloyalty?
Since employees get attorneys’ fees when a court determines employers violated their rights, it seems reasonable that employers should get attorneys’ fees when they have to waste time and money on frivolous litigation. It turns out some courts are beginning to entertain such requests.
Q. After repeatedly warning an employee about her poor performance, we recently terminated her. At the termination meeting, she complained for the first time that she felt she’d been held to higher standards based on her gender. She has now filed for unemployment benefits. While we don’t think she’s entitled to the benefits, we wonder whether it makes sense to fight her claim. What do you think?
Here’s a good way to avoid litigation: Warn all your supervisors and managers that bad-mouthing an employee’s military service can spell trouble. That’s because any disciplinary action following such talk could be viewed as evidence military service was a factor in the decision.
Q. We have an employee who does not work very hard, and her productivity is only mediocre. If we terminate her, will she be able to collect unemployment compensation?
According to the EEOC, Pittsburgh-based Lifecare Hospital showed a remarkable lack of compassion when it fired business manager Diana Altieri-Hand, who had cancer at the time. Saner heads prevailed once hospital officials contemplated the prospect of a hospital justifying to a jury why it mistreated a cancer patient.
You may have noticed more people than usual lurking outside your executive’s door. That’s because economic fears are prompting more employees to eavesdrop and gossip about what might happen next at their workplaces...
If you develop a reasonable retention policy and follow through by regularly deleting information you don’t need, chances are an employee later won’t be able to say you intentionally interfered with the ability to present a legal case ...
If you’ve ever been caught up in an employment lawsuit, chances are you couldn’t wait for it to be over. Yet every case presents a valuable opportunity to prevent future problems and improve HR effectiveness by conducting an “autopsy” of the claim.
Want to know how to get under the skin of the lawyers who represent employees? Ask one. They won't all cop to what sinks their cases, but this one did. Learn what she fears most when staring down an employer in court.
Meetings can be brutally boring. They can be too frequent, too long and too unproductive. You may think you can’t do anything to make a meeting more efficient and results-oriented—you aren’t the person leading it, right? But Amy Henderson, Henderson Training Inc., believes you can do a lot to influence a meeting.
All by itself, a negative performance review after an employee has taken FMLA leave doesn’t give the employee a reason to file a lawsuit. Unless the poor review is accompanied by something tangible—like a demotion or the loss of a pay increase—courts won’t see the review as retaliation.
It often makes sense to give a fresh start to a poorly performing employee who has been complaining about discrimination. Place her in another position with a new supervisor, new co-workers and a clean disciplinary record. Then if her workplace problems persist, you can terminate her without worrying about retaliation claims.
Some employees think they know their jobs better than their supervisors do. They want to decide which parts of their jobs are important and which parts are not. Then, when evaluation time rolls around, they try to show that they achieved their own goals for their jobs—even though management wanted other goals met. Don't let this happen.
Question: “Our appraisal system requires supervisors to schedule quarterly conferences with their employees, but my boss never does. On my annual performance review, he always lists the dates when our conferences should have happened, then asks me to sign it. I have never been comfortable falsifying this information, but I don't know what to do. Should I just suck it up and sign to keep my boss out of trouble? Or should I refuse and risk becoming the target of retaliation?” — Honest Employee
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.
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.