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Reducing Your Risk in Dealing with a Non-Performing Employee

Posted September 29, 2016

We’ve all heard about fallout stories from firing an employee: Contact lists stolen, hard drives deleted, temper tantrums, physical altercations, the list goes on.

Dealing with a non-performing employee can be intimidating enough. At bare minimum, you’re dealing with an awkward conversation. In a  worst-case scenario, you may be facing a wrongful termination lawsuit.

The procedure you use to terminate an employee is crucial to your business and its operations. How and when you fire an employee sends a strong message to the rest of the employees who still remain in your company and could have great bearing on their morale and outlook towards the company. In addition, how you go about removing an employee from your staff, team or company may carry legal ramifications that could potentially have significant impact on you or your company.

Here are some guidelines to follow that will prepare you better to deal with a non-performing employee:

– Establish a clear benchmark for your policies, procedures and behavior in the workplace.  With the advice of attorneys, consider developing a written handbook or policy manual that can be universally disseminated and acknowledged by your employees.

– Provide regular feedback to your employees about their performance and your expectations.

– Be consistent in your reviews, performance evaluations and follow-up. Any infraction of a company policy or procedure should be dealt with in the same manner every time no matter who the employee is.

– Consider a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) for under-performing or non-performing employees. This gives you the chance to set goals, establish clear performance expectations and explain related consequences, schedule review sessions and track progress.

– Keep a thorough employee record or personnel file. Keep a log of the date, time and issue or problem that was addressed through any verbal or written warnings or performance evaluations. Document this consistently and retain these documents after the employee’s separation date.

We Are Here To Help

New Jersey has laws and regulations related to the rights of employees. Exposing yourself to a single wrongful termination suit can be very costly. At Foss, San Filippo & Milne, LLC, we can provide your company with counseling and advice in methods of compliance and ways to avoid legal risk. We’re ready to serve you by recommending policies and procedures to minimize the possibility of litigation in dealing with non-performing employees.

Call us today at (732) 741-2525 or contact us online to arrange for a consultation.