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Productivity / Performance

When performance slips, don’t let past good reviews affect decision-making

01/01/2013

Some employees do well for years, only to have their performance slip. There may come a time when you have to let the employee go. But what about all those glowing evaluations from years past? If you can prove that the employee’s performance has genuinely declined, those earlier evaluations won’t cause any trouble in court.

How to win discrimination lawsuits: Carefully document real performance problems

01/01/2013
Smart employers carefully track performance over the long haul—not just when a manager decides he’s had enough and wants to terminate an employee for poor performance. It’s important to lay the groundwork early on, especially if a new hire has obvious performance problems right after coming on board.

Employee passed test? He’s probably ‘qualified’

12/30/2012

For an employee to win a dis­crimination lawsuit, he has to show that he was qualified for the job he held. Some employers assume that if they disciplined the employee for poor performance, that proves he wasn’t qualified. But a court might not see it that way if you trained and tested him before putting him to work.

The effects of stress on workplace performance

12/20/2012
Stressors like workload, people issues, lack of work/life balance and job insecurity can cause a dip in productivity at work, according to ComPsych’s 2012 Stress Pulse survey.

Performance slipping under new supervisor? Find out if standards have changed

11/12/2012
If a former employee sues after being fired for poor performance, his attorney will almost certainly ask to look at past performance appraisals. Any that indicate the employee had previously been doing a good or excellent job may be used against you as proof the employee was fired for illegal reasons.

Discipline OK even if employee has complained

11/01/2012
Courts are consistently hesitant to second-guess well-founded employment decisions. Of course, they won’t let you get away with discriminating or retaliating against an employee for filing an EEOC complaint or lawsuit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t discipline an employee if she needs prodding to meet your legitimate expectations.

When disciplining older worker, be sure to document all examples of poor performance

10/29/2012
Employees who sue for age discrimination under the ADEA must prove that, if not for illegal age discrimination, their employer wouldn’t have taken an adverse employment action. That’s why, when age may be an issue, em­­ployers are better off having several good reasons for terminating the employee.

Focus on ability to perform duties if you worry worker may have mental or emotional problems

10/22/2012

What should you do if one of your employees seems to be having difficulty coping well at work? Start by not jumping to conclusions about his mental health. Instead, focus on behavior and document any apparent problems. Then, based on that observation, consider asking for a fitness-for-duty examination.

Watch out for overt harassment, but don’t sweat isolated–possibly misinterpreted–comments

10/15/2012
While you should certainly discourage workplace comments that could be misconstrued as hostile, don’t panic if you learn an insensitive supervisor said something stupid. Unless the remarks were out-and-out racist, chances are they won’t be the basis for a hostile environment racial harassment lawsuit.

Create special test for underperforming worker

10/15/2012

Do you have an employee who just doesn’t seem capable of doing his job? If you document the shortcomings, you can create a special test designed to measure improvement. Just be sure to provide appropriate training materials as part of your effort.