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Productivity / Performance

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.

To build high performance, remember the power of ‘Thank you!’

In every workplace and on every team, all people have the innate desire to feel appreciated and valued by others. Leaders of teams—and team members themselves—should work to encourage a culture of appreciation.

10 ways to increase use of your employee assistance plan


Is your organization reaping the full financial benefits of having an employee assistance program? If your employees aren’t using it, probably not.

Fix racial harassment before hostile environment starts affecting employee performance


Employees who have to work in a hostile work environment may have a hard time doing their jobs well. When resulting poor performance leads management to fire someone, expect trouble. Your best bet is to address any hint at a hostile work environment right away.

Unseen lawsuit peril: Too much performance input from too many co-workers

Seeking performance appraisal input from too many employees can cause problems if you’re sued by a terminated worker. The wider a net you cast, the more likely someone will be called to testify about his or her opinion of the discharged employee’s performance. The problem: If any of those co-workers retire, quit and move on, you may have trouble tracking them down.

Retaliation alert: Don’t punish boss for refusing to alter disputed performance review

Here’s an important reminder for senior executives: If an employee says she will sue for discrimination unless her evaluation is changed, don’t punish her supervisor if he refuses to go along. That could amount to retaliation for protected activity—meaning you could have two lawsuits on your hands.

Being sole minority employee doesn’t mean special protection

How often have you worried about disciplining the only employee who belongs to a particular protected class? You probably feared that the employee would sue, alleging bias. Relax. Being the only black … or Asian … or female employee doesn’t confer any particular advantage in a discrimination lawsuit.

Poor performance–properly documented–warrants termination

In almost every case, clearly documented poor performance will trump discrimination allegations. That’s especially true if you can offer examples going back a reasonable period of time.

In court? Turn over all relevant documents

Here’s a warning for HR professionals who are reviewing personnel files for use in a lawsuit: Don’t even think about playing games with the judge by failing to hand over everything. For example, if you provide only negative information, chances are a judge won’t be pleased.

Older worker too slow? Firing isn’t age bias

Some older workers hear “slow” and immediately assume that’s code for “old.” But sometimes, slow just means slow.