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Productivity / Performance

Promoted? Judge performance in new job, not old

Once in a while, promotions just don’t work out. Someone who was great at one job might bomb at another. That’s especially true if the new job involves different skills and talents. Don’t let past performance make you hesitate to discipline.

Employee performance not up to snuff? You must communicate your concerns

Employers have an obligation to make sure employees know what kind of performance is expected of them. Under no circumstances should you wait until you’re ready to discharge the employee to put criticism in writing. That creates the suspicion that you came up with reasons as a cover for illegal discrimination.

Detailed disciplinary records show you’re not biased

Employers that keep detailed disciplinary records showing exactly why an employee was disciplined are much more likely to win lawsuits. That makes it harder for an employee to argue he was singled out for unfair, discriminatory punishment.

Beware sudden criticism after FMLA request

Here’s something to watch out for when approving a supervisor’s recommendation to discipline or discharge an employee. If the employee has requested FMLA leave and was previously performing well, be suspicious of claims she’s now performing poorly.

Poor performer? Give examples during review

Not every new hire works out—including applicants who looked promising or at least competent during the interview process. You’ll want to give the employee a chance to improve, but you’ll also want to protect the company in the event of a lawsuit. Providing a detailed and thorough performance review that includes specific examples and suggestions will help.

Citibank settles age discrimination complaint for $500,000

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FIRA) has ruled Citibank violated state anti-discrimination laws when it fired Edward Laurence Bowne in 2008—and ordered the bank to pay Bowne $500,000 in compensation.

Don’t let complaint derail improvement plan


Some employees seem to believe they can stop disciplinary action just by complaining about alleged discrimination. That isn’t true. A supervisor who has begun a push for improvement can and should continue with the effort despite the complaint. There’s no reason to worry that legitimate management amounts to retaliation.

Foreign-born worker sues? Know difference between national origin and immigration status

While it is illegal to discriminate against an individual based on his or her national origin, that doesn’t mean that discrimination against someone based on her immigration status is forbidden. That’s because immigration status isn’t tied to a particular national origin.

When merger looms, focus on evaluations

HR professionals are often among the first to know that big organizational changes are on the way. If you learn about an upcoming merger, don’t spill the beans, but do diplomatically prod managers to complete all pending performance evaluations.

Track what happens to everyone on a PIP

Here’s a tip if you use performance improvement plans (PIP) before termination. Track what happens to everyone who’s on a PIP. Note those who quit instead of facing discharge.