You have undoubtedly heard “Document, Document, Document. If you don’t document, it didn’t happen.” What you don’t hear is “how and what” to document and then what’s the next thing you do? Maybe it’s best to start from the beginning – just as you would with an employee.
What is the problem or issue that has caught your attention? If this has been going on for a while (assuming it’s not a dischargeable offense) you need to get your supporting data together.
You need to review the material to make sure it supports what you feel the problem is. Then you meet with the employee and explain what the issue is.
Ask the employee why this is happening and what the employee is going to do to correct the problem. Does the employee need your help in correcting the problem?
If this is a performance issue, has the employee had problems like this in the past? If not, what has changed that is now causing the problem? Does the employee need additional training to perform up to acceptable standards
In cases where attendance or tardiness is the issue but neither was a problem until recently, what changed
Some managers will try to accommodate the employee in these situations, which is fine if it is not going to interfere with other employees or negatively affect your operation. If coming in late is simply a matter of over sleeping or not leaving home early enough to get to work on time, the employee must take action to correct the problem.
In these situations, one of the worst things a manager can do is allow the employee to continue arriving late and let the employee work past the end of the regularly scheduled shift to make up the time. To do this is “rewarding” the employee for something in his control that he can easily fix.
Once this has been accomplished, the manager should schedule a follow up meeting to check the employee’s progress in correcting the problem.
The manager should advise the employee that he will confirm this discussion in writing and give a copy to the employee to sign before putting it in the employee’s file.
Some employees don’t take the counseling sessions as a serious event so the manager must explain that if the problem isn’t corrected, it may result in termination.
On the date of the pre-determined follow up meeting, the manager should have data to review with the employee. If the problem has been corrected, the employee should be congratulated for fixing the problem.
If the problem continues, the employee should be coached on how to fix the problem and be given a time for another follow up discussion.
It is important that management document the reason the employee gives for not fixing the problem.
Again the manager should tell the employee that he will document the conversation and the employee will be given a copy and expected to sign the original before it goes into the employee’s file. The employee needs to understand that if improvement isn’t accomplished, he will be terminated.
Depending on your company’s written policies and past practices, the next step could be another written, a written and suspension or termination.
The manager’s goal is to help the employee improve and correct a problem. If this is not accomplished, the documentation should clearly show that the manager was trying to help the employee.
Anyone reading the documentation should have a clear picture of what happened and why. It is important that your data shows that you treated the employee fairly and consistently.
Remember this could eventually be heard by an arbitrator or judge and jury.
Contact our Las Vegas business attorneys at The Dean Legal group to schedule a consultation (702) 823-1354