To: Senior Management
From: Carolyn Grift, Director of Human Resources
Date: September 29, 2012
Re: Recommendation for Unreliable Employee
It has been brought to attention that the performance of one of our employees has had unsatisfactory performance and has been consistently late in the past few weeks due to her unreliable child-care situation. As requested, I have presented you with two options for what you can do in order to deal with this situation.
The first option that you have would be to let this employee go.
That being said, you have to be careful; there are rules involved. If this employee has misbehaved repeatedly in the form of multiple attendance problems, then you have “just cause” to start progressive discipline. “’Just cause’ is defined as any conduct by an employee inconsistent with the fulfillment of the expressed or implied conditions of employment. Certain actions are inconsistent with the employment contract and they provide the employer with just cause for discipline and dismissal” (Athabasca Study Guide: Unit 6, ‘Just Cause’).
If this employee is showing mediocre performance and is repeatedly not showing up for work, she is hindering the productivity of the organization and should be disciplined. This should be done in the form of progressive discipline which “identifies and communicates inappropriate behaviours and responds to a series of offences with the following actions: verbal and then written warnings, temporary suspension, and finally, termination” (Gerhart, Hollenbeck, Noe, Steen, Wright, 2009, pg. 90). If this employee continues to be late or not show up for work, you could fire her and claim that you have accommodated her to the point of undue hardship. “Employers have a right to terminate workers for reasons other than for “just cause”; however they must provide notice, terminate pay, or severance pay as prescribed in the relevant employment/labour standards legislation” (ibid, pg. 87).
There are a number of consequences and risks involved in this option: * We must be extremely careful and be sure to follow all required legal standards when carrying out a termination. If the employee feels that we haven’t followed the rules we could have a large legal battle on our hands. “Employees who have been terminated sometimes sue their employers for wrongful dismissal, and in such cases the courts may award employees significant financial settlements” (ibid, pg. 87). * If the employee feels that we have not been fair and given them what they felt they deserved, they could tarnish our reputation and spread rumours about our organization that would make our name look bad. * We cannot “avoid paying termination or severance pay by attempting to force an employee to resign” (ibid, pg. 87), and if we terminate the employee we must pay this as well. This can be expensive as “termination pay is a lump-sum payment equal to the regular wages for a regular workweek that an employee would have earned during the notice period and severance pay is compensation that recognizes the employee’s years of service and compensates the employee for loss of job-related earnings” (ibid, pg. 87). This would be expensive. * We would need a new employee for the now vacant position due to the employee being terminated. This would cost us time and money in recruitment, selection, and training. * Employee moral could go down because other employees could potentially see this as our organization being unaccommodating to female employees with a family.
The second option involves a mixture of punishment and adjustment so that the employee could work to improve and potentially change her behaviour in a positive way that would support the organization’s strategy.
First, progressive discipline would be initiated. It is no secret that this employee has been performing in a mediocre way and that there has