update: I caught an employee in a lie

Remember the letter from the manager who caught an employee lying about sending a FedEx shipment that she hadn’t really sent? Here’s the update.

While the employee is still working here, I did finally get support from my manager (the president) to write her up, and when I did her annual review, it stated all of the incidents that occurred – it was the worst review she had ever received. I was firm and direct and left my emotions out of it, even though she started crying. I explained that we are all going to make mistakes and that I am always willing to help resolve issues when she does something wrong, but lying about it is not going to be tolerated at all. It seems her first instinct is like a teenager: say whatever she can to not be in trouble. I advised her to stop and think before she speaks to make sure that what she is saying is the truth.

The vice president also talked to the owner of the company (who is out of state but came for a site visit) and brought him up to speed and he agreed that she will be terminated the next time she lies about anything. The only reason she wasn’t terminated now is because the parent company just gave out annual bonuses and the owner (who is also an attorney) said that he would have a hard time defending the termination when less than 2 weeks ago she was given a very nice bonus. He was also not very happy to learn that the president has been sweeping this problem under the rug for so long and for not bringing it to his attention earlier.

I now feel like I have the proper backing to perform my job and make sure my direct reports are held accountable for their actions. Prior to this, I felt like it didn’t matter what happened, the president was going to override me and do whatever he could to “not rock the boat.” This all happened about 3 weeks ago and we have had one incident when she didn’t perform a task I had assigned to her; when I asked her about it, she started to lie and say she had started the project but caught herself and admitted she hadn’t gotten to it yet but gave me a time frame of when she expected it to be done. For now, it looks like she is on the right track and only time will tell if she stays on it.

Me again. I know your hands are tied, but it’s ridiculous that your company is keeping on someone who’s known to turn to lying when it suits her. This is not a situation where you should be giving someone chance after chance, and even if she pulls it together for a while, you’re going to have to watch her like a hawk forever. Your company is being silly here.

{ 85 comments… read them below }

  1. HR Noob*

    Seems to me that the president and this employee are both guilty of concealing problems to avoid getting in trouble. Any chance this is a culture problem and not just an issue with this one person?

    1. Adam V*

      It also sounds like the owner, the VP, and this manager are all committed to fixing the integrity issue here, so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt (at least going forward).

    2. Jeanne*

      This is more my question. Is this manager who wrote in newer to the company? It could be that this sort of behavior was acceptable in the past. Not even so much the elaborate lie but not sending the package. In the past maybe no one actually followed up with her work. So when she was caught this time, she panicked and made up the elaborate lie. If, adding to that, telling the truth and admitting mistakes was discouraged, then she was probably really surprised she was in trouble.

      There has to be more to the story of a fabulous go-to gal who is now an incompetent liar. It is either in the company culture or her personal life.

      1. The OP*

        You are right, I am the newest member of the office team. When I first started she and I were peers and since then I have been promoted to manager so these things, which were concealed before by previous management, are coming to light. The President has been (since I’ve been here) not wanting to rock the boat with an employee who has been here so long, single mother, etc.

        I have been discussing these problems with the VP who finally relayed it to the parent company & owners and the proverbial poo has hit the fan and FINALLY I am being given more authority over the situation. She no longer has a free pass by the President who obviously has a soft spot for her.

        1. Jeanne*

          Good for you for standing your ground. I actually hope she can learn to be a good employee.

  2. Anon21*

    “The only reason she wasn’t terminated now is because the parent company just gave out annual bonuses and the owner (who is also an attorney) said that he would have a hard time defending the termination when less than 2 weeks ago she was given a very nice bonus.”

    What does this mean? Is he worried about a frivolous employment discrimination lawsuit? I can’t imagine any court would conclude that “failing to perform job duty, then lying to cover it up” is a pretext for a bias-motivated adverse employment action.

      1. The OP*

        Not unemployment so much as a wrongful termination “how could you pay someone such great bonuses for 20 years and then all of the sudden they are such a bad employee you terminated them?”

        Until I got here (and it’s been a major uphill climb) there was never any documentation of discipline problems, etc. so with the lawyer now seeing all that has been going on he wants to make sure that our position is rock solid for anyone that is terminated – especially since we have such a diverse culture here and people of one race or another are ALWAYS claiming they are being mistreated or discriminated against for whatever reason. For instance, an African American and a Hispanic got into a fist fight and we terminated them both but the NAACP was calling us within 24 hours with claims that the African American was terminated because of his race.

        1. Cary*

          Personally I think the owner is being pretty smart. In Canadian law (and I think this person is in Canada) this could be a wrongful termination, as by repeatedly ignoring her poor behavior you’ve condone it. You can certainly do progressive discipline in order to give her a chance to improve, but such a spectacular volte face isn’t going to be looked upon kindly by a employment tribunal.

    1. JB*

      Lawsuits can be quite costly to defend, even frivolous ones, depending on the state you’re in (if you’re in the U.S.). Plus, think about it from the perspective of a juror: this employee gets a very nice bonus and then two weeks later she gets a terrible review? Because that kind of thing does happen when companies decide they need to downsize (see all the layoffs from big law firms in the middle of the recession)–someone who has always been told they are performing fine are suddenly fired on the ground of poor performance because the company wants to lay people off without looking like they are in financial trouble enough to do layoffs. Or the manager decides she doesn’t like the employee. The owner/attorney could be thinking that the circumstances could make a jury think that the bad review was just a pretext.

      1. GrumpyBoss*

        This. The cost of lawsuits is so much more than just legal fees and damages awarded. I once was involved in a lawsuit from a terminated employee. It was not my direct report, but we were at a remote location, so I was brought in as another manager to witness the PIP, the final warning, and ultimately, the termination. He filed a suit with the claim that he was wrongfully terminated because we put him on a PIP with no intention of taking him off (no, actions to resolve were clearly spelled out), and that everyone at the company who goes on a PIP ultimately gets fired, so what is the point? (How would he know?) Even though I was only involved on the outside, I was infuriated by what seemed to be obvious frivolity. I was even more infuriated when the company’s outside counsel advised us to settle.

        I understand the nuts and bolts of it – it was much less in legal fees, who wants to take a chance with the jury, what is the reputational risk of this going to trial, etc. But didn’t mean it was easy to swallow. What was even harder to swallow was how much harder our jobs were as managers from there on out. HR was gunshy. Legal needed to approve every disciplinary action. I had someone who intentionally sabotaged a project, grinned about it from ear to ear and bragged about it in a meeting, and I STILL couldn’t do anything.

        I cut my losses and moved on.

        1. Mike C.*

          This still requires the other party to find a lawyer who believes that there is enough evidence to have a good chance of winning a lawsuit, and has a client who is able to pay for such a lawsuit. Your company is still going to have way more in terms of resources to pay for legal representation than someone who just lost their job.

          What country was this company in? I’ve had coworkers try to sabotage projects and have them nearly walked out right then and there.

    2. De Minimis*

      I saw it more as the OP’s boss was trying to CYA to the parent on why a bonus would be paid to an employee who was actually about to be fired, not that they were afraid of a lawsuit–it would really expose the poor management practices.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I thought they had no documentation prove a on-going problem. Lacking that documentation it could appear that the company does not want to pay her the bonus.

      1. The OP*

        Poor management practices have been exposed as a result of this, definitely. There was no documentation of an on-going problem because the President didn’t want to do that…unfortunately that has come back to bite him on the behind. We now have a documentation process along with a progressive disciplinary process that is going to make things much easier. It’s just too bad it had to get to this point before the President would listen to me.

  3. Adam V*

    Here’s my question – why in the world did the “very nice bonus” come before “the worst review she had ever received”? Wouldn’t you want to wait until after the reviews before you’re handing out bonuses? And if someone’s doing something that would have otherwise gotten them fired, at the very least they shouldn’t get a bonus?

    1. Mona*

      Some companies the bonuses are awarded after the previous review, but the process is so long that by the time bonuses are actually paid, it’s review time again.

    2. The OP*

      It was a timing issue. Prior to this the parent company gave out bonuses without asking the (onsite) managers/president/vp, etc. whether or not there were people who should not be getting them. Bonuses have been based on how the company did financially each quarter and not on individual performance like most bonus programs are.)

      Because of this incident it will now be a discussion before any bonuses will be decided. We have another bonus coming up in the next month and she is being excluded completely – in line with getting the bad review and write up after the last one.

      1. Enid*

        That kinda makes the boss’s concern even weirder. “The owner (who is also an attorney) said that he would have a hard time defending the termination when less than 2 weeks ago she was given a very nice bonus.” Everybody got bonuses, regardless of performance. There, I’ve defended it.

        I’m glad they’re changing their system, if their former system left them unable to fire anyone for some nonspecific period of time after they happened to hand out bonuses.

  4. Katie the Fed*

    if she lies this much, it’s only a matter of time before she does it again and she gets terminated.

    1. Adam V*

      I’d be shocked if she’s not counting her lucky stars she wasn’t terminated *already* and updating her resume to get out of Dodge post-haste.

    2. Celeste*

      Agree, for whatever reason she has to work at not lying. I hope you can get rid of her soon, because it makes your job harder to have to be on the lookout.

    3. Nina*

      Yep. It would be one thing if this were an isolated incident, but it seems that lying is this woman’s default. Like Allison said, the OP will have to watch her like a hawk from now on. I wouldn’t be surprised if she slipped up again.

  5. Demeter*

    Assuming her lying is a somewhat automatic tendency, perhaps spurred from over-critical adults in her past or a fear of failure, would you say that this woman us unworthy of ever holding an administrative type job again, or any type of employment for that matter? Is there reason to believe she’ll change with a fresh start at a new company?

    Does anyone see value in giving this woman the chance and the coaching to improve? Honestly, I think a lot of people have the fibbing-to-avoid-getting-in-trouble tendency to a lesser degree. Perhaps coaching this woman will help the OP learn how to deal with others in the future.

    1. OriginalYup*

      The OP did give her a chance to improve — she didn’t fire her outright. But if you’re asking hypothetically? I’ll believe someone capable of change unless they demonstrate otherwise. However I don’t see this as something that would benefit from coaching. Coaching is about improving weak performance or developing skills. Lying about completing assigned work tasks is a just flat out failure to perform at the most minimum level. It’s a “stop this behavior immediately or be fired” situation.

      1. Betsy*

        I don’t know if I agree that coaching is always about improving performance and developing skills. I think coaching is about helping people improve in whatever way is necessary. If someone is wearing ratty clothes and it’s hindering their ability to get promoted, talking with them about that is coaching. If someone’s response to criticism is to get defensive and argue, advising them on how to receive that criticism is coaching.

        I think that the OP has already done the required coaching here: explaining that in the business world, owning up to problems and mistakes is always preferable to lying and hoping no one notices. I think it’s true that for a lot of people, that type of lying is a learned behavior in toxic environments, and while I understand the business logic of saying, “We don’t want this person,” I do think that people who have that instinct can often be redeemed.

        I have been in places where owning up to mistakes would get you screamed at for an hour, and in those cases, the impulse to lie is nearly unavoidable. Bad habits can develop in bad places, but people can come back from them.

        1. mirror*

          I grew up in a household where if you made a mistake, it didnt matter if you owned up to it or not, you were getting yelled at and punished. The easiest way out of the situation was to blame an external force. And in my case, I had to have a clear story to back it up (being vague=lying).

          So, I can see how this bad habit may have developed for the employee and I have sympathy. I dont feel she is a lost cause. I did the same thing she did when I was younger, until I learned that with most people, it’s okay to admit you made a mistake. Before I learned that though, I thought every mistake = getting fired.

          1. mirror*

            Just read that she is an older woman who has been with the company for 20 years…no more sympathy. Sounds like maybe she is burned out and doesnt care as much anymore? But damn, those bonuses!

            1. Betsy*

              Yeah, I had a similar reaction to the “she’s been with this company for 20 years” comment. If she was a new employee but in her 50s, I might assume she was coming from a toxic workplace and feel some sympathy, but if she’s the one changing while the place stays the same, it suggests that she’s just slipping and trying to cover it up.

              1. Bonnie Doon*

                And yet it sounds like the 20 years she has been there this behaviour has been overlooked (surely this can’t be the first time she’s been caught in a lie! ) that to me is the toxic work place (she hasn’t come from one, she’s still in one that had just recently decided to change)

  6. Mephyle*

    Yes, I think there is reason to believe she’s capable of change and is making the effort. She already got “caught” once telling the truth when she was starting to lie. That is a good sign. I hope you gave her positive reinforcement, OP.
    I agree that the bonus thing is redonkulous. It makes no sense whatsoever, either that she got it just before getting a poor review, or that the uppers are using it to justify not having terminated her already.

  7. Lily in NYC*

    Wait, OP, you mentioned other incidents in your update. So this was not her only bad behavior?

    1. The OP*

      Yes, Lily in NYC, I had caught her in a major lie earlier in the year but she refused to admit that she lied. Even though I KNEW she lied and there was plenty of circumstantial evidence that she lied, without her absolute confession of it the president wouldn’t allow me to discipline her.

      There have been several instances of her not completing tasks and always having an excuse as to why – but these issues were not brought up to the parent company in reference to bonuses because bonuses were based on how well the company did – basically the company is “sharing the wealth” – and not on individual performances. Because of this situation that has now changed and she is being excluded completely in the next bonus. It is our hope that doing that will really drive the message home that she is on her last leg and the changes we discussed have to be made or she is going to be terminated.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        Thanks for the clarification – I didn’t realize it was more than the FedEx incident.

      2. GrumpyBoss*

        Ugh. I hate when someone is caught, but still refuses to accept any accountability.

        I feel for you, I’m going through my own liar issue now. Luckily, management sees it. Unfortunately, we just are having trouble getting together the circumstantial evidence to make a case for a final warning/termination. And what really pisses me off is that the stuff he is lying about is not stuff I would discipline him over if he just owned it! Ain’t management fun?

        Hang in there.

        1. Mallory*

          Maybe you should let him know. People fear managers because they don’t communicate. I wonder if all of this lying (OP) is because management doesn’t accept truth.,

          Often, a job can’t be done because 2 people should be doing it, but telling management you can’t help but drop the ball because you are short staffed is not allowed. Sometimes no one want to hear the truth.

            1. Mallory*

              Really? Management often wants to hear “there’s no problem” and I’d hazard to guess many folks lie by omission b/c they are afraid to go above their boss or share an honest opinion- we lost a space shuttle that way as I recall.

              1. Karowen*

                But a lie of omission is saying “I gave it to FedEx” when you just dropped it off. It’s not creating a whole story about how FedEx lost it and just now found it and they are just so awful at their job!

                I don’t know exactly what GrumpyBoss is dealing with, but the latter is so very different from the former. I’ve had no managerial training so I can’t say for certain, but I feel like the lie of omission warrants a sit-down counseling and verbal warning that it can’t happen again, whereas the tall tale requires something more. (Of course, this is assuming that lives aren’t at stake.)

  8. This is me*

    If the annual bonuses were given out indiscriminately, then I see no problem with terminating her. It sounds like the owner is worried more about the risk of a petty lawsuit than employing staff who don’t lie.

    1. The OP*

      They are quarterly bonuses and are in the thousands of dollars ($10,000 and above). It would be quite difficult to defend the termination of someone two weeks after giving them a $10,000 bonus.

      It’s our attorney that is telling us not to fire her until we have more documentation of her failings and our attempts and getting her back on track.

      She has been with the company for over 20 years. She used to be very good and that gal everyone went to when they needed something done. I think that is part of the reason why the company wants to try to improve the situation rather than fire her but this is the last straw.

      1. Dan*

        Damn. What line of work are you in? That’s $40k in bonuses alone every year, like half my paycheck.

        1. The OP*

          We are VERY lucky to be working for this company which makes it even more frustrating that someone is jeopardizing her job like this. She is a single parent and will NEVER make this kind of money anywhere else. This is the blessing of a lifetime.

      2. Turanga Leela*

        Wow, I had been assuming that she was young. This behavior is harder to understand if she’s been working for a long time. I wonder if she’s going through a hard time in her personal life. It seems so strange that a competent employee would start acting like this out of the blue.

      3. This is me*

        But are the bonuses given out to every employee regardless of performance, tenure, etc? If they’re given out to everyone I don’t see a potential problem that comes with terminating her.

      4. Mike C.*

        Why is it so “difficult to defend”? You have a company policy that says everyone gets a bonus for being able to fog a mirror, this person can fog a mirror, thus they get the bonus.

        This isn’t making any sense to me.

        1. fposte*

          And defend to whom? Unless she’s on a contract, it’s perfectly legal to fire her whether she got a bonus or not. Is this another case of people misunderstanding “wrongful termination”?

          1. Karowen*

            Well, if she has been working at this company for more than 20 years, it’s probably a safe bet that she’s over 40 which puts her in a protected class. While they still can fire her at any time, they’re more likely to want to CYA so that if she does decide to take legal action, they have tons of evidence proving that it wasn’t because of her protected class(es).

      5. This is me*

        Also, this is a bit of a non-sequitur, but if I had a job that gave me a 10,000 bonus just for being at my desk in the morning you’d never catch me doing anything to remotely jeopardize my job.

      6. MR*

        After 20 plus years, complacency really sets in, and I suspect that may be the case here. Things that worked for the employee in the first 10 years, no longer work, and a without a change in responsibilities or scenery, things work differently than they had in the past.

        I really only see a change of scenery for this employee being the only good long-term outcome here, both for the company and employee.

  9. Poohbear McGriddles*

    If the FedEx incident happened after the bonus, I see no problem with letting her go. Especially since that bonus wasn’t tied to her performance anyway.
    If she had called in a bomb threat after receiving her bonus, you wouldn’t keep her on (would you?). This offense is certainly lower on the scale, but it is still a terminable offense.
    I’m still not holding my breath that upper management really has your back on this.

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      Never underestimate the extent a company will go to in order to avoid litigation.

  10. This is me*

    But are the bonuses given out to every employee regardless of performance, tenure, etc? If they’re given out to everyone I don’t see a potential problem that comes with terminating her.

    1. EG*

      The bonus is unrelated to her lying in this matter. That said, based on history, I don’t feel that the employee will improve in her repeated lying behavior. Sad when all she has to do is own up to her mistakes and try to do better instead of lying.

  11. Snarkus Ariellius*

    The $10K+ bonus is a serious problem, and I wish you originally mentioned the dollar amount.  Under what circumstances are bonuses given out in this environment?  That VP is correct.  You can’t fire someone after giving her such a hefty bonus two weeks prior.  That smells like discrimination against a protected class and/or something sinister.  (Think of Anita Hill’s defense.  If Clarence Thomas thought she was so incompetent and horrible why did he keep her on staff complete with positive reviews.)  

    Further, and I can’t believe I’m about to defend her, if I were that employee, I’d be so confused with all the mixed messages here.  She can do a crappy job but it sounds like bonuses are given out regardless?  LW, please correct me if I’m wrong here.

    Similarly, you have to make sure you’re not telling her she’s doing a good job overall and don’t find ways to compliment her either.  That will just compound the mixed messages.

    1. Snarkus Ariellius*

      Okay I just saw your updates LW.  Regardless, your company needs to learn its lesson.  (You imply that it did so that’s good.)  This is why you don’t hand out bonuses indiscriminately to employees, especially when it confuses workers.

      While she may be excluded from the next round, $10K is STILL a  hefty bonus.  I’m no attorney but I think at least another year needs to go by.  You need as much distance between her termination and that bonus as possible.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        No need to wait a year! Definitely not — that’s way too long!

        First, the bonuses were given to all employees across the board, not linked to performance. So I don’t even think they’re an issue here at all.

        Second, if the company does want to be cautious, they just need to start documenting problems and warnings now. They could still fire her in 4-8 weeks, depending on how quickly that process goes.

      2. fposte*

        But why do you need distance? It would perfectly legal to fire your best employee, whom you just promoted to Princess and gave an diamond tiara to, because you felt like it. The legality of her firing isn’t affected by her perception of her performance–or her actual performance.

        1. Anna*

          That’s not true across the board though, which is why we talk about State X being an At Will state and others (like CA) not being At Will.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s basically true across the board: 49 of the 50 states in the U.S. are at-will, including California. The only one that isn’t is Montana, which is less than 1% of the U.S. population.

        2. tesyaa*

          She could allege age discrimination or other discrimination, couldn’t she? And without documentation it might be a pain to defend against.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            That’s why people are suggesting documentation, yes — because she could come back and claim that she was fired because of her race, age, or other protected class.

            However, the employer has an obvious defense to that: She was fired for a lie. Of course, if they wait and wait to do it, then it becomes harder to use that as the defense.

            But the big takeaway I’d like people to have here is that if someone deserves to be fired, you shouldn’t be afraid to do it just because they just got a company-wide bonus.

          2. Snarkus Ariellius*

            Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

            Documentation of all her errors is essential. The more documentation the better but now it sounds like she has seen the error of her ways. At least for the time being.

    2. John*

      This is why compensation dollars should not be devoted to across-the-board programs like this.

      1. The OP*

        Exactly what I’ve been saying since I got here. It’s taken six years but things are finally getting straightened out in that regard.

  12. Not So NewReader*

    OP, be sure to mention that plenty of people would be happy to take her job and NOT lie. Furthermore, they would not have one ounce of confusion about whether to lie or tell the truth.

    How did she go from being a good worker to being a lair? How long has she been lying?
    It almost sounds like she has something on someone there.

  13. manager anonymous*

    I have just been through this with a long term employee that I inherited when I was hired. The compulsive/reflexive lying. We had those discussions- everyone makes mistakes. Count to ten before you reply to a question. Take responsibility. The weekly coaching meetings where with complete ease lying about work completed or blaming other…Dave in the mailroom, Rob of buildings said…Laura in processing told me… I didn’t know THAT was what you wanted (there was an email) You never told me (there was an email) I was never trained (documented training) I never was responsible for that (in her job description AND outstanding previous performance evals) Copious crying when presented with evidence and “caught” in a lie. Every time she took a day off sick or vacation some issue would arise about incomplete work, unanswered customer requests. A year and 6 months later- enough documentation to fill a banker’s box, (3 investigations,3 official meetings discipline, a PIP, a disciplinary letter, a suspension and 4 union grievances,) she handed in her resignation at the meeting that she was going to receive her termination letter.

    And I had the support of my supervisors throughout this process. Documenting is a part-time job.
    Everytime she opened her mouth or sent me an email, I had to investigate – email or interview to find out if she really did drop off that package before noon or why something that everyone else took 1 hour to complete, took her a week.

    I don’t feel relieved. I just feel exhausted.

    1. Rayner*

      Why in god’s name was it allowed to get that far? Eighteen months to complete a procedure that should have taken two or four at most?

      1. CA Anon*

        I think the key here is “union grievances”–unions exist to protect their members, so they can make getting rid a problem employee very difficult and time consuming.

  14. manager anonymous*

    yes, the key here is Union. Although I began documenting (my first month on the job) the lying, lateness, disregarding requests and lack of any meaningful product to access including verbal and written communications as referring to job description and accuracy in communication, with the help of HR, I proceeded down the official progressive discipline path after my first 3 months. Each action on my part had to occur with the expectation of improvement. Then an 8 to 12 week period of documenting, an investigation, conclusion and then a disciplinary action. Each disciplinary action was grieved generating more paper, exhibits for presentation to a hearing officer. Each grievance had 3 levels until arbitration. There was one Sunday night that I was … simultaneously writing her annual review, preparing for a grievance 3 meeting (to remove a written warning) , preparing for a grievance 2 meeting ( to remove a suspension and restore pay) documenting and conducting a 3rd investigation all due the same week.

    One thing to remember- this blog (thank you Alison)and Evil HR Lady are totally responsible for saving my sanity during this process.

    I had only to search the archives to be reminded that…
    1. I am doing my job to the best of my abilities- I was hired, I am qualified.
    2. I am the voice of reason in this relationship.
    3. My employee’s behavior/performance was unacceptable
    4. She deserves a job that she will be happy in
    5. there are all those unemployed, underemployed people who would kill for the chance to have this position.
    6. Its not going to get better unless I do the work (stop whining)
    7. Ask HR for help and keep my boss in the loop
    8. Do what HR says even if it doesn’t sound “fair”
    9. Do what HR says- this isn’t their first rodeo
    10. Document, document, document

    1. Mallory*

      But also, the employee deserves to be heard and defend themselves. The process, as hellish as it was injects fairness into what, for most people, without unions is a favorites game.

  15. manager anonymous*

    I agree with your statement. I was the the Union Representative at my previous job. The question is where is the fairness when an employee is behaving in an egregious manner that effects the work of a department, her co-workers and productivity for more than a year. The Union representative actually asked me in a hearing “don’t you think this process is abusive?” He meant the progressive discipline process to the employee. This was at the grievance meeting where the Union claimed due process wasn’t followed . This discipline process is part of the union contract. Wouldn’t it have been kinder to everyone for this process to have been 3 months rather than a year and half when it became obvious (and documented) that the employee didn’t feel any need or personal responsibility to change their behavior?

    1. Mallory*

      I understand this process took to long, but many on here do not even see the need for a process or an employee’s right to rebuttal. Your situation is not the norm, most are fired/laid off with no notice and no appeal.

      Thanks for your reply.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s true that most people are fired with no notice. While that certainly happens, most people do get warnings.

      2. Manajerk*

        It is the manager’s job to observe and then coach on job performance. It usually breaks down to whether and employee has the will or the skill. You can train people to do most anything, but you can’t make them do it. Document, document, document. In the end, people fire themselves.

        1. Mabs*

          In this economy people fire themselves? Maybe masochists.
          I think we tell ourselves that, but often firing is just an unethical management move to try an avoid unemployment.

          Often folks are fired just because someone does not like them or someone is a threatened by competence.

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