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Chapter 13. When Team Members Don't Make... > Termination—The Last Resort - Pg. 166

When Team Members Don't Make the Grade 166 r e d . Now let's look at the answers. For many of these situations, the answer could be either "yes" or "no," depending on circumstances. 1. Yes.Under the American jurisprudence system, anybody can sue anybody else. That doesn't mean he can win the case. However, in cases where the court has found that the firing was the result of violations of the civil rights laws or was retribution for the employee's "whistle- blowing," companies and sometimes immediate supervisors have been found liable. Yes.Unless it can be shown that the reason the member allegedly doesn't "fit in" is because of race, religion, national origin, age, sex, or disability. Yes.Other than routine conversations about the work, any discussion of unsatisfactory per- formance or behavior should be documented to protect the company in case formal complaints or litigation develops. No.Probation should be a temporary expedient. If the performance does not improve after a reasonable time, the member should be removed from the job. Yes.But that's not enough. The reasons for these infractions should be identified and steps taken to alleviate the problems. No.Employees should be told the real reason for termination. If not, they may later use your lie as evidence that it was a subterfuge for some illegal reason for the termination. No.Such actions have been interpreted as "constructive discharge," a legal term meaning that the circumstances that led to the resignation were so bad that it is equivalent to being fired. No.Nobody wants to lose a good producer, but allowing one member to get away with ex- cessive tardiness sets a bad example for the team. An alternative is to set up a flexible-hour schedule. No.The purpose of discipline is to help members improve performance or behavior. They should know what complaints you have about them. Many firms give copies of all forms, memos, or other documents to the member. No.Unless the reason is of a personal or sensitive nature. For example, if it's made public that a member was fired for stealing, unless he is convicted of the crime, he could sue you for defamation. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Termination--The Last Resort Members should never be surprised when they're fired after progressive discipline. Presumably, at every step along the way they were told what the next step would be. Because the issue of firing employees is such a sensitive one, it must be done diplomatically with full awareness of any legal implications. Ask the human resources department for advice about dealing with the situation. Some team leaders get more upset about having to fire someone than the person who is being fired. Here are some suggestions to help prepare: · Review all documents so that you're fully aware of all the reasons and implications involved in the decision to terminate the team member. · Review the problems you have had with the person and how you have dealt with them in the past. · Review any personal problems you're aware of that the member has. · Review any problems you've had in firing other employees, and map out a plan to avoid those problems.