Practice Area:

The Problem Employee™

The problem employee


The Problem Employee™

If you are a manager of people who has been managing for any appreciable period, you’ve likely had to deal with the Problem Employee™.  What exactly is the Problem Employee™?  It is an employee who:

    • Fails to perform their job at an acceptable level after having been provided with a reasonable opportunity to succeed (i.e., what is, or is not, reasonable will vary depending on the workplace, the size and revenue of the employer, and the overall wherewithal of an employer to train and support a new employee.)
    • Fails to perform their job and, when addressed by management, refuses to accept responsibility for their own circumstances.
    • Is actively planning to sue their employer (they may have expressed or implied that they believe their employer is violating the law, or their rights, or they may be using an accusation to divert attention away from what’s truly at the center of their circumstances.)
    • Can be mean-spirited, may exhibit unnecessary anger, and tends to repel rather than reinvigorate their teammates, or is dishonest and untrustworthy.

While not an exhaustive list of all examples of the Problem Employee™, these are the most cited issues, and management dealing with such employees would be wise to engage counsel to address their specific situation.

What are the Risks?

More often than one might expect, employers hold onto problem employees too long.  We’re all for providing well-meaning employees the opportunity to succeed, but the moment an employee has been labeled a problem, it should be time to start thinking about an exit plan for that employee.  Sure, terminating an employee carries some legal risk, but so does keeping a Problem Employee too long.  In fact, keeping a Problem Employee™ too long can present even greater risks than terminating too quickly.  Those risks include:

  • Influencing good workers to think negatively about management, and generally eroding employee confidence in leadership, the employer’s mission, or the employer’s clients/customers/patients.
  • Giving the Problem Employee with time to memorialize a self-serving and distorted record of events, thus creating – at least on paper – the impression that the employer, and not the employee, is the actual problem.
  • Diminished productivity from the Problem Employee™, and the effects to his/her/their team as a result.
  • Mistakes caused by apathy – which both threaten the bottom line and create legal risk for the employer.

Book a Quick Consult

Proactively engaging a law firm, such as Rodman Employment Law, before a risk arises rather than when it arises gives the employer the very best opportunity to eliminate the risk completely.

If you have a Problem Employee™, contact Rodman Employment Law at 617-820-5250.