(names and some information has been changed to maintain confidentiality)
Ms A, a professional architect had worked for her employer for 9 years. She had always had good appraisals but little support over the years. I new manager started and during the first meeting started saying that Ms A’s work was not up to standard.
She was subsequently placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).
Ms A was shocked and upset that a more informal approach had not been taken first; she felt that she was being pushed out and the employer wanted her to resign.
So what advice could I give Ms A?
Ms A had to consider what she wanted to achieve out of any process we started. She was clear that ideally she wanted to stay employed by that employer, but that if she was not being treated fairly she was willing to leave.
With this outcome objective in mind, we carefully drafted an appeal against the PIP. Siting all areas of work where Ms A performed very well and had been shown to perform well over the years. We referenced the employer’s policies on capability and what steps should be taken if someone is not performing adequately, which showed that the employer should have started with an informal process.
The employer agreed to put the PIP on hold and follow an informal process first.
Mr Young, who has been diagnosed with depression, has been employed by Company X for 1 year. He has found it progressively harder to manage in the mornings. Company X gave him verbal warnings about not performing to target over previous months. He argued that he was doing the best he could, given that he did not feel very well in the morning.
Advice? Mr Young wanted to remain employed, so we wrote a letter and asked the Company to make a reasonable adjustment by allowing him to change his hours of work, to 10 – 6pm, instead of 9 – 5pm
After a referral to Occupational Health this was agreed, and the new working pattern has assisted his performance.
Comment – although, it may not be possible to make changes precisely as you may want, often some change is possible, and employers are under a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.