Companies Don’t Have to Deal with Sensitive Disciplinary Issues AloneApril 22, 2014 - By: Jason Carney
It’s the one thing almost every employer hates handling – employee discipline and termination. Running a successful business requires awareness and prompt attention to employee problems. For a busy Small Business Owner or swamped HR Director, it can be tough to monitor employees and manage all of the paperwork associated with discipline and termination.
That is where a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) like WorkSmart Systems can help. A PEO provides a vast array of services ranging from applicant tracking to employee benefits, but it’s those challenging employee meetings and processes where the PEO’s value is really noticed. Hiring a PEO gives you peace of mind knowing you have a trusted advisor that can help with any tough employee situation and ensure the process is timely and compliant.
Employees in the United States are fortunate to have ample laws and regulations protecting their rights and freedoms. While these laws are essential to protecting employees, they can create headaches for employers who have to carefully follow protocols and procedures in order to avoid potential lawsuits even when discipline or termination is warranted.
So what’s an example of how a PEO can help a client? A major issue to be aware of is employee discrimination. If there is a chance of potential discrimination when penalizing or terminating an employee, employers should immediately consult their PEO. PEOs act as an unbiased third party that offers unique insight into tough situations and may see potential pitfalls that the employer has overlooked. Because the PEO offers economy of scale for their clients, they have broad access to specialized legal assistance when it is needed.
An employee’s performance that results in any discipline or termination needs to be well documented. WorkSmart helps its clients document all levels of discipline and will even create warning memos for clients. Performance memos should be short and to the point, with the focus on the job, not the person.
Before termination is even considered, WorkSmart asks all the important and necessary questions such as: How has the employee been disciplined? Has he/she had any sickness or disability? Does the employee have unique factors or demographics? What documentation do you have? And, the most important one, what is the employee’s perception of why you’re terminating them? It is very important for the employer to look at the action from the employee’s perspective. Having a PEO as an objective third party can bring clarity to an often hostile situation. Termination should always be a matter of job performance and WorkSmart strives to make sure that is always the case.
If termination is ultimately necessary after all appropriate steps have been taken, WorkSmart can ease the burden on the worksite employer by handling all future interactions with the employee such as final paychecks, benefit termination and the overall wrap up process. Even if everything is done by the book, there is still the risk that an employee could sue for a number of reasons or file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. WorkSmart works with our clients on a regular basis to defend against these charges and will make sure the client’s interests are well represented.
Some companies are hesitant to bring on a PEO because they are concerned the process will be an added hassle. Others are worried they won’t have a voice in matters of discipline, termination or follow-up. At WorkSmart, the process is always a team effort. We work in conjunction with our clients to ensure their expectations are met while mitigating as much risk as possible. The client will always play an active role in any employee situation. We often offer both conservative and aggressive courses of action while advising our clients of the pros and cons of each, making sure our clients know all of their options.
Proactively, WorkSmart Systems offers client training that provides managers and supervisors with the knowledge they need to understand the ins and outs of employee discipline and termination. To become an effective team, it is important that everybody knows the procedures and protocols involved.
At the end of the day, no business enjoys dealing with employee discipline and termination, but it is much easier with a PEO on your side. With WorkSmart, you will always know that what’s being done is what’s best for your employees and your company – which is what really matters.