Sometimes a supervisor wants to avoid confrontation with a problem employee, so he or she will terminate the employee under the guise of a layoff when it really should have been a termination for just cause. This should be avoided for these reasons:
- A layoff is a position elimination; not a person elimination. If the manager wants to fill the position shortly after eliminating the problem employee, it becomes obvious that it was not a true layoff.
- As a laid-off employee, he or she will be eligible for unemployment benefits, which could raise your company’s SUTA rate.
- It doesn’t give the employee a chance to know what s/he was doing wrong and to improve. The company should show due diligence that it tried to help the employee be successful.
- The employee often feels blindsided, and possibly more likely to bring a lawsuit for wrongful termination. Without the clear record of performance improvement plans and written and signed warnings during the worker’s employment, the company would have no defense in this situation.
It may not be the easiest route, but going through the performance improvement or progressive discipline steps with clear written and signed records is the best route in this situation. It is one of the realities that the manager or supervisor must face and be prepared to handle properly in order to properly fulfill his or her role. For assistance in disciplining your employee the right way, please contact the Human Resources Department at Nextep.