Like Louie in the clip above, I tell my kids this all the time. “Why can’t I stay up an extra half-hour? She’s not in bed yet.” “Because it’s time to go to bed. Tomorrow’s a school day.” “But it’s not fair.” “Why can’t I have ice cream, too? He had ice cream.” “Because you weren’t with us; you were doing something else.” “But it’s not fair.” Life is not designed to be fair. Tough lesson for a kid. Heck, it’s a tough lesson for an adult, too.
- Don’t ambush your employees. They should understand why they being fired via prior discussions, prior performance reviews, and prior discipline.
- The punishment must fit the crime. Do you really need to fire the employee who is late for work occasionally? Maybe, if he or she has been repeatedly warned. But the first time? If the punishment far exceeds the misconduct, the employee will look for a reason for the mistreatment and unfairness, such as race, sex, age, or disability. Do not provide an impetus to look past the stated reason. Alternatively, a sufficiently serious offense (e.g., sexual harassment, theft, violence) may support a termination on the spot. Otherwise, however, employees should have an ample and bona fide opportunity to correct their misbehavior.
- Have documentation to support your decision. Do you have a performance review, written warning, or other contemporaneous note in a personnel file to support your decision? If not, it’s best to wait until you do. And, no, this is not an excuse to create a paper trail after the fact. Documentation should be contemporaneous to the misconduct.
- Be consistent. Do you handle similar disciplinary problems similarly and to the same degree? If not, those that suffer the worst will ask why, and they may do it via their attorney in a lawsuit.
To make this concept of workplace fairness even simpler, do unto your employees as you would have your employer do unto you. If you treat your employees as you would want to treated (or as you would want your wife, kids, parents, etc. to be treated), most employment cases would never be filed, and most that are filed would end in the employer’s favor. Juries are comprised of many more employees than employers, and if jurors feel that the plaintiff was treated the same way the jurors would want to be treated (i.e., fairly), the jury will be much less likely to find in the employee’s favor.
This post originally appeared on Workforce Magazine
Author: <div class="author_list_wrapper"><ul class="author_list"><li class="author_link"><a href="/bios/jon-hyman">Jon Hyman</a></li></ul><div>