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Investigation of Performance Issues

28 October, 2015 - 15:58

When an employee is having a performance issue, often it is our responsibility as HR professionals to investigate the situation. Training managers on how to document performance failings is the first step in this process. Proper documentation is necessary should the employee need to be terminated later for the performance issue. The documentation should include the following information:

  1. Date of incident
  2. Time of incident
  3. Location (if applicable) of incident
  4. A description of the performance issue
  5. Notes on the discussion with the employee on the performance issue
  6. An improvement plan, if necessary
  7. Next steps, should the employee commit the same infraction
  8. Signatures from both the manager and employee

With this proper documentation, the employee and the manager will clearly know the next steps that will be taken should the employee commit the infraction in the future. Once the issue has been documented, the manager and employee should meet about the infraction. This type of meeting is called an investigative interview and is used to make sure the employee is fully aware of the discipline issue. This also allows the employee the opportunity to explain his or her side of the story. These types of meetings should always be conducted in private, never in the presence of other employees.

In unionized organizations, however, the employee is entitled to union representation at the investigative interview. This union representation is normally called interest based bargaining  1 referring to a National Labor Relations Board case that went to the United States Supreme Court in 1975. Recently, Weingarten rights continued to be protected when Alonso and Carus Ironworks was ordered to cease and desist from threatening union representatives who attempted to represent an employee during an investigative interview.  2