How Do I Document an Employee’s Unethical Behavior?

A toxic employee, “Bob,” engaged in unethical behavior; we wrote him up, and then he ran his mouth about it to the whole department. He is not speaking with his boss and is now resorting to name-calling. We have a good policy handbook to back us up to terminate him. The tricky part: We recently denied his workers’ compensation claim, and he’s in the appeals process. We have court in two weeks. A termination for cause will also make him ineligible for unemployment, which I’m sure he’ll fight. Any advice for documenting and handling this?

To read my answer, click here: How Do I Document an Employee’s Unethical Behavior?

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2 thoughts on “How Do I Document an Employee’s Unethical Behavior?

  1. I want to sympathize with the “running his mouth” bit.

    As a plant manager I once suspended, then terminated, a manager and a union-represented employee for falsifying quality documents. We had unimpeachable documentary evidence.

    The fired manager bellyached to everyone who would listen about how unfair I was. It was frustrating to be unable to defend my decision and it was beginning to create an unpleasant work environment. I finally addressed the issue in a staff meeting. I explained I was unable to share the details of the issue with my team and I asked them to consider what they knew of me and my track record to judge whether I had acted rightly. That really de-escalated the situation and brought us all back to a better atmosphere.

    Footnote: the union executives took one look at my documentation and closed their grievance with no further action. The manger filed an EEO complaint which the EEOC turned away due to my documentation.

  2. What was mentioned and emphasized is the need for documentation on behavior that affects workplace performance. In this age of “tolerance” of otherness, we forget that as a manager we are supposed to maintain a workplace environment that keeps an even knell, despite any individual’s needy quirks. For this individual, it would have been a simple matter to keep a running record of discrepancies, like delinquency, which appears to occur regularly but is not noted down. Noting it down is just maintaining a record of behavior that may or may not be problematic but can be addressed in any performance review. Problematic employees like this know how to work the system to avoid their troubling behavior by their aggressive reaction to any disciplinary comments. which makes their supervisor reluctant to address their work performance. I had an employee like this who caused 6 prior managers problems but the only recourse they tried was to just transfer the employee to another without placing any comments on the way in the files but told in conversation about this employee being accident-prone. I realized within the first week that the employee was playing the system to only be present for 4 months of the year, long enough to get all benefits, and in those 4 months of actually being present, would do the least amount of work in the most amount of time. I kept a running set of notes on every callout, lateness, and sick leave which would have gotten him terminated if the company didn’t up and declared bankruptcy ( probably because workers like this were never removed from the payroll. So if you are the person in charge, do your job, without needing to ignore what causes friction to the overall completion of the required work.

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