Employee Not Getting The Hint

I have a part time (12-15 hours a week) employee that is not working out. Rather than fire him, his supervisor talked to him a couple of weeks ago and let him know that things weren't going in the right direction and asked him to start looking for another job. I don't know how specific a timeframe the employee was given, but nothing was documented. Now, the supervisor wants the employee gone. The employee thinks he was told that they would reevaluate his departure in a couple of weeks, that's not the case according to the supervisor. 

I feel like the only thing I can offer the supervisor is a termination form - he doesn't want to go that route, but he has nothing written documenting the discussion two weeks ago, so.... 

 Does anyone else have any ideas on how we can resolve this issue? We need the employee out of here soon, and the supervisor wants to do it gently.

 Thanks in advance. 


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • The only real thing you (probably) need to be concerned about is unemployment benefits. And usually "not working out" isn't enough to preclude the employee from filing a UI claim and generally winning. If you are in TX, you really need documentation of specific warnings and what he was told to improve  or "his job was in jeeopardy" to be able to argue that the employer had just cause that overrides "not working out". TX is generally employee friendly, but that doesn't mean that the employer isn't still held responsible for bad hiring decisions or employees that don't work out.

     That said UI benefits on 12-15 hours per week won't be high and that's only if he earned enough wages in his lookback period.

    Sorry to tell the supervisor, but termination of employee relationships are very rarely gentle.  You could decide to pay some severance in lieu of notice. As long as the employee is not required to sign a release/waiver of claims, the State of Texas wont pay benefits for that same time period. If they sign a waiver, it counts as having paid for that not as having paid wages. Unfortunately I learned that the hard way!

  • Questions:  How long has the employee been working for the organization?  Did the current supervisor hire the employee, or inherit him?  Why is the manager concerned about firing a team member who is not working out? 

    If the employee is brand new and the fit just isn't there, then have the manager sit down with him and with you to have a frank conversation that it is not working out, pay two weeks in lieu if you wish, and let the employee go. 

    If this is a longer term individual and this dance has been going on for a while (and especially if the current manager was not the hiring manager), then I would probably put the employee on a very short performance improvement plan - written, of course!  I would specify what he is doing that he shouldn't be or what he isn't doing that he should be and let him know that immediate and sustained improvement in those areas is expected or he may lose his job.  Make it clear that his performance will be monitored for the next week (or two, or whatever timeframe you and the supervisor agree to), and then if he still isn't making it, let him go.  I would probably still offer pay in lieu of notice in that case, but it really depends on the dynamics of the situation.  In some cases, severance may be the way to go, regardless of the fact that it is excluded from wages in lieu of notice for unemployment purposes.

    My bottom line in all of these situations is "can this employee be saved?"  You can't expect them to read minds, and if the supervisor has been so gentle with the employee as to not be clear about how tenuous his employment situation is, then I think a little more effort should be applied. 

    I'll be curious to hear how this works out!


  • I agree with what has been said already.


    My question is this: has there been any focus on the supervisor's poor handling of the matter?  The supervisor should have begun with a PIP rather than essentially warn someone they will be fired.  "Not working out" is a poor if not suspicious way to explain why someone is going to lose his or her job.  What is the real cause of (impending) termination?  It seems to me that there is significant risk.

  • I agree with TXHR Guy, this supervisor needs some coaching.  A verbal warning is ok to start with, but those need to be documented as well.  Does the supervisor understand your discipline policy?  I think now is a good time to review it, while this situation is causing them some discomfort. 

    I understand that supervisors want it to be gentle, but by dragging this out, they are creating a situation that will ultimately be harder in the long run.

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