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Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 32192
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
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Ive received a Performance Improvement Plan on Friday evening

Customer Question

I've received a Performance Improvement Plan on Friday evening to sign by Monday morning, or else risk being fired immediately. I have not received a formal review since 2010, and no performance evaluation has been given to base this PIP off of. The PIP covers a number of things that either I'm already doing, or have never been told are in my job requirement. Further, I found out recently that I'd been denied eligible cost of living raises for two years, and no mention was ever made as to why, or that I hadn't received the raise. I've been with this company for 8+ years. I do not know if I should sign this as it accuses me of unsatisfactory performance which I totally disagree with, and says that I can be fired for any reason and at any time based on this agreement.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 11 months ago.

Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

Do you have an employment contract with the employer which indicates you can only be terminated for good cause?

Do you have any reason to believe you may have been discriminated against on the basis of your race, age (40 or older), gender, disability, or other protected status?

 

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Hi Tina-- I do not know if I have a formal contract with my company. I originally signed up with another company and we've since been sold. It is customary for employees to be given a severance upon departure of 1-week per year of service after which they'd be eligible for unemployment. A new management team came on two years ago, that is when my problems started. I have done all I can to meet their expectations, but the bar keeps moving, and getting more and more minutely specific with what actions I have to perform and in what time frame, this PIP continues that to a nearly ridiculous degree, three pages long. I work long hours and get all my work done, as I have for nearly 9 years with the company,.. and I am not a lazy employee or incompetent by any means. I also came out as gay to my fellow employees 2 years ago, same time as new management came on, and believe several of my supervisors have a problem with this. One has even told another employee he feels uncomfortable around me at times, especially because he likes to make sexual innuendo jokes in meetings. I do not mind being let go, the company has become an increasingly uncomfortable and stressful place to work, but I do not feel this is right the way they are trying to force me to sign this and risk being fired instead of simply agreeing to dis-agree and terminating my employment so I can receive severance and/or unemployment.

Expert:  Tina replied 11 months ago.
Thank you very much for providing this additional information, Alex.

It sounds as though you could pursue a charge of discrimination based on sexual preference, but as it appears you are not interested in doing that, there would typically be little recourse against the actions the employer is taking against you.

Signing the PIP document will not usually indicate that you agree to the facts stated in the document, but only indicate you have reviewed it. You could even make a notation on the document that you do not agree with the facts contained in it before signing it.

It is impossible to hit a moving target in many cases and the company may know that and be setting you up for failure as you suspect, but without pursuing a claim of discrimination, they would normally have the right to make such decisions about your employment including termination.

As far as unemployment though, unless they can prove there was good cause to terminate you, you would typically be eligible for such benefits. Performance issues do not typically rise to the level of good cause so unless you intentionally violate some law or employer policy, you should normally receive such benefits.

With regard to severance, if the employer does have a practice of paying severance, then you could pursue payment for that if you are terminated based on an implied contract theory of law. That could be pursued in small claims court or through the assistance of a local attorney.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate my service when I have answered your questions so I will be compensated for my time assisting you. Thank you!

Tina

Tina, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 32192
Experience: JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
Tina and 14 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Tina- one last question. As I'm preparing a response letter to this PIP, detailing with facts my response to each point they make, and declaring I sign only under protest, would it be advised to mention the personal knowledge I have of my supervisor saying he is uncomfortable around me because I am gay, and that my work has been affected by a lack of communication? I know this would make my work environment miserable going forward once he finds out, however, if it buys me a few months to look for work that might help. It seems that at least voicing the accusation might make it more difficult for them to immediately fire me, and that if they did, it would only add to a discrimination case in my favor. On this point I'm torn because I really have worked hard for this job, and hate to see it end on these terms, but I do need to defend my self and my career. Thank you.

Expert:  Tina replied 11 months ago.
Hello again Alex. My sincere apologies for the delay. I had posted a follow-up answer but it disappeared somehow. Here it is again:

Yes, making it known to the company that you are aware of these comments could provide you some additional time but it would not typically be as effective as filing a complaint with the HR department, although which option you take is entirely up to you. It is unlawful to retaliate against an employee for filing such a complaint and it could provide you more leverage to negotiate additional severance, so I would seriously consider going to the HR department.
Expert:  Tina replied 11 months ago.

Thank you very much for your positive rating of my service. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope you will ask for me should a future legal need arise.

If you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please consider scoring me a 9 or 10. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

Thanks again and all the best to you.

Tina

Note: Please feel free to request me if you have future legal questions by typing your new question in the question box on my profile page. Here is a link to that page, which you can bookmark or add to your favorites: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-tina/. I look forward to hearing from you again should the need arise.

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