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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12485
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I work large corporate company as an EA. I have a manager

Customer Question

I work for a large corporate company as an EA. I have a manager that I have conflicted with since his start. I have spoken to HR on ways to work on communication and a few issues. While trying to support the manager/director of my home base team, I have been held responsible for a few mishaps that could have been avoided with communication from my director.
(Example: A calendar invite was declined, stated to have been declined by myself, however was declined by Director. In a VP level meeting I took the blame for the decline publicly while the organizer of the meeting has an email directly from director for decline. He was 30 minutes late to the meeting and declined the meeting at the start of the meeting.... Example 2. Meeting accepted in calendar which was back to back with another meeting. Both provided conference detail but no travel time. I left the meetings sent an email to director to confirm with him, travel to meeting A and call into meeting B. Meeting A he is a stakeholder while meeting B he is not but needs to attend. I received no responses form email 1 or 2. Later I was reprimanded for the scheduling. The meetings were large attendees of other affiliates not organized by me and were not conducive to reschedule. I mentioned my emails and was told I could have text or called if I received no response. I agreed and accepted responsibility).
I have not received formal or constructive feedback in writing nor have I received a review in 1.7 years. At this time our company(us) has completed its Promotional and employee review cycle on April 28. All direct reports are to receive a performance review in the 1st quarter of the year. The Pay cycle effected is May with all pay increase. We have a 2 part review 1 is regarding Rating and pay. Part 2 is performance. Much of my leadership team received both part 1 and 2 their reviews past that date but all prior to June. I received my Part 1 rating and noted not change in pay but I have not received my Performance. I was told by one of the team manager in February my Director was intent on terminating me. With this said my review rating was NI(needs improvement) but I have not seen a review at this time. NI in our company does not require a performance plan. I approached HR for the 4th time and finally was told my Director was placing me on an PIP (performance improvement Plan) I was told this 3 weeks ago and still have yet to have a schedule for a review. I have no idea why I am being placed on a pip and was curious what my recourse is. I know with a PIP I can be subject to termination if the manager feels I did not meet expectation. This is very subjective. I would accept the Pip providing I had Received constructive feedback.
I would add I support another Team and do not have the issues I am experiencing. I have been provided with clear feedback from the Director I support. I have had a conversation with him regarding the PIP and was told it was unjustified.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome. I am very sorry to hear about the unwarranted PIP and the blame you have taken for issues that were not your fault.
As far as your question is concerned, though, I'm afraid that I do not have favorable news to share with you. The reason boils down to the fact that employment in the state of Washington is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even true.
Since employees can be fired for virtually any reason, regardless of whether that reason is fair or true, the law does not impose greater regulations on writeups or PIPs. Indeed, your employer doesn't need to provide a writeup or put you on a PIP at all in order to demote you or terminate you, so it would make little sense to regulate something that is optional to begin with.
This means that your only real power is the power of persuasion. Your can't force your employer to keep you employed, you can only convince them to. So, a tactful rebuttal to the PIP is appropriate, as is making a visible effort to address the criticisms contained within the PIP, even if you rightly believe that the criticisms are unwarranted. This would be the extent of your recourse under the circumstances.
I hope that you find this information helpful and am genuinely sorry if it is not what you were hoping to hear. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.
If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.