Only 5mins. Late...Every Day

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QUESTION FROM: Helpless in Texas

I have an employee who constantly shows up late.

It’s usually 5-10 mins but after repeated conversations and a raise at the beginning of the year.....it hasn’t stopped.

Should I "write up" an employee and if so how do I do that?  Not sure if TX is an at-will state, but worried about having to pay unemployment or something if I do this incorrectly.

Anonymous, TX

 

HH ANSWER:

You gave someone a raise who is habitually late???

That's rewarding someone for poor, or at the very least subpar, performance.

The term "trophy-culture" comes to mind...especially in a customer-facing service industry. This is a restaurant we're talking about right?

In any at-will employment situation, you can come up with new hire paperwork packet (or even create a brand new policy today). It doesn’t need to be fancy or bound like a formal handbook.

Simply stated bullet points of expectations and clear consequences for failure to meet those expectations.

For example, meeting with the employee to review the expectations and coming up with an action plan to help them meet those expectations upon their first infraction and warning.

Second warning could result in loss of duties, shift(s) or certain responsibilities leading up to and possibly including termination and so on... would probably be sufficient even in an at-will state.

You can structure it any way you want to but if you document each infraction and the notes from your follow-up meetings (along with their signature or a notation that they refused to sign)  you have effectively created a "paper trail" that illustrates their knowledge of the expectations as well as your efforts to assist them in meeting those expectations and then ultimately, if it comes down to it, their Inability to meet those expectations.

I’ve had hundreds of employees in numerous restaurants and always prided myself in being able to say that I've never fired anyone. The people who no longer work for me either quit or fire themselves knowing that termination was always a likely consequence of their inability to meet the clearly communicated job expectations they signed up for and agreed to perform.