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Oct06

Termination within 90 day probation

We terminated an employee within her 90 day probationary period. Our management company is saying we should have at least written her up for some violations of policies before terming her. The reason being, is supposedly she may be able to sue us due to a violation of Florida labor law. We gave her several verbal warnings during the 2 1/2 months, but she just blatantly ignored all advice. We did a disciplinary action at the termination meeting. Should we have written her up prior to termination?

Following progressive discipline ensures employees have been made aware of their poor performance and given the opportunity to improve it prior to being terminated. Progressive discipline provides responses to employee performance or misconduct increasing in severity with each occurrence. Generally, progressive discipline includes counseling or verbal warning then a written warning followed by a suspension or final written warning and, ultimately, termination. With any type of disciplinary method the employee must be informed of the specific behaviors that constitute the poor performance or misconduct.

Since the employee was still within her probationary period and several verbal warnings were given, a written warning may have been excessive. Assuming the prior warnings related to the reason for her termination, the decision to terminate seems justified. Be sure the verbal warnings and the employee’s lack of willingness to change her behavior are documented.

I’m curious as to what Florida labor law your management company thinks has been violated. Florida is an at-will employment state. Thus, employers are able to terminate employees without cause. Wrongful termination would include terminations based on protected characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex, age or citizenship status; terminations for exercising federal rights such as those allowed under the Family and Medical Leave Act and National Labor Relations Act; terminations as retaliation for employees filing for worker’s compensation; or terminations as retaliation for employees filing wage and hour complaints.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 7:27 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management, Performance Management, Termination.
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