Question: Two months ago I pushed back against a Performance Improvement Plan using your PIP Ultimate Package materials. I didn’t use a lot of the legal terminology from your Ultimate Package in my rebuttal to Human Resources. This was an attempt to get HR on my side with the use of facts and timeline. I have not heard back from HR since I submitted my rebuttal.
Since then I was hospitalized due to high blood pressure and heart palpitations. I am on a FMLA leave of absence for the next 10 days, and then I’m scheduled to return to I-don’t-know-what.
I am planning on purchasing your Involuntary Resignation Model Letter. Should I first wait for a response from HR on my rebuttal?
Answer: Dear S.S.: It’s near impossible for me to suggest to you what to do without knowing more of your facts and circumstances, or even what you wrote in your 16-page rebuttal. And even your email, above, raises several different issues. I will though do my best; here are some of my thoughts:
1. It’s great to read you have stood up and pushed back to a Performance Improvement Plan. I salute you. From my experiences helping people with Performance Improvement Plans for almost 30 years, I know it is not easy for someone to “Stand Up and Push Back.” Though it’s not easy, it is almost always the best thing to do in the long run, for many different reasons. It can be stressful, that is for sure, but most people find doing nothing in response to a false and unfair Performance Improvement Plan to be even more stressful. As folksinger Joan Baez said, “Action is the antidote to despair.”
2. One thing you have done concerns me: It is almost always a grave error to try to “get HR on your side.” Members of our “blog family” know that HR is not “on your side,” is not meant to be “on your side,” and should not be “on your side.” HR works for management, and has a duty of complete loyalty to management. If HR was on your side, HR would not have placed you on a PIP in the first place. And HR is not the people who will decide how to respond to your PIP pushback: that decision will be made by “Decision-Makers.” The central idea behind PIP pushback efforts is to do just that: “push back,” not “cozy up.” I think you should have sent yours to a “Decision-Maker,” such as your boss, your boss’s boss, or your boss’s boss’s boss. Then he or she can send it to HR, but it’s better to get a Decision-Maker involved in the matter first.
For great info and insight, consider viewing our 12-minute Sklover-On-Demand Video entitled “Seven Timeless Truths About Human Resources.” You can do so by simply [clicking here].
3. Though you are on a FMLA leave of absence, you can still contact HR and ask “When will I be receiving a response to my PIP Response?” Knowing if and when you might be receiving a response should both (a) give you more data upon which to make an informed decision about what to do next, and (b) make you feel less anxious about making a decision. There is no reason to refrain from doing so.
4. Though you are on a FMLA leave of absence, you can still contact HR and ask “When I return, will I restart or continue in my Performance Improvement Plan, or has it been abandoned in response to my letter?” Knowing the answer to this question, too, should serve to (a) give you more data upon which to make an informed decision about what to do next, and (b) make you feel less anxious about making a decision. You have a very strong reason to support this request for information: it is necessary to calm you down, and reduce your high blood pressure and heart palpitations. If I were you, I would tell that to HR, and let them know that you need an answer for health reasons.
5. While I know none of the facts about your PIP, and few of the facts of your medical conditions, I do know that, if your job has caused such stress that it has placed you in the hospital, it might be necessary to get out of that employment relation, and the sooner the better. S.S., if you lose your health, you’ve got nothing left. No job is worth experiencing such serious medical issues as you are. If things at work have, indeed, led to such serious ailments, then it would sound to me like “Involuntary Resignation” might be a perfect path forward for you.
As you know, “Involuntary Resignation” is a concept I invented, and usually enables employees to leave their jobs without necessarily giving up their rights to (a) unemployment benefits, (b) severance, or (c) legal claims to raise against employers. While I acknowledge that it is highly anxiety-provoking to be without income to support yourself and your loved ones, no one can deny that being ill or deceased doesn’t make supporting your family any easier. So, yes, S.S., it may be a wise thing to consider moving forward with an Involuntary Resignation. It’s not an easy decision, but one that – one way or the other – you will have to make.
For great info and insight, consider viewing our 12-minute Sklover-On-Demand Video entitled “Involuntary Resignation – Standing Up Without Giving Up.” To do so, just [click here].
If you’d like to read my newsletter by the same title, just [click here].
And if you’d like to obtain a Model Letter for Involuntary Resignation for your own adaptation and use, just [click here].
S.S., more than anything I hope that you quickly regain your health and vigor. That really has to be your number one goal. I think that figuring out the right path forward for you will contribute to that goal, and your starting to take action will move you even further along to health. My prayers are with you, and my bet is on you!! Go get ’em.
Best, Best, Best,
Repairing the World –
One Empowered and Productive Employee at a Time ™
© 2012 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.