“My employer did not follow the Performance Improvement Plan I was placed on. What should I do?”

Question: Alan, 60 days ago I was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”) that, honestly, I feel was based on concocted complaints and a personality conflict, not performance deficiencies. Nonetheless, I cooperated with the process.

Unfortunately, my boss did not follow the process: First, most of the weekly meetings were cancelled. Second, the 60-day “improvement period” has now passed, and I have been found “unimproved” in “core aspects” of my job that were not even mentioned in the original PIP. I have asked them if I am going to be given more time to improve in these “core aspects” and I have been told “No.”

What should I do?

Atlanta, Georgia

Answer: As you’ve been found not to have succeeded at your PIP, you most probably will be terminated in a short time, if you have not been already. You would seem to have little, if anything to lose, in moving ahead with rather bold steps. I suggest you consider writing an email to your company CEO and Director of HR and tell them in clear, simple language:

a. You were put on a PIP that you believe was false and fraudulent from the start, based on concocted claims.

b. Nonetheless, despite your concerns, and in good faith, you participated in the PIP process.

c. Your boss sabotaged the PIP process by cancelling most of the weekly meetings, making it more difficult to succeed in the process, which further supports the belief that your boss may have acted dishonestly, and in bad faith.

d. Then your boss sabotaged the process once again, when he found you “unimproved” in “core aspects” of your job that were not even mentioned in the original PIP, making it appear even clearer that your boss is not acting honestly, not acting in good faith, submitting fraudulent statements in documents to company files, and thus violating company policies.

e. Then your boss, for a third time, sabotaged the PIP process by not giving you more time to address these new claims of “unimproved” “core aspects” of your job.

f. Ask them to consider either (i) arranging for an outside, objective investigation of what transpired, or (ii) notification of the company’s Board of Directors regarding this apparent breach of corporate integrity.

Performance Improvement Plans are seemingly “epidemic” and often executed in bad faith. This is the way we respond to situations like yours. While it may not work, it’s been the most effective response for our clients.

My best wishes for your success.

Al Sklover

© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.