What happens when an employer wants to get rid of an employee, but they don’t want to risk a lawsuit? They may put them on a performance improvement plan (PIP).
Although PIPs may sound like they’re very “pro-employee,” they aren’t. They’re frequently just a tool that employers use to create a paper trail that — on its surface — documents how hard they worked to help an employee regain their productivity.
How do you know if your PIP is truly meant to be helpful?
If you’re genuinely struggling with your job, a PIP may be warranted. However, you should suspect that you’re about to be fired when:
- You have had personal conflicts with your employer because you asserted your rights, whether that was to make a report to human resources about on-the-job harassment or a request for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
- There’s been no substantial change in the quality of your work, but your employer has expressed increasing dissatisfaction with everything you do. They may have taken to picking at small flaws that were never an issue in the past.
- You’ve been given a larger-than-normal workload and unrealistic expectations about its completion. When you express your concerns, you’re told that it’s your job to manage your time better.
- All your communications seem to be happening via email — and your employer is copying themselves. That means they’re retaining the emails with the expectation that they may be needed later.
If the writing is on the wall, pay attention. Find out more about your rights and how to recognize when you’re the victim of a wrongful termination. A proactive approach may not stop you from being fired, but it may help you press a claim against your former employer down the line.