Performance Improvement Plans (PIP)
We have helped numerous employees fight their PIPs. I truly enjoy this aspect of my law practice because I love the David versus Goliath battles: big bad agency or company against little guy in the game of setting up enough of a paper trail to justify the termination. Most people who don’t get attorneys, don’t survive the PIP because the entire point of the PIP is to fire the employee. It’s not to improve anybody. While there are no known statistics backing up this claim, all of us through anecdotal evidence involving our family, friends and co-workers pretty much confirm it.
The company doesn’t count on you, the employee, retaining an employment lawyer to help you fight it. By the way, it doesn’t really matter the industry you’re in, geographic location of your employer or the company size because many of the PIP principles are very similar.
As soon as you find out you’re on the PIP, you have to begin keeping a daily diary of your work interactions. The employer may try to give you a number of increased duties or new duties during the PIP period because there’s usually a learning curve to master these new duties. Learning curves are a mechanism to achieve poor performance, thereby proving you failed the PIP. The employer may also find new criticisms during the PIP period that had nothing to do with the reasons he placed you on the PIP in the first place. He also may provoke you to getting into a shouting match or some sort of “unprofessional behavior” leading to your demise.
We work hand in hand with the employee to detect these corrupt employer PIP methods as they ensue. We’re able to challenge them before they pile up. Simultaneously, depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, I may recommend filing a complaint of some kind against the employer.
I had the wonderful opportunity of representing Annette Bates from Ogden, Utah, in her case against the Department of Treasury, M.S.P.B, DE-1221-14-0182-W-1. After more than 30 years of successful federal service, following discrimination complaints of age and gender discrimination, Annette Bates, a federal auditor, was placed on a 60 day performance improvement plan. Despite being on that plan for only eighteen days, she was removed from the agency, who claimed employee incompetence. The agency sent a file containing thousands of auditing work papers in an attempt to hide the true nature of the alleged mistakes committed by Ms. Bates.
We worked with Annette in challenging the PIP basis. I’ll tell you first-hand the litigation was nasty, laborious and very intense, but I loved every minute of it. Following the filing of a superior Pre-Trial statement which contained agency admissions revealed at depositions, the case settled a week before hearing. Settlement terms included a combination of $190,000 for back pay, compensatory damages and attorney fees as well as all negative information from Ms. Bates’ personnel file removed.
We invite you to watch our podcast on fighting PIPs. http://www.morrisfischerlaw.com/videos/performance-plan/