Hi, my query relates to which route I should take in dealing with both a performance issue and a misconduct issue.

I have an employee with 9 months’ service on my small team of 5 people who support an external reseller base of around 350. This team of 5 is always busy answering over 200 calls a day and processing around 250 documents as well as answering queries by email and retreiving electronic mail and faxes and saving them to various files. This team relies on eachother to dip into the workload. All the other members of the team work hard and are consciencious, caring that what they do is corect and timely. They feel understandably let down by the conduct of this other employee and I suppose by the fact that I have tried to deal with him in a fair, supportive way by micro-managing them and re-training, assisting with workload prioritisatin etc. They feel this is taking too long and want him gone as they feel he does not put in the same hours or effort as them. He takes much longer to complete things and never gets through his days work.

I had a meeting with him a couple of months ago about his constant use of the internet and company email system for personal reasons – facebook, mailing backwards and forwards to friends etc. I kept it informal but told him that it needed to stop in line with his contract where it states that it is a dismissable offence.

This surfing and mailing has also impacted on the amount of work he manages to achieve in a day which is nowhere near anyone else’s capacity.

In the last week it has just come to light that despite my support on a daily basis he has paid invoices which were not due, left contracts unprocessed, had important items in his drawers which needed to be processed (contracts and invoices – found when we had to look around the area for things one of our customers swore they sent in.) I absolutely do not have time to check every peice of work one person does every day otherwise there would be no point employing him I may as well just do it myself.

I am currently in the process of introducing performance and QA with associated appraisals (nothing whatsoever to do with this case) but these are not yet in place.

I would like to take up both issues, the misconduct in terms of mails and the performance in terms of speed and accuracy of work. The business has previously managed these situations using the performance route with other employees so I know that I have to follow this trend. Those teams already had the performance paperwork in place.

Can I introduce both misconduct and performance as related in the investigation and potential disciplinary, on the basis that the mailing is affecting the volume and accuracy of work or should I hold two separate hearings, or just one but separate the issues?

We want him give him the chance to do what the others do in terms of performance – however we know that this would not last. We would prefer he was gone really due to lack of trust. We are hoping he will take the resignation route which many people do when faced with a disciplinary.

Help would be appeciated re the format of the meeting and what can be introduced/must be kept separate.

K Roberts

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