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Q: One of my employees has an attitude problem that I would like to resolve, but there is nothing I can really discipline him for. He uses bad language, walks into my office and interrupts me when I am on the phone, often criticises the company loudly in front of other employees, is critical of any idea tabled in a meeting but never makes suggestions himself. What can I do?
A: You are entitled to discipline an employee for displaying poor attitude and you certainly have the evidence to support your complaint.
However, first of all have a talk to the employee. Point out all these things that cause you concern and explain that they are unacceptable. Listen to what the employee has to say but do not accept denials about his behaviour and do not accept that he cannot change. You may find it useful to seek commitment by saying about each problem “So what are you going to do about it?”
If there is no significant improvement within a couple of weeks, have another meeting, explain that his attitude remains unacceptable and issue an informal warning. If that does not work, move into formal warnings and, if that fails, you can resort to dismissal.
(This topic is covered in detail in our Employment Law courses)
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