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Refusing to sign a PIP where do I stand?

(6 Posts)
Pumpkinette Tue 23-Jul-13 23:35:25

Hi all, I will try to make this as brief as I can.

I work part time 3 days per week. I have just been retrained on a new process and I am in a phase of work after training where I am in a 'learning environment' (my stats are not officially counted towards the centres over all stats / not eligible for bonus based on performance as not out of this training phase)

My manager tried to put me on a PIP today as I have been failing too many cases over the past 3 weeks. I have a few issues with this and refused to sign the pip today until I had the opportunity to review all my passes and fails. I am expected to agree with this PIP on Thursday (my next working day).

1. On my non working days someone else has been picking up my fails and I have not received any feedback. My first point is how could I have had the chance to learn from mistakes and improve on them if I have not been told what I have done wrong? I have made repeated errors on the same issues because of this.

2. I am part time so each individual error has a higher weighting than a full time employee. 3 weeks for a full time employee is 15 days but 3 weeks for me is only 9 days. I feel I have a disadvantage here as I have had less time to make my score back as I work less hours.

3. I didn't think I could go on an improvement plan when I am technically still in a learning environment.

My main problem with a PIP is the fact it would give them grounds for further action or disciplinary if I do not progress over 4 weeks (12 days where as a full time employee would have 20 days to make the same improvements), I am excluded from the bonus scheme for 3 months after the PIP (not bothered really as it's not a huge amount of money but it is the principle of the thing).

I am compiling all my evidence including the cases I did not receive feedback for and the repeated errors made due to the lack of feedback. I will go into my meeting with all this evidence and put my case to management. So what do you think? Do I have a case here or can they force me to go on a PIP? Is this part time discrimination?

Thanks for reading and any advice would be much appreciated.

flowery Wed 24-Jul-13 14:37:47

In response to your points

1. So you didn't know that you were failing too many cases or that you were making mistakes until yesterday, is that right? If so, then the first you hear of their being a problem with your performance shouldn't be going on to a formal performance improvement plan, that's not good practice. Mistakes should be drawn to your attention promptly and if you are expected to reach certain targets you should know these beforehand so that you know when your performance is not reaching the desired level.

2. if you have a target for x amount of something, that should be pro rated for your hours. So if you were in sales and someone working 5 days a week was expected to sell 15 widgets, someone working 3 days a week should be expected to sell 12 widgets. Are your targets not being pro rated like this?

3. PIPs aren't a legal thing, it's down to employers to decide how performance is managed. In the event of a dismissal for poor performance, a tribunal would look back at the process used and take that into consideration when deciding whether the decision was fair.

In terms of whether the improvement they are asking of you can reasonably be achieved in 4 weeks, that depends what they are asking of you, so I can't answer that. But if it's a case of you were making a mistake which you didn't know was wrong but now do, won't that be pretty easy to fix?

If you disagree with their assessment of your performance or with the appropriateness of using a formal process to make improvements, then setting out your grounds for feeling that way in writing is a good thing to do, then attach that to your PIP and sign it on that basis, so that your objections are part of the record.

Pumpkinette Wed 24-Jul-13 17:50:26

It's a little more complicated than that. The work is dealing with customer complaints. I have to interpret the information the customer provides, compare it to the information we hold on our systems and decide if it is a valid complaint. Sometimes we would require a call or letter to the customer for further information sometimes not. A lot of the decisions made will be based on personal interpretation of what the customer has written down. All this work gets second checked by someone else and if the disagree with my outcome it will be a fail.

The fails I found out about yesterday where from complaints I dealt with 4 weeks ago. Someone else fixed these do called errors and did not inform me of them. Had I had a chance to review this information at the time I could have either challenged the fail if I did not agree with it or I could have accepted the fail, learned from it and not continually made the same mistake again.

Although it sounds like it would be something pretty big to get a fail it can be something very small (eg: I transposed the letters E and R in the word letter so it read lettre. This was not on a customer letter but an internal system note that would only been seen by other staff members). Or a fail could be something big like requesting further information from a customer when the complaint should be rejected.

My issue is not with the targets I am expected to do as that is based on I do X amount per day, it is on the fact I have a higher than is acceptable % of fails. As I work less days I do less cases than a full time employee, therefore each individual fail has a higher % rate than a full time employee.
So for example if I worked 15 cases per week (5 per day) and a full time employee worked 25 cases per week (also 5 per day) and we both failed 2 cases over the week. My pass rate would be at 86.67% but the full time employees par rate would be 92%. The full time employee would be passing but I would be counted as failing.

Similarly if I go on a pip based on 4 weeks I have a much greater chance of failing as I have less days to improve my scores. I would have 12 working days to get my score higher rather than 20 working days like a full time employee.

I think my over all assessment before I go on a PIP should be based on 15 working days (the equivalent of 3 full weeks) rather than the 9 days pro rota 3 weeks.

MistyB Wed 24-Jul-13 19:11:00

You are correct that you should have been informed of the fails. Do bring this up.

On the percentage fail rate I think you are incorrect. In you fail on one in ten of your cases, you have a 10% failure rate. This is the same for your full time colleagues. The fact that they have longer to get things right is immaterial as they also have longer to get things wrong too.

However, you could argue that you should be allowed more training time and therefore, yes, I agree that you should be allowed the same number of working days for your assessment.

flowery Wed 24-Jul-13 19:50:06

As you work less days you work less cases therefore the probability of failure is lower. Percentage is by far the fairest way to set targets like this.

If a full time colleague manages to work 25 cases only failing two of them, and you fail two even though you've only worked 15, the your colleague is clearly performing better than you, which is reflected in having a percentage pass rate which is higher.

With the PIP unless there is a full time colleague with exactly the same performance concerns being raised at the same time, and with exactly the same improvement being required over the 4 weeks of the PIP then you need to move away from comparing yourself to a theoretical full time person.

You need to look at the improvement that is being required over a perfectly reasonable review period of 4 weeks, and consider whether it is doable or not. If not, say so and explain why but there's nothing to be gained in claiming that a hypothetical full time employee with exactly the same performance concerns would be given the same targets for improvement over more time.

Focus on your own situation. Either the improvements required are achievable or not, and if you think they are not, you need to say why and explain what support you will need to achieve them.

I think you need to stop thinking about whether this is discrimination because its not, and that's clouding the genuine concerns you could raise, ie that a formal PIP is premature given you were not aware of any performance concerns, and that best practice would be to raise concerns informally first, giving the employee a chance to improve. I expect your employers performance management policy says something to that effect as well.

cumfy Tue 30-Jul-13 01:59:57

Were your fails false negatives or positives ?

ie did you reject valid complaints or overinvestigate baseless complaints ?

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