Tag Archives: tribunal support

When does performance management become bullying?

Ask an underperforming employee and they’ ll say, setting targets and giving warnings is bullying them.

Ask their manager and they will say they are frustrated by the lack of performance.  They will tell you an employment law requirement such as warnings makes their life difficult and imposes unnecessary procedural burdens.

Ask a high performing employee and they will say the setting of targets and giving of feedback is welcome and helps them improve their performance.

Employers have often failed to confront performance problems, or ‘square pegs in round holes’ and used transfers and ‘promotions’ to move employees out of critical performance areas. Until quite recently it was common to hear “he’s been here twenty years and he’s never been any good” as a long saga of under-performance and under management unfolded.

Now underperforming staff are more likely to be ‘performance managed’ out of the business.

The practice of setting objectives, then warnings, then dismissal (if objectives are not met), can look like a fair and objective process.  But, poor practice and a few rogue players are giving performance management a bad name, so that in some organisations announcing that an individual needs to go on a performance improvement programme is tantamount to handing them their notice!

The setting of impossible goals (by over stating the goals or under resourcing what is needed to achieve them) is one of the behaviors identified as bullying.

Not only will unrealistic goals undermine the fairness of any dismissal but they may also trigger claims of bullying.  If these claims are linked to any issue of discrimination this can turn into a very expensive ‘efficiency exercise’.

Managers need to take care that their performance management and supervision is based on what can be achieved and offers adequate training, resourcing and support.

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy. Tel: 08452 303050 Fax: 08452 303060


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Filed under employment law, Equality Bill, performance management

Doing a tribunal for yourself? 10 questions people ask:

More people than ever a going to an employment tribunal to represent themselves or their organisation.  It can be scary and the language used by the tribunal doesn’t always make much sense if you’re not used to it.   Here are  the top 1o questions people ask us:

  1. Man holding umberella to stop paperwork flooding him like rainI don’t have any witnesses so I don’t need to exchange witness statements. Wrong, even if you are going on your own, the chances are you are a witness in your own case and you need to prepare a witness statement and exchange it with the other side.
  2. The side with the most witnesses usually wins.  It is not a numbers game and unnecessary witnesses don’t help.
  3. There aren’t any documents relevant to my case .  Often we find there are helpful documents that you haven’t thought of.
  4. Deadlines don’t apply to me .  If you don’t comply with the deadlines set by the tribunal you can find yourself at risk of costs or not being allowed to use the stuff you sent in late
  5. Tribunals are biased against small employers/claimants in person – not true, but they won’t find in your favour if you don’t present your case properly – they are there to judge the issue not to represent you.
  6. I don’t need any form of representation.  A good briefing on what to do may be all you need.
  7. I am dreading cross examination. What will they ask me? What will I say? A good run through can take the edge off your nerves and help you understand the process. It is a good idea to prepare for what you are going to ask as well.
  8. I am not a lawyer – what do I have to do about the law? We can help you look at your case from a legal point of view and check you are covering the bases
  9. I have been asked to produce a schedule of loss – what is that? If you don’t know how to calculate what’s at stake in tribunal it can take ages and you can get it wrong.  If you are not bringing an equality claim then it is all about financial loss .
  10. What is an agreed document bundle? If you are told to agree a document bundle you are being asked to agree the documents in it are true and to produce on bundle of your documents and your opponents with numbering for the pages and an index. Do not agree documents that you dispute – put them in another bundle!  Or tell the other side it is a combined document bundle but you dispute some of the documents.

We support people by phone, email, skype, google hangout, etc.  Helping behind the scenes to deal with the tricky bits, understand the process and get the best out of your case. 

Check our free download on how to keep your tribunal fees low.

For more information contact info@irenicon.co.uk for a range of fixed fee or flexible fee options for DIY tribunal representatives.


Filed under employment tribunal, free stuff