Performance Improvement Plan or Resign

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Performance Improvement Plan or Resign

Just to be brief, at a forum my manager and director met with my husband to discuss and unknown subject matter. At an offsite function, the director told him in the meeting that he had two choices because he just didn’t fit the perception of a salesmen….either go in a PIP or resign by the end of May.Now two days later, my husband request his evaluations, PIP and concerns that have occurred since his evaluation in July 2017. The director tells him via text that this is an urgent matter and a decision must be made by the end of the week. This is an employee that has been with the company 13 years and he is asked to decide whether he wants to get on a PIP and he has not been counseled on any inequity in his work in the past.There is no PIP prepared and I am trying to understand what exactly does he need to improve upon. How is it possible to meet with an employee, tell them either go on an unattainable PIP or resign by May is legal, ethical or not considered bullying on the job?Thanking you in advance for your time.

Asked on February 19, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Don't confuse ethical or fair, on the one hand, with legal in the other: they are not the same. Unless your husband has a written employment contract for a defined or set period of time, like a one-year, two-year, five-year, etc. contract, which contract is still in effect (has not expired), he is an employee at will. An employee at will has no rights to his job: the employer may terminate him at will or do anything short of termination (e.g. put on a PIP; demote; suspend; cut pay or hours; etc.) at any time, for any reason--including simply that they want to do this. They do not need to prove or justify their action. So without a contract, they can tell your husband to go on a PIP or resign--or else fire him, if he won't do either.
It may be "bullying" in an everyday sense, but it's not illegal bullying, since the law does not require employers to be fair or reasonable: they *may* bully employees (except when prevented by the terms of a written contract).

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