Employers face a difficult decision when it comes to documenting conversations with their employees. It is unrealistic to ask your supervisors to document every discussion they have with employees, but it is important to understand that certain conversations should be documented. Lawsuits can occur years after a conversation has taken place and you want what happened to be put on record.
Below are a few factors to consider when telling your managers how to decide which employee conversations should be documented:
- Once a supervisor notices an employee’s performance or behavior starting to decline, you should begin documenting it. Having a file with every event and every warning documented will be strong support of any action you take.
- If the employee has been is using legal jargon during the discussion, you need to fully document everything discussed. For example, any mention of “retaliation,” “harassment,” “discrimination,” or the use of similar buzzwords is an indication you should be concerned.
- Look for signs that the employee has been researching the law. This can include him/her mentioning “legal rights” or hints of having some sort of claim.
- Employees facing corrective actions or layoffs are likely to view any actions by the employer as being retaliation. Any conversations with the employee should be documented.
- If an employee requests an accommodation for a disability, you must engage the employee in an “interactive process.” You should document everything.
You should advise your managers that when they are in doubt about whether or not to document a discussion, they should document it. Better to be safe than sorry. And, if you are truly concerned about an employment law matter, contact us for help. It is always better to spend the time in taking preventative measures than to battle it out in a courtroom down the road.