Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good Faith and Fair Dealing

Supervisors are vulnerable to becoming "wrapped up" in their contentious relationships with employees. Are you so prone? If so, someday you may take actions against your employee nemisis in a moment or two of lost awareness only to find yourself and your employer sued in part because your failure to participate in good faith and fair dealing with your employee. What is this doctrine of relationship management?

The "good faith and fair dealing obligation" of employers is an important concept to understand in preventing actions by employees that can lead to expensive lawsuits.

It is an obscure principle, but this obligation on the part of employers has a very wide range of interpretations. And it has become a more common foundation or element upon which employee lawsuits have been based.

Its underlying principles should be understood by supervisors, because they can be easy to violate, even unintentionally. Management activity that can elicit action from employees based on the good faith and fair dealing exception include:

Distorting, falsifying, altering, or destroying performance appraisal records.

Malicious supervision including harassment, abusive behavior, and inadequate training.

Arbitrary and capricious demotion or creation of excessive assignments in an attempt to provoke resignation.

Retalitory termination.

Any other malicious conduct on the part of the employer that tends to unnecessarily create an adverse effect upon the worker's right to reasonable employment conditions.

Now you have a clear rationale for staying on the "rational" side of the contest you have with your employee. Have a supervisor, HR, or management confidant to keep you unemotional and on the straight and narrow when managing a troubled employee or chronically unproductive worker.