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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again - UPDATE

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JacklynHyde:
I work online in a social services environment that I'm going to decline detailing, but know that our client require regular, one-on-one contacts from those who service them.  I'll call my coworker Shelly.  She works as support to me as two other coworkers (Kurt and Jane), but we're all seen as equals because her support work is so detailed, but I am considered the lead for the team due to my seniority.  The problem was, she didn't do her support work for the first two months she was placed with us, leaving us to scramble and cover for her so our clients didn't complain (as far as certain clients are concerned, Shelly and I take equal responsibility for them, so if they complained, they complained about both of us).  Her support work involves things that Kurt, Jane, and I are not trained to do, and we tried unsuccessfully to talk with her about keeping up with her tasks.  Finally, we lodged a group, formal complaint against Shelly.  She was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan, which, among other things, meant that all written communication had to carbon copy two of our bosses.  Shelly became extremely PA and made co-working with her difficult.

Fast forward to last week.  Shelly is officially completed her Performance Improvement Plan, but her work is slipping again, with open work sitting in her queue since November.  Per protocol set up by our bosses, I copied them on an email to Shelly asking her to catch up on the work that out of date.  She caught me on private messaging the next afternoon, complaining that she had stayed up all night and that I was getting her back into trouble.  When the four of us met online for planning, Shelly demanded that we no longer talk about her with our bosses and to come to her directly with problems.  This had been unsuccessful in the past, so I'm not sure how well it will work in the future.

My question, if you have stuck with me, is how to handle working with her in that future.  She continues to neglect her work, and is now partial to borrowing / stealing my material instead of creating her own that is tailored to our shared clients' more special needs.  She's let us know that the next big slip-up she makes, she will be fired.  It sounds like she wants us to cover for her.  I'm also worried about my coworker Kurt.  He is so frustrated, he is considering transferring to another team.  It wouldn't surprise me if he intentionally complained about something just to be rid of her.  How do I handle his concerns and frustrations?

Thanks in advance.  This is a bit of a doozy.

gramma dishes:
Your bosses have made clear how they want things done.  She is demanding that you ignore them and do things her way.  If it were my job, I'd do it the bosses' way! 

She isn't doing her job.  Not only that, but she's trying to bring the rest of you down with her.   She SHOULD be fired. 

ChiGirl:

--- Quote from: JacklynHyde on December 16, 2012, 09:16:25 PM ---

Fast forward to last week.  Shelly is officially completed her Performance Improvement Plan, but her work is slipping again, with open work sitting in her queue since November.  Per protocol set up by our bosses, I copied them on an email to Shelly asking her to catch up on the work that out of date.  She caught me on private messaging the next afternoon, complaining that she had stayed up all night and that I was getting her back into trouble.  When the four of us met online for planning, Shelly demanded that we no longer talk about her with our bosses and to come to her directly with problems.  This had been unsuccessful in the past, so I'm not sure how well it will work in the future.

--- End quote ---

"Shelly, that request is really inappropriate.  If your work is unsatisfactory, we will handle it as we see fit."

Then report her.  Again.  And every time it merits reporting.

As for Kurt, you could encourage him to report his own frustration.  If he is thinking about transferring just to get away from Shelly, your bosses should know it! 

Dindrane:
I think you do whatever it is your bosses have asked you to do. If that means Shelly gets fired, so be it. She knows exactly what it takes to keep her job (since she was put on a performance improvement plan), and she is capable of doing it (since she successfully completed said plan). The fact that she doesn't want to meet the expectations of her position is not your problem.

I think as the lead of your group, you should encourage the others to do the same as you -- do whatever your bosses have asked you to do and let the chips fall where they may. If Shelly objects to the three of you doing that, use whatever channel is most appropriate to alert your bosses. If Shelly tries to get any of you to cover up her unacceptable performance, same deal.

If she won't (or can't) perform this job at the level necessary, then covering for her only prolongs the inevitable and makes you look bad. Better for her to be in a position she's actually wiling/capable of doing, and better for you and your organization to have a person in her current position who is both willing and able to do the work as expected.

LeveeWoman:
Why is this even a concern?

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