Written Up Unfairly

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about write rules:

I was written up for low production(I was eighty parts behind the other two shifts, but they have been on the job longer.) Isn’t there a requirement that I get a copy of the write up? I don’t think it was fair to write me up about production when I wasn’t trained in how to do the job. What can I do?

Signed, Untrained and Frustrated

Dear Untrained and Frustrated:

Your situation certainly does sound frustrating and I can see why you would feel angry and hurt about it. However, we are a workplace communications site and we don’t know what the performance improvement requirements are in your workplace. It is a good practice to give an employee a copy of a write-up, but there is no law about that. It also seems unfair to write up someone when they haven’t been trained well. But, again, there is no regulation that requires a company to train to a certain level before they write up an employee. For example, if a task is something that was part of the job description when you were hired, they might think you could easily do it. Or, if all employees had a time of training and some are doing the job well, there may be an expectation that you can do the job to the same level as those employees are doing it.

I’m wondering if there were conversations where you could have expressed your feelings that you weren’t being trained. Or, if your managers could have seen the problem and done something to help you improve.Fortunately, even though it’s too late to change the fact that you were written up, it’s not too late to help the future be better.

1. Talk to your supervisor or manager, even though you’re probably angry at them right now. Tell them honestly that you would like some more training so you can improve.

2. Consider asking if there is a method being used by the other shifts that results in higher productivity.

3. Consider asking your manager if he or she has ideas on what would be the most helpful things to do or not do, to get your productivity up.

4. Consider asking if you can have a copy of the write up for your records. That will at least give you something in writing and will remind them that there are good practices they have not followed.

5. If you can do it, maybe you can observe the other shifts to see the differences in how they are able to produce so much more work.

6. If your company has an HR section, talk to them about this and ask what the policies are about it. Your purpose wouldn’t be to get someone in trouble, but to find out for sure what was supposed to happened, so you can compare it with what did happen.If there is a big difference, tell HR and ask for their advice about what you should do next. They might simply say each situation is different. Or, they may ask your boss to give you a copy and talk to you more about it.

None of that will help you do away with the write up. However, what is most important is that you and your managers are able to talk to each other about what caused the problem and how to fix it.In the meantime, you can respond either by acting angry, hurt and resentful, or you can respond by acting honestly hurt but also frustrated over the lack of training that created the problem. If you can take that latter approach you will show others your inner strength and you might be able to get more support from your bosses as well.I can understand why your managers think it’s imperative that production be high on every shift. But, I can certainly understand some of how you must be feeling. Best wishes to you in this challenging time.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.