#4 Performance Problems That Arise Right After the New Hire’s
Probationary Period Ends
Paralegal’s interest in his position appears to wane soon after his 90-day introductory period
ends. He begins playing solitaire on his PC and appears defensive and overly sensitive when
he is questioned about his performance.
Employee Name: Mark Gonzales Department: Trademarks/Patents
Date Presented: November 23, 2010 Supervisor: Gordon Hondo
Disciplinary Level
Verbal Correction—(To memorialize the conversation.)
Written Warning—(State nature of offense, method of correction, and action to
be taken if offense is repeated.)
Investigatory Leave—(Include length of time and nature of review.)
Final Written Warning
Without decision-making leave
With decision-making leave (Attach memo of instructions.)
With unpaid suspension
Subject: Substandard work; oversensitivity to constructive criticism
Policy/Procedure Violation
Performance Transgression
Behavior/Conduct Infraction
Prior Notifications
Level of Discipline Date Subject
Verbal ___________ __________________________________________
Written ___________ __________________________________________
Final Written ___________ __________________________________________
Disciplining the Probationary Employee
Performance Problems That Arise After Probationary Period Ends
Incident Description and Supporting Details: Include the following information: Time,
Place, Date of Occurrence, and Persons Present as well as Organizational Impact.
Less than two weeks ago, I congratulated you on completing your initial training period at
our firm. I remarked on how much you appeared to me to be enjoying your work, and you
stated that you indeed felt very involved in your position and felt like you were making a dif-
ference. However, in the past week I have received two complaints about your performance.
First, two fellow attorneys brought to my attention the fact that they witnessed you playing
solitaire on your PC throughout the day. They noticed this because your PC faces out into
the hallway, and although you have your back to the door, others who pass by and glance
into the room can see your computer desktop very clearly.
When I brought this issue to your attention, you reacted by immediately defending yourself.
You stated that no one had any business looking at your computer desktop and that as long
as the work was getting done, no one had the right to criticize you. Understand that I would
expect my peers to bring issues such as this to my immediate attention, just as I would serve
as an extra set of eyes and ears for them. Therefore, it was totally appropriate for them to
bring this matter to me. Your overreaction and inappropriate sensitivity are not what I
expected, however, especially seeing that you were indeed playing computer games while
we’re under deadline.
Second, it appears that you are not as up-to-date on your desk as I originally believed. Client
attorney Charles Stone called me to say that the Vanguard file is not prepared for litigation
because several pieces of information are missing: Namely, the subpoena duces tecum was
not properly served on Chandler Corporation, so the records are not available; the deposition
subpoena for John Roscoe is missing; and your litigation checklist has not been properly
completed. You have been working on this case for a month, and these omissions could seri-
ously jeopardize the time limits that we’re facing.
Performance Improvement Plan
1. Measurable/Tangible Improvement Goals: Mark, I expect you to refrain from playing
solitaire on your PC. More important, I expect you to create and maintain an image that
is appropriate for a newly hired paralegal in a large, well-recognized law firm. I expect
you to accept constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is meant. And most
important, I expect you to meet all deadlines on all cases at all times. Should there ever
be a time when you can’t meet the deadlines established, I expect you to let me know in
advance so that I can provide additional resources for you to meet your goal.
2. Training or Special Direction to Be Provided: I will meet with you later this week to
review all files pending on your desk. I will answer specific questions you have about our
firm’s administrative practices and work with you on the more challenging files that
require added attention. I will then meet with you at weekly intervals for the next month
to ensure that you are totally up to speed on your desk.
3. Interim Performance Evaluation Necessary? No

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