When You Receive a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan)

performance-improvement-planAs much as I didn’t want to believe in this for a while after I started practicing employment law, my experience suggests over and over and in the vast majority of cases, when an employer issues a PIP (performance improvement plan) to an employee, this means that the employee will be fired shortly after. The PIP might make it sound like the employer is interested in having you improve your performance and address the issues outlined in that disciplinary documents, and they are even offering you various resources to help you along the way, such as employment assistance program (EAP), etc.

However, the reality is that most likely your management has already made the decision to terminate you, and now they are just creating paperwork to create “history” of performance issues to make the termination look more legitimate and less likely to be challenged by that employee in court, or at an administrative hearing, if applicable, and to also make it look like they gave you a chance to improve before terminating you.

If you have a received one of those 30-day or 60-day or 90-day PIP’s, you should consult with an experienced employment attorney about the various options of dealing with the PIP. First, the attorney should analyze your potential termination and determine whether there likely to be a potential evidence of discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. ┬áIf it appears that the employer might be trying to get rid of you for unlawful reasons, you can work with your attorney on gathering evidence to support your future case, and take steps on enhancing any potential wrongful termination and discrimination case before you have been fired, so that once you are terminated – you have a stronger case against your employer.

In other situations, resignation in exchange for severance can be an option worth considering or even suggesting to the employer. Whether this is the right option for you will depend on how strong your potential case is v the amount of severance that the employer is willing to offer, and other factors.