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Performance Management

Dealing with underperforming employees can be a major headache for employers.

If you have an employee who is performing poorly, and you have tried everything to improve their performance to no avail, you may get to the point where you feel it is appropriate to take more “formal” measures against the employee. You may do this as a “warning” with every intention of continuing to work with the employee in the future, or you may do this as a prelude to dismissing the employee unless their performance improves.

Do you need an employment solicitor to help you with performance management?

  • If you are an employee and you think you need help, take a look at our workplace representation page.
  • If you are an employer who needs to manage an employee’s performance, please read on!

The reasons why are important

Examples of under-performing employees are:

  • The employee who is very bright and capable but is bored and cannot be bothered to do the job properly;
  • The employee who is trying very hard to do the job right but just keeps making mistakes;
  • The employee who does not hit targets; and
  • The employee who is suffering personal problems, poor relationships at home or at work which are affecting work.

Two years to assess an employee

As a general rule, employees with less than 24 months’ continuous employment (from April 2012) can be dismissed for poor performance without the need to go through any formal procedures prior to doing so (but take advice on the transitional rules!). This is because generally, employees with less than 24 months’ service will not be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal and the employer will therefore not have the burden of showing that the dismissal was both substantively and procedurally fair.


Please ensure that in dealing with issues relating to performance, you do not either intentionally or unintentionally discriminate against your employees on any of the protected characteristics. It is particularly important to be aware of any potential disability discrimination issues when dealing with poor performance. If you have any concerns relating to these issues you should take advice.

Contact our Employment Lawyers in Sheffield today

Speak to a member of our team today by contacting us on 0114 249 59 69 or completing our online contact form here.

For business law advice call 0114 249 59 69


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