I couldn’t let this one pass without comment. A friend of mine who manages a busy office (and no I’m not going to say where or what they do!), was sharing a problem with me where they had employed someone who seemed to find it difficult to talk to customers without being rude to them, regularly turned up late and refused to dress appropriately for the office.
These behaviours were not only costing the company business, they were also irritating all the hard working staff who had to watch this. In this particular company all such matters were dealt with by the HR department who leapt into action with a whole array of policies and procedures in the handbook including investigation meetings, mentoring sessions and pep talks over a period of 6 weeks.
The employee had only been with the company 2 months at the start of this and by the end had got so hacked off (or amused) by the process he pulled the sick note for stress stunt.
The justification for this was that the company had to follow these procedures because they were contractually obliged to do so. Well that’s all very well but the most the company would have faced in this case was a claim for breach of contract after the dismissal which would have cost them at worst two weeks money. As it was they faffed about for 6 weeks and ended up no further forward.
I didn’t ask (as my friend had already gone a strange purple colour and was banging the table) but I bet this handbook had a clause that said they could waive the normal contractual procedures for staff who had not been there very long!