EE causes dissention

In the process of conducting a peer review, in preparation for an annual review, I learned that this particular employee (Call her Jane for reference) is causing dissention and stirring up things by bad-mouthing me, stating opinions as fact, and calling me names to other staff members. We are a small office -- I am the executive director with ten employees (no mid-level supervisors, just me) One employee stated that this 'troublemaker' ee causes 75% of the stress in her job and she dreads coming into the office every morning. Jane told this stressed out staff member that I am "scum." Other staff reports that Jane is in a bad mood when she can't get staff to 'hate" me too.

Now Jane does her job well -- I have no complaints about her dependability, productivity, and level of meeting her job requirements. Last year her review addressed her overall negative attitude and the resulting loss of productivity on the whole staff becauseof the ill will she created, which was directed at various staff members primarily. Over the year she improved about 60% -- six months were almost excellent, with only a few digressions. The past month has been "hell" according to one employee. Evidently she became angry at me and a decision I made and is taking it out on other staff members because she can't get them to go along with her. She is very subtle in all of this.

The trouble is: she never does any of this when I am in the office, or could be aware of the behavior first hand. It is only by conducting interviews with other staff that I am now learning the degree of this undermining, disruption, negative attitude. Her review is supposed to be today, and now I am having to re-think it all in light of this new information.

Is her behavior insubordination? How do I handle information that is from confidential conversations with her peers and --bottom line: what would any of you suggest, given the circumstances? Any help or advice is appreciated. Thanks.


  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I assume you are in an at-will state and have an at-will relationship with this employee. I would make her aware of what you know and if you hear one more complaint, negative comment, retaliation against a co-worker, etc. you will fire her. When it happens again, fire her. She is not going to change. If you don't want to give her one last chance, get rid of her. You will make your life and that of your employees so much easier. You don't have to put up with a back stabber.
  • Sounds like Jane is not a very loyal employee.

    I assume that the review for which you are preparing is not Jane's, it is for another staff member. If that is the case and all employees know that you conduct "peer interviews" to assist in preparing for all employee review, I suggest that you meet with Jane and tell her that the issue came up during interiews in preparation for another employee's review. Tell her that you will no longer accept such behavior, and, if it comes up again she will be terminated. If she last long enough to get to her own review, be sure to include this issue in the "peer interview" process with the other staff members.
  • Actually, this IS Jane's review process. The peer review was in gathering comments from her co-workers to help her growth process, to put her assessment with other's assesment of her. The staffer who is so stressed out was nervous about "tattling" and telling me that Jane is always trying to stir up support against me for some reason.

    I have written the report, including the growth since last year, and the sliding back in the past month or so with attitude, but that was my perspective before I heard what she has been doing behind my back.

    All the responses to this query are great, and I intend to address it firmly and directly. I just was not sure I could use 'third party' comments to support the discussion about her insubordination.

  • I wouldn't get into a semantics battle with her by using the word insubordination. She will like (unsuccessfully) counter that you never told her not to talk about you. Then you'll catch yourself trying to define insubordination for her. I would tell her that "I have knowledge that you have continually attempted to undermine and criticize management objectives as well as members of management themselves (myself), and that will not be tolerated in our organization, period." In this state, at least, you owe her no proof of that nor further explanation as to what you meant when you told her that. You are under no obligation to detail your evidence, or for that matter, to give her any reason at all. A thorough record of your evidence, however, will be your best defense should a Title VII challenge come from her.
  • I agree with Mentel and Mike. Jane's game is up and she should be made aware of that post haste. Unlike some similar posts on related questions, I did not read any vindictiveness or mean spiritedness in your post. You sound like you have a professional grip on the situation and appear to have convincing evidence that came from several sources. Don't punch her ticket again. She must leave the train.
  • One other thought - document your discussion with her, and make sure you document your warning. Then get rid of her if she doesn't straighten up.
Sign In or Register to comment.