Employee Personal Troubles

We currently have an employee who is having marriage troubles as well as medical troubles. How far does a company go in "counseling" her without disrupting the company as well as any legal backlash.


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  • Without knowing the specifics of the counseling, I'd say that the important thing is to make sure any counseling is based on job performance, and not medical issues or problems at home.

    If you feel this person may qualify for protection under the FMLA, then that would be the next avenue I'd pursue.

    Maybe some more information would help on the nature of the counseling you want to give?
  • By "counseling" I mean that employees are sitting with her and listening to her side of the story and they are interjecting their own ideas/comments to her. This is sort of like going out with your friends and discussing their problems. My concern is that since this is a business setting, can their "opinions" come back to haunt our company? The employee in question has started visiting a Professional outside of the office yesterday and that is fine. I just don't want our company to become involved in divorce matters, romance matters, etc through our comments/opinions made to someone who works with us. Is it okay for the employees to give her their personal opinions without it causing our company any personal injury or liability on our parts?
  • Having friends around the office state their opinion does not necessarily make the company responsible. However, employees are at work to work, not talk. If you allow them to spend too much time on this, you can be expected to let them spend time on things you really don't want them to spend time on. For instance, perhaps someone wants to spend time preaching their religion or spreading union information. Those kinds of things can come back to haunt you.

    As Coffee said, focus on work behaviors. Is everyone getting their work done on time without too much disruption? If so, let it go. If not, address who and when and stick to work facts. You can keep your company safe without being the unsympathetic bad guy by just focusing on work and the facts.

    Good luck!

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