Signs of Instability

March 19, 2001

We have a longtime employee that was here before the business relocated during a change of ownership several years ago. During the past two years, this employee has shown signs of instability and appears to be testing to see how much he can get away with.&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/P&gt;<br />

Despite written and verbal warnings, the problem persists. I feel it is time to release him, but his supervisor wants to give him another chance. What should we do?

— President, transportation company, Oil City, Pennsylvania.

   Dear Pennsylvania President:

Basically, the business owner or chief operating officer and the supervisorneed to reach consensus. Because of the nature of this employee&#39;s longstandingproblematic behavior patterns (some that may be intimidating to others in theworkplace), I would mandate he go for Employee Assistance Program counseling (the company has an EAP).

If not, the company should establish a consulting relationship with a licensed social worker or psychologist who has experience with work stress/performance and personnel-related issues. If this person wants to continue to have a job he should be required to attend counseling sessions. And he must improve his performance to satisfactory levels even if in counseling.

 This individual may even need to have a fitness-for-duty evaluation with a psychiatrist. He may have an anxiety condition, depressed mood or a personality disorder that might respond to counseling and medication. This employee seems not to have adjusted well to, and has been regressing, since the major transition of selling the business five years ago.

    SOURCE: Mark Gorkin, LICSW, The Stress Doc and America Online's Online Psychohumorist,Washington, D.C., March 19, 2001

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