Can my employer put me on a performance improvement plan without any proof?

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Can my employer put me on a performance improvement plan without any proof?

My company put me on PIP without any proof on 05/07. To save my job, I had to sign on PIP document. Before that on 04/24, I mail to my program manager not to continue with the current project and complaint about my reporting manager and project manager for this project. I cearly said that I won’t work with these people. As a result of this, they put me on PIP and took no action on complaints. Instead, they said my attitude and behavior is bad with reporting manager and project manager and they gave wrong feedback. The company has 3 months notice period in the agreement. I asked HR if PIP is failed what will be the exit process. Upon asking multiple times in the email, she didn’t reply to my question. Actually the company doesn’t need me now. So they want to fire me without providing 3 month notice period salary and that’s the reason they put me on PIP so that they will escape to give any performance bonus and notice period salary. What should I do in this matter?

Asked on May 13, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless this action violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, it is legal. The fact is that most work relationships are what is known as "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). Accordingly, you can be disciplined (or even terminated) for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have a still-in-effect (I.e. unexpired) written employment contract for a fixed time (e.g. a one-year contract) which prevents your discipline or termination for this reason, or which guarantees or protects your job for the fixed period, or which requires some disciplinary process which they are violating, your employer can do this. In the absence of such a written contract, you are an employee at will and--not to put too fine a point on it--an employee at will has no rights to or protection for his or her job. An employer may discipline the employee, including putting him or her on a PIP, or even terminate him or her whenever the employer wants, for any reason, even if the reason is unfair or not supported by the facts.


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