Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Industrial Relations And Labour Laws
Labour Law Advocate
Human Resource

Hi colleagues, I would like to seek your expert view on a case, where an employee who is a very excellent performer of the company. But he has a big problem of arguing all time with some seniors of the other departments. He has a habit of writing sarcastic, unnecessarily dramatic, and scathing emails even for small issues. He has been advised many times that the inter-department communication should not be deployed to mounts such aggressive attacks on the other department colleagues. It not only giving him a reputation of being a difficult colleague to work with, but his work is also done with the least enthusiasm by service providers.

However, despite the many warning emails issued to him by his immediate boss, he is repeating this type of miss-conduct again & again.

We understand that he is a good performer, but he is also expected to adhere some basic code of conduct imposed on him as an employee.

Now, in this context, can you pls. suggest the possible disciplinary actions can be taken against him. Though, as he is a good performer, we also don't want to lose him.

Looking for your expert views, please.

From India, Delhi
Dear Dev,

"Good performer has been rubbing his/her colleagues bad way". This issue has been discussed on this forum time and again. To give a quick reply, it can be said that there cannot be trade off between "good performance" and "haughtiness".

So far you have taken steps of positive discipline. However, it appears that these are not working. Therefore, it is time to move on to negative discipline. Give him a show cause notice and tell him to explain why in spite of several reminders to correct his behaviour, he has failed to do that. If the reply is not satisfactory, then award him suitable punishment. However, do not just settle matter with mere warning letter as it will have no impact on him.

Your fears about losing the good performing employee are unfounded. If he goes, someone else will join. You should be capable to recruit a star performer as his replacement. Possibly he is also under notion that overall the company is over-reliant on him and he is indispensable. Call him to your office and give a veiled threat that price of his incorrigibility could be termination of employment with negative remarks on his "Service-cum-Experience Letter". With this kind of experience letter, where he will stand?

Healthy interpersonal environment in the company is sine qua non. Those who vitiate the interpersonal environment, must be dealt sternly, else it could degrade the general morale and once the damage is done, it will have huge cost.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
you cannot have the cake and eat the cake. But as Dinesh said you can have another piece of cake, a star performer if you eat it now! Moreover, if you compromise, this will result in damage to morale of others who are getting insulted by this star performer. There is always a conception that a good performer is always in the good books of the management and whatever he does which may even damage the harmony of the organisation, the management is going to protect him. You should change it. Treat him like any other employee when it is an issue connected with the decorum of the organisation.

From India, Kannur
If he is committing any misconduct as per your standing order, if any or the model standing order or any act which can be considered as misconduct as per terms of employment etc. then definitely you can initiate disciplinary proceedings against him. Please note that before starting domestic enquiry, make sure the management does its homework properly by gather irrefutable evidence against the employee which can be proved in the enquiry.
As you said that the employee sends sarcastic emails, on the other hand the employee may say that he had actually stated the facts. So the management needs to decide whether they are able to prove any charge or not.

From India, Kolkata
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