poor performance during COVID-19

Can Poor Performance During COVID-19 be a Cause For Dismissal or Reduction in Salary?

As many companies have their financial year-end in December, the new year is a common time to discuss an employees’ performance over the past year. However, many employees are dreading the yearly performance reviews for 2020 and wondering if their poor performance during COVID-19 be a cause for dismissal or reduction in salary.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added an element of uncertainty to the annual review process. For many businesses, targets that were set in early 2020 became completely unattainable. This leaves many employees wondering whether their bosses will view the missed targets as the fault of the pandemic – and beyond the employees’ control – or something that could have been fixed by a driven, adaptable, and creative employee.

While concerns around the performance review process abound, and some may even lose their jobs due to poor performance, only a very small handful of employees should worry that their poor performance during COVID-19 era would justify a termination for cause.

Terminations for cause are considered the most serious form of discipline an employer can use because it deprives the employee of their job and a financial cushion – a severance package – while they look for new work.  In most cases, an employer will be unable to justify a termination for cause unless they can show prolonged poor performance that falls far below well-established standards for the job.   Thus, employees with good track records prior to the pandemic likely need not worry.  Similarly, employees who have not been given repeated warnings and clear guidance on how to perform in the COVID-19 era are at minimal risk.

If you are concerned about a negative performance review or believe you’re about to be fired due to your poor performance during COVID-19, contact us. We at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.

Author: Stephen Wolpert