Hiring a new employee requires time, patience and a leap of faith. Interviews must be conducted to reveal professional strengths and weaknesses, depth of experience, interpersonal skills, and potential growth. References must be checked to confirm much of what is gleaned from the interview. And in many cases today, an applicant’s social media can be uncovered to reveal even further details about their personality. Hiring decisions are thus based on a combination of insightful research, gut instinct, and sad to say, trust.
Unfortunately, not every new hire can be made with the fullness of information you might require. Information may come to light after an offer is made, or even much longer than that. A more troubling situation – when a business owner discovers alarming information about an existing employee – is one that must be dealt with appropriately.
Regardless of how the information came to you, it is dangerous to look the other way and assume the situation will take care of itself. Left unchecked, and if true, the matter can have a serious impact on your company and staff.
Prior to taking any action at all, you should schedule a meeting with the employee. If possible, include your highest-ranking HR executive to join the meeting. Regardless of the information that you have obtained, your employee has the right to explain him or herself and provide background about the situation. Innocent until proven guilty is a basic tenet in American justice, and you owe it to the employee to hear them out regardless of what the situation appears on the surface.
Depending upon the gravity of the circumstances, you must determine how you wish to proceed. In some circumstances it might be sensible to contact a Labor and Employment attorney. Next steps can include termination, pressing criminal charges, requesting restitution or disciplining the employee. In these highly litigious times, legal counsel is strongly recommended.
To reiterate, ignoring the situation and hoping that it will rectify itself should never be an option. Troubling situations don’t self-correct but instead need the sure hand of senior management.
Remember “Catch Me If You Can?”
The movie is based upon the true story of Frank Abagnale. Frank worked as a lawyer, doctor and co-pilot for a major airline however unbelievably enough, he was never formally trained in any of those disciplines. One hopes that you NEVER encounter and hire anyone that incredibly devious, BUT, you never know, stranger things have happened! If you haven’t seen the movie you can see it on Netflix.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.