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Dealing with Problem Employees

***** Dealing with Problem Employees. By Amy Delpo, Lisa Guerin; published by Nolo, (Web); 391 pages; $44.99.

One of the most difficult and stressful tasks a manager faces is dealing with a problem employee. This book offers practical, realistic advice on dealing with the most common employment problems in the private sector, outlining the employer’s rights and responsibilities.

The authors go beyond traditional reactive measures, offering great advice on how to improve the hiring process and institute policies to prevent emerging issues from festering. They also discuss measures that can be implemented to turn problem employees into productive, valuable workers.

The book’s organization makes it very user-friendly. It begins with a chapter titled “What’s Your Problem?” then leads readers step-by-step toward problem resolution. The “Summary of Problems and Strategies for Resolving Them” chart makes it easy for readers to locate their problem, identify the ideal strategies, and go directly to portions of the book that address their issues.

Additional chapters include tutorials on performance evaluations, progressive discipline, alternative dispute resolution, terminations, and more. Also addressed are employment law basics and how to hire a lawyer. There are sample policies, checklists, forms, and other documents throughout the book that can be used by employers as a reference or as templates. 

The book appropriately cautions readers to seek legal advice when necessary. In the last chapter, the authors (both employment lawyers) explain when and how to hire and work with a good lawyer, how lawyers charge for their services, and what to do if you lose confidence in your lawyer.

This book can help managers deal with problem employees in a way that does not expose them or their organization to legal trouble. The advice would be particularly valuable to startup ventures and small companies that do not have human resource departments.

Reviewer: Diane H. Kaloustian, CPP, PHR (Professional in Human Resources), is a premier human resources representative for Paychex, Inc. She is a former member of the ASIS Professional Certification Board and former member and chair of the ASIS Privacy and Personnel Information Management Council.