I had the pleasure of speaking in front of a great group of folks in Grand Rapids on Friday. I spoke on a few topics throughout the day; conversation, intention, selling to different genders and managing change.
Interestingly enough, most of the questions I got afterwards were about office "problem employees" that every office seems to have, yet no-one knows how to deal with properly. I am no labor attorney and I don't even play one on TV, so take my advise from a management perspective, not a legal one.
First, let's be honest. EVERYONE in your office knows who the problem child is. The question is, why haven't you done anything about it? They are expecting you to. They are begging you to. They NEED you to. If your office is devoting even an hour a day managing around your troubled child, it is too much time spent financially, emotionally and attitudinally. They are a cancer on your office. Purge and let go.
Second, what ever behavior you tolerate from your employees at the lowest end of the specturm is your new HIGH in overall staff quality. Sure you have A players. But you tolerate behavior that is lower than you expect from all your employees. GE is a great example of how they systematically purge problem people. Every year they do performance evaluations. Every year the bottom 10% of ranked employees are let go. Done. There are no wringing of hands or pondering about the aftermath. It is part of the culture and part of what has taken them from good to great. They simply do not tolerate poor performance.
Why do you?
Purge your problem children and replace them with folks who respect you, your team and your business. The brand you have worked so hard to create deserves the best possible folks working and building it for the future.