Q I just accepted a new job and I start in a week. I also just found out that I’m pregnant and I’m very nervous about telling my new boss. Should I tell him immediately or wait a few months? I’m scared he will rescind the job offer or treat me differently due to my pregnancy. -Pregnant in Prineville
Dear P in P
First of all, this happens all the time. You aren’t the first person who accepted a new job and then later found out she is pregnant. My advice is to be upfront and honest as soon as possible. Your new employer cannot rescind the job offer because that would be an illegal employment act based on pregnancy discrimination. While your employer may not be happy with the news, most employers will understand and work with you. I believe it is best to be upfront and honest and it is a good idea to give your new employer a heads up so they can plan for your upcoming maternity leave. Let him know the expected due date and when you plan to be gone from the office for doctor’s appointments, etc. When it gets closer to the date, you can work out the details regarding your maternity leave, how long you will take, coverage while you’re gone, etc. Most importantly, this is a very special time in your life and you should cherish every minute of it. Take care of yourself and your new baby.
Q I have an employee who has a really bad anger problem. She is our top revenue producer but her explosive anger has caused problems in the office. Many of our employees are afraid to approach her because they don’t want to deal with her volatile reactions. I want her to stop this behavior but I can’t afford to lose her either.
You need to deal with this issue head-on by placing her on a corrective action plan. I would first start with a stern counseling where you give explicit and meaningful feedback on her anger issues. Cite specific examples of times when she has blown up and emphasize the affect her anger outbursts have had on staff, clients and customers. While she may be your star performer and is positively affecting your bottom line, she is doing serious damage to the other employees and a disservice to your organization. These anger outbursts are no doubt disturbing your staff’s productivity.
If your employee does not respond to the counseling, then I suggest you follow through with disciplinary action. Let her know what the consequences will be if she fails to curtail this destructive behavior. Reiterate office expectations around respect, professionalism and safety. The trick is to learn how to harness the maverick. Keeping these mavericks around may have diminishing returns on the health and culture of your organization that far outweigh the revenue they bring to the company. If you, as the leader, continue to tolerate this behavior you are showing your employees that it is ok to treat others this way. My advice is if the anger issues can’t be tamed then cut your losses as soon as possible.
Julie Leutschaft, MPA, MHA is an independent HR consultant & owner of The HUMAN Touch – HR Consulting and Career Counseling firm www.thehumantouchHR.com. Send your workplace questions to julie@thehumantouchHR.com.