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Dealing with a “toxic” employee
03 Apr 2017

At some point in everyone’s working life, you will come across that one colleague whose behaviour and attitude rubs you up the wrong way.

Known in academic circles as a “toxic” employee, they may be a good worker but their other behaviour - selfishness, bullying, rudeness, for example – can have a serious impact on staff morale.

Harvard Business School estimates that keeping a toxic worker on the payroll can cost an average firm more £9,000 a year – that’s nearly double the £5,000 it estimates a good employee can provide through increased annual productivity

Julia Fitzsimmons, Partner with FBC Manby Bowdler's employment team, looks at what employers can you do to safeguard your workforce from the damage of a toxic employee?

Have a robust recruitment process with a focus on the values you want your employees to bring to the table. This can help to uncover toxic employees at the recruitment stage.

Create a happy workforce and a positive, value-led culture, where employees feel able to speak openly about any issues. Have clear working practices and policies on bullying and harassment so staff feel able to raise any issues with line managers.

Make sure your grievance procedures are up to date and are communicated to staff. If you do find yourself with a toxic employee, managers should have open discussions with them about the behavioural expectations and support the employee in making improvements before dismissal is considered.  

Ensure you have completed all steps in the grievance and appeals process before resorting to dismissal, although in some cases this may well be the
only option in order to prevent unrest and poor morale amongst the rest of the workforce.

“Employers need to follow these steps to protect themselves and their company, and to demonstrate to employees why they are being let go,” added Julia.

For further information, please contact our Julia and the Employment law & HR team

Meet Julia Fitzsimmons