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I have a direct that is going through a workers comp claim that isn't very pretty. We've been doing O3s for about 8 weeks now. Should I continue doing them with this direct? My fear is that my direct will claim something was said in the O3 that wasn't and it will be my word against there's.

timrutter's picture

I'd continue but make it clear that the comp claim has to be off limits in your O3's.

Your fear is probably founded in a lack of trust in what is a fledgling relationship. If you keep building that relationship, it'll pay you back. If things head south, at least you'll have early warning. Either way, it'll help to keep going.

Looking at it from the other side of the decision, what message would be received if you stopped the weekly O3 with that direct and kept going with your other directs?

Tim

donm's picture

Remember that contemporaneous notes are admissible as evidence. As long as you keep good notes about what is discussed, you can refer to them if something comes up.

You cannot make anything "off limits" in an O3. You can, however, say, "I really can't comment on that" when your direct brings it up. There are a ton of deflection phrases you can use, "That's beyond my reach," "That is between you and HR," "That is something I would have to refer to others."

If your direct brings up the claim or anything related to it, note what he said, and note your reply. Continue the O3s to build up the relationship.

mrreliable's picture

I recommend you get advice from your company's legal advisor. It sounds like you could be a party to the conflict in terms of being this person's supervisor. Saying "it isn't very pretty" infers that your interests as a representative of the company may be adverse to the interests of this employee.

The moment you get lawyers wrangling is the moment that logic and common sense go out the window. I guarantee if you're not an attorney there are lots of things you don't know about legal danger zones. They might advise you to carry on as usual, but there's a good chance they'll recommend things you haven't considered in order to protect yourself and the company.

The employee obviously has attorneys standing behind him (figuratively) when he talks with you. IMO, any time you deal with someone who has an attorney involved it's time to protect yourself with your own attorney.

delete_account_per_reacher_145083_dtiller's picture

The purpose of the O3 is to build your relationship with the employee.  I agree that the claim needs to off limits but otherwise you can still meet and discuss other topics of interest to the employee and cover your work matters.  I do hnk you can inquire how they are as this is a normal human question and a way to support your employee during this difficult time.

By not having the meeetings the employee may feel you don't care and that would make matters even more difficult.

Write notes and keep them.  Don't be fearful of a he said/she said scenario.  If you maintain the professional boundary of the claim topic and document then you have the backup you need should this come up. 

You have a business to manage and the O3 is your powerful tool, use it!