Negligence vs. Poor Work Performance

Not sure whether an employee is negligent or rather under performing???
In the employment environment, there is an obvious overlap between negligence and poor work performance.
We took a look at the difference between the two and summarized it for you as follow:
Negligence is defined as an employee’s failure, without proper cause, to perform his duties with a standard of care that the employee would reasonably be expected to observe in the completion and fulfillment of his/her duties or tasks. The concept of negligence suggests that the employee is aware of what the necessary standard of care is, is capable of performing a task with the necessary standard of care, or has performed the task with the necessary standard of care in the past.
The employee knows what to do, but makes a mistake due to a lapse in concentration, temporary distraction, or failing to pay proper attention to what is being done. Acts of negligence may thus arise when an employee rushes to finish a task, speaks to another employee while finishing a task, or tries to complete several tasks simultaneously.
Poor Work Performance:
Poor work performance refers to a case where the employee applies all possible care in performing a task and invests their full attention and concentration, but still fails to perform to the required standard. This failure to perform is generally due to a lack of skill, training or necessary personal traits, which prevents the employee from performing to the required standard.
In these circumstances the employee would not be able to perform the assigned task irrespective of whether or not he exercised the required standard of care. The employee is in essence incapable of performance to the required standard. The employee’s failure in this instance is due to no fault of his own and cannot be treated as misconduct. The employer would thus have to follow an incapacity procedure in order to establish the way forward.
The Difference:
The difference between negligence and poor work performance thus stems from whether or not the employee is factually capable of performing a task to the standards specified in the contract.
What procedure needs to be followed:
In the case of negligence, the employer would have to revert to their disciplinary procedures, starting with warnings (depending on the severity of the transgression), and eventually dismissing the employee for misconduct after conducting a fair disciplinary inquiry.
Poor work performance cannot be treated in the same way as misconduct. An employee who is under performing would have to be placed into an incapacity inquiry due to poor work performance. The employee must be given proper notice of his/her poor work performance and must be given an opportunity to better his/her performance and must be assisted by the employer during this time.
If an employee is capable of performing his/her duties according to the required standard, but fails to do so without a valid reason, this would amount to misconduct on the part of the employee and may be remedied through disciplinary action.
Employers are reminded that each matter has its own unique merits and thus each matter will be treated differently depending on the facts.
How can Invictus Group help you?
Contact us on 0861 737 263 and one of our specialized staff members will advise you accordingly. We can furthermore assist by drafting the correct charges for you and send out a professional IR Specialist to chair your inquiry / poor work performance inquiry.