How to Deal With Disrespectful Employees

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Notify upper management if the disrespect continues.
Notify upper management if the disrespect continues. (Image: LDProd/iStock/Getty Images)

As a manager, you expect your employees to behave in a professional manner. Difficult employees can be especially hard to deal with, particularly if they're rude, disrespectful and argumentative. This kind of behavior may challenge your authority, intimidate other workers and even impact on your company's relationship with its clients. It is important to take action as quickly as you can to make the employee aware that this behavior is not acceptable.

Outline the behaviors that are unacceptable clearly and calmly. Be specific when you describe them and inform the employee he will face consequences if he continues to display these disrespectful behaviors.

Issue a written warning. Use company letterhead to type a formal letter to the employee. Describe specific incidents of inappropriate behavior along with a statement outlining the actions you' take if the behavior occurs again. Sign the letter, give a copy to the employee and place another copy in the employee's human resources file.

Construct a performance improvement plan. Outline a plan describing the behaviors the employee must cease immediately in order to remain employed. Call a meeting with the employee and upper management to discuss the details of the plan. Sign the performance plan, and have upper management and the employee sign it as well before placing a copy in the employee's file.

Notify upper management if the disrespect continues. Remind them of all actions you took to alleviate the problem. Request to either transfer the employee to another department or terminate his employment.

Tips & Warnings

  • Request termination only if the employee clearly demonstrates he has no intentions of improving his behavior.

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