HEY! WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?!... A problem lawn care employee.
While one of your employees may not be a bad person, they CAN be a bad lawn care employee.
So what do you do about it?
You should identify the issue, then assess if you need to coach them... or can them. And if firing them is the right move, you’ll need to do it the right way.
First, and foremost…
If you have specific questions on terminating a lawn care employee, it’s best you seek the advice of an employment law professional (an attorney or human resources consultant).
Each HR issue is specific to the size of your lawn care company, type of company, state in which you do business, and etc.
The goal of this blog is to give you a few recommendations as a starting point when dealing with lawn care employee issues. It’s not to be taken as legal advice.
Read on, as we walk you through some pointers with insights from Jason Cupp, a leading Human Resources consultant with specialties in the lawn care and landscaping industry. Jason has guided all types of services businesses through both big and small HR issues.
You try to be the perfect boss, and yet your employees still go rogue.
Even the most successful lawn care business owners have to occasionally deal with problematic employees.
So what you should you look out for when it comes to problem areas? Here are a few recommendations:
You found the problem… and the problem lawn employee. Now how do you address it?
Once you have all the facts, you’ll have to decide your next move.
Depending on your specific business situation, possible ways of handling a problematic employee issue could be:
Provide written documentation to your employee with a detailed account of the events and advice for corrective action.
Be sure to have your lawn care employee sign any write ups.
“If they refuse, tell them to write ‘I refuse to sign this’ at the bottom and have them write their name (not a signature),” states Jason. “This document, and it’s signature, or it’s refusal to sign will cover your liability significantly.”
Written documentation is super important for you as a business owner.
You’ll want to document EVERYTHING.
Should that employee ever question your decisions, you’ll have all of the dates, times, and incidents listed in their file.
A probationary period would last a certain amount of time, such as one week, 30-days, etc.
This means they have a certain amount of time to correct their behavior.
Once the probation is over, you would re-evaluate your lawn care employee and give them a status update.
If they are doing great, let them know it!
Unless... it's something HUGE.
There are a few extreme circumstances that could possibly lead you to firing an employee.
Hopefully you’ve built zero tolerance policies into your Lawn Care Employee Handbook, and your employees have signed off on the handbook.
The handbook shows that you mean business and have already warned them that certain actions won’t be tolerated.
A HUGE zero tolerance action could be any of the following:
If an employee commits a zero tolerance act, you should consider immediately removing the lawn care employee from the field, but only if those are outlined in your handbook.
Make sure you extensively document the situation. Write down:
“If you have proof, the liability is significant,” Jason explains. “IF you have a handbook that says you can terminate them for what they did (i.e. drinking on the job), then you can fire them.”
There are definitely a few things to consider when firing a problem employee such as:
If they are working on a Visa…
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there are specific actions you must take should you terminate someone who is a H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker. Typically, you have only 2 days to notify USCIS.
There are additional pieces of information that you must include with your notification to USCIS. You can find those details, along with contact information, on the USCIS website.
Manage your clients and employees all in one system
Don’t be afraid to fire someone if it’s truly warranted.
Remember: keeping a problem lawn care employee on staff could cause you a BIG headache down the line.
They could get into even more trouble if they continue to stay out in the field.
Plus, they can bring your business to a grinding halt if they step too far out of line.
Don’t let this one problem cause 10 more for you and your lawn care business.
Originally published July 31, 2018 9:06 AM, updated April 20, 2021 3:39 PM
Tags: Business Operation