by Peter Kaczmarczyk
I sometimes feel the greatest service we perform as a union is protecting the basic rights of IU staff to due
process and to have their side of the story heard. We protect workers from overzealous management and help
prevent a rush to judgment when there is a problem in the work area.
While having a steward can help, and we always recommend you get one, here are some things you can do to help yourself before you ever need one.
- Keep a paper trail of all words of praise! You never know when you will need them to show what good work you have done, especially when you have not had a recent job performance appraisal.
- Ask for an annual job performance appraisal. This is your right per policy, and management should make every effort to give you one. A job performance appraisal gives an opportunity to discuss not only what you are doing right but also what you might be doing wrong, all in a constructive and nonconfrontational atmosphere. Addressing problems at
this point can help avoid the need to address them later as discipline. It also provides a record of all the things you are doing right.
- Remember: Bosses change! Many of the cases involving discipline seem to have the same theme. The staff person says, â€œEverything was fine until I got a new boss.â€ Well yah, your new boss has a different way of doing things and might not know about what a good employee you have been, especially if you have not taken care of #1 and #2 above. They might not appreciate your style of doing things, or they might have very different expectations. They might be hoping to replace you with someone more to their personal liking. Itâ€™s also possible that they are simply not a very good manager. Whatever the reason, you should be prepared for change and whatever might come with it.
So protect yourself. Keep records, and do your best to keep regular communication going between you and your boss. It is no exaggeration to say that these things could happen to you.