While laws and protocol may differ from state to state, there are some basic rules and procedures to follow in order to protect your restaurant from expensive and avoidable unemployment compensation costs. Contact your states restaurant association for questions regarding laws in your area. Practicing these simple measures can save thousands of dollars a year that could be put to better use in your business.
Keep a Manager’s Log Book or Diary – Make notes that will aid you in identifying certain dates. When you need to reference a timeline, you will benefit from having a dated list of any incidents that you may have with a troublesome employee. Appearing organized and confident will benefit you greatly if you need to attend an unemployment hearing.
Develop an Employee Manual – Outline your expectations for behavior while your employees are at work. List all of your restaurants policies, rules and regulations. Review this handbook with your current employees as well as anyone that you may hire. Have them sign a copy of the manual to signify that they understand the policies of your business.
Post all of your policies in an area that all employees frequent. This will indicate to your staff that you have grounds to terminate them if you feel that you need to.
If you verbally reprimand an employee, fill out an official incident form stating that you had to communicate a reprimand to a staff member. Note as many details as possible such as date, time, shift and any witnesses to the incident.
If the need for a more formal written reprimand is in order, take the time to fill out a proper reprimand form prior to confronting the guilty party. Focus on the exact issue that is creating a problem. Never take an ‘add things while you’re at it’ approach. Present the reprimand and review it with the employee. Allow the employee to provide a written rebuttal and then ask him or her to sign it. If the employee refuses to sign the form then note it.
Getting those last dollars in the bank is tough enough without incurring unneeded payroll expenses. The most beneficial asset that you will have, after you have no other choice but to break the connection to a problem employee, is documentation. Showing that you had made a reasonable effort to correct a pattern of misbehavior is the key to driving down unemployment claims and expenses.