Readers of this column know that I am not a fan of the oxymoron „progressive discipline”. My dislike is about last chance deals, the latest written warnings and similar „or other” documents. They are degrading, dehumanizing and hostile. They are also counterproductive, both as relational intervention agents and for the prevention or defense of damage. The agreement takes the form of a written contract; An employee is expected to sign it and print his name, and to also record the date. His immediate supervisor and a staff representative – usually a personnel manager, depending on the size of the company – witness the signing, also sign and print their names and confirm the date on which the agreement was completed. Third, if the last chance agreement is about an employee`s drug abuse problem, the employee`s rights must be considered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other similar state laws that prohibit discrimination and retaliation against skilled workers with disabilities. While current illicit drug use is not a disability and can be the subject of a last-chance agreement, alcohol and drug abuse can be disabilities under the ADA. In one case, a court ruled that requiring an employee to sign a last-chance agreement after the employer learned that the worker was seeking treatment for drug addiction was contrary to U.S. Disabilities Act, on the grounds that the employee`s requirement to sign the last chance agreement was a disciplinary measure taken because of the worker`s protected status as a recovering drug addict (and not without protection from current drug/alcohol use).
Therefore, an agreement on the last chance should not be highlighted by employees because of their status as drug addicts. For more information on this, especially for California employers, see Quirky Question #142. We run a production site with union staff where new employees start with a 90-day trial period during which they are not yet union members. I recently hired a man who repeatedly refused to work overtime, so I made him sign a „last chance” agreement in which he accepted that any other inexcusable refusal would lead to the termination of his employment. . . .