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Been put on a PIP but I think the performance issues concerned may be related to my disability. I've let HR know

How do you think HR is going to react to this, especially in light of my disability? I just want to be prepared.

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You really need to talk to a local labor lawyer, union rep, etc. If you have disability (in the legal) sense you would most likely be in a "protected class" and this could potentially be construed as discrimination. However, laws and policies vary dramatically with location, so you really need to understand the rules that apply for your specific situation and locale.

I know HR is for the employer not the employee

Neither. HR's job is to make sure all actions are compliant with laws and rules to to minimize the employer's legal exposure risk. If you are legally in a protected class, than HR will treat you very, very carefully. But again, only a local expert can read this properly.

Next step: document, document, document. Keep a detailed journal of all interactions. Copy e-mails, make written notes of conversation including date, attendants, context etc. If something is particularly important you can consider notarizing it. There are online services for that type of thing.

In these type of confrontation you really want to avoid the "he said" "she said" scenarios. Clean notes with dates on paper put fear into the hearts of many HR professionals.

This being said: there is clearly a strong disconnect between your own self assessment and your manager's assessment. That's not good and it's not long term sustainable. Could be they really just want to get rid of you or could also be that your own self-assessment is way off. I've seen both cases. If you have a trusted mentor or peer you should maybe ask for their opinion as well and have an honest look at yourself.

If they really want to get rid of you and can't legally fire you, they can still "manage you out the door". They can you treat you poorly until you quit by yourself. Bad assignments, no raises, no promotions, excluding you from most meetings and teams, etc. While this could technically be illegal (constructive dismissal) it's almost impossible to prove unless the employer is an idiot. Even if you manage to stay, there is no career and no fun to be had there.

In this case you can try to negotiate a deal. It's risky, cumbersome and expensive for the employer to get rid of you. They are most likely to throw money at you to make you go away and eliminate any risk of a discrimination lawsuit. This type of negotiation is VERY delicate so I strongly advise getting professional advise unless you are already an expert in negotiating yourself.

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    @AnUnknownStudent As you are in the UK, the Citizens Advice Bureau is a good place to start. Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 17:35
  • This was the best advice - thank you!!! Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 18:03
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I've read the question and read your comments and I've decided to answer because my Spidey Sense is tingling.

From what you've written, I get the impression that perhaps the situation isn't entirely as you've described.

Firstly - I want you to consider the following question:

"Is it possible your Autism is making you misinterpret some of the interactions?"

That is - is it possible that what you are taking as good and positive feedback isn't quite the glowing reviews that you think they are?

Normally with a PIP, even one where the person that is being placed on it is on a spectrum of one description or another: I work in IT and it's practically a job requirement - so all of my colleagues are one way or another - and I've seen several PIPs given to people on the Spectrum....

Including ones where a causal factor to their being placed on a PIP was related to their Autism.

In almost all cases, the individual was completely oblivious to the issues that were raised in the PIP and thought they were doing a good job. In some cases, they were technically doing a good job, but they were not doing an actual good job.

To give an example - a Technically good job is a patient comes to a Nurse and says 'Nurse! I need some pain relief!' - The Nurse grabs a baton and clonks the patient over the head, knocking them out - Technically, the Patient has been relieved of their pain...

Now, to answer the question:

You have 2 main options:

1: Plan your exit - start looking elsewhere, brush up your Resume etc. etc.

This is probably the best option if you ardently believe they are making stuff up to fire you.

2: Assume that everything in the PIP is true and accurate and then act as if it were.

This sucks, especially if you don't believe it - but as above, my experience in similar scenarios has been pretty consistent - you make an effort to address the things the company says are an issue and you may return to a good working relationship.

This is probably not the answer you want - but as I said - some of your comments piqued my suspicion.

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    Even if you believe it's unfair, the way you survive a PIP, if you can, is to actively demonstrate that you can perform at the level they are asking for. Which may require stepping up your game in those areas even if you don't think you should have to. Autism, or depression (in my case), or whatever is an explanation and a guide to what can be improved, but in the end you still have to find a way to do the job to the employer's satisfaction or find a job you can do.
    – keshlam
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 20:04
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    @AnUnknownStudent So there's a conspiracy to fabricate evidence to get rid of you? Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 21:44
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    @ComicSansSeraphim - yeah, something about it all just sounded off. Perhaps it was that. Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 1:57
  • Another option on this path may be to find a good friend or colleague, show them the PIP and ask them for advice. A good friend will tell you the truth, even if it hurts. And the truth might be, that there is no conspiracy and people making stuff up, but simply the OP perceiving things differently. And there is indeed only those options: find another job, or change perception and figure out how to improve.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 8:20

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