Author Topic: Fired an employee for cause - Story  (Read 17188 times)

Malcat

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3235
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #50 on: December 22, 2019, 06:52:09 AM »
I find it better to find a way to entice an employee to quit than to go through firing them. Firing takes ages, involves HR and severance. But if they quit, they are just gone.

Where I live, this can very easily get you sued.

js82

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #51 on: December 22, 2019, 07:18:09 AM »
I find it better to find a way to entice an employee to quit than to go through firing them. Firing takes ages, involves HR and severance. But if they quit, they are just gone.

Where I live, this can very easily get you sued.

This seems like a particularly awful sort of passive-aggressiveness.

Not to mention, visibly treating an employee like crap in hopes of convincing them to quit is a great way to destroy the morale of the rest of your employees and cause THEM to quit.


norajean

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 262
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #52 on: December 22, 2019, 07:27:20 AM »
Who said anything about treating anyone poorly. We treat them great!

Firing is actually what draws lawsuits where I work. Voluntary resignation because the employee wants to pursue other things is risk free.

joleran

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 262
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #53 on: December 22, 2019, 09:07:39 AM »
I find it better to find a way to entice an employee to quit than to go through firing them. Firing takes ages, involves HR and severance. But if they quit, they are just gone.

Where I live, this can very easily get you sued.

"Constructive dismissal" in the US.

fredbear

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 146
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #54 on: December 22, 2019, 04:55:48 PM »
For some values of "entice," it can also pass as "unreasonable supervision," and the unreasonably supervised employee who was forced out will receive unemployment, despite the "quitting."

Malcat

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3235
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #55 on: December 23, 2019, 06:28:29 AM »
Who said anything about treating anyone poorly. We treat them great!

Firing is actually what draws lawsuits where I work. Voluntary resignation because the employee wants to pursue other things is risk free.

Then how on earth are you enticing people to quit by treating them great??? How, in particular, are you managing to entice only the employees you want to actually fire?

I'm so confused.

TheGrimSqueaker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2332
  • Location: A desert wasteland, where none but the weird survive
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #56 on: December 27, 2019, 08:45:30 PM »
Who said anything about treating anyone poorly. We treat them great!

Firing is actually what draws lawsuits where I work. Voluntary resignation because the employee wants to pursue other things is risk free.

Then how on earth are you enticing people to quit by treating them great??? How, in particular, are you managing to entice only the employees you want to actually fire?

I'm so confused.

I think I'm a little bit aware of how this is done. There has to be some preliminary attempt to salvage the employee: perhaps a couple years of poor ratings using whatever passes as an objective standard. Maybe there's some kind of performance problem related to attendance or quantifiable results. Maybe the employee is engaged in harassment or substance abuse. If it's anything short of a crash-and-burn offense (such as industrial espionage or timecard fraud), you document the problem. You counsel the employee. You give the employee the chance to straighten up and fly right. You give the employee the same access to the great benefits other people have, right up to the point where you have to pull the plug. In short you give the employee just enough rope to hang himself or herself.

After the employee has identified himself or herself as someone whose shortcomings cannot be corrected, you set up a meeting with the employee and some objective witness such as a HR representative. You present the case and assert that the company has more than enough reason to fire that person immediately, without notice or pay in lieu of notice. But because you're a compassionate person, you're willing to let that person resign, immediately, and to pack up his or her desk under the supervision of security. Yet there's going to be an administrative fiction that he or she is retiring early, or quitting to pursue other options. Why? Because of the x weeks' worth of leave the company is willing to pay, instead of the zero the employee would otherwise be entitled to get.

Basically the "quitting" option is to save face, to avoid a lawsuit, and to give the soon-to-be-former employee a paycheck for a few weeks in a way that will hopefully leave the employee eligible for unemployment benefits. Depending on where you live, an employee who quits can sometimes still qualify for unemployment insurance and other state benefits.

Bloop Bloop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2059
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #57 on: January 01, 2020, 04:27:55 PM »
I find it better to find a way to entice an employee to quit than to go through firing them. Firing takes ages, involves HR and severance. But if they quit, they are just gone.

Where I live, this can very easily get you sued.

TheGrimSqueaker put it very well. If you want to get rid of an employee, assuming the employee has some objective shortfall, it is not conceptually difficult (just a little time-consuming) to put in place a performance management plan which will avoid any lawsuit for unfair dismissal or workplace stress. From a manager's perspective a performance management program followed by an offer of "resignation" plus a sweetener of undeserved benefits will usually get the employee out of the door, albeit at a modest extra cost. The extra cost is well worth preventing any litigation down the track.

In truth, you should not be giving permanent employee status to anyone whom you have not vetted and who does not hold a high-skill position. Low-skilled or temporary jobs can be filled by casual or agency workers whose contracts don't allow them the privilege of being performance-managed out the door.

Malcat

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3235
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #58 on: January 03, 2020, 08:34:27 AM »
I find it better to find a way to entice an employee to quit than to go through firing them. Firing takes ages, involves HR and severance. But if they quit, they are just gone.

Where I live, this can very easily get you sued.

TheGrimSqueaker put it very well. If you want to get rid of an employee, assuming the employee has some objective shortfall, it is not conceptually difficult (just a little time-consuming) to put in place a performance management plan which will avoid any lawsuit for unfair dismissal or workplace stress. From a manager's perspective a performance management program followed by an offer of "resignation" plus a sweetener of undeserved benefits will usually get the employee out of the door, albeit at a modest extra cost. The extra cost is well worth preventing any litigation down the track.

In truth, you should not be giving permanent employee status to anyone whom you have not vetted and who does not hold a high-skill position. Low-skilled or temporary jobs can be filled by casual or agency workers whose contracts don't allow them the privilege of being performance-managed out the door.

I'm guessing it depends on the laws where you live. Where I live, you can get nailed for hiring casual staff for an ongoing role that could be filled by permanent staff.

Also, perfectly competent staff can become toxic staff even if they're highly talented. Not everyone who needs to be terminated gives you much opportunity to performance manage them into quitting.

Plus if they know that there's a large severance at play, then they're not likely to voluntarily quit and it can become a game of chicken as to who is more willing to leave money on the table.

Again, this probably has a lot to do with the labour laws of my jurisdiction. Suffice to say, I've rarely found it easy to try and get someone to quit. They usually go on 6 weeks sick leave instead and then we're stuck not being allowed to replace them in that time, but also having no clue if they'll come back.

I'm guessing that paid 6 week sick leaves (aka short term disability) aren't so much of a thing elsewhere?

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3423
  • Location: WDC
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #59 on: February 19, 2020, 07:35:03 AM »
Who said anything about treating anyone poorly. We treat them great!

Firing is actually what draws lawsuits where I work. Voluntary resignation because the employee wants to pursue other things is risk free.

Then how on earth are you enticing people to quit by treating them great??? How, in particular, are you managing to entice only the employees you want to actually fire?

I'm so confused.

I think I'm a little bit aware of how this is done. There has to be some preliminary attempt to salvage the employee: perhaps a couple years of poor ratings using whatever passes as an objective standard. Maybe there's some kind of performance problem related to attendance or quantifiable results. Maybe the employee is engaged in harassment or substance abuse. If it's anything short of a crash-and-burn offense (such as industrial espionage or timecard fraud), you document the problem. You counsel the employee. You give the employee the chance to straighten up and fly right. You give the employee the same access to the great benefits other people have, right up to the point where you have to pull the plug. In short you give the employee just enough rope to hang himself or herself.

After the employee has identified himself or herself as someone whose shortcomings cannot be corrected, you set up a meeting with the employee and some objective witness such as a HR representative. You present the case and assert that the company has more than enough reason to fire that person immediately, without notice or pay in lieu of notice. But because you're a compassionate person, you're willing to let that person resign, immediately, and to pack up his or her desk under the supervision of security. Yet there's going to be an administrative fiction that he or she is retiring early, or quitting to pursue other options. Why? Because of the x weeks' worth of leave the company is willing to pay, instead of the zero the employee would otherwise be entitled to get.

Basically the "quitting" option is to save face, to avoid a lawsuit, and to give the soon-to-be-former employee a paycheck for a few weeks in a way that will hopefully leave the employee eligible for unemployment benefits. Depending on where you live, an employee who quits can sometimes still qualify for unemployment insurance and other state benefits.

This is what I did with the second (and last) person I "fired".  Meeting.  I typed up a resignation letter for him and slid it across the table and told him we didn't think he was happy there and that we really liked him and wanted to offer him the opportunity to resign.   It was cheesy then and I never wanted to do it again but I thought I was soooo smart at the time (yuck).  I don't think it would be any kind of offense to offer them an opportunity to resign before things got "official".

Since then, I haven't directly fired anybody, but I have helped other people (annoying peers usually)  find jobs elsewhere - either with or without their knowledge.   


LWYRUP

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1015
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #60 on: February 19, 2020, 10:59:10 AM »
Holy crap no you're not in the wrong and this ex employee is beyond the pale.

I think it was amazingly generous to offer them any severance. You honestly were being super awesome just offering to not contest unemployment!

I hope you got off that call quick and didn't promise her anything in addition. I kind of hope you told her (politely icy) that she was already given an extremely generous exit package considering you did fire her for performance issues and that she may want to temper her expectations in her future employment. Not your job to set her straight but that entitlement is likely the reason she's running home to live with the parents; she's unlikely to have realized she's supposed to be responsible for herself and should have been working harder at keeping her job (I assume she was given lots of room to improve and a PIP? so she is a dumbass if she didn't see this coming and start saving $ or gotten another job before she was fired)

Seriously, I've never heard of a company being so nice to a jerk worker.

I strongly disagree.  The OP did not list the specific reason for the termination.  There's no evidence the employee committed fraud, showed up drunk, etc.  The most common reason for termination with cause is "poor performance."  Poor performance is not an appropriate reason to deny someone unemployment (that they paid into the system through specific tax withholding on their paycheck).  Absent real fraud, it's a vindictive and petty move to screw someone over just to save a tiny amount of employer money -- and if you are talking lower paid workers, it may not even be economically justified to waste the staff time to do so. 

In my industry its standard to give people some amount of severance no matter what (absent fraud, etc.).  Most times the employee handbooks even indicate that the company will do so.  Any highly qualified employee is going to have multiple opportunities and is taking a risk to join one employer over another.  It's only reasonable that the employer also bear risk if the relationship doesn't work out.  There are lots of reasons a relationship can't work out if you are hiring someone for a high-level position other than competence (e.g., employee is used to a lot of autonomy but reports to someone who wants to make every decision even if it means work gets backed up waiting for decisions to be made).  Remember that the CEOs of all of these companies pre-negotiate exit packages before starting their job.  Why is it a "jerk" move for an employee to expect a tiny fraction of the same treatment?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2020, 11:04:37 AM by blinx7 »

PrairieBeardstache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
Re: Fired an employee for cause - Story
« Reply #61 on: February 19, 2020, 02:24:51 PM »
There are lots of reasons a relationship can't work out if you are hiring someone for a high-level position other than competence (e.g., employee is used to a lot of autonomy but reports to someone who wants to make every decision even if it means work gets backed up waiting for decisions to be made).

This is my exact situation. It's quite tiring taking a significant, and unintentional step backwards after taking a risk on a new company. And at the level I'm at coupled with my location, finding a lateral move hasn't been simple.

Vetting for both sides before the hire is important, and very difficult to do, it seems.