Author Topic: Office BS  (Read 3510 times)

cj25

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Office BS
« on: April 06, 2017, 11:30:23 AM »
Ugh! I am hoping to get some advice for a coworker.  He has been here for 18 years, he is 58.  In the last year and a half there was a lot of turnover and he has two new bosses.  Everyone in the office hates them - literally people scream they hate "Evil insert his name" down the halls.  Well unfortunately these two new bosses hate my coworker.  They try to write him up for everything.  He creates a report for them, on his own initiative because he though it would be helpful for them and they write him up for not doing it well enough - even though they didn't even ask for it.  They write him up for discussions he has with another coworker because they don't like the tone he gets with his guy, even though he and the guy have been good friends for 12 years and have always been that way.  Now they just gave him a review and gave no raise and put in on a PIP and if he doesn't improve they will fire him.  This is ridiculous!  Hes had the same position and never had any negative reviews like this.  They just don't like him.  They think they are super smart and Gods gift to the company, and he just isn't as cocky or as advanced skill level as they think they are.  Unfortunately the boss above them is also new, so there is no history left to back anyone up.  I am worried because it may be hard for him to get another job at 58.  What can he do?  I suggested going to HR, but we don't really have an HR department, so he feels it's pointless.  I am soooo angry about this situation. 

Vindicated

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 11:52:35 AM »
It sounds like he should start looking for another job.  Just to find a better environment to finish his career in.  For that matter, you probably should look for another job too.  You might be the next random-hate target.

plog

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 01:41:04 PM »
Quote
This could be discrimination.  He could seek a lawyer,

Oh please, quit being so american. 

While this might be discrimination, it isn't Discrimination.  By that I mean, they are targeting him, but they aren't illegally targeting him.  It's perfectly acceptable to fire people for any reason even if they also fall into a protected class (race, gender, age, etc.). What they can't do is fire someone for being in a protected class.  And honestly, nobody even covertly does that.  What they do is what this company is doing--they systematically build a work case against him not being a good employee and fire him based upon that, not any other actual reason. 

This guy is toast, the ball is rolling and HR isn't there to protect employees; its there to protect the company when they want to do something like this.  Polish the resume. 
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 01:43:06 PM by plog »

trollwithamustache

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 02:18:16 PM »
Its easier to find a job when you have a job.

The PIP means they will fire him for cause. He can meet all the targets in the document for while and delay being fired for cause. If the boss is competent, he won't meet the PIP goals, if the boss is incompetent, he will meet the goals of the first PIP.  Next years PIP will sink his battleship.

He needs to find another job ASAP.

Tiger Stache

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2017, 02:21:12 PM »
him and you need to find another job.

Laura33

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2017, 07:29:03 PM »
First, he needs to document everything.  He needs his own paper trail about what he is (or isn't) asked to do, including documenting where he disagrees with allegations.  Emails work for this, just save copies; a journal works too.

It is very true that companies can and do fire people for whatever reason.  OTOH, many companies quake in fear at discrimination claims, and demonstrating that he is knowledgeable and accurate and not taking things lying down may make him less low-lying fruit. 

If/when he can document a history of targeted behavior, the first step isn't necessarily to a lawyer, it is to the EEOC -- you can't sue for discrimination unless the EEOC declines to sue on your behalf.

And, yeah, it goes without saying:  start the job hunt yesterday, because all of this is still a longshot.

Mezzie

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2017, 05:57:09 AM »
Quote
This could be discrimination.  He could seek a lawyer,

Oh please, quit being so american. 

While this might be discrimination, it isn't Discrimination.  By that I mean, they are targeting him, but they aren't illegally targeting him.  It's perfectly acceptable to fire people for any reason even if they also fall into a protected class (race, gender, age, etc.). What they can't do is fire someone for being in a protected class.  And honestly, nobody even covertly does that.  What they do is what this company is doing--they systematically build a work case against him not being a good employee and fire him based upon that, not any other actual reason. 

This guy is toast, the ball is rolling and HR isn't there to protect employees; its there to protect the company when they want to do something like this.  Polish the resume.

I was just on a jury for a case where a company DID actively discriminate and fire people for being in protected classes. It was nuts.

So, not "nobody." But, yes, very few.

In any case, this looks like a horrible work environment.

jade

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 07:37:55 AM »
Sorry your friend (and you) are experiencing this. it's terrible treatment and very unfair, but without a good (or any) HR department, I agree with other posters that him (and maybe you too) would be best looking elsewhere. I worked somewhere without a  HR department and some dodgy practices but I realised that ultimately they wouldn't change and wasn't worth my time and energy to challenge it on reflecting on it.
Funnily enough, it was a good thing as I ended up in my current role, with more pay and less hours. But of course, it's easier to see that in hindsight.
All the best thought, whatever you both decide... Not fun working for people like this!
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 07:40:45 AM by jade »

Padonak

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2017, 08:45:43 AM »
Disclaimer: IANAL

I'm sorry to say that, but your co-worker is in a very bad situation. What they're trying to do is to fire and document it properly so that he can't sue them. His past past accomplishments and tenure with the company are irrelevant. They are trying to throw him away like a used rubber. 

The so called performance improvement plan (PIP) is a sham in most cases. It is not about improving performance. It's just a way to get rid of an employee without paying severance or getting sued. His actual performance doesn't matter. They will always find something to write him up for even if he does his best.

Here is what I would do:

-Don't argue or openly confront anybody at work, just do the bare minimum to not piss the management off.

-He should find out exactly how long the PIP is for (e.g. 2 months) and treat it as his notice period to find a new job. However, if he doesn't comply (e.g. skips work for no reason, plainly refuses to do what he's told, etc), they can fire him even before the end of his PIP.

-Read all HR handbooks and policies, particularly regarding PIP and termination. What happens to his pension (if any), accrued vacation and sick leave? What are the rules regarding warnings and feedback for poor performance? For example, if his manager was supposed to give him a warning prior to starting PIP but didn't, your colleague may be able to use it against the company.

-HR or whoever performs HR function at the company is not on his side, but if his manager breaks the rules, they may step in to cover the company's ass. Depending on the situation, this can work in your colleague's favor.

-If he has enough money to retire, maybe it's his opportunity to do so. Otherwise he should start actively looking for work, though at age 58 it's going to be very difficult. If he has to look for a new job, he should put all his effort into it rather than fighting the current employer.

-If he decides to fight, he should discreetly talk to other colleagues who were let go recently or are in a similar situation and see if he can pull resources with them. Maybe one of them knows a good lawyer who helped them get severance, etc. Maybe they can look into filing a class action suit, though most companies these days make their employees waive their rights to sue collectively. Normally, this waiver is in the offer letter or other documents you have to sign before you start working for a new company. Whether or not it's enforceable, I don't know. That's something a good lawyer should be able to tell.

-He can talk to a lawyer, of course, but only if he wants to fight the company. If he has a legitimate case, most likely it will be resolved by mediation, not in court. I wouldn't bet on it, though, unless the lawyer can prove clear pattern of discrimination against older employees or any other protected class.

Also, like other posters mentioned, you should start looking for a new job too. Here's a little poem about fascists for you to consider.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 09:14:37 AM by Padonak »

Cali Nonya

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2017, 09:43:04 AM »
I am not disagreeing with anything said above, but someone normally does not get targeted for no reason.
Do you have any idea what the underlying cause is?    I know you said the new bosses are "evil", but that doesn't really mean anything, are they micro-managers? have they been tasked with an unwanted company transformation? were they just promoted over their competency level and are lashing out from insecurity?

It is not normal for a decent worker to get targeted to that level, even with management changes.  Is it that he is considered "not with" the current new trends of the company (viewed as a gate keeper of the "old ways"), is there an inter-personal or personality conflict, is he senior and hence costly and they are trying to oust him in favor of bringing in younger workers, or something like high medical bills?

I know sometime a person who is too accommodating can targeted, the whole walking on a door-mat type personality.  Which is kind of the way your wrote your comment.  But I just wanted to check if you don't mind.

Padonak

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2017, 09:59:36 AM »
I am not disagreeing with anything said above, but someone normally does not get targeted for no reason.
Do you have any idea what the underlying cause is?    I know you said the new bosses are "evil", but that doesn't really mean anything, are they micro-managers? have they been tasked with an unwanted company transformation? were they just promoted over their competency level and are lashing out from insecurity?

It is not normal for a decent worker to get targeted to that level, even with management changes.  Is it that he is considered "not with" the current new trends of the company (viewed as a gate keeper of the "old ways"), is there an inter-personal or personality conflict, is he senior and hence costly and they are trying to oust him in favor of bringing in younger workers, or something like high medical bills?

I know sometime a person who is too accommodating can targeted, the whole walking on a door-mat type personality.  Which is kind of the way your wrote your comment.  But I just wanted to check if you don't mind.

Most likely, we will never find out the real reason because it's unethical and could be even illegal:

A few things I can think of based on my experience:

-Old timers are are viewed by new leadership as dead wood who don't contribute a lot but cost too much (whether or not this is true). They should be replaced by new blood, young and hungry millennials. Probably by H1B/L1 etc workers who keep their heads down and work longer hours, otherwise they lose their visas and have to go back to their home countries.

-This job and probably a bunch of other jobs will be farmed out to a foreign country, most likely India for 1/3 of the cost, but the new management are too cheap to pay severance and let the current employees go with dignity.

-The new manager didn't like the guy's face or his shirts or posture or whatever.

-This particular employee really does underperform or is perceived by management to do so. 

nobody123

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Re: Office BS
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2017, 10:32:11 AM »
Most likely, we will never find out the real reason because it's unethical and could be even illegal:

A few things I can think of based on my experience:

-Old timers are are viewed by new leadership as dead wood who don't contribute a lot but cost too much (whether or not this is true). They should be replaced by new blood, young and hungry millennials. Probably by H1B/L1 etc workers who keep their heads down and work longer hours, otherwise they lose their visas and have to go back to their home countries.

-This job and probably a bunch of other jobs will be farmed out to a foreign country, most likely India for 1/3 of the cost, but the new management are too cheap to pay severance and let the current employees go with dignity.

-The new manager didn't like the guy's face or his shirts or posture or whatever.

-This particular employee really does underperform or is perceived by management to do so.

- New manager wants to hire one of his buddies and needs to free up a head count to do so.

- Whole department is viewed as underperforming so they're going to make an example of one of the employees to get everyone else in line.