How Not to Fire People

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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84 Responses

  1. Burt Likko says:

    Armed guards. Wow.

    Something else you need to have when you fire someone — money. If you are initiating your employee’s termination, you need to offer them all of the wages they’ve earned, on the spot. Not only is it a legal obligation, it’s the right thing to do and a signal that you’re trying to act in good faith. Don’t weasel around with trying to interpret “use it or lose it” policies about accrued vacation time or PTO — bite the bullet and cash it out. Account for it so the employee can understand how you reached the figure you did. Tell the employee if she thinks your accounting is wrong you’ll be happy to work with her on it, just let us know what you think you’re owed and we’ll cross-check that against the paperwork on file.

    …You do have a file, right?Report

    • Matty in reply to Burt Likko says:

      you need to offer them all of the wages they’ve earned, on the spot

      Just to clarify is that offer or pay? Only the British tax authorities do not like cash payments to employees, it makes the whole deducting taxes at source thing harder, and I’d imagine other jurisdictions have similar worries.Report

      • Michelle in reply to Matty says:

        Generally, it’s wages owed plus money for any vacation days accrued and for severance pay, if any. I’d like to assume that Towson did offer some kind of decent severance packages to employees who’d served for 35 years each.Report

      • MikeSchilling in reply to Matty says:

        You should have a check payable to each terminated employee already cut. The standard procedure is for them to receive it upon signing a termination agreement.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to MikeSchilling says:

          Rest assured, should I ever be terminated, I am not leaving the premises until I have my money.Report

        • The standard procedure is for them to receive it upon signing a termination agreement.

          Huh. That has never once happened for me.Report

          • Jim Heffman in reply to Will Truman says:

            The fun part is where they don’t have the check, but they *do* have a form detailing all the many things you can do that will cause you to have to give the money back.

            Like, if you get a job with a present–or FORMER–subcontractor. (Because, y’see, they worked with us once, there’s no reason they might not work with us again, and if we pay them and the money goes to you then it’s like we’re paying you *twice* and that just won’t do!)Report

          • MikeSchilling in reply to Will Truman says:

            I’ve only been through this once (I resigned after a takeover, but was processed along with the people who’d been laid off). In general, they made the takeover as traumatic as imaginable, but the final processing ran like clockwork.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Matty says:

        Give them a check (not cash) for what everyone agrees is owed, with no strings attached. I say a check not because cash payments are illegal but rather because you want to leave a paper trail.

        Don’t bother with a “full and final payment” or other such B.S. on the memo line. That’s generally void and it makes you look like you’re doing something shady. If there’s a dispute about what’s been earned, settle that dispute quickly and fairly. 19 times out of 20, whatever they’re asking for is going to be cheaper than you being sued for it, even if you win.

        It may be different in the UK than here in the USA, but I bet if it is, it’s not that much different.Report

        • carr1on in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Most large companies in the US have to give 60 days notice period. That 60 day period is usually non-working. Meaning that the employee is informed that today is their last day, given an information packet, and sent home. For the next 60 days, they are sill employees of the company, with full benefits, salary, perks, etc. However, their IT access is terminated that day. After the 60 day notice period, the employees are terminated from active employment rolls, and issue a severance check for time served, based on some formula.

          In the UK, large companies have to give a 30 day Consultation period. Everyone in the department(s) that are potentially impacted are informed, so there are no secrets (at least that it’s happening; but they don’t know who). Then certain employees in those departments are designated as Employee Representatives (ER). These ERs are informed of progress by Management as to what the impact will be (number of people, locations, etc.; but again no names).
          At the end of the Consultation period, the specific people that will be impacted are notified. Those employees are given a termination date, which can be theoretically immediate (never seen that) to months out (I’ve usually seen it at 60 days). The employees are sometimes given the option of working that period, or leaving immediately.Report

          • Barry in reply to carr1on says:

            “Most large companies in the US have to give 60 days notice period. That 60 day period is usually non-working. ”

            IIRC, it applies to ‘large’ layoffs by a ‘large’ company (I don’t know the meaning of ‘large’ here; it’ll be defined in the law). Other than that, for much of the USA, it’s ‘fire at will’, with some exceptions, on which Burt can fill you in.Report

            • carr1on in reply to Barry says:

              I manage a global technology division of a financial corp with employees in 50 countries reporting to me in some fashion. Unfortunately, with the global financial crisis, I’ve had to cut staff in almost every one of them. I’m sad to say I’ve become pretty knowledgeable on the specific laws on terminations (for cause or reductions in force) over the last few years.
              While I respect Burt, I don’t need him to ‘fill me in’.Report

  2. Wow. Just wow. One other thing that strikes me as particularly appalling – as horrible as it is for the students to have that rug pulled out from under them, it is infinitely more horrible for the coaches and their staff. The coaches and staff are not large numbers of people – why are they being told they’ve been terminated in a large meeting. You’d think that, at bare minimum, the head coaches would be owed the courtesy of being told privately and in person that the programs were being cut.Report

  3. Kazzy says:


    How would the firing lead to a lawsuit? Does the poor handling up the odds because they did something that makes them liable or simply because they pissed people off and thus might end up with a lawsuit that Towson will win but nonetheless have to fight?

    I’m also curious how much all those guards and police cost and who footed the bill.Report

    • trumwill mobile in reply to Kazzy says:

      I’d assume the guards are university police.Report

      • Matty in reply to trumwill mobile says:

        Universities have their own police over there, are these security guards or an actual police force restricted to campus? What other employers get their own police?

        In fairness Oxford University used to have it’s own MP so separate police is a relatively small deal but it still seems weird.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Matty says:


          Private schools have private security guards. State schools can have private security or, if they’re large enough, they have their own police force, i.e.

        • trumwill mobile in reply to Matty says:

          Back where I am from (not Maryland) they get their own police. Certified and everything. State schools, anyway. So do school districts (at least the larger ones). Metro also has an independent police department. Maybe this isn’t as normal as I think.Report

          • Damon in reply to trumwill mobile says:

            They used to be REAL cops.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Damon says:

              They are real cops. They don’t spend as much time doing real cop things, but they went through the police academy and everything. One who watched over me as I changed my tire on campus was telling me how he went to a police academy and wanted to get a job with the city police department, only to find out that the city police department only hires cops that go through its own academy. On the one hand, I felt bad for him. On the other hand, that wasn’t something you couldn’t find out beforehand.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                Gregg Easterbrook of TMQ regularly calls out excess “security” that low-level public officials require under the guise of looking important. Lieutenant governors, deputy mayors, and college presidents don’t need security detail; they’re not important enough for anyone to want to take out. But they have no qualms about billing such services to whomever to feel like a fancypants.Report

              • Nob Akimoto in reply to Kazzy says:

                Heck, US Senators and Congressmen don’t have security details when walking around SXSW. Why the hell do mayors or even lieutenant governors need them?Report

              • aaron david in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Big Gulp Freedom Underground!Report

              • Barry in reply to Will Truman says:

                (re: police academy) “On the one hand, I felt bad for him. On the other hand, that wasn’t something you couldn’t find out beforehand.”

                On the third hand, going through a general one probably would have made him eligible for hiring statewide; if getting into the city academy involved a very long waiting list, he probably played the odds. And being a university police officer ain’t a hard life.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Barry says:

                Either academy certifies you statewide. Being UPD isn’t bad (indeed, CPD cops that leave the city for something else is not uncommon and is the cause of a manpower shortage), though it wasn’t what he wanted to do.Report

    • Michelle in reply to Kazzy says:

      I’m with Kazzy. Although the termination was handled horribly and is likely to pose a PR nightmare, I’m not seeing grounds for a lawsuit.Report

      • MikeSchilling in reply to Michelle says:

        Tod’s point, I think, is that pissed-off people are far more likely to find a reason to sue, and the reason may not be directly related to the termination.Report

      • Mark Thompson in reply to Michelle says:

        As Mike S. points out, the issue is more that it increases the likelihood that someone will be sufficiently angry to file a lawsuit. While the facts described above don’t look like they give rise to a lawsuit, the thing to keep in mind is that they’re sufficiently outrageous that you can rest assured that there’s a good chance on of the fired coaches is going to see a lawyer, thinking that he’s got a claim. That lawyer will then ask the coach all sorts of questions; the coach’s answer to those questions will assuredly be framed in as hostile a manner towards the university as possible. At some point, the coach will likely answer one of those questions in such a way as to create a potential cause of action, or at least enough to state a claim sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss.

        For instance, the two sports being cut here are both mens sports, and both head coaches are older white men (the assistant baseball coaches are younger black men, but that doesn’t necessarily matter as much since they may not be the same job classification). It would not be too difficult to state a claim capable of surviving a motion to dismiss for age discrimination, reverse race discrimination, and/or reverse sex discrimination. This is also a public university, and if the coaches ever had any political disagreements with the President, you can probably add First Amendment political discrimination to the list.

        Sure, it’d be relatively easy for the university to come back and rebut this by offering a non-discriminatory reason for the termination decisions, but they wouldn’t be able to get rid of the case on those grounds until a lot of expensive discovery. And if that discovery turns up anything interesting at all (and even if the University acted appropriately, there’s still a good chance it would), then you may even wind up having to go to trial.

        Or you settle before you incur all those expenses.

        Either way, the University is out a lot more than it should be.

        Conversely, if the University had handled the terminations humanely, then even if its motivations for those terminations were illegal, the coaches may not even think that something improper happened and thus are a lot less likely to consult an attorney in the first place.Report

        • Michelle in reply to Mark Thompson says:

          OK, I can see that scenario. Find a good enough attorney, and he or she will likely find enough spaghetti to throw against the wall and get enough of it to stick to make Towson consider settling.Report

        • Mark has fielded Kazzy’s question well, but I’ll add this risk management perspective:

          If I am a hired by Towson as their risk manager, there are a series of lawsuit-related questions that I have to force Towson to answer to both me and themselves. For the purposes of brevity, I’ll focus on just the subject of hostile work environment:

          1. Do these actions make it significantly more likely that there might be other events, policies or statements made by management that might be perceived by employees as contributing to a hostile work environment?

          2. Do these actions make it significantly more likely that any or all of those terminated will review their tenure with an eye toward identifying possible contributions to a hostile work environment?

          3. Do these actions make it significantly more likely that a terminated employee will feel compelled to lash out against the employer, including using a public lawsuit?

          4. If a hostile work environment lawsuit is brought by one of the parties, do these actions make it easier for a jury to find in favor of the plaintiff(s)?

          The answer to all of these questions is, in my professional opinion, a resounding “yes.”Report

          • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Basically, “Don’t create risks for yourself…


          • Roger Ferguson in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Sound advice and an interesting post. But as a matter of legal liability, what exactly is a “hostile work environment?” If such a contention is an element of a claim of “discrimination,” then it works. But here you seem to be equating a hostile work environment with a lousy place to work, and I don’t know that an employer is liable for that in any forum other than the marketplace or the court of public opinion.Report

            • RTod in reply to Roger Ferguson says:

              A HWE is generally defined as one where an employee faces harassment in any number of forms, including intimidation, oppressive actions or atmospheres, or being subjected to offensive behavior, language or materials. It can and often does involve discrimination, but it does not have to. If any of the employees are in a protected class, then simply establishing that a HWE exists is enough. And since we know that the two coaches worked for 35 years apiece, we know that *they* are in a protected class.Report

              • Mark Thompson in reply to RTod says:

                I’m not entirely certain about this. I could be wrong since I don’t have a ton of experience with HWE specifically, but I believe you still have to show at least some sort of nexus between the HWE and the protected class. As a practical matter this may be a very low bar, but it still is a requirement to my knowledge- otherwise there presumably wouldn’t be a push for anti-workplace bullying laws.

                At minium, the nexus requirement was definitely there in the one HWE case I can recall the details of.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Thanks to Tod and Mark for clarifying that.Report

  4. MikeSchilling says:

    Another thing I find incredibly disrespectful is layoffs via

    1. A termination meeting run by an outside “termination specialist”, who announces the terms (severance length, COBRA details, etc.) but deflects all non-logistical questions with “that’s not why we’re here.”

    2. Security staff escorting each terminatee to pack up his things and then leave the building.

    Not facing the people you’ve let go is just cowardice, and being able to accomplish that by spending money from the same pot that won’t be paying your salary anymore is a complete slap on the face.Report

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to MikeSchilling says:

      I am aware of the process of being escorted out of a building. In the particular case of which I’m aware, it was to limit access to accrued billing for the month, because the departing employee was paid a base salary plus a commission.

      The commission portion of the termination check was significantly less than it should have been.Report

    • Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling says:

      Huh. This comment doesn’t want to post for some reason, this is to Mike…

      2. Security staff escorting each terminatee to pack up his things and then leave the building.

      We’ve had this one at my job, and he’s armed. And I dislike it too. But I am unsure how to handle this part better.

      I assume the company gives security the directive to get terminated employees out the door & revoke their building access ASAP, so they don’t go to their cars or home to get a weapon (or at least, if they do, the company can say they took precautions).

      If this occurs, the company will be sued by the victims.

      The company could just assign armed escorts to the guy who is likely to crack up (and come on, we all know who *that guy* is in our office) but then they’d be sued over unequal treatment/discrimination by *that guy* (and, maybe make him more likely to come back anyway by singling him out in such a publicly-humiliating fashion).

      What to do?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Weird, apparently certain trigger words were keeping my comment from posting. (I removed some stuff, and swapped in the words “dislike” and “weapon” for other terms. )Report

      • MikeSchilling in reply to Glyph says:

        Treat your employees with the respect they’ve earned, rather than assume they’re all homicidal psychotics.Report

        • Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling says:

          Except what happens when you DO lay off the homicidal psychotic? Again, we all know which one he is.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

            A former employer of mine hired an off-duty cop when they fired someone for holding a gun and showing off his tattoo on his Facebook page.

            (To tie a couple of posts together, it was a Japanese employer. I think the decision was made by Americans, though.)Report

          • MikeSchilling in reply to Glyph says:

            You’re best off not hiring him in the first place. The fact that after you put him in change of the screening process he recommended himself should have been a dead giveaway.Report

            • Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling says:

              I just try to be nice to the guy.

              So that when the crack-up inevitably happens, I can say, “Come ON, man, you know we’re cool…I’m your friend. I’m not like the others…” and maybe it’ll buy me enough time to scoot out the side hatch.Report

          • Kim in reply to Glyph says:

            Lay him off? Man, the problem was HIRING him!
            I will now reference the outfit that hired a poison tester, because
            “That’s Cheating, and it makes it Too Easy”.

            Don’t work there.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

        When I first got a job at Gimungus Global Conglomerate, we were pretty regularly getting emails from Management to STOP ABUSING COMPANY RESOURCES. THIS INCLUDES EMAIL.

        I didn’t understand it. I mean, I reached the point where I asked Maribou to call me instead of sending me a quick email. We got into a (minor) argument when she emailed me a fairly short shopping list and asked me “on the way home, can you pick up the following?” because, yep, I walked into work and saw yet another STOP ABUSING COMPANY RESOURCES. THIS INCLUDES EMAIL.

        One day, after lunch, I walked back into the building to find everybody whispering. Well, not *EVERYBODY*. (When I came back from the lunch, I asked one of the whisperers “what happened?” and was told “if you’re still here, nothing.”) It turns out that the guy who was in charge of sending the STOP ABUSING STUFF emails was part of a clique where everybody emailed each other off-color jokes, links to “funny” videos on the internet, that sort of thing.

        It seems that my boss, my boss’s boss, and my boss’s peers, and my boss’s boss’s peers were all told “hey, we’re going to have a meeting outside!”, they went outside, were told “you’re all fired”, and their stuff was brought to them later that day.

        I didn’t find out that my boss and his boss were fired for a couple of days because nobody was willing to talk about it.

        This strikes me as a poor way to have done it.Report

        • NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:

          I love and hate the obvious irony of your story.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

            Dude, it was *STUPID*. When everybody finally felt safe to talk about it (in, granted, hushed tones) I mentioned how he was the one sending out the “THOU SHALT NOT” emails and they all shrugged.

            In speaking to my new boss about the company email policy, I was told that *OF COURSE* I could write a few emails every day to my wife and that *OF COURSE* she could write me a few every day (“don’t go overboard!”, he clarified).Report

            • NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:

              I have been very lucky that I have yet to work for an org like this but it seems based on observation that there are two kinds of HR/Manager:

              1. Those that understand a reasonable amount of personal stuff slacking done at work increases productivity.

              2. Those that do not and demand total attention at all times.

              I am not sure what differences produce these two different schools of thought.Report

            • MikeSchilling in reply to Jaybird says:

              I can see “Don’t waste time on personal stuff”, but “Personal e-mail wastes company resources” is just plain stupid. You couldn’t display that cost on an 8-digit calculator: not enough decimal places to the right of the zero.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Glyph says:

        Where I’ve worked, this is more to limit access to confidential information handled by the employees – call the employee to the manager’s office; while they’re in there, disable their building and computer network access; escort them out so you know they didn’t scoop up documents containing health records / financial records / trade secrets / etc. on the way out.

        Of course the people who got laid off were actually so dedicated to their jobs that it was inconceivable they would have tried anything like that, and the one guy even finished up some stuff he had been working on, at home on his own time, and mailed it in, because he couldn’t bear to leave the job undone. Same guy who was already planning to retire, and had worked there so long that the severance package actually paid him out to when he was going to quit anyway – so all his layoff accomplished was the employer got to pay him the same amount to not work instead.Report

    • 2. Security staff escorting each terminatee to pack up his things and then leave the building.

      The only place I ever worked that did this instituted it as a policy after a terminated employee left the meeting with his supervisor in apparently good humor, went to the appropriate computer terminal, and took actions that cost the company a million dollars in lost revenue.Report

      • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Michael Cain says:

        That is the wrong response to that exception scenario.

        Because your IT guys should be able to undo something like that if the possibility of a million dollar loss exists.Report

        • Glyph in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          Patrick, depending on the person’s access, there are actions that can be taken that trigger contractual financial obligations; not sabotage that IT can just undo, but a real action with immediate consequences that means ledgers have been materially affected (for example, I make an enormous trade that I am authorized to make).

          The only foolproof ways to prevent this type of sabotage is to either send security to accompany me so I don’t do it, or revoke my systems access before giving me the bad news (this is the better option, though it gives the person warning of what is coming).Report

          • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Glyph says:

            The second is the proper course of action.Report

            • Glyph in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

              Understand, though, that even that does not stop me from accessing my neighbor’s computer (people are really bad about locking their desktop when they go to the break room). If my neighbor’s profile also has the access…

              What I am saying is, there are business actions that can be taken that are the equivalent of actually emptying the vault.

              If there are potentially millions of dollars at stake, I understand why a security guard would sometimes be asked to accompany the condemned.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Glyph says:

                It doesn’t have to be a guard for that; just don’t leave him completely unsupervised on the way out.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                What if you fire the security guard?

                Do you have to have an employee that he guards who is pretending to be fired, and when the guard escorts the guy out of the building, you tell the guard actually he was the one who was fired?

                Or do you need a new security guard before you fire the old one?Report

        • Jim Heffman in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          Not if the guy you fired *was* the IT guy.Report

          • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Jim Heffman says:

            Especially then.

            If you have only one IT guy, you’re… well, I hope you have a blood oath written on parchment created from the skin of a dragon and signed in the dead of a new moon.

            If you have more than one IT guy, then no one IT guy should be able to do anything that cannot be undone by another IT guy.Report

        • In this particular case, the terminatee was one of the people with the authorization codes to run a script that would take a global data network down in a way that took hours to restore full service. For the hypothetical situations the script was designed to address, that behavior was a feature, not a bug. IIRC, on the order of 100,000 customers lost connectivity. The company missed the service reliability requirements for a large number of those, and had to reduce billing accordingly.

          Electric utilities all have computer systems from which you can manually cycle the big breakers at substations open and closed repeatedly, which will break other expensive components. Many of those components are expensive enough that there aren’t enough spares around. Dept of Homeland Security has done demonstrations to show that hackers can accomplish such cycling — it’s one of the scenarios they worry about a lot. (Surprisingly, one of the other ones is that for a city the size of, say, Cleveland, there are only a handful of monster transformers connecting the city to the rest of the grid. Almost all are physically protected by nothing sturdier than chain link fence with barbed wire on the top. Hitting one with a garbage truck at 25 mph or so will ruin it, so a group of dedicated terrorists could certainly cut Cleveland off. The transformers are too big and too expensive to keep spares around, most are made overseas, and delivery time is typically 6 months. DHS is trying to get the utilities to swap them out for smaller transformers operated in parallel so that keeping a few dozen spares in the US that can be delivered in days is feasible.)

          There are lots of chemical processes where it’s straightforward to override the control software in such a way that a million-dollar batch of stuff is ruined.Report

      • Barry in reply to Michael Cain says:

        “The only place I ever worked that did this instituted it as a policy after a terminated employee left the meeting with his supervisor in apparently good humor, went to the appropriate computer terminal, and took actions that cost the company a million dollars in lost revenue.”

        Then the people running that company are so dumb that a box of rocks wouldn’t lower itself to be compared to them. The standard procedure for a number of years now is to have IT terminate their account/lock them out.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Barry says:

          Yep — terminate their account, disable their card keys for physical access, etc, etc. Except that there are still plenty of places where using the process/equipment control software from a particular physical location doesn’t require authentication before use (for perfectly reasonable reasons), where physical access isn’t adequately secured, or where a long-time employee can piggy-back through the doors with someone they’ve worked with for years who doesn’t know they were just terminated, etc, etc.Report

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to Michael Cain says:

            With my company if you are terminated for disciplinary reasons they do not allow you to go back to your work station. Your belonging are boxed up and brought to you at the security station.

            If you are laid off often there is a 2-4 week transition period where you will often train the person(s) that are going to be taking over some/all your job responsibilities. It’s amazing how well this usually goes. We also have some very dedicated employees.

            If you give 2 weeks notice and quit (ex. found a better job) they will often ask the employee to finish their day and then not come back. That one is weird to me. I guess they are worried about some kind of sabotage or corporate espionage situation but if that was going to happen the employee most likely would have already done that before giving notice.Report

            • The last time that I was terminated involuntarily — I was on the “acquired” side of a corporate merger — the most fun part of it was writing up the many-page memo that I left attached to the locked file cabinet in my cubicle. Essentially, “here are the NDAs that my signature puts you on the hook for, here’s the patent applications in process, etc, etc. Best to simply ship this cabinet over to legal.” Six months later, when the legal dept of the acquiring corporation called me with a bunch of patent issues, my response was roughly, “I have the letter from you saying you had no further need for my services. At this point, I’m not interested in providing those services to you at anything short of $300/hr.” More interestingly, I had a backup copy of the demonstration software; their acquisition process had wiped all of the documented backup copies I had left behind. They were unwilling to pay my price, or incur the expenses of taking me to court to compel me to provide them.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to MikeSchilling says:

      I was going to make a comment of the outside “termination specialist” as well. Though I have never worked for any org large enough to have them in the States.

      On number 2, this might be done to prevent someone taking valuable information.Report

      • Wardsmith in reply to NewDealer says:

        No outside termination specialist? What are you doing, trying to fire Ryan Bingham?Report

      • Barry in reply to NewDealer says:

        “I was going to make a comment of the outside “termination specialist” as well. Though I have never worked for any org large enough to have them in the States.”

        The usual idea, as I understand it, is that those people are outside contractors, hired for the job.Report

        • NewDealer in reply to Barry says:

          I find that cowardly.

          Yes terminating someone can be very awkward especially if it is for economic reasons over a just cause but part of being a manager/boss and if you can’t do it, you have no right to be a manager or a boss.

          I was once directing a production for a playwright trying to produce her own work. She could not come up with any money but kept trying to delay me cancelling. Eventually I made an executive decision and called all the actors, the place where the play was supposed to be, etc. I hated it but it was what you have to do.Report

  5. Michelle says:

    Great post, but did you have to lead with a picture of Donald Trump? Gaaaah!Report

  6. Damon says:

    The problem I have with this, other than the shitty way they did it, was Towson wasn’t on the same page about the reason.

    “The process used by Towson to reach a decision has been marred by a lack of transparency and the dissemination of unreliable data…” and “Though Towson released a 22-page report explaining its decision Friday, it did so minutes before Loeschke held a telephone conference with reporters. She and other Towson officials were not available for further comment or to explain budget and roster-size projections that differed from information previously disseminated by the school.”

    This stinks. Get your PR together. So the conclusion to be drawn by lots of folks is the Title 9 reasons were BS, true on not. Nice move Towson.Report

  7. Shazbot5 says:

    The firings are awful. And in terms of human damage, they are worse.

    But the students who went to that school for those sports programs are being treated badly in an even more underhanded way, though. They need to make long term decisions and committed to the school on the basis of the now defunct program. It would have been good to give them as much heads up as possible. The moment you know that the program might get dumped, you have to send out a letter saying there is trouble and the school is doing its best, but the students should think about their options.Report

  8. Mike Dwyer says:

    As I mentioned in my last FP post, I was recently displaced from my position and moved to another part of the company. My old manager probably handled things as well as they could. They were professional and to the point. In the moment I didn’t like the lack of warning but in retrospect that saved me weeks of anguish. When this happened I only had about 20 minutes of worry between being told of the meeting and when it actually happened. That was no small mercy.

    The only mistake that was made was by our HR dept. They had good intentions but made a strategic mistake by inviting my new manager to this meeting. Their thinking was that he could tell me about the new position and answer any questions I had. The problem was that he was also there for the punch-in-the-gut reaction I had to the news. I have no idea what my facial expressions revealed but it couldn’t have been good. He shouldn’t have been there for that and told me so himself the next day when I apologized for any lack of professionalism I might have shown in the meeting. I was lucky. He’s a cool guy and understood. If he had not been so understanding this could have started our professional relationship off on a really bad note.

    I hope I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER have to fire someone or even give them bad news in the workplace. It seems like the worst possible job responsibility ever.Report

  9. Recovered Republican says:

    No, the worst way to be fired is to come in to work monday morning and find someone sitting at your desk with your stuff in a box on the floor.Report

  10. Stillwater says:

    One thing this story re-confirms to me is how dysfunctional institutional decision-making is and how that dysfunction rewards and promotes emotionally and intellectually stunted individuals. What Kurtz said to Willard applies just as well to Ms. Loeschke, it seems to me: “You’re an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill.”

    Oh, maybe that’s too harsh. I’m sure she loves her kids and all….Report

  11. Jaybird says:


  12. Barry says:

    “What Kurtz said to Willard applies just as well to Ms. Loeschke, it seems to me: “You’re an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill.” ”

    At the risk of threadjacking, what was Kurtz? A guy with a small band of savages squatting on a worthless hill somewhere.Report