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Old 05-20-2012, 10:46 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by skipro3 View Post
Firings are rarely for the cause claimed. People are not fired for NOT following an unethical or illegal assignment.
I must respectfully disagree. It's not stated on any of the documentation but people are certainly singled out, isolated and forced to leave the company. Of course, there is always the definition of "unethical" and "illegal" to deal with. There is a certain amount of deference necessary to the management structure but their more lofty goals can somehow transcend what we may call "unethical" or "illegal."

I once had a situation where I declined to follow an order because it violated company policy. I had a discussion with a high up VP who agreed with me but still backed my supervisor "to protect the integrity of the chain of command." I wasn't fired but I was put under enough harassment to lead me to go somewhere else.

That was an interesting situation because you found out who your friends were and who respected your work. I was "defrocked" as a manager but I had several good technical positions offered with no loss of pay. My old manager worked hard to kill them all but the VP over-ruled him. I left anyway to get a better management position.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:14 AM   #22
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My megacorp had an unofficial list of "7 deadly sins" for which one could (usually would) be fired.

IIRC:

1. W*rkplace violence (including firearm or other weapon possession on company property)
2. W*rkplace intoxication
3. Use of illegal substances
4. Falsification of company documents
5. Poor attendance (with stated guidelines)
6. Sexual harassment
7. Insubordination

Only "insubordination" was a little vague in its interpretation. Generally, if one refused an "order" on the grounds that it violated company policy, one would be protected - at least as far as keeping a j*b. What I saw was that, if one routinely became a PITA, the company would eventually find an excuse for termination. However, the employee involved always provided the rope for the hanging.

For the most part, poorer performers (roughly bottom 10% or so) were simply moved into positions where they were less likely to cause problems for the company. Shortly after I left, the company changed and eliminated, wholesale, most of the bottom performers by eliminating j*bs. Workers were then terminated when they could not find another j*b within megacorp. It was bloody and brutal, but well in line with most other megacorps.

The only time I ever "tried" the system was on the basis of "company policy" and I usually was backed to the hilt by my management. Ahhhhh, the good old days. Long gone, I fear. Glad I got out in time.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:57 AM   #23
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Only "insubordination" was a little vague in its interpretation. Generally, if one refused an "order" on the grounds that it violated company policy, one would be protected - at least as far as keeping a j*b.
I was once threatened with termination for this "offense."

I was asked not to talk to a terminated employee, who just happened to be a friend. I couldn't understand how a company could dictate non business communication outside the office, so I continued the friendship. Evidently, I crossed the line (or so they thought) by informing the terminated employee that a replacement had been hired to replace her. This added fuel to a suit she had brought against the Co. unbeknownst to me.

It wasn't long before I received a call from HR relaying the threat. To which, I responded by asking for a copy of the "corporate communication policy." After all, I wanted to make sure that I was strictly adhering to any written policy. Weeks, then months, passed with no reply and with me regularly following up to HR in writing... requesting clarification on the "policy." Eventually, I received a very contrite and contradictory letter stating that it was not the company's "policy" to restrict out of office communication to anyone of a non competitive/confidential nature.

That's when I...

A) Became an official PITA - in the company's eyes.
B) Learned one of the most important lessons of my career: That HR Departments aren't there to protect the employee - but rather to protect the Co. from employees.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:37 PM   #24
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I had a guy who refused to travel ... never explained the reason (family emergency?, fear of flights?...); just stated he was not traveling.

So every year I distributed his raise to the people who carried him. Not sure he ever understood this.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:05 PM   #25
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'Never apologize Mr Cahill it's a sign of weakness.' Or something like that.

Apologize hell no. In the aerospace business you stand your ground(and defend your numbers). I was fired at Boeing, twice on Skylab, Once on the Viking Mission to Mars and several times on Space Shuttle. In all my cases tempers cooled down and I was never escorted to the gate.

It only counts if Security escorts you to the gate and takes your badge.

heh heh heh -
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:43 PM   #26
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B) Learned one of the most important lessons of my career: That HR Departments aren't there to protect the employee - but rather to protect the Co. from employees.
BING!!!
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:47 PM   #27
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I've been with my megacorp (under various corporate names due to acquisitions/splits/mergers) for close to two decades... So I've had a lot of managers. My current manager is unhappy in his life/job and takes it out on his underlings. He's making us miserable. He's threatened me in ways that make me feel like Milton from Office Space. (Literally threatened to move my cube to the crappiest location possible.) I try to ignore him as much as possible. Since working under him again, I've started fine tuning my escape to early retirement. Nothing like a suckful job to motivate aggressive saving/budget cutting.

I also have a reputation for asking tough questions to people in power. Periodically c-suite execs show up and have a "town hall". Invariably there is something they've just done to decimate our benefits. I've always felt that if they make the decision to cut pay or benefits for thousands of people they should have to face questions from some of the affected folks. Especially since they're usually awarded big bonuses for the "cost savings" done on the backs of people below them. I'm one of the few folks gutsy enough to ask the questions. We've had a series of CEOs and I've asked tough questions, publicly, at events that are webcast to other sites. Every time I have coworkers thank me, and every time I have coworkers tell my I'm risking getting fired. They haven't fired me yet. (I've asked questions about frozen pay, frozen pensions, changing geographical payscales to reduce pay for entire locations, etc.) Our current CEO hasn't held a town hall here in the 3 years he's been with the company. Even though he lives locally and spends half his time here. I think he's afraid of me and my questions. (This isn't just ego - I've had people in other departments volunteer the same theory.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeking Hobbes View Post
That's when I...

A) Became an official PITA - in the company's eyes.
B) Learned one of the most important lessons of my career: That HR Departments aren't there to protect the employee - but rather to protect the Co. from employees.
This - both!!!! HR is not your friend. Our company used to have an HR motto "Tie Goes to the Employee". They got rid of that motto a LONG time ago. I've personally experienced the tie NOT going to the employee. I refer to our primary HR supervisor as Catbert - she fits it to a tee.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:32 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by unclemick View Post
'Never apologize Mr Cahill it's a sign of weakness.' Or something like that.

Apologize hell no. In the aerospace business you stand your ground(and defend your numbers). I was fired at Boeing, twice on Skylab, Once on the Viking Mission to Mars and several times on Space Shuttle. In all my cases tempers cooled down and I was never escorted to the gate.

It only counts if Security escorts you to the gate and takes your badge.

heh heh heh -
I like that. According to your definition I was never fired either. Just had a few days of mutually agreed (after the fact) vacation until the boss figured out I was right and he couldn't get away with it.
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