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Firing at Will

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Philip Miles

I love a good challenge! What about disloyalty? I can think of some huge examples like disclosure of trade secrets (think recipe for Coke). Or perhaps breaching client confidentiality (to use an example from our field)?

Jay Shepherd

I think disloyalty is a good one, Philip. Would you say that disloyalty is a binary thing — you either acted disloyally or you didn't — or are there degrees of disloyalty, as with discrimination and harassment? I'm inclined to say that it's all or nothing, making it the eighth deadly sin.

Wil Hart

There are so many grey areas. Would moonlighting - working on projects similar to the employers areas of service for private clients a. outside work hours and b. inside the office during work hours resort under dishonesty?

Henning Makholm

Insubordination? INSUBORDINATION?

Pray tell, what is the "real sense" of that word you speak of?

Are you proposing that any employee who dares disagree with their boss about anything, as long as they to it in a non-flippant way, not only can but MUST be fired?

That sounds more like a Dickens reenactment than a viable gruntling strategy.

Philip Miles

I think you're either disloyal or you're not... that's not to say there aren't situations I'd have trouble categorizing though!

Sameer Panchangam

Top Post!!


6 Sexual harassment, if it's serious or willful
7 Discrimination, if it's serious or willful

I do have to say I have a problem with the caveat "if it's willful." Mostly because I think it's too easy to argue that a series of minor discriminatory or sexual harassment incidents were not "willful" when they add up to a pattern, but it's a pattern that supervisors or management don't want to see so they excuse perpetrators by saying "they didn't mean it, it wasn't willful."

Also, could bullying make the list here or just plain harassment of co-workers (of the non-sexual/non-discriminatory kind)?

Diane M. Pfadenhauer, SPHR, Esq.

How 'bout a simple "yes" I agree!

Bullying is epidemic in the states, schools finally started put protections in place so they can't get sued so easily. They don't really care about bullying itself, the teachers, and adults in general can be some of the worst. The hands project comes to mind. Of course bullying can span the range of discrimination through various forms of harassment, all the way down to serious health issues that result from constant stress in the workplace. Dishonesty I would disagree with, managers can lie to the workforce, it's not against the law in any way, shape, or form, especially in governmental work.


One suggestion and one comment. First, the comment. I worked for a bully. And he bullied me until I was fired. I wasnt the only person he bullied, just the only person who fought him with HR, Compliance, COO. The majority of the your deadly sins are torts, bullying is not. However, unchecked this behaviour can cross over the line into a variety of torts, especially when there have been numerous complaint by many employees. If the employer had been coaching this person and the behaviour continued then INSUBORDINATION is the proper category for a bully. Bullying is the epitome of being unprofessional and insecure.

Which brings me to that suggestion. You mentioned you try to respect the wishes of your clients who made a decision to terminate because usually the relationship is beyond repair. In my situation HR wouldn't give me the time of day to discuss the false or fabricated information provided by my former manager. That manager is usually working with human resources to terminate. My suggestion is to encourage educating your clients' human resources teams the value of risk management. HR would benefit in learning to invest equal time in reviewing facts objectively from both parties perspective. Because sometimes the problem is the manager and not the employee.

I warned my former employer that people are a creature of habit and pattern. Until they commit to change. Ergo, they should expect similar complaints about my former manager. They received four more and all from new team members with whom I never worked. Thank goodness I printed all my emails and live in the state & county who recently awarded the highest settlement for retaliation. Oh, the manager was demoted, eventually.

p.s. Happy belated birthday!
stay tuned -my next job could be lecturing to employers on my experience.

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