Thursday, February 24, 2005

Another fight brewing, II

In a comment to the posting below, anonymous asks, “I am not an HR professional but I know how hard it can be to find a good employee, and you don't just let him/her go for a couple of mistakes. Whats the real deal?”

Well, read the posting “another fight brewing” first, then scroll back up and catch my answer.

We THINK the real deal is this: The medical practice in question went from four doctors (all specialists) down to one in a year’s time (fact). Obviously they also had a reduction in the number of patients. The office manager assured the staff that nobody would lose their jobs due to the departure of the docs.

Seems to me they were getting into a cash crunch and didn’t need all the staff. But since he’d PROMISED that there’d be no layoffs, he had to come up with a creative reason for the termination. Plus, he (the office mgr.) IS an attorney and surely knows that he can avoid paying unemployment if he fires someone for misconduct.

Further muddying the water is the fact that they let another staff member go at the same time. Both she and my daughter were then about 6 months pregnant. I think they also wanted to avoid the obvious health care insurance claims that were imminent when the babies were born. They had announced that the health coverage was up for renewal and they were concerned about the costs going up.

Ah, but firing for that reason is discriminatory and illegal. So another reason had to be manufactured.

Some folks would go out, hire a lawyer, file a discrimination suit and then perhaps settle for $20-30,000. All my daughter wants is unemployment compensation while she finds another job (difficult when she’s so very pregnant). In fact, two firings of pregnant employees is a class-action suit waiting to happen.

It’ll be interesting to see how hard they try to defend their “fired for misconduct” stance at the unemployment appeals hearing. It’s scheduled for Wednesday, March 9. Rest assured I’ll keep you informed of our preparation, the confrontation, and the outcome.

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