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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Firing policies? (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Firing policies?
R. Andrew Diercks
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 232
From: Marion, Iowa (In the middle of everywhere)
Registered: May 2003


 - posted 09-29-2004 09:40 AM      Profile for R. Andrew Diercks   Email R. Andrew Diercks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was just curious what your company/theatre keeps for documentation when terminating employees. Does it depend on the offense? Also, has anyone had a parent of a fired employee threatened a lawsuit? Iowa is a right to work state, so it's not that big of an issue here.

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Thomas Procyk
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1842
From: Royal Palm Beach, FL, USA
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 09-29-2004 09:53 AM      Profile for Thomas Procyk   Email Thomas Procyk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I heard if you fire someone in a right-to-work state that it's better NOT to give a reason. (For one, you don't have to.) If you do give a reason, that gives the employee/parent leverage against you.

Yes, when I was manager and we'd fire some dork the parent would often come to see what the matter was. Often times, luckily, when the situation was explained to them they'd accept it. But you do get the occasional, "I'm gonna sue if you don't hire my child back!" scenario. But that's all it is, a threat. They have no legal standing against you and when they realize this they'll leave you alone.

For documentation, if you had to write-up the employee, those documents are important. It shows you've told them a number of times about the problem. I think it's also standard to keep all the employment records for at least a year. You do not have to provide these to the parent if the "child" is over 18.

This is all just from memory, so it may not be 100% accurate.

=TMP=

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6412
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-29-2004 10:12 AM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Right-to-Work or not; Willfull misconduct, theft, gross insubordination or incompetence can STILL get you fired. The key is pre-termination documentation.

If an employee gets caught horsing around on the job, take them into the office and sit them down. Tell them what they did wrong, why it was wrong and what will happen to them if they do it again. In some cases, you might allow them to make a rebuttal. (If they are accused of stealing, for instance.)

Once your "counseling session" is over, write everything down on paper, sign & date it, then have the employee sign & date it. If they refuse to sign, have a witness on hand to countersign.

Have a list of offenses which will get a person terminated after a certain number of "warnings". Also have a list which can get a person terminated on the spot. (Getting caught stealing.) After an appropriate number of written warnings, (Usually 2) the person should be put on "Final Notice". Any further incidents of this type within a certain amount of time, (Usually a year) will get them fired.

Everything should be put in a folder with the employee's name on it and stored away for the future. If a person is terminated, these papers can be pulled out, laid on the table and the person can be told, "You were warned on <this date>. You were warned again on <this date>...."

Like I said, the key is written documentation. It must be done the same way for everybody. It must be done the same way every time.

If a person gets fired, whether they deserve it or not, you can STILL be sued... Anybody can sue anybody for any reason. They can sue you just because they think you look ugly. (Which may or may not actually be true! [Wink] ) It doesn't mean the suit will win. They may sue you just to drag you into court.

Still, if you have a good policy, you follow it and you document everything, your risk will be minimized.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12402
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-29-2004 02:52 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Also your job app should have a paragraph which states that this is "At Will" employment, meaning the employee can quit anytime for any reason (or no reason) and the employer has the right to terminate the employee for any reason (or no reason).

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Ramin Hashemi
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 129
From: Houston TX
Registered: Sep 2004


 - posted 09-29-2004 04:27 PM      Profile for Ramin Hashemi   Email Ramin Hashemi   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Although California is NOT a right to work state, we have that stated in the company policy. In addition, each employee signs a writen form letter stating that policy. The key is DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION.

[ 09-29-2004, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: Daryl C. W. O'Shea ]

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Ian Price
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1714
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-29-2004 04:43 PM      Profile for Ian Price   Email Ian Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Space bar, space bar, space bar!

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Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Film God

Posts: 3977
From: Midland Ontario Canada (where Panavision & IMAX lenses come from)
Registered: Jun 2002


 - posted 09-29-2004 07:02 PM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Author's Homepage   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Done, done, done.

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Brandon Willis
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 216
From: Richmond, VA, USA
Registered: Apr 2004


 - posted 09-30-2004 02:52 PM      Profile for Brandon Willis   Email Brandon Willis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Where I work, an employee can be written up any number of times. They'll usually get several "first step" warnings, then when you see that a certain problem has been recurring or if they commit a serious offense, you can move them to the second step. From there, the next write up is automatically a third step and if they screw up again, they're suspended.
No employee at the theatre level is authorized to fire anyone. An employee who reaches their last step will be suspended pending Human Resource Department review of the situation. HR will make the decision to fire someone.
Gross insubordination, Repeated absences/tardiness, or rudeness to customers are virtually guaranteed to result in a firing. Unless you have substantial proof, such as a security tape, if you are trying to fire someone for a money shortage or suspected theft, it will more than likely be denied because there are too many variables to consider. How many people used the register? Who counted the register? Were there any technical problems with the register that could have thrown off the totals?
I've never had to deal with parents of minor employees before, however some of my coworkers have and they always get a good laugh out of it.
If your company's policy is that the employee's signature is not required on the first write up or a verbal warning, my advice is to HAVE THEM SIGN IT ANYWAY! That way, if you ever have to suspend them, they can't come back and say that nobody ever told them they had that write up.

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David Buckley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 521
From: Oxford, N. Canterbury, New Zealand
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted 09-30-2004 03:34 PM      Profile for David Buckley   Author's Homepage   Email David Buckley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Don't you stateside guys have law that tells you how to dismiss someone?

In the UK, there is no ambiguity

DISCIPLINARY, DISMISSAL AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES Guidance for employers

Failure to follow the process is bad news for an employer, if yon want to sack someone, you have to do it right.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7973
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-30-2004 03:42 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's no defined procedure in the US as far as I know. Most employees in this country are "at will" and (absent a contract or other agreement to the contrary) can be fired (or may quit) at any time and for any reason (or no reason).

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David Buckley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 521
From: Oxford, N. Canterbury, New Zealand
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted 09-30-2004 05:30 PM      Profile for David Buckley   Author's Homepage   Email David Buckley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I guess that explains the purpose of the thread then.

I am astounded.

ps - great .sig

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Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Film God

Posts: 3977
From: Midland Ontario Canada (where Panavision & IMAX lenses come from)
Registered: Jun 2002


 - posted 09-30-2004 05:35 PM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Author's Homepage   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: snorwood
Signatures are a waste of bandwidth. Don't you hate having to wait to download this entire block of text whenever you read a post of mine? Whatever happened to the 4-line "standard" for .signatures, anyway? It must be really horrible for those who are on slow dialup lines to have to download this mess when reading every single one of my posts. Indeed, they must think that I am truly inconsiderate for wasting their precious time and bandwidth with such meaningless drivel. Brad probably hates me, too, since I'm wasting bandwidth for his server as well.

Even when connection speed and bandwidth costs become non-issues, long signatures like Joe's and mine really clutter up posts and make the threads in which he and I participate difficult to read. The only useful signatures are the ones which actually provide useful contact information for those who work for manufacturers and who participate in the forums (fora?) to support their products. For the rest of us, who have no products or services to support, however, signatures are worse than useless and should be banned. Blah blah blah. Are you still reading this? If so, why? Thus, I encourage everyone to join me in my Campaign To Ban Extra-Long And/Or Useless Signatures (CTBELAOUS). To join, please send me a non-tax-deductable contribution and I will add you to the membership list. Let's work together to fight annoying and bandwidth-wasting signatures!

I remember someone complaining about spam the other day, who could that have been?

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David Buckley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 521
From: Oxford, N. Canterbury, New Zealand
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted 09-30-2004 05:59 PM      Profile for David Buckley   Author's Homepage   Email David Buckley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, I know.

But you gotta assume it'll change, everyone gets bored with silly .sigs after a bit.

I thought this email sig (which was actually written a few years back by a lawyer, though one with many years on-line experience) was cool, for about five minutes, but now, I cant be bothered.

IMPORTANT - ANTI-DISCLAIMER - This email is not and cannot, by its nature, be confidential. En route from me to you, it will pass across the public Internet, easily readable by any number of system administrators along the way. If you have received this message by mistake, it would be ridiculous for me to tell you not to read it or copy to anyone else, because, let's face it, if it's a message revealing confidential information or that could embarrass me intensely, that's precisely what you'll do. Who wouldn't? Likewise, it is superfluous for me to claim copyright in the contents, because I own that anyway, even if you print out a hard copy or disseminate this message all over the known universe. I don't know why so many corporate mail servers feel impelled to attach a disclaimer to the bottom of every email message saying otherwise. If you don't know either, why not email your corporate lawyers and system administrators and ask them why they insist on contributing so much to the waste of bandwidth.

Me - I'd ban signatures, avatars, forum photos, the lot from message bases. Thats what profiles are for.

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Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Film God

Posts: 3977
From: Midland Ontario Canada (where Panavision & IMAX lenses come from)
Registered: Jun 2002


 - posted 09-30-2004 06:02 PM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Author's Homepage   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Actually, I was teasing Scott, but what the heck. Scott's just using the spam excuse to ignore me anyway!

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David Stambaugh
Film God

Posts: 4016
From: Eugene, Oregon
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 08-08-2005 05:07 PM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Author's Homepage   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Discussion of at-will employment continued from there

Following text pertaining to California labor law copied from here

How Employers Can Create An At-Will Relationship With Employees That Will Withstand A Lawsuit

Employers should make sure that they have placed their companies in a strong position to defeat employment claims challenging the at-will nature of their relationship with their employees at the summary judgment level. Check the list below to see if your company is doing all that it can to protect itself.

  • Continue to reiterate in all non-union agreements, policies and practices that your employees are employed "at will."
  • If you have written employment agreements, be sure each agreement is an integrated at-will agreement. It should state that (1) the employee is at will, (2) the employee understands that he or she is at will, (3) the agreement can only be changed in writing, and (4) this is the entire agreement between the parties.
  • Be sure that your company has no contractual restriction, in its personnel policies, handbooks or memoranda, on its right to reorganize, restructure, reduce or consolidate its work force.
  • If your personnel policies include specific provisions for progressive discipline leading to termination, be sure that the policies specifically provide that they only apply to terminations for cause, and do not apply to reorganizations, restructures, lay offs or consolidations.
  • If you have written employment policies, be sure to disseminate those policies to your employees. Require employees to sign an acknowledgment indicating that they have read and understood the policies.
  • If you have written employment policies, follow the terms of those policies exactly as they are written. Do not make exceptions to the policies for certain employees or situations.
  • Educate supervisors and managers that they have no authority to make separate promises or agreements with employees about employment status.
=================================================
So it doesn't sound that hard to defuse threats from fired employees, or from their parents. The law is clear. As long as management has policies and follows them, there are no grounds for any kind of legal action against the company for firing crappy employees.
If the company is being held hostage by crappy employees, maybe it's the company's own fault.

[Big Grin] [Razz]

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