Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Handle Your Employee's Exit with Decency and an Ounce of Humanity

This morning, I ran into one of my children's favorite cluster teachers. I hadn't seen Mr. Rosen since school closed for the summer. So, it was great to see him. I thought he was there to do finish packing up equipment that he wasn't able to complete before June ended. However, Mr. Rosen said he was packing up for good. What?! I couldn't understand why in the world would he be doing that. Until, he informed me that he got a pink slip in the mail and was taking home all of the basketballs, jump ropes, etc. that he amassed in the six years that he was the physical education instructor.

Mr. Rosen was hurt with how it happened. And, I was hurt for him. He was deeply disturbed that the school mailed him an "effective immediately" termination letter rather than giving him a head's up or at least bringing him into the office to tell him the bad news to his face. What also bothered Mr. Rosen -- and rightfuly so -- was that his years of dedicated service and loyalty to the students, staff, school and community didn't mean a thing based on how they handed his firing. What added fuel to the fire was that the principle emailed him a one-sentence message stating that she wanted him to "call" her regarding his job status. You talk about cold?!

The good thing in all of this is that Mr. Rosen has skills and possesses a strong resiliency. So, I know he's going to be just fine. He told me that although he was initially saddened, him being fired was actually the push he needed to pursue employment at a secondary school as well as coaching opportunities. I am glad saw the blessing in this situation. It still doesn't excuse how disloyal, unprofessional and just downright mean-spirited the school was in handling Mr. Rosen's termination.

If you are an employer, please consider handling your business with care and decency. It's quite understandable that given the economy and having to deal with budget cuts that you may have to lay off a few folks. But, do so with decency and order. Don't send a letter when you can very well call your employee in for a meeting. Cowards send letters. Professionals do face-to-face exit interviews. Just as there is karma with how you treat people on a personal level, so it is in the professional arena. What goes around comes back around. Be careful.


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