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Old 11-28-2007, 04:23 PM
smltm4nw smltm4nw is offline
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Question firing someone

I know I'm in a really small market and that I probably don't really deserve to be the chief. But, I am and I find myself having to probably fire somebody today, One just lack of making sure things are cued correctly and two because now they are flat lying to my face about editing a vo/sot that was all screwed up.

I have never fired anyone before just wondering if anyone else could relay the feelings they've had when in the position of terminating an employee. Because right now I'm just not looking forward to this meeting.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:29 PM
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After having to deal with the mess that came after my boss fired 2 of my supervise-ees (without checking with me, natch), here's my free advice:

Let's assume you've spoken with him regarding the problems face-to-face, preferably with a management witness.

If the problems continue, then go with the written reprimand in his file.

That's strike one.

If the same problems continue, move on to a suspension w/o pay.

That's strike 2.

If he's still screwing off after that, then and only then should you consider consider firing.

Strike 3 and he's out.

This way, you've established a paper trail and he gets 2 chances to redeem himself.

Hiring and re-training employees takes time, energy and, with the reduced staffing, you lose employee morale as well. I've found it's pretty hard to find photogs for small market stations and you could very easily find yourself short-staffed for weeks or months. I've lived it for the past 6 months and it's a b!tch.

Remember this mantra: Hire, Train, Retain. If you are fortunate to have hire/fire capabilities, this is your best management tool.

Firing is the nuclear option of management... Don't use it unless you have no other choice.

Again, free advice is worth every penny. Good Luck.
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:13 AM
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Totally agree with Cambot. Give a person a chance to correct their mistakes after having a clear cut objective laid out between you and the employee. Another thing not mentioned in Cambot's post is that with the established paper trail, you reduce the risk of lawsuit for wrongful termination.

As much as I hate to say it, you have to be especially careful if the problem involves a person of minority race. The reason being, there are some bad apples out there who will play the racial discrimination card when fired and you better have reasons for termination clearly documented.

It's never a good feeling to end someone's income stream. IMHO, if you enjoy firing someone, you should never be in a position of management to begin with.

cm
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Old 11-30-2007, 07:48 AM
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Default Race Card??

I think that it is unfair to say that a minority person will play the race card. If the person is not doing a good job and he or she has been given verbal warnings follwed by a written warning and they still continue to have problems then maybe firing is in line.

To address the minority thing I really believe that most minoritites in this business understand how limited positions in this business are for us especially behind the scenes.

As a minority I make sure I do my job to the best of my abilities everyday because I know there are some closed minded people that think that a minority is only holding their position because of affirmative action.
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jajack71 View Post
I think that it is unfair to say that a minority person will play the race card. If the person is not doing a good job and he or she has been given verbal warnings follwed by a written warning and they still continue to have problems then maybe firing is in line.
I figured someone might get their dandruff up and that statement was not meant to offend. Notice I said there are 'some bad apples' who will resort to that. I have seen it personally happen. That's also why I said I 'hate to say it' because I'm not a racist and I feel that it doesn't help matters when someone of a minority status resorts to that tactic. The individual I'm referring to even failed a pre-hire physical by a company physician. Said individual proceeded to get his own doctor which of course 'passed' him and threatened the company if they didn't hire him based on those results. Said individual after getting hired was clearly not qualified for the position and after numerous write-ups for various failure to perform duties, was also caught sleeping on the job. When caught, tried to say he was in prayer even after having been observed in deep sleep for 15 to 20 minutes. That was the final straw that brought about termination and unfortunately, this individual claimed to be fired for racial discrimination.

So yes, it does happen, and had there not been clear documentation as to deficiency, this individual might have prevailed in a lawsuit using that tactic.

I'm also not implying that a non minority individual wouldn't pull the same stuff to get hired and then get terminated for the same actions. But without minority status, that person would not have a race card to play.

There are laws to prevent discrimination and that's a good thing. Sadly, there are a few who will try to exploit those laws and that's a bad thing.

cm
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:36 AM
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So what happened did you fire the guy. How did you handle the meeting and how did the employee react..
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Old 11-30-2007, 05:17 PM
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Well after I met with the ND to finalize the paperwork we needed we found that we only had 1 written discipline action taken (that's my fault) against him and HR told me I need to have at least 3 to fire him for his actions. So we had a come to Jesus moment, I gave him his last warning (written) and we've moved on hopefully for the better.

So I am more aware for the future what I need to do regarding discipline actions and not let the ND, anchors, and producers pressure me to do something that could come back to bite me in the end. Because after reading Cambot Mk. II, I went to HR to find out the proper way this should be handled.

So for anyone else who may be new at this chief stuff and before you find yourself in this position. Go talk to HR about the proper process that should be done. Get the right paper work, be very cordial when you deal with the person in question. Document everything, EVERYTHING, papers, tapes, ect. I am using the scripts in question and a copy of the aircheck for documentation. These are all things when I agreed to take over that nobody talked to me about and I didn't ask any one about. So I'm learning on the fly and sometimes I am crashing and burning.

Like I said at the top I probably don't deserve the title I have, but I am more than willing to talk to anyone if they have questions.
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Old 11-30-2007, 08:28 PM
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If you have some free time, I suggest you take some Human Resources classes at you local community college. What has been said is HR 101. Three strikes and he is out. Also, if he is fired, he gets unemployment pay. The company pays part of that. The only clause that is unclear is "just cause". You can be fired for "just cause". "Just cause" isn't too clear, but that is a loophole to get ride of someone without all the strikes.
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Old 12-01-2007, 12:07 AM
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I'm glad I could help.

If you're thoughtful about your job, you're the right person for the job.
Keep your chin up, your eye on the ball, your ear to the ground, your nose to the grindstone... and try to work in that position.
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:15 AM
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In my state you don't get unemployment if you are fired. Only if you are laid off.
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesCam View Post
In my state you don't get unemployment if you are fired. Only if you are laid off.
Are you sure? Because that would be very unusual. In most states a terminated employee is only denied unemployment benefits if he was fired for cause. If he says he wasn't fired for cause, then you normally have to contest his unemployment claim in a hearing. If the administrative law judge who hears the case doesn't think you had a legitimate cause to fire him (for example you didn't follow your own company's policy in the number of warnings, etc.), he'll grant the benefits. Usually there's some kind of appeals process if you lose.

These judges typically side with the employee, because the potential hardship is greater on the employee than on the company. Not always, of course. And if you don't show up for the hearing, you automatically lose.

I was fired once. I didn't think it was justified, so I filed for unemployment. Because I was fired, there was an automatic three week delay in my benefits while someone from the unemployment office "investigated" my claim to determine whether it was for cause. The "investigation" involved sending a questionnaire to my previous employer, giving him the option of contesting my benefit and demanding a hearing. If he hadn't sent it back, I would have automatically been granted my benefit. He contested it, but then withdrew his appeal the morning of the hearing. So I received unemployment even though I was fired.

Is this not the way it works in your state?
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:05 PM
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Good to see that it worked out.

One thing I learned was keep a paper trail on anything good and bad that you do. Make sure that you are treating the whole staff the same. That will help keep you from getting a nasty blowback.

Do make friends with your HR folks, they should know the law. Most managers have never gotten management training to be a manager; so learn all that you can from inside and outside the station. I found a local mentor through the Rotary club when I was chief, who helped me immensely. He was a Judge so that was a plus; but what it gave me was a solid impartial sounding board for how to lead and manage.
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:19 PM
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Well I ended up firing him a couple of days ago, he was assigned to a 5 part series shoot because we had no one else availabe on the day it had to be shot. He came back with about 3 minutes of usable video on 5 60 minute tapes. The anchor he was with lost it. I got an earful, our ND got an earful it was really bad. I went over the tapes with him and couldn't believe what I was seeing. If we were doing a story on what ceilings looked liked I could have put together one heck of story. I felt really bad about firing him in some ways, but in others I think we will be way better off. Mostly because I had to go back and reshoot everything and turn around and edit it in the midst of all the other sweeps pieces I'm working on.

Moral of the story, he was probably going to get fired eventually when I posted this, but make sure you have all your I's dotted and your T's crossed. Because when the time comes the person has no case and hopefully will walk away knowing what not to do the next time around.
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:19 AM
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You have a good attitude about the whole situation. I have only had to fire one person and it was not an enjoyable experience. Your staff will appreciate you doing the right thing. I see you posted at 4:09am. Have you been up all night thinking about it? If so, get some sleep. The guy hung himself, you just cleaned up the pieces.
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Old 01-22-2008, 04:33 PM
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Default Do what I did

One time in a tiny market I managed the Technical staff including MCO's. One guy just couldn't get the hang of it, he just wasn't bright enough. I had him on the weekend shift where he couldn't do too much damage. You are in the building by yourself, nothing but live sports, as long as you follow along you can figure out when your breaks air and when you can take breaks. Every Monday the sports guy would tell me we were in black for a whole break, the MCO was running across the street to a deli to get his lunch and missing his break and not even knowing it. Everyone else seemed figure out how to time it, but not this guy. I'd have talks with him and ask if he was sure this is something he wanted to do, I thought maybe we could mutually agree that he would quit. I told him I couldn't tolerate this for very many more times, and he assured me that he would improve. Finally I said, "If it happens again I will accept your 2 week notice." Sure enough Monday rolls around, I find out it happened again, he shows up to work and I tell him it was the last straw. "Should I just leave?" he says. "No, go to the calendar and add two weeks from today and tell me what day your last day will be in writing." I told him. He comes back it and tells the day he will be quitting, thoroughly convinced it was his idea. Zero paper trail.

"Well played" says the GM.
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:08 AM
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Damn! That is amazing! I had a photog who bragged about smoking pot. EVERY time i gave her an assignment she would show up a couple of hours late if she showed up at all. Every day, the editor was on my butt because she couldn't do her job. I would call her on the radio two, then one hour, then a half hour befor an assignment to remind her. She would still miss the assignment. I told her that if she couldn't make it to her assignments, the person who replaced her would. she complained to the editor and i got cussed out for giving her a bad time. the very next day the editor called me into his office because the photog missed another assignment. she got fired when she missed photographing our publisher getting a 'Woman of the year' award... guess I shouldn't have assigned it to her... :}
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:08 PM
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Shoeless, that was great! I have to remember that.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:53 PM
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Default Just Cant


YOU SAID A SMALL MARKET
WELL I WAS CHIEF IN 110+ MARKET AND DIDNT HAVE MUCH SAY ON FIRINGS,
DURING MY TERM THERE WERE PEOPLE THAT WERE FIRED BUT AT MY STATION IT WAS HANDLED ABOVE EVEN MY ND
TODAY I WOULD MAKE SURE TO DOCUMENT EVERYTHING, THE ONE QUOTE FIRING IN MY TIME TOOK MORE ALONG 5-6 STRIKES MEETINGS WITH THE ND AND HR AND THE GM HAD TO PULL THE TRUMP AFTER CLEARING IT THROUGH CORPORATE.

SIDENOTE PERSON WAS REHIRED AFTER I LEFT NOT 8 MONTHS LATER
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Old 02-06-2008, 06:10 PM
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...please don't yell...
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:48 PM
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My Dad managed many companies and he had a theory that you don't fire an employee, they always fire themselves, you're just breaking the news to them. His method was similar to the three strikes mentioned above. His employees were always fully briefed on their duties, responsibilities and, perhaps MORE importantly, what NOT to do (and the consequences). The employee was required to sign a copy of the employee handbook and a copy of the minutes of the meeting. If they did something wrong my Dad would bring them into his office, explain the problem, explain the solution and warn them that if they didn't shape up there would be further disciplinary measures. If they did it again it was an unpaid vacation with the warning that any more would result in immediate termination. A third time and he had them back in his office. He always started that third meeting by saying, "You're already fired and you did it to yourself. This meeting is only to show you what you did so that you might be better for the next employer." Whether they listened to him or not was their problem. I guess in modern management circles it would be called an exit interview or something.
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