Employee Termination Part 2
As I boarded my plane, I decided to start looking at the daily reports I had about what Sarah did for the day. The results were beyond shocking.
Granted — this data started only after our crunch time ended. I can only assume Sarah worked harder when things were getting done, but for this 3.5 week period I had collected + the extra week I monitored painted the picture that confirmed my suspicions.
I didn’t tell anyone I had setup this tracker. I was afraid I knew what the results would say and I would have no choice if Tim knew, than to fire her.
Once I saw the data though, I had to do something.
The average day:
– 9:45 – 10:15 arrival
– Checks work email for a few minutes
– Loads up social media, comic strips, videos, chats, for about 45-75 minutes
– Leaves the office for a lunch break 50-75 minutes
– Returns and continues Loads up social media, comic strips, videos, chats, for about 3 hours
– Around 4 PM starts real work, for maybe 30-45 minutes
– Continues non-work activities for another 1-2 hours
– Back to work for a bit
– Leaves late around 7
A good day would have about 2.5 hours of work done, a bad day would have less than 15 minutes of work done.
If you looked at Sarah during this time, you’d think she is busy as hell. Very focused. But she was over smart. 1.75 of her 2 monitors would be covered in work. The 25% of one monitor would be used for these other activities.
It was not a lack of priorities, it was a lack of desire to get anything done.
I was really pissed, I decided any lay off was out of question, she needs to know she is fired — but for sure maybe 4 weeks of pay to tide her over.
Monday’s report came to me around 8 PM. I noticed a big chunk of her time was reviewing essays. At first I thought it might be her helping family / friends. My current unconfirmed suspicion is that she was running a side-business to review essays from Korea for some extra cash. I felt like a fool. I moved up the termination date from Monday to Friday.
Tuesday’s report came. Same stuff, this was one of her better days with maybe 2 hours of work done. I found out she was applying to another job; perhaps other jobs. By this point I was more amused than mad. Here I was thinking I needed to find a place for her; but she already had 1 foot out the door. To be honest, I have no issue with people finding other work — in fact I encourage it. I should have to earn my employees every day, just as they should earn their jobs. My issue was that these projects would collapse in my face and she’d be long gone collecting her pay check and perhaps that extra side income.
Between Monday morning and Tuesday night, I went from a cushy layoff to a ‘get nothing’ firing.
Wednesday we went out for our company holiday dinner. It was a great time, Kaz Sushi. In the back of my mind I knew this was “the last supper.” Tim, Zack and I knew what was coming, the others didn’t — nor did they need to. Towards the end of dinner, I made a joke about taking an Uber home (all 3 blocks) — dead silence for 30 seconds, Tim and Zack looked at me shocked. Sarah then had a monologue about how awesome Uber is. It was too comical. Uber was the company she had applied to.
With the liquor and the mercury I had just consumed, I couldn’t sleep. I felt like I made the decision to hire Sarah before I found out what a mess it is to get her an H1-B visa. We hired a shitty visa firm, and then paid a second time to get a legit one. I felt like I had kept my promises, and now she was looking for other jobs instead of improving her work ethic.
I was mad at myself for making my monitoring tool preserve privacy — I wanted to know more about this job, how far along she was and if there were other jobs. I felt vindictive and I felt like I could not let her win. I moved up my timetable — changed nearly all company passwords, and sent an email to Tim and Zack that we’d take final action first thing in the morning.
In talking to Zack the previous day, I asked what I should do — holding her visa is immense power, and morally right or wrong I felt cheated and wanted revenge. Zack told me, “look let bygones be bygones, it will be painful enough for her — but don’t make matters worse; better to let her move on and find something she can succeed in and better for you to move on.”
So I made my decision. There is no personal vendetta, but she is taking from our business. We need to stop the taking, but let the rest fall upon herself. I researched all sorts of things about the H1-B and unemployment.
I found that when we fire her, we need to protect ourselves, but if we don’t notify the government she’ll be in limbo — which is better than “not in status” — if she gets a job in time she’ll be fine. I also found out that people who get fired can collect unemployment as long as they didn’t do anything illegal / violent. Finally I discovered that if we do anything to help her, she has recourse to sue us.
So that decision was fire her, give her nothing, she’ll get it from other sources — and make sure that the firing does not directly make her lose her lifestyle (meaning she should not have to leave for Korea unless she truly can’t find a job after some weeks).
Now the hard part — actually doing it.