Constructive Dismissal & Management

For those unfamiliar with the term constructive dismissal, here is a link that explains this rather Orwellian term.  Its illegal here in the U.S., but like many other aspects of employment, unless it is as overt as a large pimple on a nose it is also very hard for a victim of such to prove.

I bring this up as wife unit, and a few others at her worksite may be the victims of such.  Up until the last 2 months or so, work has gone smoothly.  However from early last month wife unit’s supervisors have continually called her and 2 others out for making mistakes at work.  This wouldn’t raise a flag with me except that wife unit and the other 2 employees in the same worksite also happen to be at the top of the pay scale and dismissing her and or the other employees at the top of the pay scale would allow hire of a greater number of new employees at a lower wage/cost to employer..

Yesterday, wife unit was called out for mislabeling a product, a mistake not all entirely hers as the rack which had the product, normally labeled, was not and she assumed (yes, I now that is wrong) it was another product.  When called out, she attempted to explain the whys (that another person failed to label the product), but was cut off and told just to listen.  Further, another person put in a supervisory position, said  within earshot as wife unit was getting ready to leave for the day, that wife unit had not produced enough product to her expectations.

A more serious issue, at least for wife unit, is 2 weeks ago; she was called out for not wearing a mental meshed glove she and others are supposed to wear when handling a knife, even an icing knife.  A year or so ago this issue cropped up and she was told she had to sign a paper making note of the omission as a warning.  She believed this second call out meant she would be dismissed and asked the department manager if she was going to be terminated.  The manager, instead of telling her that she would be required to sign another warring notice, said nothing.  So with wife unit believing she was about to be terminated, I told her she should not sign anything if she did not fully understand it and to tell management she wanted a Japanese translation & translator.

So her employer/HR had to go to the trouble of getting the document translated and finding a Japanese interpreter for n issue now blow out of proportion to the gravity; all because a manager did not manage. 

From the daily rants I hear from wife unit now, it seems to me the department manager is not managing at all.  In the case yesterday,  it is the manger’s job to find out why the problem occurred and to think about what to be done so that it does not happen again; in this case, speaking to the person who failed to properly label the rack and making sure everyone understands.

As one who has managed staff, I say managing humans is like trying to herd cats at times, but that is a manager’s job and that is why a manager is paid more than staff.

So what to do?  If this is indeed signs of constructive dismissal, wife unit needs to consult with someone now on how to protect her own interest in the event she is told her employment is terminated. And most importantly as with any workplace issue, there has to be discipline to document the who, how, what & and whens of every incident. And above all, not to lose her cool; that will be grounds for dismissal not matter what.

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2 Responses to Constructive Dismissal & Management

  1. I don’t suppose there’s any way for either your wife or their coworkers to have anyone corroborate the change in attitude from the supervisors?

    From my personal experience, I know that, if your superiors are out to get you, it takes a lot to manage a draw.

  2. I have indeed suggested that, but it has fallen on deaf ears. And yes you are very correct that it takes much to get out cleanly of a situation in which management is indeed out to get you.

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