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Judge Rules Boss's "Firing Contest" Created a Hostile Work Environment

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the take-this-job-and-shove-it dept.

Businesses 314

Branded the "boss from hell" by his employees, 57-year-old William Ernst lost a court battle with ex-workers over unemployment benefits. An Iowa judge has decided that Ernst's "firing contest" memo wasn't the best management strategy, saying, "The employer’s actions have clearly created a hostile work environment by suggesting its employees turn on each other for a minimal monetary prize. This was an intolerable and detrimental work environment.” The memo reads in part: "New Contest – Guess The Next Cashier Who Will Be Fired!!! To win our game, write on a piece of paper the name of the next cashier you believe will be fired. Write their name [the person who will be fired], today's date, today's time, and your name. Seal it in an envelope and give it to the manager to put in my envelope."

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314 comments

Sorry, I don't see the issue. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591674)

Contests are fun. Doesn't this judge like fun?

What a sad person this judge must be. Frankly, I feel sorry for her.

Re:Sorry, I don't see the issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591840)

Fun is what you do on your time at home. Work is what we do at work. :P

I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of people think slapping a girl on the ass is fun. We still don't do it at work.

Re:Sorry, I don't see the issue. (-1, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit501 (2018074) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591944)

who is "We"?

you are exactly what you've claimed to be: NOTHING.

Re:Sorry, I don't see the issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592062)

He is your master, just like everyone else you encounter.

Now sit up and yap for us again like a good little doggie, Kristopuppy. Maybe you'll get a treat.

Re:Sorry, I don't see the issue. (0)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592036)

I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of people think slapping a girl on the ass is fun.

Ah yes...the good old days.

The workplace sure was more pleasant back then....and MUCH less 'back-talking'.....

Re:Sorry, I don't see the issue. (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591962)

It's always great when a sociopath finds his soulmate. Maybe you and this Ernst should hook up.

Re:Sorry, I don't see the issue. (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592534)

He's encouraging employees to waste office supplies. Very unprofessional.

KMART? (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591692)

Damn...I was hoping he'd be from KMART but he was employed at some no name place called "QC Mart".

Oh well guess I'll have to wait for KMART to die some other way than on its own...

I'd do it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591726)

Hilarious. Worker drones shouldn't have any rights.

don't fuck with the people who handle your food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591764)

don't fuck with the people who handle your food

Re:don't fuck with the people who handle your food (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591814)

What, are you going to get a food std or something? :P

Hear that? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591866)

WOOOOSH!

Re:don't fuck with the people who handle your food (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592076)

it's called "the brown rocket"...

I'm reminded of a quote from Fight Club... (1)

Insidious Oatmeal (2474324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592600)

"Tyler was now involved in a class action lawsuit against the Pressman Hotel over the urine content of their soup."

Re:I'd do it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591912)

Well, to be fair, they really don't. At will employment is at will employment, and there are pluses and minuses for both employers and employees. And note that this actual practice was not found illegal in any way. All the case determined was that if a person quit rather than be subjected to this, they were eligible for unemployment benefits. And to be honest, it's pretty unlikely this ruling would be upheld on appeal. As an employer of an at will employee, you can pretty much do whatever the fuck you want as long as you don't discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, religion, creed etc.

And this is one area where the free market will actually work itself out pretty nicely. If you treat all your employees like you treat your worst employee, pretty soon only your worst employees will continue working for you.

Re:I'd do it (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592116)

Name a single plus at will employment offers an employee that isn't already covered by statutes regarding slavery and minimum wage laws.

Re:I'd do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592228)

Here's one: An employee can quit without the employer taking him to court on the grounds that he was breaking some "implied" contract.

Re:I'd do it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592270)

Clearly spoken by someone who's never had an employment contract before. Yea, if you're at will you can be fired at any time, but you can also quit at any time and you can also renegotiate at any time. Not to mention the other nasty things in employment contracts like noncompetes. If you're just another replaceable cog in the machine, then yes, at will employment sucks for you. If you're worth as much to your company as your company is worth to you, at will employment is a great thing. And if you're just a cog, well, why do you deserve any sort of guarantee of continued employment?

Re:I'd do it (0)

jenn_13 (1123793) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592306)

Just off the top of my head, not saying for sure that this definitely happens, but: If it's hard to fire an employee once hired, it may be harder to get hired in the first place. An employer will probably need to spend more time and money on checking someone out first, which leaves less for salaries.

Re:I'd do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592532)

I'm hoping that you chose the username "jenn_13" because you're a 13 year old girl named Jennifer. Otherwise, you're just very stupid.

The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591738)

I had a boss like that once. He thought his "openly asshole" style of management was helpful because it "encouraged competition." In reality, the only thing it encouraged was hatred. It brought us closer as a team, but only in hating him. Half the employees were stealing from him, the other half were actively plotting against him. Basically, he created an environment where retaining talent was impossible, and only the dregs who couldn't get hired anywhere else stayed behind. He thought he was being clever, but he was only costing the company all its promising talent (including me).

It's one thing to be a no-nonsense boss with high standards, it's quite another to be an obnoxious asshole who drives away all your best employees.

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591830)

That sounds a little like how military boot camp works. The recruits bond together against the drill sergeants.

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591882)

that's what the military WANTS to happen though. in a business environment, it's not productive.

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591958)

Oh I agree completely. I wasn't saying it's productive, just pointing out the similarities.

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592006)

I've been through BCT and AIT, and I have to admit, there is at least one incident that has made me wonder if this wasn't the point (the platoon or company siding with on of the recruits or privates), but it really doesn't make a lot of sense. A lot of BCT is learning to identify and respect the chain of command. Why would they spend 9 weeks of BCT teaching you proper military ediquette only to purposely attempt to get you to hate it in the last week?

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (1)

nharmon (97591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592192)

Part of the idea is to get you used to following the orders and directions of someone you just plainly do not like.

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592642)

yeah its sort of the whole point. The first half is to break down your individual identity and the second is designed to construct a new shared (and controlled) identity... this is also known as brainwashing 101.

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (2)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591934)

Nixon: Sobel's a genius. I had a headmaster in prep school who was just like him. I know the type.
Winters: Lew, Michaelangelo's a genius. Beethoven's a genius.
Nixon: You know a man in this company who wouldn't double-time Currahee with a full pack just to piss in that man's morning coffee?

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592262)

That sounds a little like how military boot camp works. The recruits bond together against the drill sergeants.

Something tells me you haven't been thru basic, or you had a really bad individual experience with someone in the chain of command being completely bonkers (which does happen).

They try to get the recruits to bond with each other (... get your mind out of the gutter). All about cooperation, working together, etc.

Respect them, yes. Actively plot against them, heck no. IF as a group, you were squared away, frankly they were pretty cool people.

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592434)

More accurately, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopath [wikipedia.org] , is the appropriate description of that employers business style.

One rather humorous thing about this story, taking the bosses behaviour as classically symptomatic of psychopathy any investigator out there be it taxation, health, labour or even criminal can pretty guarantee an easy investigation and conviction for a range of crimes.

Non of his employees will cover for him and would likely all leap at the chance to testify against him and that kind of arrogance always leads to his smarter than everyone else thinking and a trail of evidence of criminal activity.

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592598)

Something tells me you haven't been thru basic

No, I haven't. My opinion of this comes from documentaries I've seen regarding basic training.

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592664)

I hate to break it to you, but "Stripes" wasn't a documentary.

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592488)

You just described my ex-boss except that it was "she"

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592548)

Wow, sounds like you and I worked at the same place!

Re:The problem with the "I'm an asshole" boss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592632)

I have been fortunate and never worked with anyone like that. If I ever did, I would probably end up busting their teeth out.

me too (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591760)

How can I submit timothy as the next Slashdot editor to be fired? Please please please.

Re:me too (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592222)

It sounds like you are the featured boss...

Sad. (-1, Troll)

gregulator (756993) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591770)

If you don't like the job (and evertyhing that comes with it), go work somewhere else.

Employment should be entirely voluntary on that parts of the employee and the employer.

The .gov should stay out of all voluntary arangements between two or more grown adults.

Re:Sad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591836)

exactly! if somebody wants to sell me their labor for 50 cents an hour why should the .gov get involved? pfft. they'd be interfering with a job creator!

Re:Sad. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591902)

exactly! if somebody wants to sell me their labor for 50 cents an hour why should the .gov get involved? pfft. they'd be interfering with a job creator!

Ummm.....yea. If that is all you can get a job for than that is all your labor is worth.

value is now OBJECTIVELY DEFINED by the market (4, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592178)

the free market is infallible; whatever ends up happening is BY DEFINITION THE FAIREST OUTCOME POSSIBLE
And you can take my word for it, 'cuz I'm above the poverty line!

Re:Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591908)

I know who'd be willing to work for that wage; kids!

Re:Sad. (0)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591932)

Exactly.

I know you were going for sarcasm, but you accidentally ended up correct.

Re:Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592086)

yup! Indentured servitude just interferes with Job Creators 8)

Bless you!

Re:Sad. (4, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592216)

That would be why there are so many nations in the world which managed to lift themselves up to first world status by eschewing the ideas of labor laws, right?

History is replete with examples of libertarian paradises where the job-creators built wealth unfettered by regulation and the fruits of their labor enriched everyone! Why, there's Somalia, and Libya, and...

Re:Sad. (-1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592562)

Or the US itself. People tend to forget that while the Gilded Age had a large number of labor abuses, it did result in vast growth in the US, including development of world-class universities and a vast economy. The US was a world power before not after it became another regulated economy.

Re:Sad. (3)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592614)

No.
But in the Earlier history of the US we have an example of how a small amount of regulation coupled with strong individualism created in a very short time a very powerful and rich country. Then the wealth and power corrupted the government.
Unions use government to make it impossible to not pay a cop that beats a man to death.
Businesses use government to saddle their competition with regulations.
People use government to cut them a check for being a lazy bastard.

The government gets bloated and powerful. The individualism is beat out of the populace. All is guaranteed to be "Fair" according to the regulations set down by "The Peoples Fairness Committee" Brought to you by Microsoft. Then the system collapses.

When the Government says a company can not build a plant in another State, or you can not fire the 600lb employee for the good of the little guy.
or
When the Government creates laws so that Mickey Mouse stays in copyright forever and signs laws that put you in prison for sharing for the good of the big guy.

These are not problems with corporatism or socialism. They are problems that can be only solved by removing the governments powers to do these things,

Sony can not force me to do shit without the government stepping in.

Big government is your enemy. Whether it is coming down on Boeing or Beating a homeless man to death.

Re:Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591884)

Easier said than done when over 11% of the workforce cannot get work. Let's hope you get into this situation, have two kids to feed, along with loss of your employer's medical coverage. Maybe have a car loan and not have any income for payments. You cut out health insurance and then a kid breaks a bone, ouch. Now you have to try to borrow against your house, but you can't due to being upside-down on value. Oh noes! Hello, are you the man with a cardboard sign begging for any work I see each day?

Re:Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591928)

Yeah! It's that simple! Employment is totally always negotiated between equal parties with equal power! Yeah! Work or starve? Choice! Freedom!

Re:Sad. (2)

iceperson (582205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591940)

If an employer doesn't want to follow the laws, rules, and regulations of the country, state, county, city where they do business then they are free to voluntarily move their business.

Re:Sad. (3, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591990)

You really need to read up on some history to understand why there are labor laws.

Re:Sad. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592120)

And history will be reading in 50 years about why we got rid of many of them once the entire world economy finally shits itself for good.

Re:Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592258)

That's right, the gov should never get in the way of any company MAXIMIZING its profits at the expense of anything or anyone Any business leader knows you get much better productivity and results from a happy & willing workforce as opposed to those in "duck & cover" mode. Moral = Results

Re:Sad. (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592294)

Employment is a contract between employer and employee, and violation of terms of the contract bears repercussions for the violating side, whichever it is. It's up to the court to enforce compensation for violation of the contract if the violator refuses to do so willingly.

Imagine: You're to be paid after a month of work, and you work hard, but at the end of the month you're told you won't be paid after all. Now you are free to go work somewhere else if you don't like it. Is that okay in your opinion?

Re:Sad. (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592538)

Imagine: You're to be paid after a month of work, and you work hard, but at the end of the month you're told you won't be paid after all. Now you are free to go work somewhere else if you don't like it. Is that okay in your opinion?

Be careful calling libertarians' bluff. Until relatively recently, none other than Alan Greenspan (an Ayn Rand acolyte) maintained that government should have little or no role in policing fraud [moneyshow.com] :

One is particularly relevant: "The Assault on Integrity," which condemns any regulation or investor or consumer protection because, Greenspan argues, the government cannot do as effective a job in policing business as the free market can. "It is precisely the 'greed' of the businessman or, more appropriately, his profit seeking which is the unexpected protector of the consumer," he wrote. "It is in the self-interest of every businessman to have a reputation for integrity and a quality product." "A company cannot afford to risk its years of investment by letting down its standards of quality for one moment or one inferior product; nor would it be tempted by any potential 'quick killing,'" he asserted.

So, yes, some of them are that crazy. Yes, Greenspan has since recanted, but as they say, a sucker is born every minute... Rand's books still sell like hotcakes to naive college freshmen.

Re:Sad. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592298)

So if you don't want to hire minorities that should be ok?
How about child labor?
Should you be able to pay the parents for a child's labor until it turns 18 and keep it as an indentured servant?

Employment has to be regulated because of the lack of perfect information and the relative power differences between those that enter into these agreements.

Re:Sad. (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592388)

That's exactly how before the French revolution the aristocracy saw it.
Europeans kind of understood the madness of these aristocrats and present law tries to protect the workers right to make a living for himself.
This does not mean a European boss can't lay off or fire a worker, it means there have to be proper grounds for denying someone the chance to feed his family.

The legislation of the young USofA was also very anti-aristocracy, don't forget this all happened around the same time, yet many Americans seem to have forgotten their roots...

Text of the memo (5, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591784)

Text of the memo in question:

To win our game, write on a piece of paper the name of the next cashier you believe will be fired. Write their name [the person who will be fired], today’s date, today’s time, and your name. Seal it in an envelope and give it to the manager to put in my envelope.

“Here’s how the game will work: We are doubling our secret-shopper efforts, and your store will be visited during the day and at night several times a week. Secret shoppers will be looking for cashiers wearing a hat, talking on a cell phone, not wearing a QC Mart shirt, having someone hanging around/behind the counter, and/or a personal car parked by the pumps after 7 p.m., among other things.

“If the name in your envelope has the right answer, you will win $10 CASH. Only one winner per firing unless there are multiple right answers with the exact same name, date, and time. Once we fire the person, we will open all the envelopes, award the prize, and start the contest again.

“And no fair picking Mike Miller from (the Rockingham Road store). He was fired at around 11:30 a.m. today for wearing a hat and talking on his cell phone. Good luck!!!!!!!!!!”

Wow. What an asshole. In a better economy I'd hope that he'd have trouble getting workers. Unfortunately, in the current economy it is probably much easier to find desperate people willing to put up with crap.

Re:Text of the memo (1, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592362)

Wow. What an asshole.

He was only threatening to fire people actively intentionally breaking some fairly simple rules. I LOLed when I read it. All I have to do, is not talk on my phone when I'm supposedly working, not violate the dress code, not violate security rules. I would not exactly break out in a cold sweat of terror.

Now a Real toxic A hole, much worse than this guy, would threaten randomly, based on totally random arbitrary "attitude" or if female how hot she was.

Being the hacker mentality the first thing I though of was how to crack his system, entering multiple times, framing others by writing their name, etc.

Re:Text of the memo (4, Insightful)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592518)

Wow. What an asshole.

He was only threatening to fire people actively intentionally breaking some fairly simple rules. I LOLed when I read it. All I have to do, is not talk on my phone when I'm supposedly working, not violate the dress code, not violate security rules. I would not exactly break out in a cold sweat of terror.

You're missing the point. As my daddy always told me, it's not what you say, it's how you say it. Nobody in their right mind would have a problem with a terse memo to the effect of "Violations of rules x, y, and z will result in termination of employment. You have been warned." It's couching things as though it were a game where you're (potentially) rewarded $10 for spying on your coworkers that made it a hostile work environment.

Contest Prizes (5, Funny)

schlesinm (934723) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591786)

"We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired. "

Re:Contest Prizes (2)

Xunker (6905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591832)

The leads are weak!

Re:Contest Prizes (3, Informative)

wren337 (182018) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591878)

The leads are weak. The f-in' leads are weak? You're weak. I've been in this business 15 years ...

Re:Contest Prizes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591922)

What's your name?

Re:Contest Prizes (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591986)

F you, that's my name. You know why mister? Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove an 80,000 dollar BMW. That's my name. And your name is you're wanting. You can't play in the man's game, you can't close them? Then go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because only one thing counts in this life. Get them to sign on the line which is dotted. You hear me you f-in' fargots.

ABC. A, Always, B, Be, C, Closing. Always be closing. Always be closing. AIDA. Attention. Interest. Decision. Action. Attention. Do I have your attention? Interest. Are you interested? I know you are 'cause it's f or walk. You close or you hit the bricks. Decision. Have you made your decision for Christ? And action. AIDA. Get out there. You got the prospects coming in, you think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don't walk on the lot lest he wants to buy. They're sitting out there waiting to give you their money. Are you going to take it? Are you man enough to take it?

What's the problem, pal?

Re:Contest Prizes (1)

padraic2 (2432584) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591918)

The leads are weak? The fucking leads are weak? You're weak!

Re:Contest Prizes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592308)

Patel? Fuck you. Fuckin' Shiva handed him a million dollars, told him sign the deal, he wouldn't sign. And Vishnu, too into the bargain.

Re:Contest Prizes (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591916)

Hey, I could use a new toy yoda [stuffucanuse.com] .
Mine went missing, I thing one of the slashdot trolls snatched him.

and whats so bad about a quick mart cashierkilling (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591818)

and whats so bad about a quick mart cashier killing time when it is slow?

Re: original subect (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592094)

The original subject read "and whats so bad about a quick mart cashierkilling". According to the boss in TFA, apparently nothing is wrong with killing employees at all.

Ineffective (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591834)

A much more innovative and effective strategy would have been to fire everyone and then hold auction-style interviews. Whoever agrees to work for the lowest wage gets a job.

Re:Ineffective (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591870)

> Whoever agrees to work for the lowest wage gets a job.

All job hiring has been done like this since... forever.

Re:Ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592014)

All job hiring has been done like this since... minimum wage laws

Re:Ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592416)

maybe if it was an open auction it would actually be more fair.

Re:Ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591900)

Then, a smart employee gets everyone who's "fired" together and petitions the 2nd level boss, proposing that their direct boss is fired and half of his pay is divided amongst existing staff members.

Re:Ineffective (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591920)

A much more innovative and effective strategy would have been to fire everyone and then hold auction-style interviews. Whoever agrees to work for the lowest wage gets a job.

Doesn't every employer already d.....

Oh, I see what you're doing. Well played, Maestro. Well played. :>

Re:Ineffective (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592096)

that assumes they all don't pick some number higher than their current wage and refuse to work for lower... a little "collusion" if you want. Boss can always do the job BY HIMSELF until he finds and trains more workers!

unilaterally firing everybody like that would also count toward Unemployment Insurance for the employees that didn't "win" the auction as they were "capriciously" and "unilaterally" let go. Unilaterally cutting pay by more than so many percent kicks in unemployment as well.

Re:Ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592426)

And if your employees are unionized, the union will shut down your entire business.

in nazi Germany peopl rated others out and this i (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591846)

in nazi Germany people rated others out and this is one step under rating some out.

Re:in nazi Germany peopl rated others out and this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592046)

Do you mean ratted? Cause employers everywhere have employees rate each other. It's called 'peer reviews' and is by no means something the Nazi's had a monoploy on.

Re:in nazi Germany peopl rated others out and this (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592112)

Do they rate them on a scale of 1 to 10? Maybe QC Mart also has an Employee Hot Or Not contest going on. I'd rate them all!

How to kill your boss... (1)

Rehnberg (1618505) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591924)

Or better yet, bet on who will kill him!

Re:How to kill your boss... (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592364)

Even better:who will kill him, where he will be killed, and with what deadly instrument.

You know...I'll be this would make a really cool board game; I wonder if Hasbro wants to do a prequel? ;-)

Re:How to kill your boss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592472)

The cashier in the office with a swingline stapler

The importance of being Ernst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591956)

I RTFA, and I noticed the court case was because some folks who resigned after the "contest" were denied unemployment benefit.

So, can somebody explain me: does unemployment money _cost_ the previous employer in the US/Iowa?

(With apologies to Oscar Wilde for the title of this post.)

Re:The importance of being Ernst (3, Informative)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592040)

Indirectly, through unemployment insurance contribution rates. Companies with higher turnover rates pay more into the fund that is used to pay out benefits. Accordingly most (all?) states deny benefits to individuals who "voluntarily" leave their job, though I suspect most use this same definition of "hostile work environment" to catch when an employer tries to push people into quitting rather than firing the employees.

Re:The importance of being Ernst (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592130)

So, can somebody explain me: does unemployment money _cost_ the previous employer in the US/Iowa?

Yes, the employer has to pay into the unemployment fund for each employee.

Re:The importance of being Ernst (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592184)

it counts against THEIR unemployment insurance premiums. Typically for WORKERS it counts how long you've worked since you drew unemployment last. For employers it counts how many people you let go without "cause".

Effectively, the judge is saying he caused them to leave by creating a hostile environment rather than being a man and learning which ones were valuable and making for-cause terminations.

Re:The importance of being Ernst (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592194)

The other responder summed it up pretty well. There are some indirect costs, but I have a feeling that defending against the suit was mostly about reputation and mean-spiritedness. As others have pointed out, companies can hire and fire at will with no fault, but if you fire someone they get unemployment... so this guy was basically just trying to make sure that someone who didn't appreciate his game (and probably disrupted the store due to critical people leaving) did not get their unemployment benefits.

Re:The importance of being Ernst (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592238)

In short: Yes

I believe that part of the taxes employers pay goes towards paying out unemployment benefits (tax is per-employee). I believe if an employee loses their job through no fault of their own (IE: layoffs, fired, etc) then the employer has to continue paying for them as long as that person qualifies for unemployment. Laws vary from state to state.

Weakest Link (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592146)

I worked at a real life "Weakest Link".

Worked for a small 70 person company that was losing money. Owner retired and let his son take over. His son decided to cut staff and for the next several months followed a policy of two people got laid off every friday.

Every friday everyone wondered if they would be one of the "lucky two".

It went on like this until there were only a skeleton crew of about 25 left. Not all that left left because they were let go- EVERYONE was TRYING to get out because the 2 out on Friday policy was murder on morale.

Re:Weakest Link (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592394)

Drip...drip...drip...

(I know of a similar situation in a company, but it occurred before I arrived. Everyone would check their emails first thing, because the IT staff would freeze the accounts the night before. They said it was really, really bad. I stayed 2 years and the company was okay, but I didn't really enjoy the science behind what we did.)

Re:Weakest Link (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592436)

decided to cut staff and for the next several months followed a policy of two people got laid off every friday.... the 2 out on Friday policy was murder on morale.

Been there done that.

Talk to legal. Each state has a different law about "mass firings" and "mass layoffs".

In some states there can be fines if not reported, severe negative publicity if reported, line entered on business creditworthiness report.

It is admittedly a really stupid 19th-20th century law assuming all employees are on the assembly line, so layoffs can only be done by line shift, which is completely unrealistic in the 21st century, unless you live in China I guess.

Re:Weakest Link (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592460)

Whoops almost forgot the most important reason, fired during a mass layoff means 100% approved for unemployment compensation, fired outside a legally declared mass layoff means the boss can fight the benefits. There's a huge financial motivation to do this because the UE bill is based on previous layoff records...

Quick, get your next vote in (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592230)

Next employee for firing is "William Ernst", fired for subjecting the company to expensive lawsuits...

Anyone need a local? (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592348)

As your resident QuadCities Slashdot associate, is there anything you guys want me to go confirm?
I mean, there are QC marts scattered throughout town, I could probably go get some statements/rants from his current employees.

Personally I get a kick out of any time the Midwest gets mentioned on Slashdot. This is downright hilarious. Especially since I just left a place due to a boss.

I see his mistake... (1)

Pokermike (896718) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592502)

A $10 prize was too small; according to the judge it "created a hostile work environment by suggesting its employees turn on each other for a minimal monetary prize."

I guess he should have offered more money.

Bet against yourself. (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592634)

At least you can get a cheap lunch if you do get fired. Or a cab home.
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