Ten-year employee fired for skipping lunch to work

Chicago real estate company Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc. fired a receptionist named Sharon Smiley for violating company policy and working through her lunch break. She had worked for them for ten years. Because she was fired, she was ineligible for unemployment benefits.

After a protracted legal battle, she won her benefits claim.

After being fired, Smiley learned she was ineligible for unemployment benefits because she had been discharged for misconduct connected with her work.

She appealed to the Illinois Department of Employment Security's board of review three times, was denied, then took her case to a circuit court. That court ruled Smiley, who did not challenge the firing, was eligible for benefits.

Smiley received a check with a lump sum on Nov. 28 for several months of unemployment, a percentage of her previous salary. Then she received a check every two weeks for $528 until she obtained her latest job last month.

The appellate court of Illinois affirmed the circuit court ruling Jan. 11, saying the "insubordination arose from [Smiley's] efforts to perform additional work for [her employer], beyond what was required of her," as first reported Monday in the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago Woman Fired for Doing Work at Lunch Wins Unemployment Claim (via Neatorama)


  1. A company that makes private “communities” out in city’s exurbs lacks scruples?

    Anyway, good for her.

  2. I’m going to guess she made some enemies in the management structure, and they were digging around for any excuse to fire her. This one was more creative than most, though I suspect they didn’t think it would result in court hearings.

  3. Most national chains have this policy, especially for California workers, where case law is much firmer on the employees side when it comes to penalizing the employer for employee missed breaks.
    I personally know people working at Starbucks and Whole Foods Markets who will be fired if they work through lunch. The computer keeps track of their time and if they miss their mandated breaks, they are written up. After enough writeups, fired.
    When I managed Ritz Cameras they had the same policy, at least on paper, but the enforcement wasn’t as consistent. The corporate attorney who handled California told us we were legally not allowed to waive our lunch periods and we had to take them or be terminated.
    Good for her on winning the unemployment.

    1. Good point, many states have minimum break time laws and even if they don’t, the corporation might. Working through your lunch may seem like a good idea to a hard-working employee, but it can be much murkier if a case goes to court and the employee claims they were coerced into working without pay. The best option for the employer is to make clear rules defining personal time vs work time. 

      1. FTFA: “After being fired, Smiley learned she was ineligible for unemployment benefits because she had been discharged for misconduct connected with her work.”

        The article mentions that Illinois is a right-to-work state, so an employer can terminate any employee for any reason, or for none. It is strange that it took an appeals court to decide she was eligible.

        Here in Texas, the law is that the employee has to be warned that their specific misconduct will result in termination. If the employee is let go without warning, then they can claim payment.

        This is why HR departments usually require a solid paper trail and the employee has to go through “counseling.”

        1. I know it’s not the right place to bring this in, but I always get a chuckle when I see the claim that Obama is a typical Illinois politician, buddying up to the union guys.  Um…well…Illinois politicians have been putting the screws to unions for years now.

          The notion that I can be fired for any reason, or for none, and it’s in a “right to work” law, seems so very bizarre.

        2. “…that Illinois is a right-to-work state,…”

          That has got to be one of the greatest double-speak coups.  It really means right-t0-be-fired.

          1. Theoretically it works the other way, too. An employee can quit at any time, without notice.

            Since most laws favor companies, I’m guessing the “right-to-work” is simply a way for the employer to dodge paying any kind of severance (CEOs exempted, of course).

    2. Whatever excuse works. The “official” reason I was terminated from my last job was for making a joking reference to the Illuminati. Apparently in California that creates a “hostile environment” if one’s co-worker is a rabid conspiracy nut who also hates queers and Catholics. I wish I was making this up.

      In reality, I had spurned this creepy man’s romantic overtures for years, and he was out for revenge. The whole company had recently been through harassment awareness training as required by California law, and he obviously took careful notes.

      Why didn’t I report him first? I didn’t want to risk retaliation, or collateral damage — someone who means a great deal to me was also working for the same company and would have been dragged into any scandal by the company’s dysfunctional management. It’s the same reason I chose not to fight it after I was terminated. It’s also tough to get hired when a check of public records shows a history of suing previous employers.

      If creepy, paranoid conspiracy nut former co-worker is reading this, it’s a shame about that limp weenie of yours, which one of your former girlfriends told me about over drinks not long ago, not to mention the son you rejected when you found out he was gay, and the wife who drank herself to death. For people like you, revenge is redundant. May you be haunted by loneliness, nightmares, and disease for this life and the eternity you have created for yourself. And by that ridiculous and pathetic personal ad you posted on (mercifully redacted dating site).

      1. Yeah, I hear you. Best thing is to move on when you encounter toxic management; it’ll never get better and oftentimes get worse.

        The best revenge is taking your skills, tools and talent to a place that will appreciate them and you. Your former company has one less skilled employee AND the toxic management (and in your case, the creep) that costs money as it drags down productivity.

  4. Sounds to me like they wanted rid of her and took the first chance they could get.

    Just cause she worked there for 10 years doesn’t mean she wasn’t a pain in the ass for 10 years.  I just find it hard to believe that a company would actually fire an otherwise good employee for this kind of breach.  That said there’s nothing to say she was at fault, the company could still be a bunch of assholes – but I’m sure there was more to it than this.

    1. I just find it hard to believe that a company would actually fire an otherwise good employee for this kind of breach.

      Happens all the time and the motive is simple:  Hire a younger (or new) entry level person at less pay and benefits.  Looks like two courts agreed that it was not fair as well.

      1. You just re-affirmed @Hornby’s assertion.   paraphrasing @Hornby (apologies):  “I don’t believe they fired her for the reason of skipping lunch”  and then paraphrasing your reply:   “They didn’t fire her for skipping lunch they fired her for other reasons”.   If it’s any conciliation for my rudeness in pointing this out, I believe you’re both wrong and they fired her for other reasons …  ;)

      2. Yup.  There are all sorts of reasons that a good employee gets laid off.  Mostly budgetary ones, but don’t discount ego and control issues either.  I’ve seen director-level and higher people make bonehead HR moves because their egos took a bruise.  And newly hired managers often like to get their own people into positions too, and I’ve seen more than one who made an old employee’s life hell enough to get the guy to quit and then see the manager bring in some guy he used to work with at his old company as a replacement.

      3. I don’t know all the facts, but there are legal implications in not giving some employees breaks and/or lunch. It is not hard for me to believe that employment could be terminated for not taking mandated breaks, but it is also not hard for me to believe this is a scumbag company.

      4. Agree, I was unfortunately involved in a very similar situation, but for an even more insidious reason.  Basically a young attractive friend asked me to recommend them for a job; I ended up recommending them for an administrator job at my former employer – which they decided she wasn’t qualified for, but they ended up enjoying her company so much they actually fired their at the time current receptionist and hired my young attractive friend. 

        I heard later that the former receptionist had started becoming a problem, but I couldn’t help the feeling that those reasons were hindsight excuses for the employer’s lechery.

        1. Well, you suggested that there was no benefit to the company to fire her, suggesting she had to have been a poor employee, and I’m pointing out one of the obvious and common reasons to get rid of veteran/good employees:  More profits.

  5. This should be a lesson to anyone denied unemployment benefits: that side of the judicial system is far easier to navigate than others, and you can represent yourself pretty easily. Make sure you always fight for your UC.

    1. Yeah, I did it in HI, but it didn’t have the delays mentioned above. It only delayed my UC for a couple months. I represented myself against my old supervisor (who I really liked, actually; it was difficult not to ask about her kids and stuff). 

      The bar for UC is pretty low: no wrongdoing, not being employee of the month or anything – – if it was, nobody’d ever get it. I was terminated mainly for repeatedly using the wrong paperwork procedure (they had taught me two, and I remembered the old one over the new one). IMO, it’s a dick move for the company to even fight you on UC, but I really liked that company and couldn’t blame them. 

      1. Yes and no. Every claim raises the company’s UI rate, so it is in their best interest to fight it, if they believe they have an easy win.

        More often than not, it is better on the stomach to just let it go, maybe even help the person get a new job and moveon dot com.

  6. Wait a minute: we’ve constructed a society where people who work through their lunch break can be fired for insubordination? And this Kafkaesque system of rigid control is considered to be the greatest example of a free society that we’ve ever produced? Nay, nay, I say. There is something deeply wrong with the notion of “work” and “employment” in this world.

    1. Illinois is an at-will work state – your employer can fire you for any reason whatsoever so long as it isn’t some form of legally-covered discrimination (age, race, gender, etc.).  In an at-will work state, if you don’t have an employment contract the employer doesn’t actually have to give a reason – they can just say “you’re fired, get out”.

      What this case is actually about is unemployment insurance benefits.  The realty company exercised their at-will employment clause to fire her and then claimed that it was for insubordination so they wouldn’t have to pay for it.  That’s why employers in at-will work states like to scrounge around to find stupid things to fire people for cause – because if they just lay people off it causes them to have to pay unemployment benefits.  Employees fired for cause are not eligible for those benefits and so the company doesn’t have to pay for them.

      So we haven’t yet constructed a society where people who work through their lunch break can be fired for insubordination.  We’ve constructed a society where you can be fired for no reason whatsoever and when you go to claim your unemployment insurance benefit, your ex-employer can trump up whatever claim he wants to try to deny you that coverage.  Basically the same society we’ve had forever – where assholes act like assholes – but with an extra layer of insurance getting involved.

      1. What is this mythical “not at-will work state” you mention? My corporate-corrupted brain cannot imagine such a place.

      2. I live in Illinois, and I’ve seen several people over the years be harassed to the breaking point, then when they do break, BAM, insubordination.

        The thing that makes that attitude stupid is that it tends to destroy overall morale.

      3. You (and many others are missing the point:  It is a violation of FSLA and the Labor laws of many states to permit a non-exempt employee to fail to  take a legally mandated bread (lunch, other breaks). 

        The penalties for the employer are draconian. So, when this woman refused to follow instructions to obey government regulations, exposing the employer to serious penalties, what would you have the employer do?

        Labor law and regulation are among the least flexible to be found anywhere; there’s no give among the regulators.

        I’m a little surprised that Illinois denied her UE…in most cases in many states the employer gets hit no matter what.  I once had to fire an employee for significant theft, which was admitted.  California granted UE anyhow; when I appealed, the administrative law judge who conducted the appeal opened the discussion with “Why are you bothering with this?  You can’t win this.”  I did, but had to take it out of the bureaucracy to the courts.

        Every UE claim granted is charged to the employer, and can significantly raise the  UE premiums.  So yes, a rational employer should resist UE claims that are rooted in employee misconduct.

    2. It’s all sarcasm and know-it-allism when people believe she chose to work through lunch. When Wal-Mart mandates it, people want to crucify Wal-Mart for it. Knowing how certain employers make things involuntary “voluntary” this might actually be a positive precedent for workers.

    3. Is it worse than the system it replaced, in which employees were routinely denied lunch breaks at all and forced to work grueling hours in grueling conditions?

      There are laws that require corporations to give their employees breaks.  If they are caught not giving those employees breaks, they are penalized.  As such, if you are employed by a company that is beholden to those rules, then as a condition of your employment you CONTRACTUALLY AGREE to take breaks when mandated.  If she was unable to comply with the conditions of her employment, thus putting her employer at risk of being in violation of labor laws, then her firing was justified.

      Would it be better if people could choose to work more than the legally minimum requirement?  Perhaps.  But history has shown that without strict definition and enforcement of these labor parameters, companies WILL abuse their workers to squeeze every last dollar out of their efforts.  I for one will take the occasional unfair firing of one worker who doesn’t want the rules to apply to them over thousands of workers being coerced into working in unsafe and unfair conditions.

      1. “Is it worse than the system it replaced, in which employees were routinely denied lunch breaks at all and forced to work grueling hours in grueling conditions?”

        This is not the question you should be asking.

        I well understand the circumstances that produced this absurdity, and why you are able to find a chain of justification for it. But here’s one for you: why do you assume that “workers” need to be coerced at all?

        1. Because we’ve all been employees, and let me tell you, every job I had from 16 to 26 required coercion. 

    4. In this case, yes, it’s ridiculous, but OTOH if lunch breaks were optional it would be all to easy for an underhanded employer to coerce employees into “choosing” not to take them.

  7. I constantly had to deal with employees who would stay late at work. It was very clear, they needed to leave at the end of eight hours. If they continued to work late, I would have to discipline them, up to termination. And there is a very good reason for this. We did not have overtime approved, so they weren’t getting paid. Since they were hourly employees, we were required to pay them for all hours worked. If we didn’t, they could go back and sue us for all the hours we didn’t pay them. We were covering our asses and if they couldn’t comply with stated rules, they would have to be let go.

    1. That’s quite different than working into your lunch break, and if you read the article you’ll see that she had punched out for lunch, so they were not being charged for her work.

      1. Yeah, but how would they ever prove that she was doing that voluntarily? I dunno. It’s a dicey situation, but it is hard to believe that she could not have been convinced to take lunch if given appropriate support.

      2. It is still a grey area. If she’s doing work and not getting paid (even though it was voluntary), would the company be potentially liable?

        Seems to me a better move would be to write her up. If she does it again, then let her go.

        The cost of recruiting, hiring and training her replacement ain’t cheap.

        1. Actually, it is NOT a grey area.  You are guilty if an employee is working  “off the clock”…..whether you as the employer knew and condoned it, or if you didn’t know.  You can’t tolerate insubordination in this area at all…the penalties are simply too severe for the employer.

      3. It’s not different than working into your lunch break at all.  If it happens at the end of the day instead of the middle it’s still the exact same situation.

      4. Workman’s Comp plays into this as well: if she’d been injured while “voluntarily”  working off the clock, that presents a liability to the company. Again, how do you prove she volunteered to work, rather than being coerced?

    2. Plus, overworked employees are inefficient employees. Better to kick them out of the office so they’ll be fresh and bushy-tailed for the next day.

      I’ve been on too many deathmarch projects to not become instantly bitter and jaded. 1/2 of the day is spent undoing the crap work from the night before, and 1/4th is spent making crap work for the next day’s “undo.” Only the remaining 1/4th was ever good enough.

      Ironically, it would’ve been better if we simply clocked in at 9 am, worked solid for 2 hours and then went home.  At least the number of bugs would’ve been low and the burnout would be kept to a minimum…all with the same amount of work produced as during the deathmarch.

  8. The law says the employer has to give the employee certain breaks. It may have just been that the supervisor genuinely didn’t realize that if the employee chooses not to take the break, it’s not going to constitute a breach of the law by the  employer. If a worker refuses to wear mandated safety equipment, and there’s an accident, it’s not immediately obvious that the employer will not be found at fault. This employee had already suffered a stroke from work stress.

    Firing her for refusing to stop work doesn’t seem that unreasonable to me, though a warning or internal mediation would have been more appropriate. She didn’t challenge the firing but she did challenge the refusal of benefits, and she shouldn’t have been denied them in the first place since it’s not a case of deliberately trying to harm the employer’s interests.

  9. It sounds harsh, but I’ll hazard a guess about the reason.

    In the U.S., secretaries are paid on an hourly basis.  More specifically, they’re “non-exempt” employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).


    This means that thy have to be paid for every minute that they’re working.  There are also additional requirements, like time-and-a-half pay for any work over 40 hours per week.  

    If they do work off-the-clock, without getting paid for that time, then the employer could potentially face a major lawsuit.  The FLSA was designed to protect employees from unscrupulous practices by employers, like forcing the employees to work off-the-clock.  This still happens — just a few years ago, Walmart was forced to pay over $78 million for forcing employees to work off-the-clock.


    This puts good employers in a bind.  If a secretary works through lunch, or stays late to finish some paperwork, then the secretary has to get paid for that time — even if that extra work wasn’t approved by the employer.  Otherwise, if the secretary later becomes disgruntled, she could sue the company for unpaid time, including punitive damages and attorneys fees.

    In this case, if the secretary was doing work over the lunch hour, then she presumably was entitled to overtime for that work.  If she didn’t record her time properly, and instead “volunteered” her time, then the employer could be facing major liability down the road for unpaid work.  That’s why many employers tend to have strict, unyielding policies about things like this. 

    1. And that’s a good reason for explaining the policy to her, putting a reprimand in her file, and giving her a warning not to do it again.

      It is not a good reason to fire her.  The linked article says that both sides indicated this was the first time it had happened – she was not a repeat offender.

      And anyway, the linked article says that the insubordination “happened in a four minute meeting” with HR.  She said something in the meeting, they labelled it as insubordination and fired her.  They were looking for some reason to fire her for cause, she gave it to them and they took it and ran.

      Firing someone for a first violation of a company policy is not the mark of a company acting in good faith with an employee.

      1. Per article:

        “The prominent location of Smiley’s desk, “which was directly at the front door of the office, made this particularly important for her,” according to the human resources director in the court filing. She and Smiley had “many discussions … over her eating breakfast at her desk,” the filing states.

        “I knew you couldn’t eat lunch at your desk,” Smiley told ABC News. “I was under the impression that because I was punched out and I could do what I want.”

        Smiley said her job had became so stressful that she suffered a stroke and was off work for almost three months, beginning July 13, 2009, according to the court filing.”

        Why would someone who worked at a very stressful job NOT take an assigned break?

        PLUS: The court ruling also said there was evidence that managers had been able to work with her in the past to perform new tasks with which she was uncomfortable.

        I think there is more to the story and her inter-office relationships.

        1. “Smiley said her job had became so stressful that she suffered a stroke and was off work for almost three months, beginning July 13, 2009, according to the court filing.”

          Genuinely interest, can you suffer a stroke due to stress?  If so I wasn’t aware of this.

          1. As usual is medicine, the answer is… kinda. There is a correlation, but not proven causation, in some types of stroke.  Short form: Stress -> increased blood pressure -> increased stroke risk.

            (Disclosure: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.)

          2. Genuinely interest, can you suffer a stroke due to stress? If so I wasn’t aware of this.

            Stress >>> high blood pressure >>> stroke. Is that really arcane?

        2. “Why would someone who worked at a very stressful job NOT take an assigned break?”

          Because they’re trying to get their work done?

          Have you ever had a job?  Sometimes, when you have a job, you can have a long list of things that need to get done.  Having a long list of things that need to get done is stressful – especially if you have the kind of boss who doesn’t give a shit about how much work you already have when they pile on more work.  To relieve that stress, you often put in what is known as “extra time” to complete things on your “to do list” and get things done.

          It’s a very common occurrence.  And that’s before we throw in the possible stress of having a new boss who looks like he’s trying to overload you so you’ll quit (which is what is at least alleged in the article here).

        3. Why would someone who worked at a very stressful job NOT take an assigned break?

          Only someone who’s never had a very stressful job would ask that. The answer is that you come back from your break with twice the work waiting for you and everybody standing around asking why it isn’t done yet.

      2. “And that’s a good reason for explaining the policy to her, putting a reprimand in her file, and giving her a warning not to do it again.”

        Philosophically yes, and I agree with the sentiment. Unfortunately, that’s not how the law works and as I understand it (I’m not a lawyer) the liability to the company under FLSA exists in perpetuity.

        Were I a lawyer for the company, I would advise that the company pay the employee for the overtime (eliminating the liability), ask the employee to sign an affidavit that she understands that working off the clock is a fire-able offense, and get on with their lives.

        It’s an unfortunate side effect of the law to be required to penalize good employees for going above and beyond. But the liability under FLSA can be too great (as xyzzy123) alluded.

      3. And anyway, the linked article says that the insubordination “happened in a four minute meeting” with HR.  She said something in the meeting, they labelled it as insubordination and fired her.
        Maybe they did try to get her to sign something that said she was aware of said policy, was working over lunch on her own accord against company policy, and refused to sign it, thus leading to the termination? That would account for the 4 minute HR meeting. Your idea of “putting a reprimand in her file, and giving her a warning not to do it again.” doesn’t work if the employee refuses to agree in writing to that. Then you have little option other than to fire them.

        Wage and hour suits are no joke. I actually work for a place where we have tangential involvement in these suits (in determining $ liabilities, basically) and I really can’t hold it against employers who maintain very strict policies for non-exempt employees. Putting a warning in a file just conveniently documents the fact that unpaid work was going on and that management was aware of it for the next plaintiff attorney who comes along.

    2. Yep, was going to say this as well. At my company non-exempt employees are required to take lunch and personal breaks (I think it’s 30 minutes for lunch and 2 15-minute breaks) and they are also strictly forbidden from activities such as checking work e-mail or calls when they’re not on the clock unless they have prior authorization.

  10. I worked for a bookstore chain that I loved in college. I LOVED my job since I am a bibliophile. I got written up for working through my breaks. I moved over to an indie store that appreciated what they sold.

    1. Scott: I was a manager for a bookstore chain. I would have written you up, too. It isn’t that we love books any less or don’t appreciate what you’re trying to do, but that your well-intentioned helpfulness has unintended and potentially severe repercussions for the company as a whole.

      “We love you. Stop that.”

  11. Y’all be missing something. Of course she was fired for working through her lunch break.  She wanted to go home at 5pm like a normal person, instead of 6 or 7 or 8 or whenever the boss says.  Good for her, she had a fucking life.

    1. True. This sounds like she had a controlling manager actually. Maybe this has just been my own work experience. Yes, having clocked out it is hard to prove the work is voluntary but outright termination sounds like there had been something going on before. If I had to guess actually it would be just what awjt said, she was trying to catch up on work so she didn’t have to leave late… and some one just didn’t like that. Sounds like a woman who should have been given a promotion a long time ago to me. Then once she gets a salaried position they can start writing her up for *not* working through her lunch break instead. 

  12. Doesn’t anyone notice the stupidity of limiting benefits due to the supposed context of firing? Congratulations on building and enforcing a complete unjust system that punches people in the face for having jerks as employers.

    If people are unemployed PAY THEIR BENEFITS.

    1. This is actually true, and is the source of the problem.  Unemployment benefits are structured as insurance, and if the employer fires someone “without cause” then their rates go up.

      Much like having our health care based on an insurance model, having our unemployment benefits based on an insurance model leads to bad incentives.  Like employers seeking to make employee lives miserable until they quit (and are ineligible for unemployment insurance) instead of just laying them off.

  13. There’s a giant red flag in the original article that I haven’t seen mentioned yet:

    “Smiley said her job had became so stressful that she suffered a stroke and was off work for almost three months, beginning July 13, 2009, according to the court filing.”It’s been my experience that companies are not shy about looking for reasons to get rid of ailing employees, especially if the employee’s ailment is stress-related and the employee is low on the corporate totem pole.  Very few companies want to pay a receptionist’s medical fees unless they absolutely have to.  This kind of discrimination is completely against the law (obviously), but that “at-will” clause in most of our contracts makes in almost impossible to prove the reason you were fired.   

    The line of bull about being fired for working through lunch is obviously ridiculous.  It wouldn’t have made news if it made sense.  I’ve worked a hell of a lot of hourly jobs, and while folks can be very strict about only clocking your 8 and they’ll “scold” you for not taking a required break, it was always done with nod, wink and implied or sometimes direct “Keep this up and you’ll go far, kid.” 
    I suppose it’s possible there’s businesses that really don’t like people doing work for free… but I’ve never worked for one.  

    1. Which is why the courts agreed with her and not the company that gave the ridiculous assertions about why she should be denied benefits, right?

      If she were being denied benefits for a legit reason, the company wouldn’t have presented such weak sauce as they did.  It wouldn’t have been news because there would have been an actual record with her TEN YEARS with the company that showed she deserved to be fired.  Not the four minute meeting with HR that got her fired.

  14. I’ve worked for a place like this.
    What it is, the management wants you to take ‘A lunch’ so you are at your desk at 5:00 so they can ‘capture’ you to work late or stop you from leaving.

    If you skip your lunch, most people (sensible people) will try to leave an hour early ‘Taking their lunch very late’.

    Thus when the boss wants to pin something on you at 5:00, your gone.

    Its all stupid power trips.

  15. The employer worked her half to death, then fired her when they realized her deteriorating health was costing them a bundle on insurance. It happens constantly in the US. Just do a little basic research into stress-related illnesses in this country.

    Good on her for forcing the sorry-ass company to pay up. Furthermore, her persistence and victory should make her a role model for any other hard workers out there who get shafted by their crappy employers. There IS recourse to the law. You do not have to simply lie down and let them use you up.

  16. If she hadn’t worked through her lunch break, she might have been fired for not getting her work done.  Companies have downsized.  Sometimes 8-hour employees have 9 hours of work to do.  cf. Pharaoh-bricks-straw.

  17. So you can’t work during your mandatory lunch break, but if your a white collar worker, god help you if you object to doing your “homework” or try to get overtime pay because your boss doesn’t know the definition of after hours.

  18. The ruling that her unemployment be retroactively reinstated leads me to believe that this company is run by shiftless POS scumholes.

  19. My dear departed father was an HR guy for his whole career, First at GE, then Black & Decker, last at Emerson Electric. I learned much about the HR mindset. Much of what a “good” HR manager does is document everything employees do that contravenes company policy, in other words, writing people up.  Dad said, “You want to be able to fire your best person at a moment’s notice if you need to, and make it stick.”  It was important a “good” HR man  that everything he did to an employee would stand up to legal challenge. Sounds as if this woman had a manager who wanted her gone (I’m guessing she didn’t have “front office appearance” anymore) and wasn’t patient enough to “build a file” against her. I’d bet here were no other disciplinary actions noted in her employee file. Courts, as we have seen don’t like that. And they shouldn’t.

  20. I wish we could pass a law encouraging people, when they reach 14, to do a Rand-Mitzvah and renounce their Galt fantasies. Older people still believing that shit will have their copies of Atlas Shrugged used on them as suppositories.

  21. This company may be more despicable, yet. I believe that, for her benefits to be denied after she appealed, the company had to *contest* her getting the benefits, or at least insist that she was fired for cause.

Comments are closed.