My daughter heard that a coworker was let go on her 18th birthday. Her message to me was in ALL CAPS and full of umbrage. The worst was the boss knew it was the kid’s birthday and FIRED HER ANYWAY!!!
That reaction was natural and wonderful. I am so proud of her empathy and humility.
Now, let’s look at the situation. They are all young, casual, employees in retail, customer-service roles. A manager decided a specific employee must be fired and not for theft, fraud or illegal behaviour.
Would it have been better to wait and make the worker come in on another day just to terminate them? Should the manager have made a phone call tomorrow and fire over the phone? What about firing by email or SMS?
Another way I’ve seen this done is merely not roster them for the next few weeks, with a gutless understanding that “they’ll get the message”.
No, there is nothing to be gained from avoiding doing it, in person, as soon as the decision is made. All other options extend the pain and drag the ugly feelings on.
It’s harsh but fairest to get it over with.
I’m sure the Manager took no pleasure in the firing. Managers who don’t feel bad letting someone go need to be fired themselves by their bosses. Managers who cannot feel empathy destroy a business.
And for the record, the Manager did not know it was the former employee’s birthday, but was saddened by the timing and shocked that the rumour-mill works so fast.