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  #1  
Old 06-27-2007, 04:23 AM
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The legality of discharging someone from employment

due to new company policy that was not in effect when emplyee was hired.

My friend told me yesterday that he might be unemployed, and I of course asked why. He said because he does not have a degree. Apparently the company is enacting a new policy that requires a college degree and which will soon be in effect, so that means those who do not have a degree will be let go. I don't know, but I feel that because he was hired way before the existence of this policy, he and many others should not be affected by it. They hired him knowing he did not have a degree, and I don't think they required that he get one during the course of employment. He's been at the company for sometimes; if I remember, more than one year but less than five. He said he is more than competent to do his duties. So I'm wondering if a company has any right to fire people based on a policy that was not in effect when they were hired. Advancement to a higher position is rare, so I don't think the degree policy is meant to prepare employees for more difficult duties. They rather fire people than promote them. He has told me some really bad company practices at that place. The culture of this company is really bad! For example, he told me that the daughter of the president had someone fired because he parked in her designated spot by accident! He said they keep tabs on every little mistake you make and monitor everything you do from the moment you clock in to the minute you clock out; they watch your break and lunch time to see that you don't go over, even by 4-5 minutes. My friend sorta thinks that the policy is meant to embarrass him and others without degrees. He said the company is like that. It's really sad and infuriates me for some reason. It's a fairly large company in California, if this helps in answering the question. I told my friend to look into the matter even if he doesn't care about being let go. I know he's sick of the crap based on what he's told me.
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  #2  
Old 06-27-2007, 05:10 AM
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Being late back from lunch or in the morning is the kiss of death in companies where punctuality is related to productivity.

I worked places where being late even one minute will get a pink slip if done three times.

Nothing to do with any degrees.

But in answer to your question, no I would not think it would be permissible to let someone go simply because a policy is initiated after they are hired.

Tom W
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  #3  
Old 06-27-2007, 06:08 AM
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Sounds like he does not like the new compsny policies anyway so what's the big deal, find another job.

Keep in mind it is their company and they set the policy.

Answer: Yes, a company can dismiss you and give no reason or for failing to meet new requirements.

John1
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  #4  
Old 06-27-2007, 08:18 AM
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Being a college graduate is not a protected class. I am not sure what state your friend works on, but most are "at-will".

They can't let him go because of race, religion, color, sex, age, national orgin, or handicap status. Any other reason is more or less fair game.

My suggestion to your friend would be to move on. Life is too short.
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:23 AM
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You can let anyone go for any reason in Texas - it's called an "at will" state. Knowing California, you're probably NOT an "at will" state.

Regardless, I would imagine that the company is trying to upgrade its staff and possibly reduce some liabilities caused by non-degreed employees. It's sounds pretty stupid because if the job is getting done and done well, then who cares if the employee has a degree? Probably bad management.

If your friend wants to stay on, he can probably stay on if he gets his degree while still working. The company would probably agree to this unless they simply don't want him around - degreed or not.
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  #6  
Old 06-27-2007, 08:24 AM
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Yes - you can fire "at will" as long as you don't discriminate. With that said I have the opinion that your friend is leaving something out of the story.
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  #7  
Old 06-27-2007, 08:44 AM
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How does the "at-will" thing differ between govenment employment and private employment?
I would think that a private company could fire for any reason.

Personally I think it's a ****ty policy. he should have been given some time to get the degree if it's really that important.

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  #8  
Old 06-27-2007, 08:49 AM
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Employment in California is "at-will." You can be let go for any reason. You can not, however, terminate an employee for an impermissible reason, i.e., you canot fire someone just for being black, or female (or male), or elderly or (in California) gay, lesbian or transgendered.

If the new degree requirement is related to a permissible job-related need, then it is perfectly OK. If the new degree requirement unfairly targets, or even affects, a protected group then there may be a problem.

Sounds like a crappy company to work for, time to look for a new job.

(I also agree with the poster who said that there may be more to this story than meets the eye).
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  #9  
Old 06-27-2007, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannym View Post
How does the "at-will" thing differ between govenment employment and private employment?
I would think that a private company could fire for any reason.

Personally I think it's a ****ty policy. he should have been given some time to get the degree if it's really that important.

Danny
Most government employees have some sort of civil service protection.

I agree with your second point.
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2007, 10:20 AM
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Who would want to work for such a company anyway? I say let them fire him, then move on!
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  #11  
Old 06-27-2007, 10:48 AM
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If somebody wants to get rid of you bad enough, they'll find a way to do it. If they're smart and litigation-savvy, they'll create a nice, long paper trail quietly to document their justification for the firing.
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  #12  
Old 06-27-2007, 11:48 AM
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Yeah, when he told me almost nonchalantly that they want to embarrass him or something I asked him if he pissed someone off. He said that's just the way they are. He did tell me he has made some minor mistakes at work and that at times his immediate supervisor would hint to him that he could get rid of him eaily because he doesn't have a degree. I'm like WTF! He did go to one of those small vocational schools that specialized in pharmacy techician jobs, but I don't think his position is technical in the sense that it requires him to understand and use scientific terms and concepts. He said the hours he has really prevents him from going back to school.

He does want to leave the place but he's also hesitant in that he'll have to start from the bottom all over again, which is understandable. The corporate culture there is really unsophisticated. They are known to fire someone who has worked there for decades simply because they don't want to give the person a raise. Cheaper to bring in a newer person to do the job at a lower pay, I suppose. Or they might ask someone to work extra hours or handle extra duties, and once done they fired the person. Use 'em and toss 'em. And he said when the president visits, he treats everyone as though they were beneath him. Seems not to care about connecting with his employees. Yeah, he just wants to move on.
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  #13  
Old 06-27-2007, 11:55 AM
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Getting fired could be the best thing for him. I've worked jobs where the managers/owners get off on making employees look stupid, not a nice place to be.
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  #14  
Old 06-27-2007, 01:18 PM
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He needs to check his job description first and find out if he can in fact be "grand fathered" in. Push comes to shove he can make a fuss and say that the group of old employees is being singled out and this is unfair. By the way how are the unemployement benefits where he is?
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  #15  
Old 06-27-2007, 02:04 PM
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Cool *** Sounds like age to me... ***

We had a TV station in the area that, a few years back, decided that there was too many "overpaid" personel working there and "...there's no need to pay that much for what they do..."

The moron that went through and fired everyone had the personality of two-faced bastard...so everyone went to court and sued him (and the company) based on comments that he had made in front of other employees and the fact that none of the dismissals were related to job perfomance.

BOTTOM LINE: The station ended up paying 6-figure judgements to quite a few ex-employees.

Documentation seemed to be the thing that was required in these cases.

And, I would guess, the fact that many of the employees dismissed were in their latter-40s/early-50s didn't bode well for the station either.

AND, the fact that the head-hunter being a jerk didn't work out too well for the station either!
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