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View Full Version : Had to fire an employee today...what was he thinking???


tx-1
08-01-2008, 12:06 AM
Most of my crews work alone, so I place a good amount of trust in them, So when I find someone who is reliable I usually put him by himself. Well today I was on my rounds, and I had been noticing that one employee's work had began to slide. His production had dropped off in the last couple of days so I decided to pay him a visit. Called the office and got his run list for the day and figured I would go out and work with him for a couple of hours and try to get him a little more motivated. I pulled up to find his wife and little son having a picnic at 3:00 pm in the backyard of a house. Seems that he left the shop and has been going home to pick up his family and take them with him throughout the day!!!!!!!!!! Not to mention in a company truck with my Gas and my equipment ( not to mention the liability issues).. I didn't know what to say. He said that he was sorry, and that he would take them home, and finish his rounds. He also admitted to doing this for the past week!!!! He thought that it was okay and didn't see why it was such a big deal. WTF!!!!!! got his keys and locked truck and trailer up. I should of made him walk home, but felt sorry for his wife and kid. called them a cab... Man, sometimes ya got to wonder what people are thinking. I have had my fair share of employee screw ups, but this takes the award.

STIHL GUY
08-01-2008, 12:10 AM
that sucks hope you find a good replacement

ALC-GregH
08-01-2008, 12:40 AM
I can see your pissed about it. If he IS good at what he does then maybe you needed to talk to him about it. Tell him that it's not OK to bring family members with him to work. You sure did motivated him.

Good luck.

clcare2
08-01-2008, 01:12 AM
I had a guy a couple a years ago who take time out the day to go to see his parole officer. Found this out after he was fired for mowing his dealers yard in trade for pot, while he was on the clock.

topsites
08-01-2008, 01:55 AM
Aw man heck at least he wasn't drinking beer while having sex with the customer's underage daughter as dad's car is rounding the corner :p

What your guy did sure is reason for a reprimand, but I wouldn't personally fire someone over this.
Nobody is perfect, it would probably have got me furious too but these things will happen.
Call'm up say sorry things got a little hot, tell him he can have his job back if he wants but no more picnics LOL
then all is good, what I would do.

flakebortch
08-01-2008, 02:32 AM
I'd be livid about what he cost me in bucks, but for whatever reason, you gave the guy a decent measure of responsiblity. It sounds like you've got a sizable operation, and you're not new to judging a person's character. It occures to me that the same qualities that you had a hunch about in this guy also are qualities that make him a good father/husband. He made a mistake, but sure as shiz he learned a lesson getting sent home from his job in a cab with his family. Why fire a guy who just honestly learned something that you find completely repugnant. And now the next guy needs to learn it too. If he doesn't skip out on his family in your truck that is.

ALC-GregH
08-01-2008, 09:06 AM
Obviously you need to talk with your employee's more on what they can and can't do. This guy was only having lunch with his family, not smoking crack in a customers house. Then you decide in front of his family that he's going to be fired. I bet his kid thinks alot of you. You need to call him back and explain a few things to him and let him know he can't have his family with him during work. If your lucky, he'll come back to work for you. Then again, he might have seen a part of you he doesn't care to see anymore and not WANT to work for you. Either way, you need to make it right.

Have you ever seen a tow truck driver riding around with his wife with him?

E & J Pro Turf
08-01-2008, 09:27 AM
Obviously you need to talk with your employee's more on what they can and can't do. This guy was only having lunch with his family, not smoking crack in a customers house. Then you decide in front of his family that he's going to be fired. I bet his kid thinks alot of you. You need to call him back and explain a few things to him and let him know he can't have his family with him during work. If your lucky, he'll come back to work for you. Then again, he might have seen a part of you he doesn't care to see anymore and not WANT to work for you. Either way, you need to make it right.

Have you ever seen a tow truck driver riding around with his wife with him?

Greg how many employes do you have? How many crews do you have?

OK enough said! Trust me this guy has seen it all.

Lets think about what the home owner might think about this guy hanging out in his back yard. Reminds me of when we where having a new roof put on our house. My wife came home and the had opened our bathroom window, snatched the soap and where in the backyard getting cleaned up in there boxers. She got 4 new roof vents and 2 new windows. Ouch!

JohnnyRoyale
08-01-2008, 09:30 AM
You did the right thing. Re-write the rule book and state the obvious. I find our employees interpretation of whats wrong or right isn't always in line with ours. IMO, if their on my time, they're dancing to my song.

ALC-GregH
08-01-2008, 09:43 AM
Greg how many employes do you have? How many crews do you have?

OK enough said! Trust me this guy has seen it all.

Lets think about what the home owner might think about this guy hanging out in his back yard. Reminds me of when we where having a new roof put on our house. My wife came home and the had opened our bathroom window, snatched the soap and where in the backyard getting cleaned up in there boxers. She got 4 new roof vents and 2 new windows. Ouch!

Your right, I don't have anyone working for me. I still feel he needs to talk with the guy. It's not like he was again, smoking crack or doing something illegal. I'm sure the customer wondered what they were doing but at the same time, this guy was deemed a good worker and tx-1 didn't mention anything else that he was doing wrong. If you talk to him and explain what you want of him as a employee, he might turn out to be that much better to have working for you. In your eyes it might be a crime in progress what he was doing but to him, he was eating lunch with his family. I've seen crews sitting under trees eating lunch all the time. Having his family with him in the company truck, again, he probably didn't think it was a problem. I say give the guy a chance and just talk to him about the issue.

ALC-GregH
08-01-2008, 09:54 AM
You did the right thing. Re-write the rule book and state the obvious. I find our employees interpretation of whats wrong or right isn't always in line with ours. IMO, if their on my time, they're dancing to my song.

I do agree that they should do what they are expected to do as a employee but if they don't KNOW what is expected or allowed, then firing them for something you felt they shouldn't be doing is wrong if you never explained to them the do's and don'ts. If someone is going to drive your truck as a employee, you need a long list of rules that they need to be aware of. The first on your list should be, "no passengers allowed in company vehicles" or employee's only in all company vehicle's. Is this one of the rules that is clearly written in your employee handbook? If not, then call him back and give him his job back but before he steps for in a company vehicle, go over a list of rules that he and the rest of your employee's can clearly understand. This is my opinion only. Do whatever you feel fit for your business but remember, the guy didn't "total" your truck, drive the mower into a lake, run over someone's pet dog, or start a fight with a customer, he was eating lunch with his family.

Groomer
08-01-2008, 10:08 AM
maybe he just really loves his family and was suffering acute seperation anxiety.

freddyc
08-01-2008, 10:24 AM
It seems like he is a good employee from what you state.

It's true that he made a mistake, but why would you let a good employee go when he's obviously sorry, and probably wouldn't do it again?

It's obvious to you how wrong he is---it doesn't appear that he saw it that way to start.

So you put a good employee out of work for having lunch with his family.

I hope that in your future someone gives you a little more lattitude should you make a mistake yourself.


For the record, I manage many people every day....if I fired everyone based on this type of issue I'd spend more money and time trying to find a good replacement. I'd say you lost more than you gained overall. Just my $0.02

MnGreen
08-01-2008, 11:20 AM
My stance is simple and from a business/professional perspective.
I would have let him go as well, especially after admission it was a repeated action.
Difference with me would have been @ the end of the day and man to man.
He's obviously old enough to understand his responsibilities and some think their independence is a ticket to do such things.

I don't allow breaks or lunch @ the customers address during the job. No loitering on their properties at all, just looks tacky.
Plenty of time between stops to break and work a lunch in to the schedule.
Breaking route to p/u anyone in a commercial vehicle and running them with you is a decision not well thought out.
Your business you do as you please, it's all your liability and cost. As an employee I would "expect" a quick exit being given me.

TPendagast
08-01-2008, 11:22 AM
I've brought my wife and kids (together and separately) to work before.
My wife has taken kids to work before.
Picnic in customers back yard? ahhh maybe an issue depends, Ive had customers tell me I could use their pool, their boat and some other things. never did, butagain I guess it depends if the customer minds.
Owning my own business the wife does come to work, here and there.
My partners wife and kid shows up occasionally.
When I was a manager else where I had guys whos wife and kidsdropped by for lunch.
One time 3 guys called into work sick, I had to go finish their lawn routes becuase the company was all backed up, my kids sat in the truck and listen to the radio while I mowed.

People have families. His may have been in trouble, over worked,not enough time to deal with family issues.
He was trying to make both work.

Workers are more productive with happy families then workersthat dont have families or have unhappy ones.

"Production" is in the eye of the beholder. If he is supposed to get 20 lawns done a day, does it make a difference if it takes him 6 hours, 8 hours or 10?
Pay him for the 20 lawns, if something is missed or not done right, make him go back on his own time.
20 lawnson his route you expect them to get done in X time which means X pay. Give him the choice, he can get X pay and go home to his family earlier, OR he can bring family with, slows him down BUT he still gets same pay as you aren'tpaying him to talk to his wife and have his little boy get in and out of the truck slowly.

I think most people will eventually realize its just easier to leave the family at home and goto work an get it done with.
I work the crews4 days aweek 10 hours a day. To maximize that free time sowhen they cometo work,they ont have other things on their mind.

Valk
08-01-2008, 11:25 AM
He knows he was doing wrong AND doing you wrong on YOUR nickel. Now that he knows you'll be watching MORE CLOSELY - he might shape up...is it worth your time to keep him in check?

brandtb1
08-01-2008, 11:58 AM
Tx-1 did say that his work had been sliding. Who knows if he was letting the kid learn to cut or anything like that. I would let him go. What if the kid got hit by something shot out by the mower? If the wife and son had just met him for lunch, I would be mad, but they were with him all day. You did the right thing by letting him go.

ALC-GregH
08-01-2008, 12:05 PM
My stance is simple and from a business/professional perspective.
I would have let him go as well, especially after admission it was a repeated action.
Difference with me would have been @ the end of the day and man to man.
He's obviously old enough to understand his responsibilities and some think their independence is a ticket to do such things.

I don't allow breaks or lunch @ the customers address during the job. No loitering on their properties at all, just looks tacky.
Plenty of time between stops to break and work a lunch in to the schedule.
Breaking route to p/u anyone in a commercial vehicle and running them with you is a decision not well thought out.
Your business you do as you please, it's all your liability and cost. As an employee I would "expect" a quick exit being given me.

What if he never admitted to doing it before and lied to you? Would you rather him do that or tell you the truth? The guy was being honest when he told you he did it before. The simple solution would have been to explain right then that the family can't be on site while you work and that they need to finish their lunch and go home, then talk with him after he finished his work for the day and let him know he can't do what he was doing. I think it was immature to fire him infront of his family. Did you holler at him while customers were around? Did it feel good? :rolleyes:

I still say you need to call him back in to the office and go over a BUNCH of stuff with not only him but ALL your employee's so they are clear on what is expected of them and what they CAN NOT DO. I always thought honesty was the best policy and this guy obviously thought the same by admitting to doing this often. He probably never thought it was wrong to do, so he kept doing it.
If this is the worst thing he's done while working for you, he should never been fired.

One other thing, you have to be careful what you fire someone for, it can come back to haunt you. I worked for a guy that fired a good employee for something minor. The guy got a lawyer and sued him for 20 times what he was making and won hands down. I can't remember the details but the employee was in the right and the employer was forced to make good on the suit AND give him his job back! I hope your employee handbook has this clearly stated or you might find yourself in court! Firing a employee for doing what he did and not having anything in writing will get you in trouble.

tb8100
08-01-2008, 01:29 PM
Aw man heck at least he wasn't drinking beer while having sex with the customer's underage daughter as dad's car is rounding the corner :p

lol WOW what a mental image! :laugh::laugh:

Yerkz
08-01-2008, 01:48 PM
Interesting situation with alot of interesting repsponses. I think it boils down to what type of business owner you want to be. Do you want employees who you consider to be part of your family or employees who the only reason they are there is to make you money. In the end it is all about relationships that give a man happiness, not the money. I personally admire the guy for being a good family man, but would make clear to him that it is unexceptable and will never happen again. It sounds like the guy new it was wrong and will not do such things again. I would give him another chance. I can also see the flip side where you have to be no-nonsense with your approach to employees. It sure is tough to fire a guy for a first offense when he has been a good worker and made you money.

tx-1
08-01-2008, 05:37 PM
Wow, I am surprised by the many varried responses. First let me explain a few things
1. All employees have handbook stating rules and regs. Company vehicles are not to be used for personal business, and no riders. That's my policy and part of my insurance.

2. I have no problem helping an employee out. I have loaned him money filled his car with gas, bought lunch etc, etc, etc....I am gold with my guys (and girls). So when you take my company vehicle and my gas and drive 35 miles one way to pick up your wife and kid, with no child seat, and think its okay, I have exception to that.

3. I feel sorry for his decision, but I need a person who I can trust. I don't want to be having to think about what they might be doing, or where they are. I pay top dollar for employees, and I yes I do expect alot out of them, but that why we call it work, and not play.

4. What kind of message does this send to my other employees who follow the rules??? Is it saying that its okay to break the rules once and awhile as long as no one finds out.


I don't expect everyone to agree with my actions for which I make decisions in my business. I certainly don't agree with some of the things others do that I have read, but I respect their right as a business owner to make and choose the right decission neccesary for the survival of their company.

JohnnyRoyale
08-01-2008, 05:56 PM
Im with you 100% on this one. You did the right thing-for many reasons and on many levels. I tell all my guys when I hire them, that if I can't trust them, their skills mean zero to me.

h400exinfl
08-01-2008, 06:41 PM
His performance had been slipping, and obviously he wasn't that concerned about his job. Using the vehicle to pick up family and kids is an obvious violation and grounds for dismissal, the guy needed firing. He most likely wasn't going to improve performance with a reprimand, which I think would only promote disrespect from other employees.

Scagguy
08-01-2008, 07:24 PM
Wow, I am surprised by the many varried responses. First let me explain a few things
1. All employees have handbook stating rules and regs. Company vehicles are not to be used for personal business, and no riders. That's my policy and part of my insurance.

2. I have no problem helping an employee out. I have loaned him money filled his car with gas, bought lunch etc, etc, etc....I am gold with my guys (and girls). So when you take my company vehicle and my gas and drive 35 miles one way to pick up your wife and kid, with no child seat, and think its okay, I have exception to that.

3. I feel sorry for his decision, but I need a person who I can trust. I don't want to be having to think about what they might be doing, or where they are. I pay top dollar for employees, and I yes I do expect alot out of them, but that why we call it work, and not play.

4. What kind of message does this send to my other employees who follow the rules??? Is it saying that its okay to break the rules once and awhile as long as no one finds out.


I don't expect everyone to agree with my actions for which I make decisions in my business. I certainly don't agree with some of the things others do that I have read, but I respect their right as a business owner to make and choose the right decission neccesary for the survival of their company.


You did the right thing. Sometimes people do things that none of us would think about doing. If his work had been slipping, I'd bet that there's more to the story that you are unaware of. Hopefully his replacement will have his head screwed on straight.

Toy2
08-01-2008, 07:59 PM
You did the right thing, I would have made him walk home, he could have cost you your business if he would have crashed your truck????

WTF are these other guys thinking to say "What are his kids going to think of you".

Who cares????Are you trying to be good friends with your employees? No!!

Anyone with business experience knows you go to work to earn money, in doing so you work, you don't take your freaking family!!!

Loser employee!!!

clcare2
08-01-2008, 08:22 PM
What if he never admitted to doing it before and lied to you? Would you rather him do that or tell you the truth? The guy was being honest when he told you he did it before. The simple solution would have been to explain right then that the family can't be on site while you work and that they need to finish their lunch and go home, then talk with him after he finished his work for the day and let him know he can't do what he was doing. I think it was immature to fire him infront of his family. Did you holler at him while customers were around? Did it feel good? :rolleyes:

I still say you need to call him back in to the office and go over a BUNCH of stuff with not only him but ALL your employee's so they are clear on what is expected of them and what they CAN NOT DO. I always thought honesty was the best policy and this guy obviously thought the same by admitting to doing this often. He probably never thought it was wrong to do, so he kept doing it.
If this is the worst thing he's done while working for you, he should never been fired.

One other thing, you have to be careful what you fire someone for, it can come back to haunt you. I worked for a guy that fired a good employee for something minor. The guy got a lawyer and sued him for 20 times what he was making and won hands down. I can't remember the details but the employee was in the right and the employer was forced to make good on the suit AND give him his job back! I hope your employee handbook has this clearly stated or you might find yourself in court! Firing a employee for doing what he did and not having anything in writing will get you in trouble.


If I have to explain to an employee something so basic as no family in my trucks and no family picnics in customers yards. Then tihs guy is too dumb to work for me. It is sad that I spend a couple grand a year having handbooks prepared and for company meetings explaining the simplest crap that any idiot with half of a brain should know.

And then to hear business owners defending the actions of this idiot employee. Thank God I live in an at-will state. I don't need a reason to fire people.

Daily Lawn/Landscape
08-01-2008, 10:04 PM
I would never fire an employee for not using common sense. Oh that's right , I fired an employee 4 weeks ago for false reporting of a vehicle accident. Sometimes people make bad decisions that cause them to loose their job.

Yerkz
08-01-2008, 10:58 PM
Man, it sounds like you really have a big operation. Thanks for the further explanation of your operation and the policy handbook each employee must review it makes more sense now to fire him right away the way you did. It is tough in business to put personal feelings aside to do what has to be done, but success can depend on it.

Houstonguy
08-01-2008, 11:12 PM
You know your right firing the guy is up to you, its your business, but do you really think it was appropriate to do it in front of his family? IMO that is totally unprofessional. You think what he did was bad? I think the way you handled it was just as bad. I would have called a cab for the family and told the guy to follow me back to the office and fire him there. Again that is just my opinion but Im sure almost no job on the planet will fire you with your family witnessing it. For those of you that think its no big deal how would you like to be fired from an account while you had your kid with you? Not fun.

Toy2
08-01-2008, 11:29 PM
Your a moron if you take your family to work with you and expect not to be caught and or fired.......guy put everyone involved in danger,owner, family, company truck accident, mower accident......etc.....

Now he can serve up some Mickey D's from behind the counter to his family!!!!


I fired some broad 1 week after she gave birth, she called me an freakin' a$$hole.........my reply......

"You make it sound like its a bad thing"!!! Bye!!!!:clapping:

You did good!!!!

tx-1
08-01-2008, 11:41 PM
Its funny how people have made the assumptions that I yelled and screamed and fired him in front of his family. I did not fire him front of his family.

To answer a question yes I do have a big operation, right now we are currently working in three states, and planning to expand. Ground care management is a small portion of what we do. My liability insurance and E&O waiver is huge and being a young company doesn't help either. I do not hesitate to fire an employee who I feel would jeopardize my standing with my clients. I know some of you think that I should give him another chance. That fine, but as I stated before if I can't trust you to do the right thing then why should I keep you around. At this years meeting I explained to my staff the importance of working safe. I give a prizes and awards to employees who at 100, 250, 500, 750 and 1000 hours of safe operation. I learned this from a previous employer that I worked for, and it was a great motivator. I find the fact that he was driving his family in a truck with no child seat highly irresponsible, and I don't need people that are that careless working for me. Again, I am sorry some of you don't agree with my business decision, but for me it was a no brain-er. He knew the rules knew the consequences of his actions and suffered for it. I think back to posting this and did not expect so many to feel I have somehow violated his rights and a worker.

flakebortch
08-02-2008, 12:22 AM
I think back to posting this and did not expect so many to feel I have somehow violated his rights and a worker.



We just like to be combative. You should see the what's-the-best-motor-oil arguments over the winter.

Our little kangaroo court is much more lively without all of the information.

DuallyVette
08-02-2008, 01:03 AM
Its funny how people have made the assumptions that I yelled and screamed and fired him in front of his family. I did not fire him front of his family.

To answer a question yes I do have a big operation, right now we are currently working in three states, and planning to expand. Ground care management is a small portion of what we do. My liability insurance and E&O waiver is huge and being a young company doesn't help either. I do not hesitate to fire an employee who I feel would jeopardize my standing with my clients. I know some of you think that I should give him another chance. That fine, but as I stated before if I can't trust you to do the right thing then why should I keep you around. At this years meeting I explained to my staff the importance of working safe. I give a prizes and awards to employees who at 100, 250, 500, 750 and 1000 hours of safe operation. I learned this from a previous employer that I worked for, and it was a great motivator. I find the fact that he was driving his family in a truck with no child seat highly irresponsible, and I don't need people that are that careless working for me. Again, I am sorry some of you don't agree with my business decision, but for me it was a no brain-er. He knew the rules knew the consequences of his actions and suffered for it. I think back to posting this and did not expect so many to feel I have somehow violated his rights and a worker.

You must have forgotten about all the bleeding heart liberal socialists in this country. Of course, I like to offend them as much and as often as possible.:cool2:

Fred B
08-02-2008, 01:13 AM
One thing that comes to my mind is that he was also stealing your time. It dosn't sound like he was also handing in less hours no matter how you look at it, it is theft. And the liability ...Yikes.

ALC-GregH
08-02-2008, 01:25 AM
I'll retract my statements now that you've explained your situation more clearly.