Saying Farewell/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on April 28, 2019

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Chip Cutter wrote an article for the WSJ (April 11,2019) entitled “Bosses Seek a Kinder Way to Fire People”. Suzanne Gleason, a Director of Staffing for Global Employment Solutions, suggested that empathy is a key component of the termination process. “Help keep the integrity of the person intact.” Compassion for departing employees is of great importance. It extends to so small a gesture as allowing the departing worker the time to clean up their desk or say goodbye to friends at the office place. Another gesture that is helpful to make for a quieter departure is extending medical benefits past the determination date. This allows the worker and his/her family to schedule needed doctor appointment before the benefit expires. One supervisor who had to fire a person with an active temper, made sure to call up the individual the next day and and review his medical coverage and 401(k) plan.

The key to all the strategies above is that the worker needs/deserves a soft landing. Employment tern=minations, as well as marital dissolutions, involve a great deal of high-level stress. A mediator working with the parties in such a situation may well want to help the parties focus on empathy, compassion, and soft landings. An expression of regret may not help a departing worker, or spouse, figure out how to pay their next month’s bills, but it certainly is a humane and civil way of saying farewell.