Doug Land, a corporate attorney I worked with at WWOR once told me, “It’s not that you fired someone, it is HOW you fire someone.”
People get fired all the time, but there is a heightened awareness of labor laws, sensitivity, due process and empathy to make the process fair, as compassionate as possible and justified. Anything less, raises a red flag, and the specters of illegality and abuse. Even worse, a bad firing just might land you and your business in a lawsuit or the expensive end of labor arbitration.
So what does the firing of FBI Director James Come say about the recognized standards in terminating an employment? Donald Trump ran on a platform that complained that there was too much political correctness in American society. As a result, it feels as though the safeguards that provide for the decent treatment of people are rapidly eroding.
I can imagine the horror my Human Resources manager would feel if a manager fired an employee and that employee found out about it while in the field recruiting new employees to the company. In Comey’s case, he suffered the incredible humiliation of finding out while the news displayed across TV sets behind him while recruiting future FBI employees.
This firing happened in our federal government, an entity that sets employment standards for the rest of the nation. The violation of standards that appears to apply here is a lack of documentation of performance issues. You cannot spend months heaping public praise on an employee then pull the rug from underneath them while impugning their reputation. You can’t give a full-throated “Atta boy” when you like what they do, and without notice berate them, undercut their potential for future employment with harsh, unwarranted public criticism.
Honest and integrity with full transparency make for great places to work. Who would want to work for the federal government if the top-down standard, set by the president himself offers up such horrendous treatment to employees?
Whether you care about James Comey personally or not, you should care about how he is being treated by the nation’s top executive. If left unchallenged the ugliness could very well trickle down into every workplace in America.
You can follow Will on Twitter: @willjwright