Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Firing Requires Proper Etiquette

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Firing Requires Proper Etiquette

Article excerpt

DAYTON, Ohio _ Events that unfolded at a firm here last month, management consultants say, form a case study in how a company shouldn't handle the firing of employees.

The night shift at Emery Worldwide was going smoothly for Steve Leaman until he found a letter in his office mailbox. The letter said that a managers' meeting would be held the next day.

"We didn't think anything of it ... until we started hearing the rumors," Leaman said.

The company grapevine was buzzing that supervisors at the airfreight hub were to be axed because of mounting losses at Emery, a unit of Consolidated Freightways Inc.

A cardinal rule in terminating employees is sharing that information with them as soon as possible. In Emery's case, Leaman and 57 of his colleagues weren't told that they were being laid off until after they had worked their 11 p.m.

shifts.

"Emery Worldwide believes personnel reductions are the most difficult and sensitive decisions a company must make," Consolidated Freightway's Gary Frantz said. "It is Emery's policy to conduct staff reductions in the most appropriate manner possible for both employees directly affected and those who are not affected."

But Lisa DeFranco, a consultant at CareerPro Inc. of Dayton who helps companies with outplacement services, said layoffs have to be done cleanly and quickly.

"If an employee walks into the office in the morning and they lay him off that afternoon, the employee will have a strong resentment against me (the boss) and the company," she said.

Consultants say that anger or resentment surfaces because employees tends to feel used _ that the company is draining the last bit of work out of them before discarding them.

Leaman said he understood the logic of Emery having to fire managers to reduce costs in the wake of third-quarter operating losses of $29.6 million.

But Leaman, 39, said he felt the way the firings were handled was underhanded and cruel. He wasn't alone.

"It was like leading the lambs to the slaughter," another ex-Emery manager said. …

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