An insurance company where a friend works continues to lay off staff.
This week, a one manager confided that her own manager was pressuring her to fire an employee without cause. The employee had a heart attack recently and is lucky to be alive. Amazingly, he's back to work but he's unable to work overtime, much to the annoyance of the manager's manager. Doctor's orders. No overtime.
No overtime, means other employess will be working overtime because overtime–working more than 40 hours per week–is the new normal. If you fear for your job, you work overtime without being asked.
The manager doesn't like having an employee around who has a doctor's order: no overtime. The employee is dictating to the manager how many hours he will work, and how many extra hours he will not work. None. This is intolerable. The manager's manager instructed the manager to fire the employee–not lay him off–but to fire him. The immediate manager has no just cause for firing him, so the instructions from the manager's manager is clear: create some lies, fabricate reports of incompetence or insubordination, then fire him,
Laying off the offending employee who recently survived a heart attack is not an option, nor is keeping him on. He must go. A message must be sent to him and to his co-workers who will remain on the job that defying the tacit rule to work longer, without compensation, will get you booted, canned, fired. It's arguable that the employee had a heart attack because of the stress he experienced at work, where employees have no power, where the fate of one's employment or lackthereof rests in the hands of ruthless autocrats. The cruelty, the dishonesty, and the injustice of the modern workplace cannot be masked by the billions of dollars spent on advertising and public relations when a manager concocts lies to fire an employee who recently had a heart attack, and who will soon risk death by the added stress and injustice when he will be escorted out of the building on his last day at work.
What kind of person would attack the vulnerable? What person would risk killing an employee who is already weakened by the fears of working without the power to influence whether or not he will have a job? Corporations are brutal tyrannies inviting exploitation and deciept. The manager's manager will be rewarded for reducing the number of warm bodies in the office. The lies will be concocted to throw out an employee, now vulnerable both medically and institutionally, because the institution cannot tolerate insubordination flaunting the dictims handed down from above. If one employee can say no to overtime, regardless of why he says no, a crack in the crushing rule by fiat from above will form. Humanity, now discarded upon the heap of efficient markets, has no place in the corporate workplace. The manager's manager is only meeting quotas, streamlining the workforce, downsizing to stay competitive in a globalized, anonymous economy. She's only doing her job, obeying orders from the manager above her, who understands that people fall before profits fall, heart attack or no.