Yesterday was a normal day at my cleaning company. We held a sales strategy meeting, discussed a new account startup, worked on some recruiting strategies, and planned for the rest of the week. As the day was about to wrap up, I was handed an unemployment appeal written by a former employee. In this appeal was nearly a page describing how I had threatened this employee by holding a knife to his neck. As I was reading the words on the page, I figured one of three things was happenings: I was crazy, he was crazy, or this was just a dream from which I was about to awake.
The Whole Story
The former employee in question worked for us for about a year managing a large account. It was a tough job and he did a great job leading the team. However, the customer had a strong union and they petitioned to bring the work back in-house. Therefore, we lost the account. We didn’t have another job to move this supervisor to, but we wanted to keep him on staff, partly out of loyalty to him and partly in hopes of using him at another project managed account that we may acquire.
We moved this person into our office and let him help make cold calls with our sales team. However, it was made clear that this was just a temporary job in the hopes of another account management role opening up. When it became evident that no local management spot was going to come available, we told this person that they had about 60 days to find another job. We gave them freedom to job hunt during their time with us and even gave them about 30 days of severance pay. All of this was done in hopes of them finding another job before ending employment with us.
Despite this effort on our part, he has yet to find a job, then slandered us in his unemployment claim. And yes, this included the outlandish accusation against me. I’m not sure the purpose of the accusation, but he went into graphic detail about how I held a 5″ knife up to his carotid artery and held it there for approximately 5 seconds. I’m still confused, but such is life as a business owner in the cleaning industry. **And just to clarify, I did not put a knife up to his throat…..in case you were wondering***
The Lesson Learned
So what am I learning through this experience? First, sometimes when you do the right thing, people will still treat you unfairly. However, this is never an excuse to not do the right thing. Jesus, the only man who did no wrong, was falsely accused and killed, yet this did not cause him to retaliate or waver in his course. Likewise, we should always do the morally right thing as business owners. Second, even when trying to do the right thing, we must use wisdom and good common sense. In a case such as this, I should have given the employee two options. Take severance and submit a resignation or terminate him and agree to let him draw unemployment. Instead, I basically gave him severance in faith that he would not be the type of person who would want to draw unemployment.
So while never veering from doing the right thing, we will be more cautious in how we carry out our “good deeds.”
If you have a story that you would like to share with me, I would love to hear it. Feel free to email it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org