Monday, December 8, 2014

On Firing Drunk Temps

The City Of Fort Worth's Human Relations Commission sent me a letter a few days ago.

It marked the end of a long, tiresome, wasteful process that hit on employment law, civil rights, racism, ageism, skinism, alcoholism, paternalism, bureaucracies, and whether or not I should have the right to purchase the labor of whoever I dang well please. 

It also touches on whether I should be able to stop purchasing someone's labor when it suits me.

I've clipped (and redacted) various parts of the letter so as to protect the guilty. 

Here's the cast of characters:

1)  The Charging Party - an employee that a temp service sent us back in freakin' June.  He showed up around 8:00 a.m., and we sent him back before 9:00 a.m.  (It's not unusual for me to send temps back to Their Mother Ship before their shift has ended, BTW.  We're nice about it, we're apologetic, and we wish them best of luck in all future endeavors.  But there's a good reason that some of those folks don't work for NASA or the Nobel Prize Committee.)  The Charging Party is the guy who sued us for discrimination. 

2)  The Temp Service - many employers now use temp or personnel services to screen their potential employees for 3 months before hiring them.  The temp services generally charge twice what the employee gets paid.  Yeah, twice.  But it's worth it to avoid paying Unemployment Compensation, or risk paying big bucks in an Unlawful Discharge lawsuit.  Some temps don't last but a few days, and there's a huge paperwork cost associated with bringing on a new employee, so after 3 months you have a better idea if the employee will work out or not.  Until three months have passed, the temp employee works for the Temp Service, and not for the facility where he is actually doing work. 

3)  Randy Morales - he doesn't exist. 

4)  The White Trainer who was supposedly drunk - he doesn't exist either, despite your sneaking suspicion that he is me. 

5)  The Respondent - my employer, Jukt Micronics.  The organization that had to respond to, deal with, and be burdened by this mess. 

6)  The Assistant Human Resources Director - the lady who is our Assistant Human Resources Director. 

Another group was kept busy determining our percentages of Black, Latino, Asian and White employees.  Then they had to calculate our ratio of employees older and younger than 54.  Try doing that with 700 people.  More on that later....

That's all you need to know to enjoy the following.    Here's part of the letter. 

Sorry for blacking out a lot of the pertinent case numbers, but I don't want the emissions people, the water inspectors, OSHA, or the noise abatement teams of Fort Worth to start swarming me because I picked on one of their bureaucracies. 

Please note that this process started on June 5th, and we got the resolution letter on December 2nd. 
God help the USA if other nations ever discover free market economics.

I gotta make a correction to that 2nd paragraph.  "The Charging Party" wasn't accused of just drinking on the job.  He was freakin' hammered.  Gapped.  Faced.  Blotto.  Some of our notorious alcoholics, guys who spend their weekends with faint traces of blood in their alcohol, they were asking us to send this guy away. 

At this point, if you've been paying attention, you're wondering why I'm involved in this at all, right?  The guy didn't even work for me !!! 

It seems that if you hire a temp employee, then send him away, he can still claim discrimination against you based on "his Race, Black, and his Age", to use the awkward phrase of the City Of Fort Worth's Human Relations Division.  I didn't know that until June. 

The letter refers to a White man who was drinking but was not disciplined or discharged.  It wasn't me.  Swear to God, it wasn't me. 

Back to the letter....

Ok, here's how this thing went down.  Ordinarily when a temp isn't working out, I just tell him that we don't need his services any more, and that he can clock out and go home.  Then I call the temp service and tell them to never, ever send that guy back to us. 

But when the temp is drunker than the Quality Control department at Jack Daniels?  We call the temp service manager in to deal with it. 

When they're that drunk, we let THEM send the dude home.  The Temp Service Manager came in, told the guy he couldn't work drunk, and sent him home. 

Regarding the last sentence in the letter, the one about Randy Morales....  there is no one in our company named Randy Morales.  We've never had a foreman named Randy Morales.  But if anyone named Randy Morales had been around, he would've smelled alcohol on this guy. 

So it was the trainer who smelled of alcohol, but just in case it was the temp smelled of alcohol it was because of his mouthwash and toothpaste.  Lordy. 

Here's a quick summary. 

The drunk temp demanded that the Personnel Service give him a drug and alcohol test.  They refused.  So he went to JPS (John Peter Smith Hospital) in Fort Worth and asked them to give him an alcohol test. 

John Peter Smith is our county hospital.  They treat a lot of low-income, indigent patients, and do a great job of it. 
But you can go in there with an amputated arm and you will still wait for a long, long time before getting treatment. 
This guy got sent home by the temp service, was denied a drug/alcohol test, drove to JPS, waited long enough for small mammals to evolve, and was still feeling a "Buzz".   It had to be hours and hours later!!

To paraphrase Meg Ryan, "I'll have what he's drinking". 

Here comes the part that should make you angry:

Here's why I hope you're angry. 

1)  Yeah, we hire lots of older people.  And we hire Black, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, El Salvadoran, Laotian, and Mississippi Rednecks.  My shop looks like the United Freakin' Nations.  180 people from...Earth. 
But our office employees had to drop everything else and do some racist nose-counting, just like we were separating the Hutus from the Tutsis, and report our racial makeup to the Fort Worth Freakin' Human Relations Commission. 

2)  The guy doesn't even work for me. 

3)  The process took 6 months. 

4)  We're paying the government to investigate this stuff. 
If you get tired of purchasing burgers from McDonald's and decide to purchase burgers from Wendy's, you don't have to do a verbal warning, a written warning, a 3-day suspension, and then formally terminate McDonald's.  You can just switch.  For reasons that I'll never understand, labor doesn't work that way, and most of us live diminished lives because of it. 

Our employers are expected to withhold and pay our taxes, provide our healthcare, take care of child support payments, our retirement, and our 40 acres and our mule.   Employment Law creates a huge burden for companies, increases the cost of goods without providing a benefit, and creates massive HR Departments which cost a fortune, but that add no value to the products the companies were founded to produce.

Think of how much easier it would be for you to go work someplace else if it weren't so much like changing plantations in 1845.   

5)  Finally, this process, designed to ensure racial fairness, often creates racists. 

Yeah.  It creates racists. 

I employ people from all over the world.  Most of them are awesome, personally and professionally. 

But will I now hesitate to hire someone who is of a different race, or of an advanced age?  Someone who could sue me if it doesn't work out? 

You tell me. 

Oh yeah, here's the end of the letter.  We weren't guilty of anything. 

There are days when I want to resign and turn the whole thing over to Randy Morales. 


The Whited Sepulchre said...

And no, I was NOT the drunk White supervisor.

Tanya Kennedy said...

This redacted document looks like it took a trip through the FBI crime lab.

Tanya Kennedy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.