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Need advice on how to fire someone

cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular

I'm the local team lead for a company that does military contracts. One of my team members has been running the gambit on infractions, and it has gotten to the point where I have to act.

I've already spoken to this person a couple times about his performance issues.

This person is currently on vacation (a cruise), and is scheduled to be back at work on Monday. I pretty much have to confront him, because I've taken the work that was his and given it to other people. If I didn't, then the work wouldn't get done in time and the whole team would suffer. The rub is that I cannot officially fire him; that is a job for my supervisor. I suspect that my supervisor is going to do that himself when he visits our location in a couple weeks.

So there is going to be a couple week period where he knows he is probably going to be fired, but he'll still be on the premises. I already know he's angry with me, because he's been accusing me of micromanaging him. I know this guy has a family, and I feel bad for him for that.

I might take the cowards route, and make it seem like he's still working, while just letting other people do the real work (because I can't count on him to do the work). I might do this until my supervisor comes into town and does it himself.

There is also the chance that he may be kept around because he has a lot of certifications, and looks good on paper. It is contract renewal season, which means my company kind of needs him for his credentials, even if the rest of the team has been doing his work.

I feel horrible about this. I don't think he's a nice person (I believe he is cheating on his wife), but I've been laid off twice, and I know how much it hurts to be out of work.

I'm also a bit scared, because the guy is a former Marine, and bigger than me. Granted, I work in an office with a lot of former Marines (who are awesome folks). I tend to overthink things like this, and the likelihood of any actual workplace violence is statistically pretty low.

MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
Minecraft - ArtfulDodger42

Posts

  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    If it's your supervisor's job to fire him, why do you have to do anything?

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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I think it's important that you speak to someone within your company about this, rather than asking us. Your company may have a policy in place for this or something specific you are supposed to say. Also, the way you've put this across to us makes it sound like you really aren't sure you have the authority to make this kind of decision, and if you can't give that impression to a bunch of internet strangers, you may not be very convincing to your employee.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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  • cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
    Its not my responsibility to fire him, but I do need to make sure the work that he is supposed to be doing gets done, which means taking it from him and giving it to other people. He's going to know something is up when I take everything off his plate.

    If I don't take the work from him, we'd have late deliverables to the customer, which is bad news as we're trying to make sure we put on our best face as we want our contract renewed.

    MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
    Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
    Minecraft - ArtfulDodger42
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    Would other people not be picking up the slack for him while he is on vacation anyway? Will this project or whatever not be completed by the time he returns? It seems like you should explain to him why you shifted the workload around, but if it is not your job to fire him I'm confused why you are going to fire him. Do you want to fire him? Or do you want to tell him why he is going to get fired?

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    cshadow42 wrote: »
    Its not my responsibility to fire him, but I do need to make sure the work that he is supposed to be doing gets done, which means taking it from him and giving it to other people.

    Going off your post and this, he might not be far off in the micromanaging department.

    There seems to be a lot that you're not telling us (or can't), but right now it's coming off like 'I don't trust this guy, so I'm taking away all his work'. The fact you're doing it while he's on vacation doesn't help things either. Unless his vacation came out of nowhere (and if so, why would it have been approved?), his time off was scheduled far enough that any work would have already be distributed.

  • cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
    We discovered while he was on vacation that he hadn't been updating the files he had been placed in charge of for 3 months, all the while saying he was keeping them up to day. Now we're going to have to scramble next week to get them up to date, and based on his past performance I don't think he can be counted on to update them.

    He is going to assume that he is getting fired when I tell him other team members are assuming control over his files. So essentially, I'm the one who is giving him his first clue that he is going to be fired.

    MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
    Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
    Minecraft - ArtfulDodger42
  • NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    cshadow42 wrote: »
    Its not my responsibility to fire him, but I do need to make sure the work that he is supposed to be doing gets done, which means taking it from him and giving it to other people. He's going to know something is up when I take everything off his plate.

    If I don't take the work from him, we'd have late deliverables to the customer, which is bad news as we're trying to make sure we put on our best face as we want our contract renewed.

    Then you should talk to your boss and explain that and say he should fire him sooner or else he'll be sitting around doing nothing.

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  • cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
    noir_blood wrote: »
    cshadow42 wrote: »
    Its not my responsibility to fire him, but I do need to make sure the work that he is supposed to be doing gets done, which means taking it from him and giving it to other people.

    Going off your post and this, he might not be far off in the micromanaging department.

    There seems to be a lot that you're not telling us (or can't), but right now it's coming off like 'I don't trust this guy, so I'm taking away all his work'. The fact you're doing it while he's on vacation doesn't help things either. Unless his vacation came out of nowhere (and if so, why would it have been approved?), his time off was scheduled far enough that any work would have already be distributed.

    There's been other stuff going on, like an audit revealed he was billing 14 hour days to take Fridays off, when he wasn't in the office more than 8 hours each day.

    MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
    Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
    Minecraft - ArtfulDodger42
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    You really really really need to have a conversation with your supervisor.

    Pretty much no organization in existence wants somebody who knows they're fired to have access to anything, much less depend on them for customer deliverables.

    Moreover if you start treating him like he's fired and then he isn't fired...you've made him effectively unmanagable from your POV and that's a failure at your job.

    Talk with your supervisor, make sure your opinion is the same as his opinion. Tell him your concerns about being unable to assign work to him because he won't be there or won't do it. Each of these are directly under his control, not yours.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Geez. If he's been committing fraud while trying to keep his job what's he going to do when he doesn't give a shit?

    I would not let him back in the building.

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  • cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
    You really really really need to have a conversation with your supervisor.

    Pretty much no organization in existence wants somebody who knows they're fired to have access to anything, much less depend on them for customer deliverables.

    Moreover if you start treating him like he's fired and then he isn't fired...you've made him effectively unmanagable from your POV and that's a failure at your job.

    Talk with your supervisor, make sure your opinion is the same as his opinion. Tell him your concerns about being unable to assign work to him because he won't be there or won't do it. Each of these are directly under his control, not yours.

    Yeah, that sounds better than my initial idea. I'll write up an email to my supervisor explaining the situation, and then follow up with a phone call on Monday.

    My only fear is that my supervisor may keep him around because he needs the warm body to fulfill the contract.

    MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
    Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
    Minecraft - ArtfulDodger42
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    cshadow42 wrote: »
    You really really really need to have a conversation with your supervisor.

    Pretty much no organization in existence wants somebody who knows they're fired to have access to anything, much less depend on them for customer deliverables.

    Moreover if you start treating him like he's fired and then he isn't fired...you've made him effectively unmanagable from your POV and that's a failure at your job.

    Talk with your supervisor, make sure your opinion is the same as his opinion. Tell him your concerns about being unable to assign work to him because he won't be there or won't do it. Each of these are directly under his control, not yours.

    Yeah, that sounds better than my initial idea. I'll write up an email to my supervisor explaining the situation, and then follow up with a phone call on Monday.

    My only fear is that my supervisor may keep him around because he needs the warm body to fulfill the contract.

    Dude is committing fraud against the company. I'd tell my supervisor if he still wants him around when he's committing crimes that's his business but that the dude needs to not be in my area under my leadership. Alright "I'm not comfortable with having somebody who is forging reports under my leadership, I can't take responsibility for somebody who I can not trust."

    CambiataNightDragonNot MandatoryAl_wat
  • PacificstarPacificstar Registered User regular
    Moreover, if he's "billing hours", that are charged to client, then you really need to get that shit handled. And by "you" I mean your boss. This is not your responsibility, but it is your responsibility to inform your boss of the issue.

    TehSloth
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    There is a possibility that your boss will tell you to play it cool for a little while, till he can get down there or do whatever he is or isn't going to do.

    The point is, before you act on this yourself you need to tell somebody within the company what you're thinking to make sure it doesn't go horribly wrong and then YOU get fired.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    LostNinjaMichaelLCGiggles_Funsworthsee317KiasAl_wat
  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    There is a possibility that your boss will tell you to play it cool for a little while, till he can get down there or do whatever he is or isn't going to do.

    The point is, before you act on this yourself you need to tell somebody within the company what you're thinking to make sure it doesn't go horribly wrong and then YOU get fired.

    Also, keep any e-mails you send or receive on the subject. Save a copy to your computer or a portable drive. Maybe print a hard copy for your records.
    Basically, you don't want to risk playing a game of "I said, boss said" without some backup.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
    Cambiata
  • EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    Being in a company that sounds like it does similar work. This is a giant shitstorm in the making. His billed hours that he's put in for will be billed down to the customer. That means that he's not just screwing with his paycheck, but with the bill being handed to any customers his work is involved with.

    That's a pretty big problem, but it isn't YOUR problem. If that has been discovered and reported already I'm pretty shocked his desk hasn't been cleared out already, even if he's on vacation.

    Either way, YOU don't do anything. I wouldn't even take his work away unless your supervisor tells you to do so.

    You had to take some work away while he was on vacation, but until further notice you should proceed under "business as usual". If HE doesn't do the work he is assigned, that is just more logs on the fire he's roasting himself with.

    I would also be VERY direct with that work. Tell him what he needs done, and by when, and that you expect a status report on progress for x items every x amount of time. It is then up to him to do the work and follow the process. If he doesn't, call him on it.
    And if it gets too close to deadline and there's not enough progress, then you can assign another person to help, CCing both of them and perhaps the supervisor.

    Aside from that, follow what your supervisor and/or HR direct you to do.

    If all that you say is true, his time is limited. Certs or no certs improper time charging is a big deal.

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    If you don't actually have the authority to fire him, don't start acting like he's going to be fired or communicate that to him. Just keep your boss up to date and let this guy burn himself

    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Right tell your boss, now. If I were your boss I would cancel his access an call him up and tell him not to come to work.

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    see317 wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    There is a possibility that your boss will tell you to play it cool for a little while, till he can get down there or do whatever he is or isn't going to do.

    The point is, before you act on this yourself you need to tell somebody within the company what you're thinking to make sure it doesn't go horribly wrong and then YOU get fired.

    Also, keep any e-mails you send or receive on the subject. Save a copy to your computer or a portable drive. Maybe print a hard copy for your records.
    Basically, you don't want to risk playing a game of "I said, boss said" without some backup.

    Be careful about this. If you're working for a company that fulfills military contracts, keeping emails may very well run afoul of all sorts of legal issues.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
    Nija
  • naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
    Is it actually your responsibility (as in, written into your job description) to supervise this guy and assign tasks in this office? If not, I would encourage you to communicate with your supervisor (as it sounds like you're going to), and leave it at that. Assuming a mantle of responsibility you do not officially have is a recipe for disaster on your end.

  • Iron WeaselIron Weasel Dillon! You son of a bitch!Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    I just want to second/third/whatever the folks saying that this needs to go to your supervisor ASAP. If you will be telegraphing this person’s impending termination, you really do not want them on-site with access to company systems and resources.

    You also want to absolutely minimize how much exposure you personally have to this entire process – and that includes taking on tasks that are outside your area of responsibility.

    Edit – It’s fine to tell your boss, “I will make sure that X’s work and projects are passed on to other colleagues to provide a smooth transition for our customers,” but when it comes to people getting fired, it’s rarely good to go above and beyond.

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    see317 wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    There is a possibility that your boss will tell you to play it cool for a little while, till he can get down there or do whatever he is or isn't going to do.

    The point is, before you act on this yourself you need to tell somebody within the company what you're thinking to make sure it doesn't go horribly wrong and then YOU get fired.

    Also, keep any e-mails you send or receive on the subject. Save a copy to your computer or a portable drive. Maybe print a hard copy for your records.
    Basically, you don't want to risk playing a game of "I said, boss said" without some backup.

    Be careful about this. If you're working for a company that fulfills military contracts, keeping emails may very well run afoul of all sorts of legal issues.
    Unless your company and your government contacts are pants on head retarded the only thing of concern being transmitted is Sensitive But Unclassified docs. Anything more than that isn't going to go over the Internets unless someone really wants to get fired, but SBU docs almost always have cover sheets, and keeping the email isn't an issue because generally if you were sent it, you were the person who was supposed to have it anyways.

    Now if someone accidentally emails you something from a SCIF. Well enjoy that spillage paperwork. YEESH.

  • cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
    I did speak with my supervisor, and relayed my concerns. He'll be in town in a couple weeks, and he's going to handle the situation then. I tried to play things as low-key and non-chalant as I could, but I know this guy thinks something is up. I did have to convey some minimal information so some behavior didn't continue(e.g. you weren't/aren't authorized to work from home even on snow days, don't charge more than 8 hours a day without telling me, be at work between 0800 and 1600). Also had to convey that I took over one of his tasks and brought it to completion while he was gone, and he is now teamed up with someone else when performing his tasks. He's been giving me odd looks, and I can't blame him. But the work he was assigned to do hasn't been done, and it needs to be done this week.

    MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
    Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
    Minecraft - ArtfulDodger42
  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    Of course he's giving you odd looks. You're ruining his scheme of pretending to work while not actually doing anything. He's forced to work because of you!

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  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    i think you did the right thing, make him share his work, don't take it away completely. He'll still know something is in the wings (and maybe he will just quit), but you wont be toeing that line of telegraphing his termination, and you wont appear to be defrauding your client with worthless billable hours. i'd like to say it's crazy that your supervisor would be stalling canning someone who is defrauding a client, but i've heard stories of people falsifying time sheets when they work for the actual federal gov't and not getting fired, so i can't say i'm surprised...

    Cambiata
  • cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
    I think my supervisor is stalling more to make sure its not just me (understandable). My partner (my co-team lead) also spoke with him yesterday, and I know at least one other member of the team (of a total of 5, including myself) has also spoken with him.
    I can also understand his hesitancy; we do not want to appear bad when our contract is up for renewal. The quieter this is handled the better.

    MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
    Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
    Minecraft - ArtfulDodger42
  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    the longer a termination is drawn out, the worse it is. i don't think the client has to know the specifics of a team change. it sounds like your team can function a man down (since it ostensibly is at the moment), so not having someone to replace him immediately shouldn't be an issue. if this guy sees the writing on the wall and starts acting out, that could be a bigger issue. It's not on you at this point though, in my mind, you've done your part. Just make sure this guys work is getting done, and wait for the axe to drop.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Fireflash wrote: »
    Of course he's giving you odd looks. You're ruining his scheme of pretending to work while not actually doing anything. He's forced to work because of you!
    I once told a contractor to quite making me have to do my job.

  • lunchbox12682lunchbox12682 MinnesotaRegistered User regular
    Ok if he is really not working while billing ( as opposed to just sucking at his work), your boss is a moron.
    For military/government ( I am assuming US) work, this isn't lawsuit bad, this is prison time bad.
    If you are a bigger company (it kind of sounds like it), you may have an ombudsman that you can refer possible unlawful activities to.
    That said, as some one who has been in your position, I try to side track the person to tasks that are least likely to hose the project delivery.
    At least if he's on single person specific tasks, the billed hours are more simple to track for later issues.
    Good luck.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2014
    zepherin wrote: »
    Fireflash wrote: »
    Of course he's giving you odd looks. You're ruining his scheme of pretending to work while not actually doing anything. He's forced to work because of you!
    I once told a contractor to quite making me have to do my job.

    I tell people here to quit making me have to do my job on a regular basis.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    V1mShadowfireToxDarkPrimusKiaszepherinhalkun
  • cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
    I am doing my best to keep my cool around him. Today, I was mentally face-banging my head against a wall. I had one of my team say he was overloaded, and was trying to give something to the troublesome employee to work on. The guy said he was done and could take on the extra work, so I said fine. Turns out the guy hadn't done anything on his older task. Something that should have taken him 15 minutes on Monday is still not done on Wednesday, despite us getting someone to train him on the MS software being used, and having a meeting to help him. It was a simple copy-paste task...

    Maybe this guy just can't get the hang of the MS application being used, though in theory he should of had more hands-on time with it than me at this point.

    Overall, my team/copmpany is pretty kick-ass, and we're one of the better (if not best) contractors where I'm at. I've seen a lot of contractors that are a blight, but not us. The sad thing is, the ones who are the recipients of our hard work aren't necessarily the ones who decide whether we can stay on contract.

    MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
    Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
    Minecraft - ArtfulDodger42
  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    It's weird. Perhaps he suffers from dyslexia or some other problem you are not aware of. But even if that is the case, if he doesn't tell you there is no way for you to help him or adjust his responsibilities without being presumptively patronizing.

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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    cshadow42 wrote: »
    I am doing my best to keep my cool around him. Today, I was mentally face-banging my head against a wall. I had one of my team say he was overloaded, and was trying to give something to the troublesome employee to work on. The guy said he was done and could take on the extra work, so I said fine. Turns out the guy hadn't done anything on his older task. Something that should have taken him 15 minutes on Monday is still not done on Wednesday, despite us getting someone to train him on the MS software being used, and having a meeting to help him. It was a simple copy-paste task...

    Sometimes people just have to be fired. Keeping someone on when they can't do the work is not kind to them, and not kind to the rest of the team. He'll probably be upset at the news, but later on he'll come to realise it was the best thing, when he gets a job more suited for him.

    CambiataShadowfireDerrick
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    zepherin wrote: »
    Fireflash wrote: »
    Of course he's giving you odd looks. You're ruining his scheme of pretending to work while not actually doing anything. He's forced to work because of you!
    I once told a contractor to quite making me have to do my job.

    I tell people here to quit making me have to do my job on a regular basis.

    I bet you're real popular at the morgue.

    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
    ceres
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Ok if he is really not working while billing ( as opposed to just sucking at his work), your boss is a moron.
    For military/government ( I am assuming US) work, this isn't lawsuit bad, this is prison time bad.
    If you are a bigger company (it kind of sounds like it), you may have an ombudsman that you can refer possible unlawful activities to.
    That said, as some one who has been in your position, I try to side track the person to tasks that are least likely to hose the project delivery.
    At least if he's on single person specific tasks, the billed hours are more simple to track for later issues.
    Good luck.
    Depending on how the activity is done. If the company is billing him for stuff that wasn't done, then the COR (which I am but I am not your COR) should be up their ass if they aren't doing what they are contracted to do. If the guy is billing the company and the work is getting done, and the company then bills the government. It's not illegal and the government would not have cause to pursue.

    Now if the COR is just blindly approving invoices and isn't doing shit and the guy is defrauding the government the office of the IG would be more than happy to put some IG Dick into the COR and the fraudster, but it would fuck your company in the process, super hard super fast, and you would be out of a job. If you send it to the ombudsman, he would likely just send it to the IG, or to the COR.

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