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An HR Decision that was Right and Wrong at the Same Time

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Sometimes, your emotions get in the way of your better judgement. This can be terribly costly when it comes to business decisions. This is what happened when a real estate agency embraced what seemed like a victory only to realize that it had been defeat disguised as victory. The Real Estate agency decided that it would be a good idea to terminate employment of one of their employees by text message.

Was that unprofessional? Sure.

But what’s even more interesting is that the same employee was already making a strong case to be terminated because of redundancy. That just goes to show what happens when you base your decisions on emotional rather than logical grounds. Just as a used car cannot be bought without the Carfax, you should not base your hiring decisions without having complete knowledge about the individual you are hiring.

What Happened?

This happened back in the first quarter of 2017 when a real estate agent and Officer in Effective Control, let’s call him Mr. C (not to divulge their identity) was told that their position would be made redundant. Mr. C was offered two choices if he were to remain with the company. These alternatives were not as attractive and were destined to drive the employee out.

If Mr. C were to get help from expert employment lawyers at this point to help his employment situation, they might have helped him out.

The next day bought some surprises. Mr. C’s employers found out about a number of things relating to his behaviour with clients. Mr. C was allegedly presenting himself to suppliers as having a stake in the ownership of the business. He was also accepting cash payments and making financial offers that weren’t really authorized by the company. Some of the allegations had unsubstantial evidences attached, which would have made his case if he were to have sought help from professionals.

The director of the company decided to call up Mr. C for a chance to provide an explanation for the allegations against him. When the director didn’t get an answer, it infuriated the director even more.

The conversation that ensued on text went from 0-100 in the span of one hour. It went from “tried calling… please respond asap” to “you have abandoned employment” and “you are stood down pending investigation” and finally “you’re terminated effective immediately for misconduct and insubordination.”

The fair Work Commission found the company to have a rightful belief that was serious enough to justify the dismissal. But there was a little matter of the grounds that the dismissal was based on. These were “unreasonable” as further investigation still needed to happen to prove the allegations against Mr. C. The final verdict was that MR. C was dismissed unfairly.

The Takeaway

This situation proves yet again that in an industry such as real estate, where tightly bonded teams help the business thrive, you must still keep a calm head when dealing with an unprofessional individual who is likely to have committed fraud. A formal investigation process must still happen to enforce workplace and criminal justice.