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Dirty Tricks

Six little workers
Trying to stay alive.
Manager wants a bonus.
Now there are only five.
scared.GIF (1360 bytes)

"My company is fair," you say, "and would never do anything underhanded."
Fine, then you don't need to read this.

For the rest of you, here are some cautionary tales:

[Tricks Affecting Everyone][....Affecting Management][...Affecting Lineworkers]

Dirty Tricks That Affect Everyone:

Getting employees to provide information for downsizing:

"Almost all the employees had been involved in writing reports...on what he or she did for the company....those data were used to make decisions about who would go and who would stay......<after the layoffs started> very quickly they realized that this was something that had been planned  behind their backs for some time prior, and it was that fact alone that  eroded their trust and loyalty to the company....."
(from Corporate Executions, by Alan Downs).

Dirty Tricks That Affect Executives:

One on one layoffs:

Sometimes management can use "one-on-one" executions to get rid of individual
employees, especially those in management who might be expensive to fire.
Common methods include promising an employee a new job, replacing him in
the old job, and then suddenly finding out  that the new position has been
eliminated, or the duties of the new job aren't required. Equally good is
promoting an employee to a job that they are not able to handle, or to a job
that nobody could handle, or placing an employee with an administrator who
is difficult to work with.

Letters of Resignation: I read this somewhere, but I couldn't verify it: A Japanese company sent some redundant employees to a letter-writing seminar.After they had finished writing a sample "resignation letter" the Company collected the letters and accepted. them.

Dirty Tricks That Affect Lineworkers

Most workplaces (even Civil Service!) have regularly-established procedures
for dealing with employees who are not doing a good job. These can include
performance evaluations and "work improvement" plans. I have no problem
with these, if they are used fairly. People told me about other practices that
are not so fair:

Harassment by Internal Security: Whistleblowers sometimes find themselves
being audited more than others. Coincidence?
"Fitness for Duty" Evaluation: One form of this is basically a psychiatric
evaluation, and sounds fair until you consider that no one has yet established
standards for "sanity". If management has already decided you are crazy, they
may just want to know what kind of crazy. What surprised me after I first
heard about this was how many people had been evaluated, but no one talked
about it. A person facing this kind of examination may feel all alone and may
even wonder "Maybe I am crazy?" I believe that well-administered
psychological testing can be important, especially in weeding out applicants
before they are hired, but if a company is losing a significant amount of staff
because they have started manifesting problems after they have been working
for a while, maybe it is time to start looking at the physical & emotional work
Job Reclassification: Changing the requirements of a job so that the
people who have been doing it all along are no longer eligible.
Changing the Retirement Structure:  As part of contract negotiations,
management may say "we'd like new-hires to come in under a new plan
with decreased benefits."  This is easy to say "yes" to, because these are
people who haven't been hired yet, so who does it hurt? Eventually, though
this is unfair because all employees do not have the same benefits. From a
practical standpoint, it means that when the newer workers find out that they
have to work longer for less benefits, they have less incentive to stick around
to retirement, and you may end up with a geezer workforce.
Giving Management Bonuses to Encourage Them To Cut Staff:
Since salaries and benefits are a large part of the operation cost, cutting
staff, or delaying the hire of people to fill vacant positions, can make a
manager's budget smaller, and increase his bonus.

Revised 09/12/99
for CIS 212
Cuyamaca College


General Information:
[What's Wrong With Downsizing, and Privatization?]
[What Can You Do To Protect Your Job?]
[Dirty Tricks][Links][Credits]Next=>
What's Happening Where I Work:
[Management Bonuses][1997][1998][Comparisons]
[What I Think About IT Outsourcing]
[Why I Wrote These Pages]
["Ten Little County Workers"]