Monday, July 21, 2008

Don't Nod, Say Yes

I had an interesting experience today. It was odd, entertaining and not at all informative and I won't know the outcome for 10-14 days.

In my job (brace yourself people, I am going out on a limb and talking about work here, yes HERE) I deal with a lot of bureaucratic stuff and this particular thing has to do with us letting an employee go (ie: your FIRED) and them trying to collect from the State.

This particular guy was let go because of his less than stellar attendance. It is my job to make sure that the paperwork he signs when he starts with us, covers us on the other end.

For this reason. We let him go and he tried to collect. We said no. They said OK. So I said, HELL NO.

I didn't realize this (well okay, I did, so really I just lied) but it would mean that a hearing date would be set and I would be attending. With my papers and the employee's signature on them being the topic of discussion.

I had to go into the inner city to do this. That alone was a trip and a half. (like the people pushing all their belongings in shopping carts, but not my point). I arrived.

And prayed the contesting party would not. My hopes were dashed when he walked in. I studied my shoes because who wants to make eye contact? Um not me.

I was given a file to read and I was lectured to read it, not write on any of it (I considered putting a smiley face on the last page, just because) and to give it back. I looked over the stuff and confirmed that, yes, it was all my documentation.

The contesting party also got to read the file.

We were then called into a little room, marked #2 and asked to sit across from each other, while the arbitrator sat at the head of the table, with his tape recorder.

Did I mention we were being recorded? Oh yeah, that was fun.

So I smile at the other party. I am from the "kill 'em with kindness camp". We each sign in. The arbitrator explains that the sessions will be recorded (uh, duh) and that he will swear us in, then ask each side questions and then if anyone has anything to add they may do so. We were not to answer for each other (as the tape recorder might get confused, I am not kidding, he said that) and once the session was over we could no longer speak to him and we had to leave together.

I cannot make this stuff up.

So this guy proceeds and swears us in. We say our I Do's. (ok, now that's funny) Then the arbitrator asks us if we each agree to the record documents. We both do. So he references each one. Then he reads a bunch of blah, blah, law stuff that meant nothing to me.

Me and the other party just zoned out and made big eyes at each other (in a this is fun sort of way, well that's what I was thinking anyway).

The arbitrator then turns to the other party and goes over in detail his final day of employment and the events that lead to his dismissal. He denied none of it. (score one for me) The arbitrator showed the other party the paperwork I had him sign that lists out our requirements for new hires, it references excessive absence. He agreed he understood the intention of the document when he signed it and knew he could not be excessively absent (score one for me)

Then there was some mumbling on the other party's part. So there was a brief lecture that mumbling could result in the entire hearing needed to be redone.

Yikes. I thought of kicking him under the table but decided against it. He did better after the lecture.

There were more blah, blah, blah questions. I don't know if the other party was just incredibly honest or not very smart because his agreement, made me look good.

Unbelievable good.

Then it was my turn. (insert scratching record here) We went over my documents, and there was nodding on my part. My bad. Again with the tape recorder not getting the whole thing. I get it dude. You have no life, I think.

YES. I say. YES. YES. YES. There was more affirmation as to the paperwork I had and more admission on the other party's part in agreement to the termination.

I almost wanted to smack him. Why bother coming? Why apply to begin with.

Turns out he wanted to discuss the incident after he was let go. But my case? Was not based on said incident. Why you ask? Because I knew it would not come to any good bringing it up. So I left it out.

And left the door closed.

Before I knew it the hearing was over. Me and the other party walked out, together.

As we walked to our cars, I said this ~

Me: I don't think we had a chance back there. I think they will rule in your favor. (I lie people, what can I say).
Him: You think so? (I move to the next subject)
Me: So are you going to get a job now?
Him: Yup.

I crack myself up sometimes. What can I say.


Sassy said...

I think you did really well!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, tell'em what they want to hear ;)

So're a "power" lady? Hhmm...interesting

Holly said...

LOL at the fact that he actually thought he had the right to draw benefits. Then again, maybe your state is different than mine is, but here, OMG, you have to jump through fire hoops in a flammable suit after working YEARS for a company to get just a teensy tiny amount of benefits. LOL

Sounds like you did great!

Amy said...

That is hysterical. I love that you told him, after all of that, that you don't think your company stands a chance. LOL what a riot!!

What an experience, though.