At her age, Libby was no stranger to confrontation. After 25 years processing insurance claims in a doctor’s office, she thought she’d seen it all.
But the problem in her small business was that nothing seemed to be clear-cut. She couldn’t decide whether she should act, or shouldn’t act, and if she did act, how she should act.
And that’s why she was tossing and turning at 3 a.m.
- Should she hire that nice young man who was also in the military reserves?
- The time she walked in on her guffawing male employees circled around the computer monitor – were their guilty looks enough, or did she need to flat-out say that she wouldn’t tolerate them looking at porn sites?
- Valerie was hinting that even though she was part-time, she was supposed to get vacation and sick leave. Could that be true?
Assembling a nice, taut 300-person tent seemed easy compared to these messy people problems!
Finally, the straw came that broke Libby’s back: months before, she’d had an unpleasant encounter with a driver named Jose. She’d questioned him about why he hadn’t finished his deliveries that day even though the schedule had been light. He took offense, and things escalated, and it ended with his shouting, “Maybe I should just leave!” As he stomped out the door forever, Libby had thought, Good riddance.
Now, she was holding a summons.
Apparently, Jose was claiming that she discharged him unfairly because he was Hispanic.
Libby began to cry. And when she was all cried out, she called me.
“Pat,” she said wearily, “what am I going to do?”
First, I gave her the name of a good lawyer. Then, I told her about a book we publish that would clear up all the uncertainty she’d felt regarding employee relations.
“This,” I said, “will give you a much happier life.”
She thanked me bleakly.
I thought about what a good person Libby is. She’s a real self-starter and works as hard as it takes to produce a quality product. She’s not the type to ever hire management consultants – she’d much rather figure things out on her own. But the laws today are overwhelming, and she’d gotten tripped up.
As promised, I immediately mailed her a copy of the Do-It-Yourself Employee Manual.
If only she’d read it sooner.
Because now, it was my turn to worry. I knew that her chances of losing in court were 70% to 80% if Jose’s wrongful discharge suit went before a jury. The average awards exceed $200,000 and often top $1 million!
And that would mean the end of Daniel’s Dream Deliveries.