firing staff

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by tomekk, May 29, 2012.

  1. tomekk

    tomekk

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    Hello. My name is tom and im new here. I was wondering if any veteran chef's had methods for for firing people. it's one of the hardest thing I've ever had to do and I was wondering if there is any set way to do it that you guys have found the least stressful.
    Thanks
     
  2. rbandu

    rbandu

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    Separate yourself from personal relationships and look at the business as a whole.  Pull them aside, tell them the issue, and just tell them their employment with you is terminated for that reason.  There's no crying in the kitchen; just keep your personal feelings aside.  If they retort with angry words, tell them to leave the premises immediately or you'll call the police.  Fin.
     
  3. tomekk

    tomekk

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    Thanks for the reply. That's basically what I try to do. Its hard for young chefs that spend so much time with staff outside of work too. Its almost like when you get promoted its easier to live life and be successful at being a chef by disassociating.
     
  4. twyst

    twyst

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    Well, IMHO, when you are the chef it's probably best to no longer go out with the guys after work for drinks etc.   Every time I have seen chefs who always hang out with their kitchen staff it has always led to problems down the road somewhere.   I think disassociating yourself is almost necessary if you want your kitchen to really run to its full potential.
     
  5. tomekk

    tomekk

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    Thank you. as I get older and with my experience as a head, although admittedly limited, I find to run a proper kitchen and make money you gotta stop being so friendly and things like firing are" easier to do"
     
  6. duckfat

    duckfat

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    In most cases I ran with the rules of Baseball. Three strikes and your out. I never fired any one with out cause so I never lost any sleep over doing my job. Any one who got canned with less than three strikes did some thing egregious like getting caught stealing etc.

    I will suggest you never threaten any one and never touch any one no matter what. Never shut your office door unless you have a witness such as another manager in your office. Never reprimand or fire any one in front of other staff if you can avoid it,

    As far as disassociating goes Twyst hit the nail on the head. I'd buy my guys a beer or join them once in a while for A beer. I tried to keep that sort of interaction to events like staff BBQ and Christmas parties.

    Dave
     
  7. chefhow

    chefhow

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    IMHO you should NEVER associate with staff outside of the building, EVER.  Once you do that the line is crossed and biz gets mixed up with personal, lines are conveluted and what was a biz relationship gets confused for buddies.  It will be easier in the end, when it comes time for reviews, raises, off site events... they always think that since you are "friends" you will get something in return or that you will take care of them.  Its just hard all over, stop it now and move on...

    When it came to firing peeps, I always did it BEFORE the shift and in the office, and then escorted them out thru the back door so there was very little chance for a scene.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  8. chefchrism

    chefchrism

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    Firing people is never easy. Before you do make sure you have a paper trail to back up your reasons for letting that person go, just in case they have disputes and take you to the labour board.

    As for socializing with staff I usaully find out where the staff is meeting up and pop in, pay for a round of drinks, thank all the staff for there hard work then leave.
     
  9. foodpump

    foodpump

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    For me, "Firing" means immediate dismissal either from theft, violence at the workplace, or some other grave problem.  Not enough work to go around, that's "laying off".  Every Province/State has different labour laws, in my Prov. it's a 3 mth "probation period" where either party can give one day's notice, and after that, the employer has to cough up 2 weeks salary. 

    Always make sure you have the employer's backing before firing someone, as they may get stiffed with 2 weeks salary for no work.  If firing because of theft, make sure you have witnesses other than yourself.  Just because YOU saw "X" walk out the door  and open the trunk of his car with a tenderloin stuffed down his pants, doesn't neccesarily mean it happened.

    Layoffs are tough but have to be done.  Make it as short as possible, and make no promises or apologies.

    Some people need to get fired but there will be holy (deleted) to pay if they are. I.E. lazy sacks of excrement with a hot-line to the owner/boss.  This is where you use the weekly schedule to your advantage.  I had this one waitress who worked the 7-3 shift but could never make it to work by 7, always whining about the bus connections. Why bother telling her to take an earlier bus?  Smile and nod, and ask her if she wants to come in at 8--but only work until 3.  I played this with her until she was only working the minimum 3 hr shift, and when she got her next paycheck she started screaming.  Lucky for me, the whole kitchen and foh staff started laughing hysterically, and she was too embarassed to make a scene.

    Some people are born with an attitude that "it is written" there is a basic human right for them appear at the workplace 40 hrs/wk and draw a paycheck--anything else would be illegal.  It must be written in the constitution or the Geneva Convention or something like that.  Had a prep cook like that,  Within the first week he showed up to work an hour earlier on my day off, and signed off 1 hr O.T.  I took the dude aside and explained that there was no O.T. until I expressly O.K.'d it, and just to make sure, printed that statement on the weekly schedule and got all the staff to sign off under it.  Eejit tries the same stunt a week a later and I pull him into my office, shove the schedule with his signature under his nose and tell him, either he can quit or he can be fired, I don't care, but he's out of here today. He huffs and puffs but can't think of anything to say, I escort him out, and as soon as he's out the door he's screaming he's gonna call the cops.  And he did.  Officer had to come and "investigate", and within a minute, the officer disappears, comes back with the kid  into my office, and tells the eejit infront of me that IF there was a law for stupidity AND a nuisance fee, he'd be charged with both.

    The world would be a better place without people.......
     
  10. twyst

    twyst

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    Jeez, firing someone in Canada sounds like a hassle!

    Lots of states here are fire at will.   You can fire anyone for pretty much anything.
     
  11. foodpump

    foodpump

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    This province is a hassle.  Worksafe (Worker's comp board) just passed a royal decree stating that employers are now responsible for any domestic violence that their employees may endure at home.  We're supposed to load the information off the website on how to recognize signs (at the workplace, of course) and what questions we can ask and how to ask them.  Oh...and the fine schedule if we don't intervene  Hey!  Someone's gotta be responsible. 

    (Deleted)!!!!!.. Now what's the first (deleted) word in "Domestic violence?....
     
  12. kingfarvito

    kingfarvito

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    I know I'm just a line cook, but as the person you're firing it seems there's always a reason when someone is let go. If someone is being fired either A) they know they were doing something that would get them fired if they were caught, or B) they were warned they were messing up well in advance. If you're stuck laying someone off let them know whats going on and why its going on.
     
  13. duckfat

    duckfat

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    I don't know how many states are "right to Work" states but if you work in one it's very easy to terminate. In other states especially unionized states in the North it's pretty much just like FP described.

    You do have to protect yourself no matter what state your in.

    Firing to me is any time I have to let some one go. Other than that I can weed out the weak links by making them not want to work for me. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    No UE claims or grief when they quit.

    Dave
     
  14. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Absolutely!  I think I made it clear in my posts about that.

    Except......Some people can't admit that they do wrong.   Catch then stealing red handed, and they argue and call the Labour board for "wrongful dismissal" on the grounds that they didn't like your hairstyle or that because the incident happened on a Monday.  You can warn and get them to sign off on policies and when they mess up, they will still argue on grounds that what they signed was printed with Times New Roman font and not Wingbats like they normally have at home--so it doesn't count.

    In regards to laying off,  usually the order comes from the Boss, and you don't have advance warning.  If it is slow and not enough work,  most people should smell that and start making preparations.
     
  15. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I think we need to clarify some terms here, such as firing, lay offs, termination and probationary period.
    • I don't find firing hard at all, if I need to fire someone, there was always a documented period leading up to it, unless there was violence in the work place, theft/criminal activity, drunkenness or some other gross violation that made it happen on the spot (once in 8 years). Documentation is the key...
    • If you are laying folks off due to a lack of business, each state/province has guidelines/requirements, follow those and you should be fine
    • If someone fails their probationary period or just isn't good enopugh, your right to terminate is almost absolute. there are exceptions but generally you are fine here.
    • Never fire anyone publicly (if at all possibe), this needs to be a private matter witnessed only as required
    • Always fire at the jobsite, before their shift, and never give someone notice of firing and let them work afterwards, its just a bad idea
    Be generous (20%) with severance over what is required, the only legal remedy they really have is to sue for more money and that extra $$ offered upfront turns lots of lawyers away. I've seen this too many times, you can fight it later, but severance is very cheap when your lawyer costs you $250.00+ an hour

    Its all part of the job...MB
     
  16. foodpump

    foodpump

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    I have great difficulty with the "sue" and "lawyer" bit.  Now, in my neck of the woods, when there is a labour dispute, it can not be taken to small claims or Provincial court , it must be dealt with by the Labour Board. Lawyers need not apply

    The L.B. here in B.C. operates--no it breathes---, it holds itself upright with the motto "The Onus Is on The Employer".

    That means the employer is assumed guilty of any allegation filed against him Automatically.  All methods of work done by the L.B.are based on this motto.

    That means that the employer must protect himself, at his cost, with no compensation if and when cleared of any wrongdoing, or any chance of acknowledgment that the allegation levied against him was false in the first place.

    That means the L.B. does not need to demand any hard evidence (pay stubs, work schedules, letters, etc) from the employee, a verbal complaint is good enough.

    That means that any employer's records--mainly time clock cards, sign-in sheets, etc.-- need not apply to the case if they negatively impact the L.B.'s case--basically if the timeclock card agrees with the employer's claim, it is ruled as non-admissable, and if it helps the L.B.'s case it is used .  In many cases the employee's "handwritten notes" that he supposedly keeps at home trumps the employer's time clock or sign in sheet in disputes.  Some hotels and casinos now have time clocks that need an employee's fingerprint to punch in and out, which can be used by the employer to cover their butt, but many smaller employers can't afford such devices.

    That means that the L.B. with the odds greatly stacked in favour with them, will first contact the employer--not via e-mail or letter--heaven forbid, ink and paper records? No, they call up and ask as many details verbally as possible, and continue to call, never writing or leaving a paper trail unless you are smarter and specifically only answer questions via e-mail or snail mail.

    That means that when the L.B. rules in the dispute, it will always be in favour of the employee even if all evidence is in your favour.  The L.B. is gambling heavily that with fines of $500 and under it is simply not worth the employer's effort to fight the ruling. 

    That  means you have opportunity to challenge this decision and must do so within 14 days of the ruling,  before the little (deleted) garnishee your bank account.

    That means the little (deleted) have lost the case and have nothing to show for it, so they go back over the evidence and find some totally unrelated detail to get you on (ie lunch breaks) and proceed to fine you for that.

    That means you fight that one, and will only pay up if they acknowledge the first allegation was false.  Of course, the little (deleted) can't do that.

    That means............ Well, I'm proud to say I am a Mom and Pop outfit, and only hire staff when absolutely neccesary, and only then for  a few weeks at a time

    D.A.M.H.I.K.T. ...................
     
  17. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    So, FoodPump, when did you move to the PDRV? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/talker.gif
     
  18. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hey FoodCamp, sadly it sounds like you have plowed this field before, sadly, most reading here likley have...

    I can only speak from my Ontario experience, and mine is honestly very limited, I have had very a issues in my time, then I went private so i only hire casually or from an outside agency.

    I have several friends who own real places, ($5M+ in sales), so I use them as my Ontario example. One of them (I was just there as temp staff for a few shifts to help) had a case 8-9 months ago of a longer term line cook, long off probation who was simply a complete pain in the ass to all and sundry around him. He had good game on the line and knew his stuff, but was such a sullen and miserable P.I.T.A. for everyone else that no one, cooks, servers, catering staff, (even me in my very limited capacity), basicly anyone wanted to shove a knife in his ribs.

    My owner-friend actually told him, with me and his bar manager present to to either quit such a dick or find another job, with 3 written examples of why he was a dick. He grew up for a few weeks and then slumped back into old ways, to the point where he started yelling at the salad guy one night to "STOP USING MY FU***ING SALT!! in the middle of Saturday service, loud enough that I heard it while I happened to be sitting in the bar after a job 20 feet away.

    That was it...head chef was there, pulled him off the line and fired him on the spot for gross insubordination, told him to pack up, go home. They would pay the rest of his week, and send him his last check and holiday pay, and get lost. He was there 3 years, they gave him 2 months severance, far more than legally required to just get him out of there. A month later, the letter comes from a lawyer who thought it was unlawful blah, blah, blah, etc...my guy lawyers up ($250.00 per hour) and says "come and get me"...a few snotty letters were exchanged and to the best of my limited knowledge nothing has happened since. My guy is almost 30 years in the biz, 5 places over that time, all money makers and a true stud in the biz.

    The best solution??? I can't say, but I count this guy as one of my mentors, a sometime supplier when needed and a guy with 30+ years in...
     
  19. nomnom

    nomnom

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    I've been managing a kitchen for about a year and I've had to fire two people.

    The first guy always had some excuse for coming in late if even at all. I gave him two warnings and then before a shift told him he wasn't needed anymore. Being down a dishwasher can be tough on busy weeks.

    The second guy was a great cook but didn't fit real well in our kitchen. Butted heads with him alot and it all ended in him telling me to go F myself during a busy service because I asked him to do dishes. I told him to please leave and to not worry about coming in that I'd get his shifts covered.

    I think that as long as you are able to handle it calmly and you have the paper. In the end you have to remember what you did was for the good of the place. Chances are the person is weighing the place down or screwing things up. Bad egg is a bad egg.
     
  20. chefross

    chefross

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    What's difficult is when the "house" has no formal employee handbook that describes what is expected of the worker. Even then, few read the manual, so when push comes to shove the person has no clue.