I go to a local Carl’s Jr. Restaurant once in a while. On a recent visit I saw something that appaled me. The Restaurant Manager was sitting in a booth, in the customer section giving as employee a write up conference.
A write up conference is what needs to take place when an employee gets a written warning for one of various infractions of corporate policy or rules in the Employee Handbook. Many corporations have them. They give the corporate representative an opportunity to go over what the employee did wrong, offer the employee an opportunity to give their version of events or reasons for the misconduct and then a written warning is issued to the employee. Depending on the mindset of the corporation, these conferences can range from an actual opportunity for the employee to justify their actions and avoid getting the formal written notice of misconduct to just a perfunctory necessity which is meant to give both the employee and the public the illusion of fairness.
The employee being written up was loudly disagreeing with the written notice, protesting that he did what he was accused of because his supervisor told him to do it. His protestations were noticed by everyone in the restaurant, employees and customers. I used to see that man every time I came in and I really didn’t need to know what he did and how it violated corporate policies. The man finally stated that he would sign the “write up”, as an acknowledgement that the conference had taken place but that he disagreed with the Manager’s assessment and assignment of blame.
Fuming, I went to the Carl’s Jr. website and tried to dash off a complaint but their website was not working properly so I had to call their 800 number. When the man answered, I believe his name was Charles, I complained about their website not working properly and I told him I wanted to file a complaint about what I saw transpire at one of their restaurants. He asked me what I wanted to complain about. I told him that A Manager was giving an employee a write up conference in a booth where the customers sit, in public, in front of customers. Charles response was “What’s wrong with that?”
I told him that I go to that location often and I see that employee all the time. I told him I didn’t really need to know that he violated a company policy. I also let him know that I felt it was wrong to publicly reprimand employees. Charles took my complaint and my phone number and told me that a regional director would take my complaint and call me back with a response. That was about a week ago. No one ever called me. I did return to the location and discovered that the man was cut down from five to three days a week. I am unsure if that was a result of his transgression or n retaliation for my complaint against his manager.
When a corporation’s mindset disregards public humiliation of its employees it creates a toxic working environment. When that corporation serves the public, that toxicity can create a health hazard for the public. When the person on the other end of a complaint hotline asks what’s wrong with a manager publicly humiliating an employee and when the reprimanded employee gets a cut in working days it makes one wonder if there is a cause and effect relationship. I have stopped eating at Carl’s Jr. and if you are against public reprimand as an assault on human dignity, I invite you to do the same.
In True Faith,
The Prophet of Life
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