Job Loss; A Sad Story

Yesterday I had an unscheduled meeting with someone I’d been working closely with about two months ago as she went about looking for work. As she approached me I could quickly surmise that she had bad news to share from both the surprise of her visit and her body language.

Only seconds after she dropped into the chair across from me, she began welling up and then crying as she had lost her job as a Housekeeper with a large hotel chain. Now you might dismiss her situation as not all that big of a deal; after all, there are many hotel chains to work with and she lost an entry level job. Give this a second thought; it is a big deal.

You see prior to working together, she had been unemployed for about 10 years. The prospect at that time of finding employment didn’t seem very good to her; after all, ‘who would want me?’, she used to say. After working together for only 5 days she got not 1 but 4 job offers and was ecstatic. However that was then and this is now, so what happened?

In brief, it appears that the employer decided that after having had a complaint lodged against her, it was far easier to terminate her employment while in the probation period than it was to hear her side of the story at all and deliberate on whether to retain her services or not. That is telling of this chain and their commitment to their staff.

I get ahead of things though. The hotel guest was a frequent one; staying for days at a time when he took a room. Upon meeting up with him in the hotel hallway while performing her job, she inquired if he would like cleaning services one day as he had declined services on the day before. While he indicated that he would indeed like his room cleaned, he himself did not vacate the room. Now between you and me, if I am staying at a hotel, I don’t remain in the room when service is being completed. For one, I’m in the way. As for the employee, I’m not only a nuisance for them to work around, I’m also putting the two of us in an awkward position by being there together.  So, I always ensure I’m out of my room.

The guest apparently asked of her some inappropriate questions that should have been red flags; asking about whether prostitutes still frequented the hotel and whether she’d like to party with him sometime. These are entirely inappropriate and very suggestive and leading questions from which you can draw your own conclusions. As she was finishing up the room, she quickly excused herself saying she only had two more rooms to go and then she’d get off early for the day.  The guest replied  that since she was getting off early, maybe they could party after she was done.

As she left for the day, she and he made visual contact which communicated to him that she, in fact, was NOT going to be partying with him and she returned home. Late in the evening, police showed up at her home stating the guest was accusing her of stealing $10,000.00 from his room which threw her into a state of panic, confusion and shock. She called her employer immediately and relayed what had happened and asserted her innocence.

Next came the notice of dismissal; no chance of an explanation, no ‘we stand behind our employees’ moment, and bottom line no job. While unionized and paying union dues, no union representation as she hadn’t got past probation yet. Great situation right?

Can you imagine her anger against losing her job and having no recourse to explain or defend herself? The shame of being fired from a job which while maybe not YOUR dream job, was one she was good at and really enjoyed. In fact, she had previously told me how much she loved working with the other Housekeepers and had been told she was doing a great job.

Well, at this point she was telling me how much effort it had taken her to come in and tell me face-to-face because she didn’t want to let me down. What? Really? On top of a bad experience, here she was not wanting to disappoint her mentor and coach. Amazing! Anyhow, I assured her I believed her and believed in her.  Then I reminded her that she received 4 job offers after applying the ideas I’d shared with her and that she could do so again.

She was also angry about how easily someone could make an allegation and ruin another person’s life; that maybe legal action was necessary to prove her innocence and make sure this didn’t happen again to someone else. Was the $10,000.00 just a ruse because she had not taken him up on his advances? Was there ever any $10,000.00 at all or had he gambled it away at some nearby casino and needed an excuse? Who knows? My advice was forget any lawsuit and move on.

With only 2 months spent in the job, best keep it off the resume altogether so the, ‘Why did you leave your last job?” question isn’t asked and start fresh.

Too bad these kinds of situations come up and are real but they do. Hopefully together we can get her back working soon. Be careful out there people.

Written By Kelly Mitchell

Job Loss; A Sad Story was originally published @ Employment Counselling with Kelly Mitchell and has been syndicated with permission.


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