Saturday, March 25

New French Labor Law Permits firing of Bad Employees

Once again France is being torched by protestors. This time it is over what I would consider a law that is probably desperately needed in France, if not elsewhere.

The CPE was introduced as a way to tackle the high level of unemployment for young workers. French employers can hire workers under the age of 26, but can also fire workers without just cause within the first two years of employment. - Jurist

This is very simple issue. As an employer, I have an open job. I want to fill that position with the best person that I can find.

The last position that I had open, I eventually offered the job to the ninth temporary employee that we had doing the work. Two of the other temps quit, mainly because they were overqualified. The other six I fired. They were either too stupid, or too set in their ways, or just not interested in doing work. They needed a paycheck, but did not feel like working. Any one of these six would have made our office a miserable place if we had been forced to keep them.

Yes, they were stupid.

It is a hassle to hire a new clerk. The job is not difficult but it does require learning and it requires some competence on the part of the employee. It also involves contact with clients from around the world, which requires a certain degree of understanding as English is a second language for many of the clients. It is not required that they have this understanding when they are hired, but that they can learn how to work with these clients. They are however required to have general knowledge of world geography; Finland is in Europe. Canada is not part of the United States (yet). China and Taiwan are in fact two different Chinas, etc. Of course we are all not operating in the same time zone either. It is amazing how poor people's understanding of geography is. (not to mention their math and writing skills.)

We dedicated lots of time in an attempt to train each one of these temps. We want them to succeed, after all it is in all our benefit to get the new employee trained and contributing to the job at hand. So to decide to fire someone means that we have to start over again. That is a difficult thing to do to your staff.

Our office staff is part of a team. To think that a person is fired simply by the decision of a person in a corner office is silly. People get fired because the people they work with want them gone. How often is a great co-worker fired from your office, other than for cause? In all the cases but one, the person was fired because of complaints and feedback from the staff. So it was the coworkers who fired these people. It was just me who agreed with their criticism and pulled the trigger.

For the person looking for a job, this is a great rule. You see, you are competing against people more stupid (lazy) then you. Why should they get to keep a job just because they tricked those who hired them, or because they have a friend in the human resources department. So either you need to do good work, or your out while they look for a better employee. Think of it as an extended job interview.

This now permits companies to take a risk in hiring you. If it is a mistake they can just get rid of you. In the cases where they are looking to hire multiple people, they can fill both positions immediately, instead of waiting to see if the first choice was good or not. Instead of leaving positions empty, they can hire for those positions without the fear of being stuck with poor choices.

So who is rioting over this law in France? I am not sure, but I would not interested in hiring any of them. They do not look like people over 26. If anyone should complain, it should be those over 26. The law will not permit firing these people, so I would think that companies would be less likely to hire then than someone they can just get rid of.

In Virginia, there is a right to work law. Employees can be fired for no reason. In the five years working for the company, every employee that was fired, was fired for cause. In other words, they should have been fired. Employees do not feel like there is this constant threat of being fired. That is not the atmosphere at all. They know that the company needs them, because they are good workers.

The Virginia law also permits employees to quit with no prior notice. For every employee that has been fired at my company, at least two have quit with no notice. So I would think that employees benefit more. They can look for new work and if they find something, they just stop coming to their current job.

What is wrong with a company firing an employee anyway? Companies that abuse this right will find themselves in trouble.

Labor law talks between French PM and unions end in deadlock - Jurist
Paris Burning, Once Again - Washington Post
Concerns over violence intensify in France - International Herald Tribune

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