Boss held contest on which employee would be fired next

Party Rooster

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#1
Boss held contest on which employee would be fired next

Posted 10/6/11 10:43 a.m.
BETTANDORF, Iowa (WLS) - The owner of an Iowa convenience store chain has been called "the boss from hell" by a former worker who claims he offered prize money to employees who predicted which of their colleagues would be fired next.

A judge deciding an unemployment benefits case involving William Ernst, the owner of a Bettandorf, Iowa-based chain of QC Marts, found his "contest" to be "egregious and deplorable."

According to court records, Ernst issued a memo to workers in March that read, "NEW CONTEST - GUESS THE NEXT CASHIER WHO WILL BE FIRED !!!"

The memo explained the rules of a game in which employees were told to write the name of the next cashier they thought would be fired, along with the date and their own name on a piece of paper. Those who guessed correctly would win a $10 prize.

"And no fair picking Mike Miller from Rockingham," the memo added in boldfaced capital letters. "He was fired at around 11:30 a.m. today for wearing a had [sic] and talking on his cell phone. Good luck!!!!"

Misty Shelsky of Davenport, Iowa, had worked at a QC Mart for two years as a cashier. The 32-year-old mother of three initially thought the memo was a prank. When she found out the contest was not a joke, she, her store manager, and two others quit.

"It made me physically ill to think about writing someone's name down," she said. "These are my friends. And it made me sick to think someone would do that to me. Everyone's head was on the chopping block."

When Shelsky applied for unemployment benefits, Ernst contested the claim, saying she had left voluntarily.

Shelsky said she had little choice.

"That memo created an extremely hostile [environment] for us and it pitted employee against employee," she said.

Court records also include letters from other QC Mart employees who called the contest "bizarre and unprofessional." Another said it "created an atmosphere of distrust, intimidation and paranoia."

In the hearing before a judge, Anna DeFrieze, a supervisor with QC Marts, defended the contest. She said it took aim at employees who had a history of disregarding company policy.

"This fax was meant toward employees, like Misty herself, who refused to follow the rules," DeFrieze said. "If you're breaking the rules you need to stop. They're repeatedly told not to use their phones while working. Bad language is unacceptable. Playing video games, unacceptable. ... None of them was doing their jobs. "

But, the judge ruled in Shelsky's favor, saying she should not be barred from receiving unemployment insurance because, although she quit, she had "good cause attributable to the employer."

In her written decision, Administrative Law Judge Susan D. Ackerman said that Ernst "clearly created a hostile work environment by suggesting employees turn on each other for a minimal monetary prize."
http://www.wlsam.com/Article.asp?id=2303858&spid=
 

Hog's Big Ben

Getting ass-***** in The Octagon, brother.
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Jul 28, 2005
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#2
"That memo created an extremely hostile [environment] for us and it pitted employee against employee"

For $10? No, it didn't.

Sounds like peer review to me. What's the problem?
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
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#3
Judges don't make laws, they just apply them. I disagree with the law, but I agree with the ruling.
 
Sep 28, 2010
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#4
Obviously they haven't seen the supermarket scene in American history x.
 

mascan42

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Aug 26, 2002
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#5
"That memo created an extremely hostile [environment] for us and it pitted employee against employee," she said.
No it didn't. The employees weren't being asked to suggest who should be fired next. They were just being asked to bet on who would be the next lazy fuck to screw up. Nobody wants to be the odds-on favorite in this contest, so you'd think it would serve as motivation to straighten up. Instead, it served as motivation for a lawsuit. Because this is America.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
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#6
i worked at a shop that every 90days they would pick a name out of a hat, anyone that had been there less than 90days got there name put in the hat 3 times, the three owners would pull out the names if two of them pulled your name... pack your shit because your not going to have to clock back in from lunch. mine got pulled on my 88th day
 
Jun 2, 2005
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#8
i worked at a shop that every 90days they would pick a name out of a hat, anyone that had been there less than 90days got there name put in the hat 3 times, the three owners would pull out the names if two of them pulled your name... pack your shit because your not going to have to clock back in from lunch. mine got pulled on my 88th day
I worked for a boss who would fix "motivational" contests. Some times he would be giving a sort of pep talk, then out of nowhere slam $300 in $1 bills against the ceiling, like it was some sort of impromptu bonus or something. People would scramble around to pick up the cash, and the guy who got the most gets told "Congratulations! There's your severance!" Basically, if you were that excited about $1 bills you weren't going to make it in this business.

I've worked for some real pricks. This guy is just creative and kooky.
 

Motor Head

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Jan 23, 2006
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#9
The boss from hell??? Please. I've worked for some serious scumfucks in my life and a contest on who would be fired next is laughable.
 

Party Rooster

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Apr 27, 2005
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#10
I've been really lucky. I've only worked for one asshole boss since I was a teenager. I outlasted him anyway and was offered his job when they fired him.
 
Jun 2, 2005
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Dallas
#11
I've been really lucky. I've only worked for one asshole boss since I was a teenager. I outlasted him anyway and was offered his job when they fired him.
If you really want to get into energy or sales, or even worse, sales in energy, you'll fix that real quick.
 

Creasy Bear

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#13
First prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired.

 
Jan 9, 2006
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Delmar, NY
#14
i worked at a shop that every 90days they would pick a name out of a hat, anyone that had been there less than 90days got there name put in the hat 3 times, the three owners would pull out the names if two of them pulled your name... pack your shit because your not going to have to clock back in from lunch. mine got pulled on my 88th day
I worked for a boss who would fix "motivational" contests. Some times he would be giving a sort of pep talk, then out of nowhere slam $300 in $1 bills against the ceiling, like it was some sort of impromptu bonus or something. People would scramble around to pick up the cash, and the guy who got the most gets told "Congratulations! There's your severance!" Basically, if you were that excited about $1 bills you weren't going to make it in this business.
Gotta love the logic in these two situations. Why would you want to risk losing a good employee to chance? And why would you punish someone that is willing to pick money up off the floor? Guys like this just aren't interested in running a more successful business with happy employees. They just like to watch people squirm.
 
Jun 2, 2005
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Dallas
#15
Gotta love the logic in these two situations. Why would you want to risk losing a good employee to chance? And why would you punish someone that is willing to pick money up off the floor? Guys like this just aren't interested in running a more successful business with happy employees. They just like to watch people squirm.
IN my case, it's a "no one is safe, you earn your spot every single day" thing. It was possible to make $10k a day in that business (though very, very unlikely, possible), so people would sometimes get big paychecks then slack off for a few weeks. Kind of a demotivational motivational thing.