“Open and Honest” Policy or “Help us to fire you!”

Run! Stay away from these companies like the plague! They are paranoid and with paranoia comes insecurity in the workplace. They have a moral agenda. The Open and Honest Policy is designed to lure you into thinking you’re safe if you report. Perhaps you had a DUI, or perhaps a domestic dispute in your personal life. You just saved them hours, days, weeks, months, years of searching the public domain on each and every employee in the company. Unless the charge against you completely goes away, they will fire you anyway.

It doesn’t matter if you’re number one out of a hundred in your region in sales, or just won an award in your field, you are replaceable. They feel no empathy for you in your situation and will not offer support. They don’t care how minor the infraction. Once you’ve been charged, it’s in the public domain. Yet, to gain this public information costs money. As a result, most court sentences would never be publicized. You still will be fired. The question is when.

The insidious nature of these companies is that they believe they have the right to knowledge of what you do on your own free time. They’ll consider your home a workplace. Your domestic dispute becomes “workplace violence”. I can understand companies terminating, as an example, an employee driver for a DUI, but it’s the insurance company that would have been the one following the DMV and it’s the insurance company that would have taken action. If the employee has been removed from the policy, then the employee cannot drive, and the employer has no need to keep him on.

My opinion? Do not report. Keep your predicament under wraps and do not let it affect your work. Most court action will allow you to select dates on your days off. The courts understand you are not likely to repeat the infraction, and are likely to repent, and atone while you have a job. Once you’ve accepted a plea deal, you will probably be required to report to Probation. Probation will verify your employment. (This is an area where I see a need for court reform. The courts require you to be employed, yet they’re the cause for your unemployment.) More than likely you will be terminated at this point. But you’ve maintained a paycheck this entire time. Hopefully,  you will have interviewed for other jobs, explained your legal complication, and found a company who doesn’t care, sees your value, and will support you.

Once you’ve been terminated, they will soil your employee file with a workplace related charge. You will find it hard to find a job. I say seek legal counsel. If they offer you a severance package, make sure it includes what you would have been due in PTO and will cover you for three months. To accept, you will be required to sign a document that says you will not litigate. Make sure that is what you want to do. The best course will have been to seek counsel beforehand to determine your best chances to litigate. If there’s legal precedence against what your company intends to do, you may want to turn down the severance.

One day, I intend to publish a list of these companies. The intent is to keep this policy from spreading and it will if left unchecked. Your Corporate Watch



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