Human Side of Engineering

In the March 1999 issue of Plant Engineering, Human Side of Engineering presented "Uncommon side: Disloyal assistant -- Part I.
By Raymond Dreyfack August 1, 1999

In the March 1999 issue of Plant Engineering , Human Side of Engineering presented “Uncommon side: Disloyal assistant — Part I.”

In Part I, Chief Engineer Joel Chase instructed his assistant, Senior Engineer Greg Bradley, to fire Fred Pillsbury, 62, because, according to Chase, he had “outlived his usefulness.” Pillsbury filed an age discrimination complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. The EEOC investigator assigned to the case interviewed Bradley, who explained that he had been instructed by his superior to fire Pillsbury. He also repeated Chase’s age-related remarks. As a result, Pillsbury was reinstated with back pay.

When word got back to Chase about what had happened, he believed that Bradley had displayed disloyalty and decided that a demotion was in order. He removed “senior” from Bradley’s title, and cut $12,000 from his annual salary.

When Plant Engineer Carl Holt was informed of Bradley’s demotion with “disloyalty” cited as justification, he summoned Chase to his office. In Holt’s place, what action would you take?

Cases for “Uncommon side” are drawn from actual plant experiences. If you have a problem in human relations or labor relations on which you’d like professional opinions and the viewpoints of others, we’d like to hear from you. Names and situations are changed to protect the privacy of the person who presents the problem.

If your problem is chosen for publication, Plant Engineering magazine will send you a check for $100. Write to Human Side of Engineering, Plant Engineering magazine, 2000 Clearwater Dr., Oak Brook, IL 60523; fax: 630-320-7145.