Uncommon side: The tricky Tylers -- part II

Part I of our case was presented in the November 1997 issue of Plant Engineering. Readers will recall that Grace Tyler had a fine job. The pay was good and she was well treated. Those circumstances sounded just fine to her husband, Frank Tyler, too.

04/01/1998


Part I of our case was presented in the November 1997 issue of Plant Engineering.

Readers will recall that Grace Tyler had a fine job. The pay was good and she was well treated. Those circumstances sounded just fine to her husband, Frank Tyler, too. Tyler, an experienced carpenter, said, "Wouldn't it be great if I could get a job at your plant?"

Knowing the company's nepotism policy, Grace told him to forget it. He didn't. Representing himself as a widower, Frank applied for a job and was hired. Then, after faking a romance, the Tylers announced that they had secretly wed. Soon it became known that the Tylers had in fact been married all along. But Frank was a good worker, so Maintenance Foreman Joe Hazen closed his eyes to the deceit.

Months later, Frank aggressively supported a union that was trying to get into the plant. This did him in. Both Tylers were terminated for Frank's falsification of his marital status at the time of employment.

The virtually unanimous opinion of readers is that management is barking up the wrong tree in trying to fire the Tylers. By not taking immediate action on becoming aware of the falsification, respondent Mike Grant writes, the company, in effect, condoned it. Since it was to the company's advantage to keep the Tylers employed, it is obvious that the termination was not sparked by the deception, but by Frank's union activity.

Respondent Raymond Smith concurs. The Tylers can successfully fight the dismissal, he says, because in view of Frank's union support, the reason for termination is clear. His good record adds strength to their case.

"The operational word here is 'motivation,' with retaliation clearly the trigger," Human Side expert Professor Seymour J. Fader says. He also wonders, "When the Tylers announced their 'secret' wedding, didn't it occur to anyone to check Grace's employment application, which would have included her marital status?"

Educator and consultant Leonard J. Smith says, "Management forfeited its right to take future action against the Tylers the minute it closed its eyes to the deception." Although deceit is never condonable, he adds, "Misrepresentation to seek employment is not the world's greatest sin. And turning a blind eye to the falsification when it was in the company's best interest to do so is an indication that Foreman Joe Hazen agrees."





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