For several years I worked in security for a company in Northwest Arkansas, and one of the most unpleasant things that we ever had to do was to escort terminated employees out of the building - much as Marvin Hilton was escorted out of the PEG Center on Friday.
For the most part they weren’t villains; they were just men and women who had fallen afoul of “company policy,” or had failed to live up to what some martinet had expected of them.
Those in upper management would hide behind the claim that it was Standard Operating Procedure. But those of us in security - as well as the co-workers of the fired employee - saw it as something else:
It was the company’s last chance to humiliate the terminated employee on their way out the door.
I always felt sick to my stomach - and furious - while escorting the person on their final walk through the company doors. There is an inhumanity to it that the sanctimonious powers-that-be never recognize - until it happens to them.
Below is part of an interesting article I discovered this morning written for the Cleveland Plain Dealer a few years ago, about this growing trend. I tried to post the link, but it wouldn’t take, but if you want to find it, just go to Google and type in:
perp walk - humiliation - terminated employees
Termination anxiety In today's tense business world, workers
often get the boot in cruel fashion
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Plain Dealer Reporter
Carole Rorrer was working at a Lorain County nursing home a few years ago when one day, while she measured medication for a patient, a boss approached.
Come to the office, she was told.
Once there, she got the employee's equivalent of a kick to the teeth.
She was fired.
She was ordered to surrender her keys, grab her coat and purse, leave immediately and never come back, according to Rorrer.
One of Rorrer's supervisors escorted her out of the building, parading her in front of co-workers and patients.
"I was in tears by that time," she says. "I was really humiliated. It was probably one of the most traumatizing moments of my life. It was terrible."
It's also not uncommon.
More and more companies, afraid their terminated employees will steal, sabotage or just go ape, are putting the "dis" in dismissal.
They have security guards watch the freshly fired as they clean out their desks and then walk them off the premises like Action News perps. Some companies have laid off workers using FedEx, voice mail or worse. Some simply lock them out of the building . . .