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advice needed

January 5th, 2007 at 08:07 am

Devastating news today - my father was fired from his job yesterday. He worked there for 25 years. They have been slowly trying to force him out for the last several months...it's a long story, but the end result is that now, he's jobless.

He has no college degree. My mother has an AA degree but has not worked in 24 years. My sister has 1.5 years of college left.

How can I help them?

I asked them to send me their resumes so I can update them. I told him to ask friends for job references. He is getting a severence package, but it won't amount to much after taxes.

What does one do after 25 years?? I can't believe the audacity.

Your thoughts, suggestions, advice...all welcome.

18 Responses to “advice needed”

  1. fern Says:

    What kind of work did your father do? What kind of background does he have? Is he close to retirement or want to stay in the workforce?

    First thing of course is for him to file for unemployment benefits; it may not be a lot, but certainly will be some help in paying bills.

  2. kashi Says:

    He worked in computers and was a supervisor for many years. Hard to explain what he did - he was on the file processing end of things. He used to work in construction (bad back now, can't do it).

    He has to stay in the workforce. They have no retirement, other than the pension he was supposed to get, which he will now only get a fraction of. He would have received his full pension had they let him work three more years. It looks like my mother will have rejoin the workforce as well.

    I mentioned unemployment benefits to them and they will file soon. Also mentioned seeking an employment attorney for a consult.

  3. Broken Arrow Says:

    Ouch. Here's to hoping that he will find a suitable replacement job soon.

  4. boomeyers Says:

    Good idea to consult with a lawyer, could be discrimination of some sort (ie. too cheap to pay him his pension!) If he is in computers, he should be able to get a job anywhere. Maybe he should just enjoy unemployment for a while. If not, banks are a quick and easy place to get jobs, just not sure what he could qualify for. Or an IT director somewhere.

  5. Sindel Says:

    Oh dear, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope things work out for him soon.

    I think its good that you're trying to help out.

  6. DivaJen Says:

    Is there any way he can get into freelance/consulting work?

    What an awful thing to do to someone. I'm glad they're going to talk to an attorney, just in case.

  7. Cheetahwoman7 Says:

    I would contact your state labor board. Generally there's a branch of it in almost any city. I had to do that when I was let go from a job and they didn't want to give me my final paycheck. The "counselor" not only mediated the dispute, but I got my paycheck AND two weeks additional pay because I hadn't been notified before they let me go.

    Check it out. The labor board might be able to help if it was discriminatory (age, pay, retirement, ethnic background) like boomeyers said.

    I would also contact their telephone and gas&electric company and tell them of their situation. They can be put on the programs that reduce the monthly cost of each of those. Have them start to cut back NOW and not spend like they still have a job. It will save them piece of mind if the job search stretches out over a long period of time. (I hope not, but just in case.)

    Hope that helps some,
    CJ Smile
    Hope that helps.

  8. Enough Wealth Says:

    On a personal level this obviously sucks, big time! I hope your father finds a new job.

    These days (for the past 20 years actually) there is no longer a "social contract" between a company and its workers. Companies lay off staff whenever they're not needed and/or too expensive. By the same token, skilled staff will quit at the drop of a hat if they can get a few bucks more, or better conditions, elsewhere. I've heard of cases where a new recruit has quit after a couple of weeks in the job, just because a better offer came along. So it cuts both ways. But this doesn't make it any easier when it happens to you or your loved ones.

    Ten years ago my previous employer laid me off when they decided to eliminate some non-profitable research teams (I was a research scientist). Luckily I used the opportunity to change career paths and, although I initially had to take a salary cut, I ended up making more than I would have in my old position. Unfortunately it looks like your dad is too old for this to be viewed as an "opportunity".

    BTW - my old company also laid off a man at their Sth African branch who was only 1 year away from reaching retirement age and getting his full pension. This seems to happen all too often these days.

    Hopefully your dad can find a similar position at similar salary. Unemployment isn't too high, so if he has the skills he should be able to find similar employment (unless his job has become redundant throughout the industry or you have local unemployment issues).

    Looking at it dispassionately, if he lacks the skills to win a similar job, then from his employers point of view he probably wasn't "worth" what he was getting paid at his old job, which is why he got canned. Or they may have just found a way to automate the stuff he used to do. Unfortunately the days when 25 years loyal service meant you were entitled to a job to retirement age, and a gold watch upon retirement, are long gone.

  9. mjrube94 Says:

    I am so sorry to hear that! I hate hearing about bad things happening to good people. What a crappy way to start off the new year...

    I'm with Boo and Cheetah, as far as the labor board and utilities go. And if they don't already have a budget, I'm sure you could definitely help them work one out.

    As for DS with the 1.5 years off college left, I don't mean to sound harsh, but I don't think they can be worrying about her now. Does she work while she attends classes? Can she pick up extra credits over the next two semesters and finish early? Does she already have a mound of student loans, or can she take some out? Absolute worst case scenario, can she transfer to a less expensive state school?

    Good luck, and keep us posted...

  10. fairy74 Says:

    Good luck to your dad, that is really tough...good advice about consulting with an attorney, labor board, making utilities/phone aware of situation and filing for unemployment. I also agree with the advice about the child still in college, but I would go even further, can that child get a full-time job and go to school part-time (at night, online, etc...) or if unwilling to do that get some student loans...it seems like your parents have enough to be worrying about now on their own..Once again good luck to you all!

  11. kashi Says:

    Good advice. I'm thinking my mom should apply to every bank in the area.

    Thanks for the labor board heads up, and the utilities thing...I will definitely pass that along. I wouldn't have thought of that.

    My father definitely has skills, and was working 60 hour weeks before this. They haven't automated, just replaced him. Honestly I think it was a we-don't-like-you thing, combined with a we-don't-want-to-pay-your-pension thing. I find it absolutely ludicrous to tell someone that their work style doesn't fit in with the company after 25 years of working there. Does that even make sense?? 6 months, yes - 25 years? No.

    You're right, I don't think they can worry about my sister now either (but I know they are). She has not worked, she hasn't had the time because she is either in the lab or studying all the time (I wish I was exaggerating). She's maxed out her course load every semester and has 1.5 years left. She has a ton of student loans and is going to have to ask for more now. And, yeah, she's already at an inexpensive state school. Unfortunately she will probably have to get a job, which is going to be really hard on her grades.

    How can employers like this sleep at night??

    Thanks for your support.

  12. nance Says:

    Two people, that I know, were fired, and hired a lawyer, and got their jobs back. Unless your dad did something they have documented, that would be upheld, a good lawyer might be worth the money. It would be especially powerful if they could show that he was fired becaue in three years, his pension would cost the company more money.
    Good luck to him.

  13. fern Says:

    If his skills are up to date, consulting or temporary work in his field might be the way to go. IBM, for instance, is known for laying off its employees, only to hire them back as 'consultants,' cus it saves them money vis a vis benefits.

    He might want to schedule a few meetings with area employment agencies.

  14. living_in_oz Says:

    I know everybody is concerned right now, but I'm sure things will work out. Actually, the fact that your parents are older will probably work to their advantage. My brother does the hiring for his company and he always hires "more established" folks if given the chance. #1 They don't have small children so they don't have to take time off for children's sickness and school stuff. #2 They have a much better work ethic than younger people. They actually give 100%, as opposed to today's youth that want everything given to them.
    I'm not sure if I helped you any or not!LOL Good luck to your parents!

  15. Carolina Bound Says:

    I agree with Nance. If your dad's employers fired him just because they don't like him after 25 years (and a pension is looming), I'll bet anything they haven't properly documented a case against him. I'll bet he could sue to get his job back or for damages.

  16. Amorphous Says:

    Dear Kashi,
    I am truly sorry to hear this!
    I pray he finds something real soon.
    If you have a resume' please let me know. I have worked with software recruiters. I should be able to do something.. cannot promise anything..
    Please email me asap.

  17. LuckyRobin Says:

    Yikes. Not a fun situation at all. It smacks horribly of discrimination and not wanting to pay the pension to me. I do hope they pursue this legally.

  18. baselle Says:

    It think everyone else had it right, but please encourage your family to pursue all possibilities -

    dad to pursue his unemployment benefits as soon as possible. It takes a week after you apply for the benefits to kick in. Also want to go to the state labor board. You have to be given 60 days notice, and there has to be cause, and more cause than "we don't want to pay your pension." Heck, so many companies don't want to pay anyone's pension.

    sis should pursue the possibility of work-study and part time work. I know, quaint, but I did the heavy-duty work study thing when I went to college - biology major, so plenty of lab work. I know things are different than when I went, but I think its better that than drop out completely.

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