Debate was sparked when a boss asked the internet if he would be in the wrong for firing an employee with a “very very sick” wife.
Published to Reddit’s r/AmITheA**hole forum, a boss under the anonymous username u/ExistingClaim6030 shared his story in order to get the opinions of the Reddit community. The viral post has over 4,000 upvotes and 1,000 comments.
“Recently, I learned that our company is doing layoffs,” the original poster (OP) began, “I’ll have to let one person among my 4 subordinates go. It came down to choosing one of the 3 least-experienced ones who were all hired about 2 years ago.”
About a month ago, all of their employees were doing pretty well, until one of their employees, whom he called “A,” had a wife who was hospitalized and became very sick. A said that the doctors don’t think she’s going to make it and how he is constantly taking care of his two “inconsolable” children and always goes to help his wife.
Unfortunately for A’s work performance and productivity, he hasn’t been doing well as he is very distracted. The OP wrote that ever since he returned to work from his initial leave, he has been arriving to work late, leaving early, taking many phone calls and being less productive and focused. When the OP talked to A about it, he was very apologetic but nothing about his work performance changed.
The Reddit user is “99 percent sure” A needs the job for their good health insurance and if they indeed lay him off, it will affect him drastically. The fact that he hasn’t left the job already if he has other health insurance further convinces the OP.
The user wrote, “I tried to explain to HR and my superiors about this, and how it would be very bad for team morale for me to lay him off (the others all know, A’s been pretty open about this to us), and asked for more time or something. They told me the downsizing decision was set in stone well above them, and there was nothing they could do.
“One of them suggested FMLA, but our local office of the company only has about 40 employees (and we’re in a small town that’s way more than 75 miles away from any of our other locations) so I think that means he’d be ineligible,” they continued.
The OP explained that it was their job and needed to keep their emotions out of it and wrote “Don’t blame me, blame capitalism and the American healthcare system.” He’s been trying to make their decision after hearing thoughts from their friends and family.
Newsweek reached out to u/ExistingClaim6030 for comment.
Do you qualify for FMLA? The Family and Medical Leave Act allows an employee to have unpaid time off for “specified family and medical reasons” with health care coverage provided by covered companies.
When an employee uses the FMLA, they have 12 workweeks within a 12-month period for maternity leave, the care of a sick family member, spouse or child, the care of the employee themselves or if the employee adopts a child. If an employee is taking care of a veteran, they are granted twenty-six workweeks within a 12-month period.
For you to be qualified for FMLA, you have to be employed with an eligible employee for at least 12 months, have at least 1,250 working hours before the leave and work in a company with more than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Newsweek has many articles regarding work-related issues, including how an employee was denied unpaid medical leave despite never taking time off.
Redditors were quick to comment their opinion in the comment section.
“[You’re the a**hole] Their work has always been fine. They’re currently dealing with extreme circumstances. Essentially, you are laying them off because of their wife’s illness. That’s abominable,” u/numtini wrote. Many other Redditors agreed with the user as they received over 14,000 upvotes for their comment.
U/BigOleJellyDonut said, “[You’re the a**hole], 1000%. Just change places with him, how would you handle it? Have you ever had a severely ill partner? Well I have and the stress is unbearable. You have to live with yourself! I couldn’t be that cold & uncaring.”
“[No a**holes here]. But please don’t lay him off. I hear what you’re saying about his job performance, but this is one of the hardest moments of his life. It would literally not be possible for him to continue working at his normal level with what’s going on. If you don’t know what that’s like, consider yourself lucky. One day you will. The loss of this insurance may mean the loss of her healthcare, and by extension, her life,” u/naptivist commented.
“First of all, you aren’t an [a**hole] anyway. HR is forcing you to fire someone. That isn’t up to you. You will f**k over someone anyways. No matter what, someone is hurt,” u/TheRunningMD admitted.