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I had to fire someone today.

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Myname posted 6/4/2014 19:33 PM

For those of you who don't know I'm a landscaper.

He just started with me but was having trouble with the heat. It's not even hot here yet. It will get another 20 degrees hotter this summer. He's had to stop 3 of the 6 days he's been with me. When I mean stop I mean sit down for 30 minutes or more.

Today he got sick and almost threw up. I had to put him in the air conditioned truck for 3 hours.

I don't have a problem firing someone that isn't showing up or is always late. The thing is he was showing up on time and trying really hard. He was a good kid. This was his first job.

I told him I couldn't keep him on because the heat was too much for him and I didn't want him ending up in the hospital. He looked like he was going to cry.

I feel horrible.

I know that it was the right decision. I can't pay him to sit in the truck while we work and if he tries to fight through it he really will get hurt. I just feel bad that he has to go home and say he got fired because he couldn't hack it. Nobody wants to do that. I know he liked working with us even though it was hard.

nowiknow23 posted 6/4/2014 19:36 PM

Blergh. It's clear that wasn't the right job for him, but I'm sorry you had to do that, MyName.

Williesmom posted 6/4/2014 19:38 PM

I'm sorry. That's hard.

LosferWords posted 6/4/2014 19:39 PM

Ugh. You definitely did do the right thing, absolutely, no question, IMHO. That had to be real hard, though, I bet.

Amazonia posted 6/4/2014 19:47 PM

That's tough. Is there anything else he could help with, like the books, or advertising, or preparing bills or anything like that?

jo2love posted 6/4/2014 19:48 PM

I'm sorry.

Darkness Falls posted 6/4/2014 19:59 PM

Sorry to hear this. Poor kid. I work in the heat as well and it gets crazy here in the summertime. I started during the (southern) winter...being honest, if I had started in the summer months I might not have been able to continue. Luckily I had those months to get used to the pace and level of physicality before it got really hot.

Hopefully your ex-employee will find the job that's the right fit for him! You gotta do what you gotta do as the boss.

Myname posted 6/4/2014 20:04 PM

Ama I don't really have any thing else for him to do. And to be honest, I think I would like a clean break. YKWIM

Jeaniegirl posted 6/4/2014 20:39 PM

MyName, how about a nice letter of reference so that he could present it to his next potential employer (if it's not outside in the heat) You could stress how punctual and dependent he was. That should make you feel better and also help him.

Dreamboat posted 6/4/2014 21:03 PM

MyName,
Don't feel badly. You did the right thing. If you had not let him go then he would have pushed himself to the point where he would have ended up in the hospital. That would have been bad in sooo many ways.

Some people's bodies just cannot handle the heat. I am like that. I used to be ok until I got heat exhaustion one time and since then I know that if it over 80-85 degrees then I need to stay inside or find a place in the shade with a breeze and not exert myself. I feel like a wuss, but I know my body just does not cool itself well and I DO NOT want to get heat exhaustion again. Meanwhile I watch my DD run track in 90+ in the sun and 80% humidity... she did not get those genes from me

purplejacket4 posted 6/4/2014 21:26 PM

You did the right thing. He sounds like he was having heat exhaustion that would have become a heat stroke. Some people can not acclimate from air conditioning in the schools to the heat. Someone like him would need to start outdoor work in the spring and acclimate slowly with the changing seasons.

hurtbs posted 6/4/2014 22:16 PM

You did the right thing, even though it sucks. If you can, reach out and offer to be a positive reference for him. As you said, he showed up on time and tried very hard - he just couldn't handle outdoor, physical labor, in extreme temperatures. That won't matter if he's folding sweaters at the GAP or waiting tables, but what will matter is that he has a good work ethic. It could also help to cut the sting of losing his job.

Myname posted 6/4/2014 23:27 PM

I told him when he left that he could use me as a reference.

My other employee (who I told to keep an eye on him too) pointed out to me that he was tiring out a lawn or 2 before he got sick. He offered him some Gatorade and he didn't take it.

I know the signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion. I could see he was getting there. I was telling him to drink more water all day and he wasn't drinking enough. I could see it. This day could have ended much worse than it did. I'm glad I wouldn't let him work because he was willing to keep going after a 45 minute break.

heartbroken_kk posted 6/4/2014 23:50 PM

You did the right thing. No question about it. One of the responsibilities that comes with being an employer is *caring* for your employees' well-being. You cared. You protected him. You released him. You gave him a chance and a learning experience, and sent him off so he could find more suitable work for his body.

little turtle posted 6/5/2014 09:20 AM

I'm glad you let him go before he got seriously hurt. Sorry that you had to experience that. Hopefully the next guy will be able to take the heat!!

tushnurse posted 6/5/2014 09:26 AM

You did the smart thing. Make sure he knows you are willing to give him a letter of recommendation, and be done with it.

On the other hand if he couldn't hack the heat, he can end up very sick.

I took care of kid when I was a brand new nurse, he was 19, and doing roofing work. He was big, 6'4" and all muscle, he ended up with Hyperthermia, and died. Some people just can't work in the heat. You certainly wouldn't want that to happen to this kid. He can go get a job at McDonalds, or Home Depot.

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