The man appears to have inadvertently clicked like on a tweet while dealing with a large influx of support messages (due to a promo going on) thanking Marriott for listing Tibet as its own country which was a huge no-no due to Mariott's presence in China. Execs fire him as a part of their "sorry China" grovelling.
My kneejerk is to believe fired man. I've clicked like on things by accident browsing regular Twitter, never mind a support system designed to skim through hundreds of requests. Unfortunately belief isn't going to restore the job, this is another lesson for the pile that companies will axe employees over fixing (heck, explaining) a problem with the system. It's the cheapest option.
If liking a tweet will infuriate the largest (by population) country in the world, maybe $14/hr support agents shouldn't be able to one-click like tweets.
Another question does occur - if it's such a big deal for them, why is/was Tibet listed as its own country in their system that prompted the liked tweet in the first place?
If I were China, I'd probably demand the firing of someone more consequential than a random minimum wage worker who had little to deal with the insult in the first place.
Of course not. They'd just ignore you. Not force you to suspend online sales to your 300 stores in the country. Why is there always someone willing to twist things into a pretzel in search of moral equivalence when it comes to China or Russia? There's no pot. There's no kettle. Using your leverage to force a company to stop doing business for a liked tweet is uncool for any country.
That's because there's no threat to them. If the situation was tenser, and there was some open controversy about Hawaii, with another superpower taking sides, they could do all that, and worse.
It's not the "liked tweet" itself, it's having come into attention, people demanding something to be done, media blowing it, etc.
Tons of similar gaffes go by without an incident as well...
There’s really no good reason for the decades long embargo against Cuba except that the US considered it an enemy all nations partake in to pursue political goals.
(Why bring up US foreign policy again? Many don't agree with those decisions either and it's unrelated.)
If you meant just the American people, well not all Chinese side with China on the Tibet issue, but most do. But then that’s personal opinions and you can’t really blame them for having a personal opinion.
Using political leverage to force an outcome is inevitable, and frankly, discussing right or wrong on the matter is pointless as you cannot ever achieve politically neutral policy. All policy is enacted with a certain goal so it cannot be neutral by definition (unless your policy does nothing).
Either China wants Tibet as part of its territory or it doesn’t. In either case it will use its political powers to further whatever the goal is.
You are free to criticize America. People, including politicians, regularly do so. China, despite claiming to be a strong, ascendant power, is remarkably sensitive when it comes to such fictions as there being one China or the historicity of their nine-dash line.
Also, though the USA certainly was a conquerer -- few powers on this violent planet were forged in peace -- it's also the foremost defender of the modern rules-based order. There are Hawaii and the Mexican-American war in its past, but there are also Japan and Micronesia closer to today.
Legally you are, yes. However it’s not seen that way but a large swath of people including the current president - the NFL kneeling/sitting controversy being an example.
It’s no different from say US enforcing political policies such as the Nixon era drug wars against black and other poor minorities, sanctions against Russia to deter their invasion of Ukraine, US withdrawal from the TPP, denying aid in retaliation to Central American countries if they refuse to enact anti-drug law or specific policies (policies that only really serve the short term interests of the politician in office).
Denying a foreign company certain rights is not inherently any different from a preferential tariff such as the ones Trump is trying to enact. Doing so for political purposes—well that’s the whole point of the government: every move it makes is politically or policy motivated.
I wonder how many people are/will be affected by current DHS policy….
Also like another comment here said, with the passage of the CLOUD act (which mostly legalizes behavior that of which was already being engaged in), the US can get foreign powers to act on their behalf if they so choose.
As an US citizen who has been living abroad for almost two years now, I'm not here to point out equivalencies, but state that technology will be leveraged by those who see fit regardless of the country or if one believes in their "foremost defender of the modern rules-based order".
>This difference is essential.
Only if one believes it to be so (and I suspect many people do), though the ones who seem to suffer most will be the poor and the marginalized, and will continue to be so long after when the war drums eventually stop and the battles breakout…
What'd England and the commonwealth do now?
Maybe he was talking about Spain, Portugal, or the Netherlands.
Historically, in terms of area, or percentage of (world) population involved, there are strong contenders for the title, other than the one you mention. Not to mention, some capital cities are stuffed with treasures they looted a millennium ago - so if you mean "the amount of conquest summarized over history" then your "greatest conqueror" doesn't seem that special at all.
Do you have an actual example of someone being fired for claiming that Hawai'i was its own country?
Edit: apparently you don't. Your analogy does not hold water.
And my point was that it was a very poor analogy.
"we even have laws against doing business with BDS supporters in some states"
Link? I see some laws against state governments doing business with those companies, but nothing that says that a private business (like Marriott) has to fire supporters of that movement, nor do we have laws that prohibit those companies from doing business at all.
You can make up all sorts of excuses about how it’s for national security, but from the otherside it looks like the US is simply unfairly preventing a Chinese company from competing in a foreign market that it has not natural entitlement to.
Whether or not the reasons for it are true, the reality is it has real financial consequences for Chinese electronics companies, even if they are fully legitimate and with good intentions. Thus it’s an example of how the US is potentially using political power to suppress foreign influence.
Here is a link for your convenience too: https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/12/us-government-agencies-zte...
As well as our most notable internal conflict was trying to split the country in half, and you still have a good chunk of supporters for it in the south. And the only real thing that offends people about that support is the racist underpinnings; and a common joke is that California should split off and form its own country (and take its politics with it).
It's hard for me to imagine that many would care if hawaiians also joined in and started claiming sovereignty.
Perhaps when they actually attempt to split off, but until then
Case in point: our current President called the last President a Muslim born in Kenya. People take offense, but overall its an understanding that speech is free in the USA.
But do you really think it is so unrealistic that many Americans would be offended by such a statement? Let’s not pretend it is somehow surprising that people might be very insulted by being told what they consider part of their country should be returned, especially by foreigners.
The article does mention that twitter is blocked in China, and therefore that the social media storm is most likely not genuine.
You can't control whether someone is offended.
You can control whether you fire someone because someone else is offended.
This is the GP I am replying to. I don’t believe the employee should have been fired.
"The statements that make people mad are the ones they worry might be believed."
At present, the idea that California might be returned to Mexico or that all non-native-Americans might be kicked out of America is sufficiently ridiculous that nobody will take you seriously. Thus, there's no reason to get offended. You can say whatever you want, you're just a nutcase.
That China gets mad whenever you suggest that Tibet become its own country or when you mention Tiananmen Square indicates that it worries its citizens might actually take you seriously...
I don’t think PG really knows what he is talking about with respect to Tibet China relations if he thinks that analogy holds...
Or for that matter, Florida, Texas, Florida, California, New Mexico, and Arizona?
Or for that matter the whole of the US land where Native American tribes lived.
The rest, yea, pretty much forcefully taken in one way or another.
If you believe the article, that is literally what they did.
Instagram is a piece of software millions of people use every day. I've designed software that 5 - 100 people use a day, and I can tell you the UI is going to suck if you have a data architect design the UI for your CRUD application. I'm sure the UI sucked on Mariott's app, I'd bet my life savings on it.
1. My teenage daughter shows me picture of a girl she knows but doesn't like.
2. I don't have my glasses so I double-tap to try to zoom in a bit.
3. My daughter screams that the girl now knows that she was looking at her picture.
4. I quickly double-tap again to un-like the photo.
5. My daughter glares at me because she knows that the damage is already done.
It also happened to me once or twice that I was looking at the Facebook profile of someone and then 2 hours later I got a notification saying that that person accepted my friendship request. Somehow I mistakenly sent those requests.
At least for the latter, I've always thought there should be some impedance to avoid this. Like slide to send request or some other small friction interaction.
Either way, pretty shitty on Marriott's part.
Where in the article did it say that all low-level employees have access to the official Twitter account?
The employee in question had access because it was literally his job to reply to customers on their official Twitter account:
The Marriott customer care manager intended to spend his eight-hour overnight shift doing what he always did: helping hundreds of Marriott customers around the world as they shot complaints, questions and reward-point requests to the hotel chain’s official Twitter accounts
I think this is the most pragmatic thing mentioned yet.
Social media accounts are a real-time, globally visible way to communicate with the world. Treat it with respect. If you care about subtle mess-ups then have a review system or something.
I'm guessing the ideal PR person running the account is:
* educated in how that platform works (aka, young and social media savvy)
* experienced in the plethora of ways PR can go wrong (or well for that matter). "I know this looks innocent, but it's best to remain quiet on issues of X", for example.
and I'd guess that's a sweet spot that's probably hard to fill with one person.
The survey was outsourced to an outside company.
>And even in this specific case, where a low-level Marriott employee in Omaha clicked “like” on a tweet thanking Marriott for a survey designed by a third-party vendor, the hotel chain got in big trouble.
Marriott clearly has zero training on geopolitical issues so the third party vendor didn't have a template to follow, likely they just Googled "list of countries in the world" and copied the list. Marriott needs to be providing a list of countries to all outside vendors.
I think that frames the issue incorrectly. The question is, whether he clicked it intentionally or not, he should not be fired for saying something the government of China dislikes (much less clicking like on what someone else said). China should not be extending censorship to Omaha.
The older I get, the more I find the prematurely cynical people I grew up around had it half-right.
And the naively, or ignorantly, or cluefully -- I still don't quite know which -- happy people I grew up around, had the other half of that right: Do your own thing, enjoy it as much as you can, and walk away from the negativity.
Maybe if we could do enough of the latter, places like Marriott would never get the traction to step all over their employees.
As for China, well, I'm a bit older. The people I met who got over here from China, tended not to go back.
Take that as you will.
Simplest answer is often the best answer. If the survey had never happened with Tibet as a country, the tweet would never have happened, and then the whole scenario would never have come to light. It's easy to predict this in hindsight. I honestly think people didn't think about this in the past. Whether or not it's right is an entirely different question.
Another question does occur - if it's such a big deal for them, why is/was Tibet listed as its own country in their system that prompted the liked tweet in the first place?"
> I really hope this doesn't become the moral of all this.
It's two very rare mistakes in a row. One listing Tibet, which actually got noticed. Another was the misclick, which also got noticed.
But it would be extremely costly if we suddenly had a confirmation dialog on low level employees liking tweets, or if every form drop-down needs to be approved by senior management.
This is the very definition of "throwing under a bus". This is how fast Marriott (in the US of A) will throw you under the first bus that comes by.
This is how Marriott respects the individuals and has the capacity to handle a sensitive situation.
Even worse is that the listing came from a 3rd party survey firm. The employee is paying the price for what was ultimately them fouling up.
Welcome to the future of humanity, I guess we'll see if everyone is so casual about this type of thing when it's them who crossed the petulant monster child the West has created.
They can dismiss him because they don't like his lunch selection that day and he has no rights.
That's at will employment. This type of situation plays out all over the country everyday.
But it was the Chinese government that blew a single like out of proportion and threatened Marriott with millions of dollars in lost business. Marriott's response to scapegoat and fire the individual to appease China makes complete sense so long as we continue to allow companies to get away with that behavior. It won't stop until we make an example out of one or two companies to show that they at least need to consider the financial ramifications of appeasement too.
That's part of the story.
It would be the main story if the workers having no rights in the US wasn't much worse for them, and impacted them 100x on their lives, than whatever their businesses do abroad.
About your point, if an international incident isn’t a legitimate reason to fire someone, I don’t know what is. And by extension, what kind of rights you are advocating.
It might be more appropriate to take action against the system that let the error happen. But there are two ways to reduce errors. 1) improve the system, and 2) raise standards for the employees using the system. Cost/benefit analysis ensues.
If you tend to believe him that this was an honest mistake, or even just that there's sufficient doubt, then the conclusion would probably be that he shouldn't have been fired, and his having been fired becomes a question of "how could this happen".
And to this the (my) answer is "insufficient workers' rights, allowing a company to take an easy way out at the cost of an individual".
I don't think "letting" is a very accurate word in this case — Marriott could pull out of China (likely at a loss) but the company doesn't want to because it would be financially stupid. In fact, as a public company Marriott is mandated to act in its shareholders' best financial interests.
The reality: You can't take shareholder money out on the front lawn and set it on fire
What the internet thinks: Company not only can do insert shitty thing here but MUST do insert shitty thing here because they have a fiduciary duty.
The problem is that the internet perception of reality is semi fictional. They damn well could have simply stated that they as a company don't take a personal position on Tibet but wont be bullied and faced near zero chance of successful lawsuit even if investors took a short term bath due to business in china.
To refute this simply provide examples of investors who successfully sued because of decisions they didn't agree with an explain how this situation is similar.
Mandated by what law? What if Marriott determines that long-term goodwill in their brand is what's in their shareholders' best financial interests?
Hiring in certain countries is very risky, because it is so costly to fire a bad employee.
It costs roughly $9000 to fire a French employee for "cause" or "economic reasons."
The Impact of Firing Costs on Turnover and Unemployment: Evidence from the Colombian Labour Market Reform
Conclusion: reducing firing costs reduced unemployment.
Except that is simply not true, and very easily proven false simply by showing countries with actual employee protection and unions like e.g. Denmark.
If you're interested in the academic research, someone above in the thread posted research links on the relationship between ease-of-firing and employers' willingness to hire. If you find those unsatisfying, this is a well-researched (empirically, not just theoretically) and uncontroversial topic among economists, so you should be able to find much more research.
 Country summary for Denmark economic freedom: https://www.heritage.org/index/country/denmark
 Country comparison: https://www.heritage.org/index/visualize?cnts=denmark&type=1...
 NYT article covering Denmark's ease of firing: https://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/15/business/worldbusiness/th...
> "The Danish system creates a flexible labor market," the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions said in an official document. "Danish companies are more willing to hire new employees in times of economic revival than their European competitors, who have trouble letting off workers when the economy goes downhill again."
> Note that the source of this last comment is the country's largest labor union confederation, a sign of the consensus surrounding the easy-to-fire policy.
Many jobs have a firing period of 1, 3 and 6 months, rising with the time you've been there. Sickness is a legal absence. Maternity and paternity leave is a legal requirement along with at least 5 weeks of vacation a year.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, in Norway not only is it harder to fire someone, but terminating an employment contract is normally with 3 months mutual notice. So you risk bad hires, but you also don't risk essential staff members disappearing overnight very often, as serving out the 3 months notice is normal and expected. That makes companies with small teams less vulnerable in that respect.
Overall I don't really know if it makes much difference to employers. I hasn't seemed like that for me. But it makes a big difference for employees.
But at will employment also imposes economuc costs, which economists don't really care to count, like economic security, health and psychological well being, mutual respect between companies and their public, and the opportunities to do stupid image damaging life-harmful shite like Marriot did to this man.
As much racket as people have made in this thread about at-will status in the U.S., the truth is more moderate. Not all states have at-will employment. Even in those that do, there are protected classes. The former Marriott employee might easily file an age-discrimination lawsuit, for example.
But again, consider the unseen. Marriott’s management has created a possible advantage for their competitors. The man has been given his moment in the limelight, a fantastic opportunity to better himself and his situation.
Individual companies won't hire if some law hits them specifically, the same as if they're cash strapped, lost a big customer or some raw materials they need raise their price.
For a country it's loss of competitiveness and more long term. The questions are more like: can we as a country afford this law? is individual suffering worth the wealth create?
Not universally true.
Strangely, European countries with more humane employment laws don’t have correspondingly higher unemployment.
North European countries, where individual dismissal is difficult but mass dismissal (restructuring) is easy, fare better.
Germany, also with quite rigid employment laws, has low unemployment. As the dominant euro member it is basically running the monetary policy of the whole continent from its own needs.
How federal systems get around this (like how all the states in the US using the same currency) is having the Federal Government tax and spend which can balance a lot of that out. Europe doesn’t have that, but eventually will have to or split back into individual currencies.
I believe this is also why gold standard systems have always failed eventually too - they require fixed exchange rates and even with rebalancing every now and then you can’t be as effective as a floating exchange rate.
Germany’s trade surplus wouldn’t be able to be anywhere near as large without the rest of Western Europe pulling down the Euro exchange rate, and unemployment in the trade deficit countries likely wouldn’t be anywhere near as high without (from their perspective) Germany pulling the exchange rate high.
No good or service is perfectly inelastic — certainly not employees.
Employee protection regulation absolutely is problematic in France, because it over-protect relatively small groups at the expense of everyone else.
Small and medium-sized businesses are most affected by this. The transition from 40-ish people to 200-ish people is where the system really breaks down for French startups, because you are too big to benefit from the early-stage incentives, and not large enough to have political clout and bend the rules.
For a 100,000 euros income as a sole proprietorship, I paid 42% altogether. From those 42%, 7% were income tax, the remaining 35% were Charges sociales which covers healthcare, unemployment and retirement benefits. When French people complain about high taxes for hiring, they complain about the Charges sociales.
When ones is employed, most of the charges sociales are paid by the employer so do not come out of the employee salary (but it's the same in the end).
Honestly, it's not as big a problem in tech where wages are quite a bit lower than the US to account for the high charges sociales. But for smaller companies hiring low skilled labor or for jobs that are traditionally less paid (customer service, etc...), then it is rather high.
And to add insult to injury, the organisms that are charged with collecting those charges sociales are a complete clusterfuck. For the same year, they calculated 3 different amounts and none matched what my accountant had calculated. Closing down the business and getting out of the RSI's list took 2 years and repeated letters.
That said, I do agree with you regarding employee protection. Those regulations are helpful and should be there but there's a balance to be had between both extremes. It's the same with renter's protection in France which are way too biased against landlords and also create a lack of available apartment (coming back to France after living abroad for multiple years meant that I didn't qualify for the new unpaid rent insurance the government created and locked me out of a third of the apartments in the city I wanted to live.
Of course effective tax rate is much lower than marginal tax rate. Effective federal income tax would be 17.1%, effective California income tax would be 6.9%. This would make effective total tax 40.2% (it was 42.6% in 2017, before Trump's tax cuts).
It’s true that California taxes are high. But it’s also true that France taxes are higher. And, to be fair, bring with them higher entitlements.
And I maintain that taxes are just not high enough to be a major obstacle to entrepreneurship in France - and yes I am aware of the dreaded "charges sociales". The reason we hear so much about them is because complaining about high taxes is easy and not controversial. Unlike the topic of employee protection, which is deeply polarizing.
And I very much doubt that availability of qualified hires is the obstacle either since the level of engineering Grandes Ecoles is quite good (I might be biased there)
So, I guess factors for why France is not doing that well re startups would be Employee Protection, Kafkaesque bureaucracy when dealing with creating the company and paying the said Charges Sociales and lack of capital.
When there's a financial problem, there are multiple differing opinions as to what's reasonable.
But if you want to call the US the "only developed place without reasonable worker laws", you might want to consider Denmark. Because they don't have the opinion you're propagating.
The personal income tax rate averaged 60.45% in Denmark from 1995-2018.
Those are some of the most expensive "free" hospitals and universities I've ever heard of.
Also, the tax is more complicated than simply throwing out 60.45%. It goes:
- From 0 - 50,000 you pay 0% tax
- Everything above you first pay 8% work market tax, and then from the leftover you pay
- the amount you earned above 50,000 - 498,900 is 37%
- the amount you earn above 489,900 is taxed 52,2%
So you don't pay 60.45% of the full amount. Never. You pay progressively as you go up.
Monthly that'll go something like, deduct 5,000 form your paycheck, deduct 8% of the remaining amount, and then 38% of the remaining amount of that. Now, what you have left is the remaining amount + the 5,000 tax free. And of course a bit more of the amount if you go into the top tax bracket.
I suggest that people who aren't familiar with Australia's labour laws have a quick look at https://www.fairwork.gov.au/. There are some problems, but it gives you an idea of practical alternatives to at-will employment.
Main relevant takeaways:
- Unfair dismissal legislation preventing employers from terminating employees unless they were grossly negligent, malicious, or didn't respond to performance management.
- Unfair dismissal claim protection for small businesses provided they can show evidence of following a (very short, fair, and easy to read) code with regards to the employee's termination.
It's extremely hard for me to empathise with business owners who openly have issues with these protections. At the very least, it's apparent that this dismissal wouldn't stand in Australia, as it shouldn't. Executives dismissing a support employee—out-of-touch executives who have probably forgotten how important an ongoing income stream is for people on low or even normal incomes—just to save face in a business relationship is in my opinion unjustifiable. Regardless of your view on labour laws I think most people agree on this.
Hint: it isn't, we just have sensible protections against wrongful termination.
I prominently tell companies why they don't get my business, and Marriott will hear from me next year when I call, waste their time gleefully explaining how I might have used their services but they fired a guy to kowtow to China.
Even better, this is gold on his resume.
In the US we don't pretend we are smarter than other business owners. The socialism route of adding regs to "fix" regs is self defeating. Treating people like fools makes them fools eventually.
The US society and politics are way too heavily tilted towards the employers, the people who already wield an disproportionate amount of power over their employees.
If you actually take the time to voice your displeasure over situations like this, you are an extreme outlier. Most people don't give a shit, and even fewer will even hear of stuff like this happening. Even if they do hear about it, they'll forget in a week or two.
In the end, nothing will actually change. Employers will still exploit the employees for profit, and fire people for absolutely no reason at all, while making potential new employees jump through ever more hoops in the desperate hope for a job.
That is a contradiction, the entire point of a company is to make a profit by providing consumers with something they are willing to pay for. Use all the derogatory words you like, in this case "exploit" seems to mean "employ" (which is pretty odd btw), and "no reason at all" seems to mean "like a tweet".
It's a self regulating system, that's capitalism. Marriott screwed up, and now it's on their permanent record. I'm sure they just lost my business, if I use history as a gauge, and assume I live until I am 90, that's high 4 to low 5 figures in today's $'s.
Do you write down and keep track of all your personal boycotts? Do you check the list every time you make a purchase or pay for a service? Sure, if you're like me, you remember stuff like "Nestle wanted to privatize clean drinking water for profit" and "Coca-Cola paid hitmen to assassinate union leaders", and avoid those companies. But "Mariott once fired a guy for liking a tweet"?
Yeah, no. You'll forget soon enough, just like everyone else. And companies like Mariott are counting on it. I know "the Internet never forgets", but that doesn't matter when it's soon drowned out by a million times more random informational noise. It'll stick around, alright. But only as some random mariottsucks.org website, or as a long-forgotten Facebook group.
They fired a guy for accidentally clicking like on a tweet. If the consequences for that action are so severe, why is it even possible in the situation he was put in? Was he briefed ahead of time that his employment was hanging by a thread, pending a single misclick? In any sensible system, he would have been called for a brief talk with his immediate superior, where he would have been given a warning and explained why it was necessary. He certainly wouldn't have been fired outright for something so minor.
Capitalism self-regulates for maximum profit to the fat cats, maximum work effort squeezed from workers for the absolute minimum possible pay. That's why unions are needed, to balance out the power of the employers, through collective bargaining and solidarity.
Yes, some guy whose entire job is to field customer complaints will listen to you and then hang up the phone and not report your complaint to anyone.
This assumes a definition of 'functioning market' that not everyone agrees on. In my view the market and the government serve the well-being of the general population. The US is starting to fail miserably in that area, because income inequality is pretty bad and has steadily been growing since the 1970'ies.
Moreover, the influence of industry lobbying in the US had become enormous and paralyzes democracy. Of course, the industrial complexes and part of the government keeps up the fairytale of 'the US is a free country, if you don't make it, you are not working hard enough, the market is self-regulating', because it is convenient for them. As long as people believe this, they will not object to having no rights and no decent income. If you are a random person, the opportunities of building up a good and secure life are much better in Nothern and Western Europe.
tl;dr: not only the government needs to be kept in check, also the market. Otherwise big companies dictate the policies.
Is an employee allowed to quit? What about the "violence" it does to the company, investors, and fellow employees? Must they stick around to provide continuity? If so, how is this not indenture?
Am I allowed to fire a painter I hire to paint my house if I think he does poor work? Do I need to document his performance and discuss an improvement plan? Does this change if I own a house big enough to keep him painting for a month? For a year?
Employment represents a contract between two parties. Basic freedom of association and contract law means both parties can enter and leave under the terms they negotiate and have a rational self interest in acting in good faith.
Grotesque. Many industries in various countries have a reasonable notice period (say, 3 months), which should give the company enough time to adapt. Nobody considers this "indenture".
> Employment represents a contract between two parties. Basic freedom of association and contract law means both parties can enter and leave under the terms they negotiate and have a rational self interest in acting in good faith.
The difference is that one party, most of the time, can manage without the other. On the other hand, the fired employee still needs to pay rent/feed his family. And depending on the economy/location, finding a different job might take some time (if it's possible at all without retraining).
I've always found two weeks notice to be more than adequate in most cases and then, only as a courtesy to communicate, transfer in flight work, and alter schedules. If I'm truly mad, I'm resigning and dealing with picking up the slack is not my problem. If an employee tells me they're leaving, I want them gone soon anyway because mentally they've already left the team.
Aside from Unions, there is no way of protecting employees where they are interchangeable cogs. Unions have their own problems, but collective action is a pretty good deterrent against 'unjustified' termination.
One interesting thing about France and Australia is that by the Ease of Doing Business Index over the last decade, France is gaining on but still behind Australia. (FRA: 44 -> 31; AUS: 6 -> 14).
So suppose we agreed France was performing worse economically than Australia over the last decade. Then we might conclude that absolute position matters and liberalization is important. Or we might as likely conclude the complete opposite, that gains on the index don't matter and liberalization isn't important.
And that's not even bringing the Economic Freedom Index into things, which has a radically different ranking based on similar criteria.
It's almost as if a lot of of what people believe about economics on both sides is under-determined by the available evidence.
But eh, maybe that's too cynical. That's just two countries. I'd really like to see some data analysis on how much "ease of doing business" (or some similar metric) matters to GDP--and maybe also to surveys of feelings of job security / satisfaction as well. Looking across most countries, maybe hard patterns would emerge. Or maybe economics is all noise unless you're at Weimar levels of malfeasance, who knows.
South Korea, Georgia, and Macedonia have skyrocketed up the EoDB chart, so I guess for any of us who suspect there's a sufficiently strong link, we have an opportunity to put our money down.
I was intrigued by this and decided to have a look at the figures and I can't find anything to support your statement. Where do you get your information from?
From Business Insider graphing OECD figures for the number of people per 1000 who take antidepressants shows France to be 50/1000 which is 16th from the top.
Directly from the OECD site is a page showing the dose consumed per 1000 people. It's very similar to the above, possibly the same data source but they are supposedly measured in different ways.
They both show France uses a lot less than many other countries,less than half Iceland and bout 2/3rds of the UK, Sweden, Canada and Australia.
Not if the other option was China shutting down a bunch of Marriott hotels and hundreds of employees losing their jobs instead.
They specially stated the false dichotomy, and made a strong argument.
No one here knows if the other option has to be Marriott losing business, so you putting that out there is wrong, and ironically, again a false dichotomy.
I was responding to this point, which is specifically about the Marriott case.
>Executives dismissing a support employee—out-of-touch executives who have probably forgotten how important an ongoing income stream is for people on low or even normal incomes—just to save face in a business relationship is in my opinion unjustifiable.
>Not if the other option was China shutting down a bunch of Marriott hotels and hundreds of employees losing their jobs instead.
to which I said we don't know, and you saying so is a false dichotomy because there are often other options.
Or they didn't have to fire anyone - it's not like China actually gets to see employment records for random staff in Omaha.
If Marriott was forbidden by law from firing the employee in this situation, then they could much more easily deflect the pressure from China. Make some token gesture and then say, hey, we'd like to do more, but those pesky laws prevent us from doing that.
This is a case where everybody wins when there's stronger employee protection.
How's the NFL doing?
So I prefer the direct approach that is known to work by directly helping people do the right thing, over the indirect approach that may or may not work, depending on circumstances.
Which is? Decide for them?
It is not uncommon for smaller employers to fire a manager, and hire a new supervisor though. Same job - different title.
I'm unsure if it's been challenged at the FWC - I doubt it would stand.
So if you're reducing the number of staff employed to support "system A", but you have vacant positions supporting "system B", then you you need to offer those positions to any affected staff, or show why those employees would not capable of doing the new job.
On the other hand I see a lot of refugees trying to get to Germany and Sweden which have at least the same if not stricter labour laws.
Reading your comment I feel that you live in a really strange bubble which allows you to think like you do.
And yet people want to get here so bad they illegally stream over the border by the millions.
> I see a lot of refugees trying to get to Germany and Sweden
It's a lot harder to walk from Europe to the US.
America has historically been the country most people go to.
Though this was till 2016, so I wonder if it's changed.
I have launched international hiring processes for PhD studentship positions at my lab. More than once, I have had good candidates who ended up rejecting an offer and going to the US instead because their universities have more prestige.
Sometimes the convenience of these decisions for them was, let's say, highly questionable (although I really hope I'm wrong and wish them the best of luck!). For example, a person from Iran who went there to first be hit by Trump's travel ban, and then the graduate student hike. Here that person would have had a good salary, enough to live well, and no such worries. And even though my university as a whole is ranked worse that the university they ended up in, my group/lab is better on any metric.
I have also had a candidate from an Asian country who really wanted to come here, but their parents wanted their child to go to a "prestigious US university" so they didn't let them.
I do think that if you ask in Europe, almost no one wants to go to the US. At least that's my experience. But in other areas of the world the inertia of the US's reputation is strong.
In this particular case, if the man wasn't trained appropriately to handle international PR while doing so, the wrongdoing lies with the company.
The article itself seems to adopt a certain attitude that I really dislike. For one, I don't believe that the employee clicked accidentally. It really sounds like a lie. Then the arguments alternate between "it's not my job" and "Why should we care about China/other countries? Why should just tell them to f-ck off!". The truth is that both the US and the company seem to have an opinion. The employee, either due to negligence or ignorance, broke that line, and the company faced a backlash. It's not like China is exceptionally evil or something. I hate people trying to vilify entrire countries and politicize everything. It sounds like the author is just looking for a reason to bash China.
Imagine that you are a startup in France, with long-term employees, and suddenly you realize you screwed up, and you have to cut your expenses in half. Today, that means your startup is dead and all employees are screwed, but in the US, your startup continues with a much lower valuation. Which is better for the worker? There is no right answer, but in France, there's a startup-killing answer.
You dismiss employees equivalent to half of your expenses on economic grounds, and after the appropriate notice period (1 month for employees with 6 months - 2 years tenure ) you now have half the expenses.
If that's not fast enough, I doubt your startup would have survived for more than 2 months with an instant layoff.
That works great until the next time I am interviewed by French TV about why the EU doesn't have as many startups as Silicon Valley.
When you do get interviewed by French TV, I hope you won't pretend like this is a single-cause issue with a simple fix.
I'm french. I can't speak for sure about other EU countries, but I can speak about France.
The REAL and main reason why tech startups are less frequent here is cultural.
In France we have a HUGE problem with elitism & a widespread negative attitude toward anybody who tries to innovate/change/make things. It's a pervasive problem, I've been MANY times hit HARD by that problem.
Initiative is strongly discouraged (even if most people will claim the opposite): no matter what you do, a LOT of people will immediately give you _negative_ critics of all kind, sometimes mind-bogglingly stupid: "it'll never work", "that's not a good idea", etc. The more clueless they are, the most aggresisve they are about it. It's really hard to be motivated in such an environment, and of course it also has a direct impact when you try to find funds or associates...
Also, many people, especially the managers & the elites only see the BIG companies as being worth anything, despite the fact that small to medium businesses make the majority of employment & create the most value.
Add to that the HUGE problem that managers and all the elite (politics, leaders, whatever), salespeople, and many others, have an extremely TOXIC attitude toward people who DO THINGS. For instance I was given shit many times because while being a team lead I was involved in the programming part. To them, a manager does NOT get his/her hands DIRTY. Which is stupid of course and explains a LOT of the problems we have here.
And trust me, this goes very far, there is a real CONTEMPT toward people like me, who are the ones who build the products & services that bring all the money. I've been mocked to my face because of that by people (sales & managers) who have no clue about how to manage a project, a team, and even less a programming project... (And I've worked on HUGE telecom projects, not a couple of PHP pages). Same goes for everybody in my family, who are mostly scientists/engineers. This in turn creates a big dissatisfaction -or worse- in the people who are in the trenches, creating an awful "us versus them" mentality that kills productivity & often creates a very bad work atmosphere.
And don't get me started about the awful prejudices against programmers (and everybody involved in computer projects). It's REALLY bad! So bad that I regret choosing that field. Here also there is a huge contempt & all the ridiculous prejudices that you probably know about nerds, programmers, etc. (Of the hundreds of developers/SE I've met, I can count on the fingers of ONE hand the ones who somewhat fit the stereotypes, and those were people with severe mental issues, something not related to the job). Another BIG problem is the "programming is easy" B.S. This leads many managers to think that they can replace experienced people like me with cheap beginners, sometimes in foreign countries, with disastrous results (as I wrote above, I worked in BIG projects, with crushing responsibilities, not the stuff that beginners can handle by themselves even if they are good which was not the case because being cheap, they were not the best, not by a long shot).
The huge bureaucracy does not help either, but it's not the most important issue.
In case someone points out the few recent initiatives to encourage startups in France, let me repeat what I just wrote: the fundamental issue is ATTITUDE. Until we can fix that, everything else is basically useless.
Having a long-term contract where you can be fired at-will any day is effectively the same as cumulating short-term contracts, so instead of a lot of people on short-term contracts, you just have everybody (100%) on short term contracts.
This creates an underclass of people who are unable to buy their own house because of the employment situation
I, personally, have a limited ability to be a part of a protected class, but that appears to work out ok for people like me. I've been fired once, and I got a better job as a result.
I'm not sure that's the way it works if your a 49 year old customer care agent from omaha.
A lot of American workers are on short-term contracts, too, for nearly the same reasons.
> Imagine that you are a startup in France, with long-term employees, and suddenly you realize you screwed up, and you have to cut your expenses in half. Today, that means your startup is dead and all employees are screwed, but in the US, your startup continues with a much lower valuation. Which is better for the worker? There is no right answer, but in France, there's a startup-killing answer.
The risk that it will go out of business is part of working for a startup. It doesn't make sense to punish the rest of us to save a handful of startup employees.
I personally love working on new, potent ideas, but this is not a viable model of development for society. "Gig economy" is getting out of control, and it's better to kill the startups than to let people abuse the legal loopholes they require.
If you cannot provide a certain minimum of employment time, you shouldn't hire people. As for short-term contracts, they were misused a lot post-2008, but the situation is much better now and most people won't work under such contracts.
Check out "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Christensen. Innovation doesn't come from established corporations. It comes from startups.
Out of curiosity, what criteria are you using for "top companies"? Looking at the top 10 of the Fortune 500 (http://fortune.com/fortune500/) and their founding years:
1. Walmart (1945)
2. Berkshire Hathaway (1889)
3. Apple (1977)
4. Exxon Mobil (1870)
5. McKesson (1883)
6. UnitedHealth Group (1974)
7. CVS Health (1964)
8. General Motors (1908)
9. AT&T (1983 as AT&T, 1877 as Bell Telephone)
10. Ford Motor (1903)
By market cap (2017, first quarter) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_public_corporations_by...)
1. Apple (1977)
2. Alphabet (1988)
3. Microsoft (1975)
4. Amazon.com (1994)
5. Berkshire Hathaway (1889)
6. Exxon Mobil (1870)
7. Johnson & Johnson (1886)
8. Facebook (2004)
9. JPMorgan Chase (1871 as J.P. Morgan & Co)
10. Wells Fargo (1852)
I'm not listing these as counterfactual, but only as an example. I know there are different ways of measuring "top" companies, and these are two. It's also arguable that these don't capture the idea of "top innovators". I'm interested in knowing what you're using. I'm probably missing something obvious.
Notably absent from the list are behemoths of the past, like RCA, Kodak, Sears, IBM, Ford, GM, US Steel, Union Pacific, etc.
If they need something done and they can't guarantee long-term employment, they can buy commercial services for what they need. Engineering firms and temp offices will be happy to send you a secretary, a software solution or a CAD file with what you asked.
It's really not your business what other people freely choose to do with their time. Nobody makes anyone work at a startup.
China isn't. The Chinese communist government is, though.
At-will employment is state level, not nation level, so it's not really a "he's in America" thing. Most states subscribe to some version of at-will employment, but various states have different types of exceptions which make it much less clear to apply as a statement to the entire United States (much less the various other groups "America" could refer to).
Where on earth did you get that idea?
There are no affluent western nation besides the United States with "At Will" employment except perhaps Israel (I was unable to confirm).
Not great, but "at will" means 0 notice.
The notice periods are not excessively long, but they give both parties a chance to prepare for the change. A few weeks might not be enough time to hire a new employee or find a new job, but it should be enough to put together a plan.
The ability to fire or quit without cause seems like the part of 'at will' employment that's most important to economic efficiency, so it's nice to have a kinder system which still includes that.
"There but for my own prodigious talent and relentless drive to succeed go I."
Many jurisdictions allow firing without cause - they just make the employers pay (significant) severance, often related to the length of service of the employee. I think it's perfectly reasonable to say "I don't want you in my company any longer", I just happen to think it might be reasonable to pay for that privilege.
Seriously though, if everyone paid into strong safety net, all the time, not just when they fire someone, the result for fired employees is the same and the lack of bureaucracy will probably make that approach even cheaper. The real upside though is that companies can be very nimble and are more competitive internationally.
On both sides - greedy people who don't want to pay either in the moment for firing someone or pay taxes for a safety net, and employees who demand total job security even if it means cement boots for the employer - the extremes are very short sighted.
So a bad performing person now costs even more to get rid of? That might force the company to just keep them on and try to squeeze out some productivity, waiting until they just quit instead.
Which is entirely subjective. There are a billion criteria you can reasonably evaluate someone on, so it's trivial to make the average person look below average by choosing the things they're bad at as the things to evaluate them on.
A company will always be able to get rid of an employee they don't like one way or another. The only choice you have is how much bureaucracy to impose. But it's the same amount of bureaucracy even when the company has a justifiable reason.
You can quite easily hire for work for small periods, e.g. summer job style.
The unemployment benefits are good, although the officials monitoring it also force the unemployed to be quite active to find a new job.
I probably have misunderstood his complaints, as you and Tehnix both point out; I'll reach out to him to get the details right...
The less the safety net is subject to the whims of business, the better off we will all be -- including businesses.
The only exception is perhaps "shadow economy" of immigrant-dominated areas in some cities where rule of law is weaker and restaurants and other local businesses may use undocumented employees. But these cannot be very big business.
Are these views held by different people, or by the same people regarding different situations (like working for big companies versus startups)?
Read the section on the threats Marriott got. China barred Marriot from making online bookings for a week. China would have done everything in their power to make sure someone was going to suffer for Roy’s mishap.
At-will employment would have changed little about Roy’s situation vs a huge international political bully.
That entirely depends on the country. There is no "huge international bully" clause in employment law.
Not to mention that I'm not sure about "the real bully". If you think that underpaid customer care agents have the responsibility for executing your business strategy in China, maybe you should pay them appropriately. Or maybe you should ensure that someone higher up the food chain takes the fall.
They want to put you on call? No extra pay required. Change you to the night shift? You still have a job, that’s sufficient.
It’s an employee rights disaster.
How is it not? You can always threaten to quit if they don't give you a raise. The only way that doesn't work is if they can easily replace you with someone willing to work harder for less money.
And in that case that's what they're supposed to do. You would only be willing to quit if you had a better option that the person willing to do this job for less money apparently doesn't. So then they should get your job and you should go take the better job.
It's not. A company can treat its employees well and still be profitable. There is no law that says the only job of a company is to maximize profits for shareholders; in fact, this has gone to court and judged to not be the case. So, no, a company is not "supposed" to do these kinds of underhanded things. Just because they can - just because it's legal - doesn't mean they should.
How is it abuse when it's entirely voluntary? The employee is not a slave. They can walk away at any time, or threaten to in exchange for concessions.
> There is no law that says the only job of a company is to maximize profits for shareholders
Nobody is claiming that here. You're assuming the only reason companies ever do this is to screw people over, when just as often it's caused by the company's revenues declining or costs increasing, requiring the company to do more with less or go out of business.
If the company can't keep paying you the same money for the same work, the only available options are to take what they're offering or leave your job. It doesn't help anybody to take away the first option.
So spend a few weeks looking for a new job and then quit.
More importantly, you don't actually have to quit, you only have to make the credible threat of quitting. Then you get the raise because it's cheaper than finding and training a replacement.
Man, what a country.
He might go to court over that and try to claim that it was not his fault or that it’s not such a big mistake. But his chances wouldn’t be good in most countries.
Oh, and he wouldn’t even be offered any kind of severance. It’d be seen as employ-fault firing.
If I get my hair cut at a barber every month for years. Do I owe that barber "rights" when I decide I don't want to cut my hair there anymore? I'm buying the labor. I'm hiring that barber to do a job for me. Is it my requirement that I provide that barber with "benefits?" No. I provide that barber with the cash he demands for his services -- then he can choose to buy whatever "benefits" he deems important. If the barber wants to charge me too much, I can find another barber who can do the same quality of job for less money. Perhaps I can't find a replacement, perhaps that barber is the only one with the unique experience to handle my hair -- in which case, he could demand more money since he has a rare combination of skills and experience that I'm willing to pay for. But, if his work is generic, then I can easily find another barber who has lower prices. If that barber wants to strike because he's mad I won't pay him more, then he can strike all he wants -- I'll go somewhere else or just stop getting my hair cut. Not my problem.
The barber's success or failure in the marketplace is due to his ability to control his costs, improve his efficiencies or otherwise differentiate himself within the market. A smart barber will have saved a portion of earnings to mitigate those times when he loses a customer. A even smarter barber will be looking at expanding his skills, increasing innovation and efficiency in order to ensure he's providing a compelling value proposition for his customers.
The not-so-smart barder assumes that past performance is an indicator of future results.
Why we have this backwards notion that the employer, the "customer" of labor has to provide the seller of labor with "protections" is a mystery. To me, it seems like this whole idea is just a Marxist religious belief. Just as fatalism and "the will of God," is a thing in many many Catholic Latin American societies, it seems like this idea of the "worker" as an "exploited" cog in an evil capitalist wheel is equally flawed. This idea that workers need "protecting" serves to infantilize otherwise grown-up adults. Thanks to vestigies of Marxist/Leninist 20th century propaganda, there's an entire school of thought that has workers as victims, children or otherwise incompetent invalids unable to care for themselves. The French Labor Code was built around that very idea.
I've been fired a few times with no-notice. I've also quit a few times with no-notice. I know what it feels like to have the carpet ripped out from under me -- but I don't feel like French style "protections" is the answer because, as quickly as I've been fired, I've been able to find new jobs because when there are fewer restrictions on hiring and firing -- it lowers the cost of hiring and firing. It provides liquidity to the labor market -- which is better for everyone.
Restrictive and highly protectionistic labor markets ALWAYS lead to higher unemployement AND lower wages. Since firing employees is expensive in protected labor markets, that means, necessarily, that companies will be far more conservative in hiring employees in the first place. You aren't going to hire someone quickly. You're going to vet, vet and re-vet potential hires. You're going to discriminate aggressively. You're going to ensure that they have absolutely perfect credentials. You're going to hire people recommended by close friends and trusted associates and those within your existing social circles -- because it would be risky to hire someone with a Algerian last name or from a school you've never heard of or from a country with which you aren't familiar. This is exactly how it works in France. 
If you look at Silicon Valley -- while a some level disrimination, it's one of the most diverse places in the world when it comes to national origin. The demand for labor is so high that a transgendered Nigerian midget with a criminal record will get hired if she happened to be an expert in Swift, Java, Go, AI, ML or Ruby. And said migdget could demand (and get) a salary that's 4 times higher that the same midget in Paris, with taxes 50% less and 18% more in after-tax, after-health disposible income.  The "problem" with Silicon Valley diversity isn't an unwillingness to hire, it's a relative undersupply of labor from particular groups. There are far fewer women software engineers than men. So it follows that it's going to be harder to hire women software engineers. Now, the reason for that supply problem is another discussion, but the fact is that a qualified anyone can get a job quickly in Silicon Valley -- specifically because there is a highly liquid labor market!
At will employment reduces unemployment and increases market/wage efficiency.
> They can dismiss him because they don't like his lunch selection that day and he has no rights.
Yes, and he has the right to quit if he doesn't like their lunch selection. He isn't a child. Employment is a two-way transaction. I have labor you want, you pay me for it. If either one of us don't like the arrangement, we can walk away. Why is that such a controversial idea? Any transaction where one side or another is forced to act against his or her own interests is wrong. Forcing a company to justify a reason is just as wrong as forcing an employee to justify why they should be allowed to quit.
It's about to be ironic when this post gets the inevitable downvotes -- downvotes from American tech employees and founders that benefit from the very labor liquity that I'm advocating.
How can we at least get back to the NNTP type of control we had in the 90's? HN is teetering on failure, and I'd just like to get back to NNTP? :(