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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Really Bad Idea in Firing

If you'll recall, I'm not a lawyer. Still, my HR legal senses perked right up upon reading about a proposed new show on Fox: Someone's Gotta Go.

In this fun new reality show, real employees at real companies get to vote one (or more?) of their co-workers into unemployment land. Oh sure, it sounds like all sorts of fun. As the linked article points out, not all employment rights are waivable in advance, so who knows how this is going to work out.

Perhaps the "package" given to the terminated employees is so fantastic that the other employees will be fighting to be laid off. But, that would not make it a good reality show. It would just turn into "who can be the most obnoxious" and then it would be like Big Brother or something.

Gah. Do these television producers ever, ever, ever consult their lawyers? And legal aspects aside, being laid off (note, not fired for cause) can be extremely painful. Putting that on television is just down right rude.

I know, some people will do anything for their 15 minutes of fame. I bet Fox is counting on the fact that we'd all love to watch such procedures.

I bet they are wrong.

Have you ever noticed when watching an action movie in a theatre that the patrons silently munch on overpriced popcorn (with extra butter-ish!) while heads are exploding and limbs are being chopped off by airplane propellers, but see someone get their fingers slammed in a car door and everyone cringes. Why? Because we have no experience with our own heads exploding. (If we did, we wouldn't be watching the movie as there would be nowhere to put the popcorn.) But, we've all slammed our fingers and we KNOW that hurts.

Likewise, the things that take place on Survivor or the Amazing Race-or even the Apprentice-are so far from our reality that we can watch them without cringing. But, getting laid off is something that hits too close to home. Too many of us have experienced it ourselves. The rest of us know someone who has been through it. Most of us fear that it could happen to us at some point. Those that don't fear are in an advanced state of denial.

I predict viewers will find it too painful to watch, lawyers will find it too tempting for law suits and that Fox will bag the whole thing.

(Via Overlawyered.)


dogfriend said...

I agree. As someone who has been out of work since my company was closed last October, I have no interest in watching this "reality" show.

otgirl said...

Wow. Just reading the premise of this show made me feel all weird and disappointed. Like Roman Colliseum meets those Lifeboat exercises. Bleak. Yucky.

jaded hr rep said...

Which companies, pray tell, were stupid enough to volunteer their organizations to be on this show? The owners/CEOs should be banned from ever running companies again. EVER.

Elizabeth said...

I seem to recall that the 'winner' (the person who gets to leave an organization silly enough to participate in this mess) gets a minimal amount of severance.

It's one thing to slow down to see the aftermath of a train wreck. It's another thing entirely to stage the train wreck to bring out the worst in people.


Just another HR lady... said...

Reality tv at it's worst. Does anyone remember that reality show a few years back where spouses got to decide if they wanted to continue their marriage or have the option to go off and pursue a bunch of strangers presented to them by the show? I put this in the same category. Laughing at someone else's pain.

otgirl said...

Ah Schadenfreude... those Germans were onto something.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord!

It's like someone at Fox said, "Hey! It's been a while since we've come up with something completely horrific. We need to create a new reality show about people being complete #($*@#&$ to each other."

And then someone else said, "You know, unemployment's high. Let's have a show where people get their co-workers fired. That'll be AWESOME!"

And Satan's sitting in the corner laughing his hooves off.

I'm totally with jaded hr rep and Elizabeth.

The only way I'd watch this show is if it were only one episode long because all of the employees walked out once they heard what that they were supposed to nominate someone to be laid off.

Life with Kaishon said...

I wonder when this show will air. I would have to watch it first to see if I liked it. Layoffs do freak me out though! Ay Carumba!