Don’t Bank On It

MVWJ seemed like it could be MVBJ, but took a sudden turn for the worst. I was hired by a bank as a supervisor in the summer of ’08. My particular branch won quite a few regional outstanding performance awards in ’08 and at the end of the year we received a new regional manager that took a liking to me. By early ’09 I had been promoted to Assistant Manager and when the new regional manager had enough with the current branch manager he got rid of her, leaving me in charge. A few months later I was training to be a full branch manager, all of this happening within the first year that I started working for this bank.

As Branch Manager I was one of the most successful managers in the company’s history right off the bat. I was awarded with free box seats to professional baseball, basketball, and hockey games. I was earning large monthly bonuses, and very excited about possibly moving up farther in the company, but then it all came crashing down.

I had a supervisor, J, who was basically one of the laziest employees I have ever seen. I was at home when my regional manager called me up and told me to go ahead and terminate her employment (entirely his decision to make). Immediately following J’s termination all hell broke loose. Her parents and fiancé would regularly come into the branch and stand at the teller line complaining about the employees and, of course, me. Her father filled out a customer service report rating us “poor” in every category and claiming that one of my employees was intoxicated at work. On one occasion J’s parents refused to leave the branch and I had to call the police in order to get rid of them. On a near daily basis calls were made to our customer service and legal departments that J’s parents were hiring lawyers and planned to sue the bank for discrimination unless they terminated me. Since this is posted as MVWJ you know what happened.

I was brought in two months following J’s termination and my regional manager was nearly in tears as he fired me, promising to give me stellar recommendations if needed in the future. The bank dug up a minor policy I had violated 12 months prior as the reason for the termination, but everyone knew what the real issue was. I consulted a lawyer, but when you are an at-will employee there is really nothing that can be done outside of discrimination (curses to being a white male). Perhaps I got the last laugh though since the day after my termination the complete branch manager rankings came out, and guess who was ranked first for the entire company?

Comments (22)

RitaMarch 28th, 2011 at 12:43 am


I think it sucks that you lost your job over that. Not fair when it wasn’t even your choice to fire the woman.

MickMarch 28th, 2011 at 4:08 am

How sad :( So angering when people feel it’s fine to ruin someone else’s life like that for their own lazy and selfish reasons.

Karen HiebertMarch 28th, 2011 at 5:35 am

that is really incredibly stupid. someone has to ruin it b/c they are a whiny cry baby. and of course the company suffers. incredible.

nachturnalMarch 28th, 2011 at 6:03 am

How would you have been discriminatory in firing her? If the bank had records showing a history of laziness/incompetence, then I’m not sure what case they would have had. I really would have thought that they would have been under for harassment, what with the repeated calls and presence in the branch.

BillyMarch 28th, 2011 at 7:24 am

I’m a published author, my life is complete!

K.March 28th, 2011 at 7:35 am

It was bad until you played the “poor white male” card. Then all of my sympathy magically evaporated.

clever nameMarch 28th, 2011 at 9:56 am

oh, grow up K.

hellcatMarch 28th, 2011 at 10:25 am

The bank should have sued the parents for harassment. I mean for fuck’s sake. Even if you had done something wrong in firing her, even if it was the worst bank in the world, there are still legitimate channels of fighting those things. Hanging out in the lobby until the police have to be called to drag your entitled ass out of there is not one of them.

BillyMarch 28th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I apologize for the “white male” comment, clearly I didn’t cake on enough sarcasm for that comment to work as I had intended.

I obviously wasn’t discriminatory in firing her, in fact, I had one of the most diverse staffs of all the branches, which is one of the reasons I would attribute my success.

Basically, what is boiled down to was that J said to the bank: Either fire him (me) or we sue for discrimination.

The legal department did an evaluation over hoe much it would cost for them to fight off the discrimination charge (not to mention the negative press) and how much my employment was worth to the bank. Clearly, I lost out.

Some other fun stories:
1. When I was in the manager training program working at a different branch there was a girl I had planned to promote to my assistant manager when I returned to my branch. While I was gone she decided to try stealing 10,000 dollars from a customer by transferring it from the customer’s account to her friend’s account. She was immediately caught and ended up facing 4 felony charges.

2. Also, while I was in the training program one of the supervisors from my branch decided to steal a few money orders by issuing them, then invalidating the transaction, and keeping the blank money order (instead of voiding it). He was also caught and terminated, but I never heard if charges were brought against him.

I guess since there was no manager at the branch they decided to try and get away with a few extremely stupid decisions. The branch went from 1st before I left for the training program, and in a few months when I took back over the branch it was in the very last place for the company again. We essentially had to start from scratch and were almost immediately back on top. As much as I’d enjoy taking all the credit, there’s no doubt that I had some employees that stepped up above and beyond. After I was terminated the branch quickly fell apart again, most of my employees stopped trying and ended up getting terminated. I believe of my original staff there is 1 person remaining, my assistant manager who is now a branch manager himself. Over two years later now, they still have not replaced my position (the branch still has no branch manager).

tronnerMarch 28th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

As soon as I began to read it I thought to myself “this was written by someone who comments here a lot.”

Ding ding ding.

Good story, Billy.

K.March 28th, 2011 at 6:11 pm

@Billy: Thanks for clarifying, sarcasm doesn’t carry too well when written.

@clever name: backatcha.

LalliMarch 29th, 2011 at 9:51 am

Great story, Billy. If only keeping a good job was really up to how well people performed…

WenchMarch 29th, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Now obviously I understand that employment laws are different in each country (also I’m not a lawyer!) but it sounds to me like you have grounds for some kind of employment tribunal for compensation – you were carrying out orders from a superior to fire this woman, was harassed by her family as a result with no apparent support from your line managers and then fired for a fatuous reason with no warning or any attempt to go through the usual disciplinary process. It’s not as if you were a dud employee either. Surely they cant just fire you because some bitter ex employee has a grudge and feels they have the right to demand this as a form of revenge? If that were the case then we’d all be out of a job, most likely.

BillyMarch 29th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

My employment with the bank, as nearly all employments are today, was at-will. This essentially means that I was allowed to quit at any time without having to give a reason and in turn the company could fire me for any reason (or no reason at all) at any time. There are few exceptions to this rule, the major one being that a company cannot terminate based on discrimination against a protected class.

Whereas the company gave me a reason for the termination, which they do with every termination, it was more to protect them from a potential discrimination claim than anything else. At-will employees can be fired because the boss doesn’t like the color of their tie, and as long as that is the reason and not based on discriminating against a protected class then there is essentially nothing the employee can do.

Yeah, it sucks big time. Chances are that you are an at-will employee right now and working under these same conditions. Most companies though would probably have the integrity to tell the ex-employee to go ahead with the lawsuit, my company did not. I feel that may be partly attributed to the fact that there is already a class-action suit in the works by this bank’s customers and they didn’t want a discrimination suit, no matter how weak the case was, on top of that.

WenchMarch 29th, 2011 at 9:56 pm

@ billy sorry if i was on a soap box there; i’ve honestly never heard of this ‘at will’ stuff before – is this in america? I’d still seek a lawyers advice, though.

BillyMarch 30th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

No, I was just responding to your comment, I completely agree with you that my situation sucked :)

And yes this is America! I did talk with a lawyer, and that’s why I know how the law works

tronnerMarch 30th, 2011 at 12:24 pm

At will employment defines almost every employer/employee relationship in America (absent a work contract or union membership).

winterApril 4th, 2011 at 11:42 am

“I had a supervisor, J, who was basically one of the laziest employees I have ever seen. I was at home when my regional manager called me up and told me to go ahead and terminate her employment (entirely his decision to make).”

I don’t get this part. . . when I first read the submission it sounds like you are saying you were ordered to fire your supervisor? But then I re-read it again, & I don’t know who would be between the branch mgr & the regional mgr, so maybe this WAS your employee? I’m confused.

If it WAS your supervisor, I think it sounds to me like they were setting you up all along, unfortunately. In my 15 years of working, I have never seen someone get let go by a subordinate. (Even when the employee’s supervisor isn’t available, the person is let go by SOMEONE in mgmt. ) They must have anticipated somehow that this employee would sue whoever personally fired her.

BillyApril 4th, 2011 at 1:43 pm

My apologies:

Rank of heirarchy: Regional Manager, Branch Manager, Assistant Manager, Supervisor, Teller

So yes, she was my subordinate just that the position is called “supervisor”, and the company also protects itself from lawsuits by always having a witness present during the termination.

blahApril 5th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

that sucks. unfortunately it is true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. J’s parents and fiance did a LOT of squeaking. I would counter sue them for harassment, tho. It’s weird that the manager caved in to their demands, tho since they were harassing the bank and you. That white male comment made me laugh, tho. I never thought being a white male would be a curse, but I guess in this case it was. LOL

JeffApril 9th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Sounds like the bank just made matters worse by canning you, they went from being the victim of a smear campaign to make the branch look bad, to actually having a bad branch. This is what happens when you give in to blackmail/terrorism etc. Hope you’ve moved on to better things.

parparApril 14th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Well as much as your situation sucked, it’s not actually a bad job. It sounds like it was a great job and you got fired for a bad reason. I think this is a pretty boring story where Billy just brags about how great he is the entire time.

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