Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Industrial Fiction: Here is the Deal

Malichi was met at the entrance to the material delivery bull-pen by his boss. "Don't bother to put your things down. Come with me."

Peeking inside, Malichi saw his counterpart from third-shift handing out assignments to his workers.

His boss led him to "Mahgony row", the suite of offices in front of the production complex. The building was sheathed in marble and glass and is what the public saw when they drove down the public road in front of the complex.

Malichi's boss led him to a door that read "Charlie Townsend, Director of Human Resources". "Go in" was all his boss said. His boss did not go through the door and into the room with him.

Malichi saw his boss's boss sitting at a table along with another individual. Malichi assumed it was the new Director of Human Resources. Malichi didn't bother to keep track of the top HR people because of the high turnover rate.

"Sit down" Charlie Townsend said without a hint of a smile.

"This is a disciplinary interview" Charlie stated.

"We have evidence that you violated one of the shop rules yesterday and vandalized property with the value assessed as being in excess of $1000" Charlie said. "Do you have anything to say?"

"I don't know what you are talking about" Malichi said. He felt he was on firm ground because he had been careful.

"At approximately 5:48 yesterday afternoon a truck was vandalized in the company parking lot. We have evidence that you are the person who did it" Townsend insisted.

A slight chill went down Malichi's spine. That was exactly when he had keyed Snodgrass's truck.

"You can't have any evidence of anything because I didn't do nothing" Malichi insisted.

"The way this works is that you would ordinarily be summarily fired but since you are less than five years from retirement the company requires that we make you an offer" Townsend informed Malichi.

"If you admit to what you did and agree to go in for mental-health treatment, we will put you on Workman's Comp for the duration of the treatment. Once you are certified fit for employment you will be offered a job somewhere in the corporation but it will not be here, nor will it be in Material" Townsend said.

Malichi's boss's boss nodded in agreement.

"If you refuse this offer, and remember you only need another five years to be fully vested for retirement, then we turn over the evidence to the police and the victim already informed us that he will seek prosecution."

"Company policy requires that we give you five minutes to consider the two options before demanding an answer. Your five minutes starts now" Townsend said as he pushed the stop-watch function on his Timex Ironman watch.

Malichi leaned back. No way was he going to make their job easy. He had been in dozens of employee "disciplinary interviews" and he had used the exact, same threats and methods of intimidation. He had also used time to make them sweat.

He laced his fingers together and placed them behind his head, then he leaned back in his chair and waited. They had nothing.

At the "ding" Townsend asked "What is your decision?"

"I didn't do nothing so I can't confess to nothing" Malichi said. They weren't dealing with some rube who had never been around the block.

Townsend looked at the two forms in front of him. He slid one across the table to Malichi and said "Sign this form verifying that was your decision. No appeals will be considered after you sign it."

Malichi scanned it. It was a short paragraph stating that he denied the charges and chose to not opt for mental-health services.

Malichi signed it with a flourish. Style matters in situations like this.

Then Townsend signed it. Then Malichi's boss's boss.

Townsend tapped a button on his phone. "Please have security come to my office to escort a former employee off the premises." 

They must have been waiting right outside the door. Two beefy, young guys came in and stood to either side of Malichi but did not touch him. A third security person with a holstered taser was standing in the doorway.

"Hey. What the hell are you doing. I didn't do nothing" Malichi insisted. "Ain't no reason to be treating me like a criminal. You got NOTHING on me."

That is when Malichi's boss's boss spoke up.

"Malichi, you outsmarted yourself. You forgot that the thumbswipe to key-on your tugger reads your thumbprint. The tugger GPS showed you going out the back-gate and then taking a path to avoid security cameras. The GPS shows you parking behind the truck you vandalized for three minutes and then making your way back. The guard at the back-gate confirmed that you were the person driving the tugger in both directions."

Third shift material delivery drivers who were leaving the facility at the end of their shift saw Malichi being escorted to his vehicle by security. Tears were streaming down his face.

Next Installment


  1. I have only ever had to let two people go in my work history and it was incredibly uncomfortable, even when I had the appropriate weight of HR behind me.

    That said - when they make you an offer, you always take the offer. Even if for some reason the events were not nearly as final as they are here, you are now on a list somewhere and it is just a matter of time.

  2. That was brutally efficient.

    1. One of the reasons that Directors of Human Resources get switched around frequently is for their own personal safety.

      They get a lot of practice with the Malichis of the world.

  3. Unfortunately it's often people like this lady that are reporting to Directors of HR:

  4. Now get Stringbean to an eye doctor for a real eye examination. I will bet he isn't illiterate as much as he is far-sighted, he can't read small type on parts labels because they are a complete blur up close.

    1. Good point. Illiteracy is not common these days.

    2. Plus how about teaching him to read.


  5. You sir are a great writer.


  6. Well, we are just letting a woman in stores go after over 19 years in the company. The new stores boss insists that everybody in the stores can do all the jobs, including entering stuff in the computer. She cannot read or write, so cannot work the computer. Thus the decision to let her go. Most of us feel that this could be solved in another way.

  7. I would get legal counsel first, then likely take my chances with the court and getting the charge watered down to a misdemeanor or mere community service in exchange for a guilty plea. An out of court settlement with non-prosecution would be ideal. Metal health papers are likely worse than a misdemeanor.

    Legal counsel may be interested in bringing up retirement as a veiled threat to coerce an outcome; anything signed was under duress (put under the signature too). Employer / person doing the discipline is required to provide a written record of the encounter and reason why. Usually staff are laid off or the plant closed before too many reach retirement, so I wouldn't count on getting that in the first place; always keep records of the company dirt just in case they they to pull a stunt like this.

    The employer wants to play a nasty little game and there are a lot of stupid prizes to win. If the person being disciplined has money to burn then hiring a private dirt digger may bear fruit. Reporting every OHSA and safety violation is also worthwhile since the fines for violations are high and willful violations are upwards of $145,000. If the violation was reported in the past or can be reported again by a still-employed co-worker after your initial report, then OSHA will swarm the place. The company is also SOL for logins and technical information after termination; milk them for consulting fees.

    Your writing is excellent and it strikes at the heart of why I'm adverse to chipped / tech these days. Tracking can also be used to create false alibis and paper trails for those committing crimes, I.E cellphone goes in the passenger side of a M8s truck and also uses one of his cards at a discrete location which would indicate the offender is not actually at the crime scene. Tech can also put innocent people in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Cellphones (pocket snitches) offer lifetime device tracking history to those they serve, which isn't the person using it. The device tracks people to their secret bunker, store preference, job location, how and when you travel, where, how often, who you know based on proximity to their devices / residence, and even how well you know them can be gleaned from the number and length of visitations. A heat map of this data puts it into a very readable form.

    RFID badges, EZ-tag, GPS, all are enemies of freedom, security, and privacy; the tollway isn't the only place scanning those tags. Anyone can buy into privately owned ALPR networks and search up whom they will. RFID interior building problem but an attenuation bag will fix that. A good blackout bag is essential these days for anything electronic. Even stores track customer biometrics now.

    1. Legal counsel is a good idea for Malichi but they might review the evidence and punt. Attorneys either need payment up-front or believe they have a reasonably good chance of prevailing.

      Charges filed with OSHA have a huge amount of leverage if they are filed before you are fired. For one thing, firing somebody after they file an OSHA violation has the stink of punishing a whistle-blower. Filing an OSHA violation after you are fired has the staying power of a fart in a windstorm. For one thing, you have no legal access to information.

      From a slightly different perspective, if you have proof that XYZ committed a felony and you did not report it you could technically be accused of being an accessory.

      If you are an executive for a company and you have proof that the felon used company resources to commit the felony, and you did not address it (and document properly) you are liable to getting fired yourself.

      There are many interconnecting strands in how that all works.

  8. I will bet that tugger (probably Malachi's favorite) has been sealed up and isolated. When the cops search it they will probably find a big screwdriver with paint from Snoddy's truck on the tip and his fingerprints on the handle.

    If he was arrogant enough to ride out to the truck instead of walking he was probably arrogant enough to not dispose of the evidence at a convenient toolbox on the way back in...


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