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Parking employee fired for venting at grief session

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in Firing,Human Resources

After a young, inexperienced driver for the Philadelphia Parking Authority accidentally ran over and killed a fellow employee, managers convened a grief counseling session. An already difficult gathering took a turn for the worse when the grief counselor asked for ideas on how to prevent such accidents.

One veteran employee said it resulted from unreasonable work demands and poor training. A supervisor cut him off, stating that it “wasn’t the time or place” to discuss the accident. The two argued, stepped out of the room and returned later, claiming to have cleared the air. Two weeks later, the outspoken employee was terminated for what the PPA described as “disrupting the workplace, conduct unbecoming of a PPA employee, and violating the mutual respect policy for your behavior.”

The fired man is considering his options. Other employees confidentially told that PPA has stifled discussion of the accident.

Note: Workplace grief sessions are difficult for all concerned. A good rule of thumb: Let what’s said in the grief session to stay in the grief session—and don’t discipline employees for what they say when they have been asked to vent.

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