Coworker Threatens To Fire Contract Employees

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about threats to fire:

We are consultants who are employed by our company but are working under contract with another company. One of the employees in the contracting company (a peer of ours) gets upset every two or three months and starts telling everyone they will be fired. Should we take a complaint about his behavior to our company, the company we are contracted at, or both?

Signed, Tired of The Threats

Dear Tired of The Threats:

If you are under contract it is likely that you are expected to take any concerns or complaints, about anything, to your contracting agent; and it would be inappropriate for you to do otherwise. An employee handbook or something similar might tell you exactly what to do under such circumstances.

If you go to your company’s contract agent or the person with authority about it, make sure you have good documentation so you can explain that you are not at fault. You certainly don’t want it to seem that you and your colleagues are potential problems for your company.I also think it would be wise to push back a bit with the employee. I doubt he has any authority to reprimand or chide you. He certainly wouldn’t have authority to threaten you in that way.

Consider, next time he starts, asking him to go with you to his manager to work out the situation. I’ll bet he doesn’t want to do that. So, the bottom line is to work within the contract and express your concern to your contracting agent. If your company doesn’t want to do anything, you may only be able to stand your ground and ask the threatening employee to handle things the right way rather than making threats. Insist that he go to his own manager, then use the time to discuss better ways to be warned about concerns.Best wishes to you with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe