Can Manager Have Co-Worker Fire Me?


My boss decided to fire me due to lack of communication. He was afraid of how I would take it so he had my aunt tell me at the end of our work day. Is that right?


Firred Second-Hand


DearĀ Firred Second-Hand:

Unless your company or business has policies that require a certain set of steps before firing or a specific protocol about dismissal, you can be fired in almost any way the boss wants to do it: By phone, by mail, a sign on the door or having someone else deliver the bad news. It’s certainly not a very professional or courteous way to do things and doesn’t indicate a very effective manager, but it can be done.

On the other hand, the situation may be such that it would seem logical to your boss. For example, if your aunt had a role in you being hired maybe the manager felt she ought to be the one to tell you the news. Or, your aunt may have volunteered to do it and the manager was happy to let her.

The bottom line is that your boss felt you didn’t do the job in the way he wanted you to do it. It could be you weren’t told clearly what to do. Or, the work may simply have not been something you could do well. There is also the possibility that you knew what to do but didn’t do it, for your own reasons. It may also be that your boss simply wanted to reduce the payroll and looked for a reason to dismiss someone–especially if you were the most recently hired.

I hope you will find something else soon and build on any lessons you learned from this one. One thing you probably learned is that working for a owner-run business with only a few employees is usually less stable than working for a larger company.

If some aspect of your work or your behavior led to being fired, hopefully you will be able to correct that situation easily so you can be successful in your next job. Best wishes to you.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.