OLD Media Moves

"Firing" employees vs. "eliminating" them

November 2, 2006

The CEO of a manufacturing company in Wisconsin has written an opinion column for The Racine Journal Times because he was upset that the headline above a story in which his business terminated the jobs of 50 workers used the word “fired.”

Modine Manufacturing at NYSE in 2005David Rayburn, the CEO of Modine Manufacturing, wrote, “I was very disappointed to see the large headline in the newspaper on Friday, October 27, ‘Modine fires 50.’ These employees’ jobs were eliminated, based on a business decision, carried out after careful consideration. It was very insensitive to these employees’ hard work and service to characterize their situation in the sensational way you did.

“These employees are deservingly receiving career counseling and outplacement services in order to leverage their skills and find new employment. I have talked with several of them who were hurt and embarrassed by this headline, and worried about what it would do to their chances of getting a new job. I have also talked with current employees, retirees and members of the community who are angry and disappointed by the insensitivity of The Journal Times.

“Frankly, I think this headline shows your newspaper’s lack of understanding of the business climate and the challenges we all face.”

Read more here. And here is my comment: No matter how a company lets go of its workers, whether they are part of an “elimination” or a “reduction in force” or a “rightsizing” or a “downsizing” or any of the other euphemisms and corporate speak that companies use to make what they’ve done sound better, it’s still a firing or a “termination.”

A newspaper’s job is not to sugarcoat but to tell the truth. Get over it.

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