“Quiet firing” is a relatively new workplace trend that has come about as a by-product of “quiet quitting.” It involves companies reducing their staff by taking uncommon (and potentially unethical) steps to lead employees to leave on their own volition.
For employers, quiet firing may seem like an easy way to cut costs and reduce the size of their workforce without having to go through the hassle of severance packages or legal paperwork. However, it is important for both employers and employees alike to understand the potential implications of this practice, both legally and ethically, in order to ensure that all parties are aware of their rights and obligations.
What is Quiet Firing?
Quiet firing is when an employer engages in actions that indicate they wish for an employee to leave without actually firing them. This usually involves making the work environment uncomfortable or unfulfilling so that the employee will resign. It can also involve changing job duties without notification, assigning fewer hours, or having coworkers intentionally ignore or exclude a particular employee. In either case, the end goal remains the same—the employer wants their employee to leave without going through the paperwork and trouble associated with actual termination.
Is Quiet Firing Legal?
Although the term “quiet firing” is not explicitly mentioned in the law, the behaviors exhibited are often illegal, or at least unethical, in nature. And while certain states may have laws allowing employers to terminate employees at any time for any reason (at-will employment), this does not mean they can engage in shady behavior that ultimately leads to termination of employment.
It can be difficult to prove that an employer has engaged in quiet firing practices because there are often no hard documents that indicate such action has taken place. Instead, many lawyers look for patterns of behavior from the employer (such as written warnings) as well as how long it took for each step of their plan to unfold in order to prove their case in court.
If you suspect that your employment termination was the result of unethical or unlawful business practices, the team at Southern California Labor Law Group PC can help you understand your rights. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (424) 306-1515.