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Preperation For Termination

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What is the name of your state? Ohio
I am 58 and have worked for my employer 26+ yr. I have never been formally or informally reprimanded. My attendance is excellent. Have never missed time (more than a week) for any reason. My reviews have been 4.0+ (2002 was 4.0 & 2001 4.08) on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0. Work very close to error free. Can be documented by number of ECN’s written. Completion of projects 95+% on time. Have been the “go to guy” in my specialty for over a decade. Company has been downsizing for three years. Approx. 65 to 70% reductions have been achieved through terminations, buyouts, and voluntary quits. We’ve lost 75% in Mechanical Engineering. Company has shrunk from $300+ mil. Yr. to $85 mil FYE-2003.

May 2003 underwent quad bypass coronary surgery. Returned end of July. Had another layoff October. One Mechanical Designer terminated. Had 36 yr. & was 60 yr. old. Told his skills didn’t keep up with the position. He continued to work in a legacy CAD package (2D). Was told that there was not enough of that type of work to justify his continued employment. His replacement, who started the Monday after he was fired, was a degreed engineer under 30 with (3D) CAD experience.

Later that day my immediate supervisor asked me to accompany him on the shop floor. He advised me that the company was taking a harder look at every one. I was to be placed on a “Performance Improvement Plan”. He said that management was concerned that I was to “slow” in doing my work and that I wasn’t proficient enough using ProE (3D CAD Package). No specifics were discussed and I left it by saying “I needed to know what the problem was before I could work on it”. My supervisor agreed and said he needed more guidance. We would talk again.

That is how it stayed until 11/21/03 Fri. when I met with my supervisor again. He started by giving me a copy of the policy “Performance Improvement”. He told me to become familiar with it. I was told that this “ is the policy they use to terminate an employee”. I am to keep an activity log of my weekly output. It is to include phone calls, floor visits, etc. Complete detail of my day. He then handed me a copy of my new review (PP&M) (not due until 1/20/04). The overall performance level was 3.0. A 3.5 to 4.4 is an excellent rating. Performance consistently exceeds position requirements and expectations. Performance is noticeably better than expected compared to individuals with similar experience at this level. A 2.5 to 3.4 is a good rating. Performance consistently meets position requirements and expectations. Performance is completely acceptable compared to individuals with similar experience at this level.

I was upset and stated so. I gave it back and asked what was prompting this. Again no specifics were brought up. I asked for a meeting with the VP of Engineering and my supervisor agreed. I gave back the PP&M. I told him I would be unable to start the log because I was on vacation for the next week. On 11/25/03 Wed. I sent my supervisor an email from home asking for a copy of the PP&M to review before the meeting. It was sent with a copy of my performance plan. It states that “ XXX’s output is below company expectations. This is based on the relative output of his peers in the same job classification.” ”If sufficient improvement is not achieved, next course of action might be: Separation from company”.

At 58+ yr. I want to keep my position if possible. More importantly is to keep my excellent record intact. What actions could or should I take to help insure this?


Senior Member
With staff reductions hovering around 70%, it's not surprising that the remaining management staff is taking a VERY critical look at everyone still employed to see if they're up to the multi-tasking the current environment undoubtedly demands. I don't see any legal issues here, if that's your question.

What I do suggest is that you obtain as much specific information you can from your boss and from the VP of Engineering as to their expectations and then really give it your all. If you need to become more proficient on ProE, then do so asap. If there are other skills they want you to develop or enhance, then do so - and make sure you keep your boss abreast of your skill development and anything else of significance you do. Don't drive him nuts running to him with every little thing though. I'd suggest you ask for the two of you to meet weekly for a few minutes until the "crisis" passes in order to update him until the situation looks more secure for you.

Good luck.

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