Does the average person realize how hard it is to fire a bad employee? There are two main reasons why a bad employee will either not get fired, or if they do, will keep their jobs for an extended period of time. The first factor is the legal factor, and the intense paper trail that needs to be established before a company can fire an employee without fear of being dragged into a costly lawsuit for improper termination. The second factor is that even a bad employee needs a paycheck, to feed himself and maybe a family at home, is it really a good idea to just outright fire someone?
Let's take a look at the legal side of terminating an employee. To just walk up to an employee and fire him for no good reason is sure to be a lawsuit, as a manager has to be able to show that an employee has been doing a bad job. There must be documented proof that an employee has engaged in behavior that has been destructive to the business, regardless of what actions that employee may take outside of the job. For example, an employee cannot be fired for doing drugs, unless that action negatively effects job performance, or effects the ability of the business to function.
Typically that will include a verbal warning for a first time offense, and after that, documented warnings of termination. Even after rules violations are documented, that does not mean that an employer can then at will fire this employee. There must be some sort of action plan for the employee, to be able to rehabilitate and help the employee correct whatever actions that are occuring that are negative. If an employee is not given the chance to rehabilitate, or correct mistakes, a lawsuit could be forth coming, as in some cases, an employee must merely be acting in a way that they understand to be the policy of a company.
While it is hard to fire an employee for legal reasons, it is even harder for a manager or supervisor to fire an employee for acting in a negative way at work.
This employee may have some sort on seniority, perhaps they used to do a good job, and now after so many years are just burned out, and its only the recognition of so many years of service that is keeping them around. Connections are a very important part of keeping a job and political pressure may be at play.
Sometimes an employee may act hostile or threaten the boss or others at work as an attempt to keep their job. I have seen up close how someone can use the threat of violence or intimidation as a way to convince a superior not to fire them. It can be a very scary thing, and an employee like that needs to be handled with the utmost care.
An employee is also a human being, and as such it is hard for a manager to fire them, as a manager was at one point a struggling employee, or maybe had gone through a rough stretch too. Either way, it is hard to look a man in the eye and tell him that there will be no more work for him here, and that his living has been taken away from him.
So there are plenty of reasons why an employee gets fired or in this case, not fired. The next time you look at someone and wonder why they still have a job, now you have an insight as to why.