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我能解雇女职员吗?

THE PROBLEM 问题

  I head a small financial services company. We do not employ many women and would like to employ more. However, one of our female analysts is poor at her job and unpopular. If I fire her, I'm concerned she is the type to sue on discrimination grounds - even though she doesn't have a case. Also, firing her might make it look as if this is a bad place for women to work. Any ideas?

  Chairman, male, 58

  我掌管着一家小型金融服务公司。我们公司的女性员工并不多,也愿意雇用更多女职员。然而,我们有一位女性分析师,工作表现很差,又不招人喜欢。如果我解雇她,我担心她会以性别歧视为由提出诉讼——虽然根本没有这回事。同时,如果把她解雇,可能会使我们公司看起来很不适合女性工作。您有何高见?

  董事长,男性,58岁

  THE ANSWER 回答

  This woman is both feeble and unpleasant. If she were just the first, then you might consider keeping her. All but the smallest companies can tolerate a dog or two. But as she is also unpopular, there is nothing for it: she must go.

  这个女人工作又差,又令人讨厌。如果她只占第一条,那你或许可以考虑留着她。除了最小的公司以外,几乎所有公司都能容忍一两个没用的人。但是,如果她同时还令人讨厌,那就没有什么好说的了:她必须走。

  However, you are right to be worried about the vindictive legal action she could take, and also right that her sex makes a big difference. If she were a man, you would simply risk being sued for unfair dismissal - and those cases do not make the headlines and the payouts they command are small.

  不过,你是对的,她的确可能采取报复性法律手段,而她的性别问题也的确关系重大。如果她是一个男人,你顶多会遭遇"不公平解雇"的指控——这种案子不会成为重大新闻,而且他们索要的补偿也很少。

  In any event, protecting yourself against such a case is relatively easy. You can't fire anyone out of the blue for poor performance but, as long as you issue warnings and give the person a chance to get better, you can fire them after a few months when they don't.

  无论如何,防止自己摊上这种官司相对比较容易。你不能因为某位员工表现差劲就突然宣布解雇,但是,只要你提出了警告,给这位员工一个改进的机会,如果几个月之后还没有改进,你就可以解雇了。

  The woman thing makes it much more risky. All she needs is to show that there might be a case for discrimination and you could find the onus of proof is on you. You would then have to show that you had not discriminated - which is almost impossible to do.

  女性问题使这种做法的风险大了很多。她所要做的,就是表明你的行动可能存在歧视,而你则会发现,所有取证的责任都在你身上。于是,你就不得不表明你没有歧视过她——要做到这点,几乎不可能。

  There are three things that make me fear your case is weak. You hardly employ any women, which isn't a good start. The fact that yours is a small company means you are unlikely to have sent your people on tedious, costly, diversity awareness courses, which are a legal insurance policy against this sort of thing. And if in the past you have given this woman positive appraisals then that will count against you too.

  我担心,有三点对你很不利。首先一点,你几乎没有雇用过女性员工。你的公司规模很小,这个事实意味着你以前不太可能对员工推行冗长乏味、成本高昂的多元化培训课,而这种路线乃是对抗这类事情合法而保险的政策。而且,如果过去你曾给过这个女人某些积极的评价,也会成为对你不利的证据。

  You might get away with it; you might not. If you don't and she wins her case it could not only be expensive (in the UK, at least, there is no cap on payouts in these cases), it would not look pretty to have a sex discrimination story in the pages of this newspaper.

  你也许可以侥幸逃脱处罚,也许逃不掉。如果你没不幸让她赢了官司,则不仅可能会很费钱(至少在英国,这种案子的支出可没有上限),而且还会成为本报某篇性别歧视案例报道的主角,从而颜面尽失。

  If I were you, I would do what employers are doing quietly behind the scenes all the time. Take her to one side and offer her a lot of money, a face-saving story and a great reference, and usher her gently out of the door.

  如果我是你,我就会采用雇主们经常偷偷摸摸做的勾当。把她叫到一边,给她一大笔钱,编造一些为她保留颜面的话,再写一些很棒的评语,和颜悦色地把她送出门。

  This may be costly (and distasteful in that incompetence is being rewarded) but at least you get rid of her with no ugliness and no risk.

  这么做也许成本很高(而且看到无能的人受到犒赏,也会让人恶心),但是,至少你除掉了她,没闹任何别扭,也不会带来任何风险。

  The moral is that employers should think twice before hiring women and be sure to waste time and money on diversity courses. The whole system is less than ideal but that isn't your immediate problem.

  道德问题是雇主在雇用女性之前应该三思的问题,而且,一定要浪费些时间和金钱搞一搞多样化路线。整个体系也许不那么理想,但那不是你迫切需要解决的问题。


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