(MoneyWatch) Dear Evil HR Lady,
I was fired over the phone for what my supervisor is calling "an untruthful absence" for which I used vacation days for.
They are now emailing me demanding that I come into the office at my scheduled start time and report to our General Manager once there.
I don't feel it necessary as I have already been told that it is in my best interest to not go back to the office and that I was fired. Now they are telling me something different.
First go in. What's the worst that can happen to you? Fire you, that's what. So, there's no way that going in can make you worse off than you were before.
Additionally, very few companies allow a direct supervisor to simply fire someone over the phone, on their own, without concurrence from their manager and HR. My bet is that your supervisor found himself in some hot water when the general manager found out what he did.
Now, the question is, what did you do wrong? Exactly what is an "untruthful absence?" Personally, I don't care one whit what people do with their vacation days as long as it's not illegal or embarrassing to the company. The only time it really matters what you are doing with your vacation days is if there were many business reasons why it was a bad time to take off and you said you absolutely had to because your mother was dying/you needed an appendectomy/your daycare provider had the flu and it turns out that you wanted to go bowling. Then I'd be ticked.
But, otherwise, there shouldn't be any punishment for what you do on your scheduled day off.
Who told you that it wasn't in your best interest to go back to the office? Because, again, you really don't have anything to lose. I would go back and apologize for whatever the untruthful absence was and see where things go from there. There's a possibility that you'll get a lecture and your job handed back to you.
If that's the case, be grateful and get your behind back to work. If they lecture you and then finalize the firing, apologize again for the misunderstanding, and leave. Why be nice at this point? Because just like first impressions are important, last impressions are important as well. A future job may contact these people and you want them to remember the positive things about you.
But, go in. Take your lumps, whatever they are. If you've asked for an explanation, for heaven's sake be honest. It may turn out better than you think.
Have a workplace dilemma? Send your question to EvilHRLady@gmail.com.