Rogers Business Solutions / No organizational justice
Rogers Communications Inc. does not give a hoot about their employees. In Rogers’ highest profit year, Rogers laid off hundreds of people. It was such a sneaky little secret. Not one word about any of the layoffs in June and November 2007 could be found on Google. Neither the public nor the media knew anything about it.
The very jobs Rogers got rid of - the same exact role was posted on Rogers’ website but in another region. Those people were not even given the option to relocate. In fact the year Rogers made such a profit (reported revenues of $2.5 billion and operating profits of $900 million laying the groundwork for returning increasing amounts of cash to shareholders by more than tripling the dividend), Rogers had 300 jobs advertised (so there was no shortage of work) and all those people Rogers laid off weren't considered for any of those jobs. Rogers does not have an employee-friendly layoff policy.
Even your boss will reassure you that your job is safe. However my boss, oh yes, reassured me my job was safe. He knew I would relocate at a drop of a hat and even at my own expense but nope. All of a sudden he dropped off the face of the planet a month before I was laid off. He didn't return my calls or respond to my emails. He did send out an email saying he wanted a status of all that is on my plate and for me to place all my files on the network. Hello, like I don't know what's coming? Even benefits were cut off before a person was actually laid off and to be told you no longer qualify for the discount as the computer says you are not an employee. Do I need more evidence to convince me to trust what my boss told me was true?
The local VP sends an email to everyone in the BC region a week before the layoff saying that we are all to clear our schedules on such and such a day and between 9 a.m. and noon and be sitting at our desks. What happens is if your phone rings you are called into a meeting room with two HR people, handed a letter, asked to turn in all Rogers property within a week, can go home right away (as Rogers had a taxi slip to take you) or finish up and stay the remainder of the day.
Everyone in the office knew the axe was about to fall. One after the other you can hear a phone ring in this or that cubicle then you figure by the names of those called they are doing it alphabetically. Your mind starts panicking as they are coming closer to your last name in the alphabet. Your heart is racing. This is your livelihood and independence Rogers is taking away without any warning. Your mind can’t think straight for the whole week before the day you are supposed to be at your desk. You can’t function. You aren’t productive. You live with fear. I can understand now how some people can go crazy agonizing over Rogers contributing to their downfall. It was horrible. You hated Rogers for setting you up for that fall. Oh boy, the week that led up to this agony of knowing you’re a goner makes people mentally ill of stress and fear, Rogers HR didn’t that into account. Then the crying begins, the loud voices of those shocked and complaining, people carrying boxes of their personal belongings, men sniffling at the elevators with backs turned to you to hide in shame, others walking around with their heads down unable to look anyone in the eye and then you knew their phone rang, people walked hard stomping on each step taken and you can tell they were pissed. Those that weren't called were shocked to see some of their colleagues called. Those who weren’t called were gathered in the washroom whispering and laughing and silently cheering at hearing others (they personally didn’t like) were canned. It was public humiliation done during business hours with most of the personnel in the office hiding in their cubicles thinking that huddling together they would be overlooked somehow, not a chance. Rogers HR was cold hearted and calculating and untrustworthy and sneaky. It was my first experience and it disgusted me how we were treated. Where is organizational justice? This is when I become a staunch supporter of unions. Rogers definitely needs a union to protect the employees as management didn’t give a God damn whether you had a mortgage or were a sole provider, not one thought was given to what the employee will have to face mentally and emotionally and financially. We all were ambushed by Rogers HR, nothing was above ground, they could have met with each of us individually to discuss options but Rogers HR did not give even one minute of their time to help the employee stay, even offering me a job in any other role in many of their other owned divisions (Rogers Cable, Rogers Telecom, Rogers Wireless, Rogers Media, Rogers Publishing, Rogers Broadcasting, Rogers Sports, etc.) where there was tremendous job opportunities locally in the call centre and with Fido and with Rogers Video even if it meant a cut in my salary. It was still earning a living.
Rogers’ HR role is supposed to be to support people. When laying people off, Rogers HR made no examination of all other available alternatives including separation of temporary employees, delay in the filling of vacant positions, position re-design, work unit re-organization or job sharing. Each Rogers’ department facing the layoff should be obligated to make every effort to place that employee either within or outside of the department (or region) prior to the effective date of layoff but Rogers HR did not work to the benefit of the employee. Rogers HR did not show the employee was valued by the mere suggestion of giving the employee an option to fill another vacancy in the organization whether locally or nationally. This would give the employee a feel that they were partnering with Rogers for a win-win alternative. It is a disappointment Rogers HR could not afford 1-hour to discuss other possibilities after 20 years of service. Rogers acted like the landowner treating the employees like slaves to the whims of Rogers’ corporate insensitivity.
During the severance many employees took it upon themselves to apply online and some must have found more than 10 jobs that they would be willing to work at. Do you think they were contacted? Not! It didn't matter if an employee had raises and bonuses and exceptional performance report cards and proved their integrity and work ethics or brought in million dollar accounts or worked every night and on weekends (without overtime being paid by the way) to get the job done or being with the company 20 years or even if their file was filled with commendations. None of this mattered and did not account for some leverage compared to the unknown new hires.
So here we are, hundreds laid off when Rogers was earning their highest profits. Ted Rogers donated $25 million to Ryerson too. However what made the Rogers successful are the minds and ideas of the employees - who, by the way, are required to sign a confidentiality agreement that whatever ideas they contribute to the success of Rogers belongs to Rogers. I guess Rogers never did get to see that 1949 movie called ‘Fountainhead’ where Howard Roark delivers his closing statements in his own defense which goes like this:
… The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks, the parasite copies. The creator produces, the parasite loots. The creator's concern is the conquest of nature - the parasite's concern is the conquest of men. The creator requires independence, he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice. The parasite seeks power, he wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that man is only a tool for the use of others. That he must think as they think, act as they act, and live his selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own. Look at history. Everything thing we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots. Without personal rights, without personal ambition, without will, hope, or dignity. It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: the individual against the collective … <see the movie>
Rogers does not provide reference letters. When an employee tries to get a copy of their personnel file through the Privacy Act, Rogers withholds performance documentation. Then the employee has to file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner because Rogers HR is not respecting the local law to release all information. So when a future employer asks why I left the company and I tell them I was laid off, they didn’t hear anything about the layoff (and they tell me this) and I find myself having to prove I wasn’t fired for cause. Rogers did not help mitigate the time it takes to locate another job. I did not have any performance reviews / commendations, etc. that could have been a part of my portfolio to list my achievements.
Writing to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development asking why the government does not hold companies like Rogers accountable when Rogers falsely and misleadingly wrote on the ROE (record of employment) the reason for the separation was due to ‘shortage of work’. Mandatory standards are placed on recipients in order to qualify for Employment Insurance when quitting a job to mitigate the loss of employment. Yet why isn’t Rogers held accountable when Rogers sends people to the poor house rather than help the economy by re-training and re-locating employees especially when Rogers is in a position to do so? You tell me how Rogers is socially responsible? Rogers taught me that commitment is not reciprocated.
Rogers’ website states "At Rogers, we value our employees and the contribution they make to meet our company's goals".