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What is the proper etiquette if a person unexpectedly meets someone he fired? For example, if a person is at Starbucks and meets a former employee that he fired what should he do?

  • In what constellation do they meet? Is the person that was fired a barista, now, or did they work at Starbuck's and return as customer to meet their former boss? – Bernhard Döbler Oct 12 at 10:38
  • It could also be important why and how the person was fired. – puck Oct 12 at 17:33
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What should he do? What would he do if he met anybody else at Starbucks? Whatever that is, do that.

  • Agree 100%, although its still awkward (This happened to me ages ago, after I had to terminate one of my senior developers for performing really poorly - he struggled with even beginner level stuff, like he'd never seen the tool before. I met him about 8 months later in a local supermarket). – Justin Oct 12 at 18:06
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    @Justin ...and??? Don't leave us hanging – Dave Gremlin Oct 13 at 14:13
  • @justin was he the cashier?? – Green Baloon Oct 14 at 13:22
  • @GreenBaloon - No, he was just shopping in his local supermarket. I had stopped there almost randomly on my way home from somewhere with a shopping list. – Justin Oct 14 at 15:22
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    @DaveGremlin - On meeting, we introduced our spouses, making slightly awkward small-talk, before I profusely apologized for his situation, wishing him well for the future. He was happily in another job by then and I made sure he got 3 months severance and MSDN to learn with. I did this after learning he had originally been hired by another team to fulfill a contractual obligation, and was then dumped into my department after they won their contract and didn't need him anymore (b&st&rds). – Justin Oct 14 at 15:34
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For example, if a person is at Starbucks and meets a former employee that he fired what should he do?

Say something like "Hi. How are you doing?"

Just because you fired someone, that doesn't mean you should act any differently than you would with any other former employee.

1

Sometimes situation may dictate not saying anything but in most cases a simple "Hi how have you been?" is all that is required. It is impossible to know what is going on in that person mind and at that point just be normal like anyone else would.

Now if the firing was for something egregious or deplorable then staying silent is probably best.

That said if they engage you don't be rude and ignore them. If they say hi then say hi back and just be polite and move on.

I would like to end with this. People make mistakes that end their career in a company but that does not make them bad or any less human. People often regret their mistakes and just want to move on.

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Depends on the person and the circumstances. Obviously if they're drunk or drugged that could create an issue.

But in the normal run of affairs, just ignore them and let them initiate any greeting. You'll be better able to judge the correct reaction based on that. Obviously a bunch of swear words while they roll up their sleeves is probably a bad sign.

Some industries would have different things to watch out for. If you sack a bouncer for example, there is a chance of a violent reaction at some point.

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    I know someone who has worked as a bouncer. He is not a violent person. Being a good bouncer takes a lot of self control. – Patricia Shanahan Oct 12 at 16:37
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    I lvrd next door to a bouncer, made me look small which is a feat in itself and he was a good neighbor. – Solar Mike Oct 12 at 17:29
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    I was a bouncer, they're hired because they're violent, I think you mean security, who are hired because they got big muscles and look good on a door. There's a big difference. – Kilisi Oct 12 at 21:25
  • I think this answer makes more sense than the others, since initiating conversation could create more problematic/awkward situation. Being passive or just greeting the person is preferrable IMO because one will probably not befriend a person they have fired before. – Jonas Schwarz Oct 12 at 22:21
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    @PatriciaShanahan "Being a good bouncer takes a lot of self control" sure, but this hypothetical bouncer probably wasn't fired for being a good bouncer, in which case it might be prudent to give them a wide berth :D – delinear Oct 14 at 10:27

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