Should I hire someone who was fired for being rude?

Dear Polite,

Except when the employer has to relocate or when the contract will soon expire, there is usually some reason to make a change necessary. Even at the expiry of a contract, the maid may still have a reason to ask for a change: usually more time off if she works for a local employer. And of course, many feel they are overworked and underpaid. Don't we all feel that way!

Sometimes the maid deserves to be fired, sometimes she is the aggrieved party who wants out. While the customer is always right, the employer can sometimes be wrong.

Keep an open mind when you interview. If a candidate is suitable except for one shortcoming, such as being rude to her employer, find out the circumstances before you decide.

It matters who says she is rude. If it is her employer, what were the circumstances? Would you yourself consider her rude under similar circumstances? If the maid herself admits that she was rude, is she sorry or thinks nothing of it? Generally if an applicant admits her mistakes, she should be given some credit. She may have been rude (or crude or have done something dumb) but she is also frank and honest.

An example would probably be more illustrative. Filipino maid Maria was in many ways a good domestic worker. She had been with her employer for almost four years but got into trouble a few months before her second contract was due to expire. Maria went for several interviews and always got rejected. The reasons she gave for needing a job were not credible.

She approached us for help and we found out that she was not frank with her prospective employers. She was afraid no one would hire her if she gave the real reason for being fired.

After almost four years with her employer, she had become familiar with her. The latter had sometimes confided in her and often treated her not like a maid, but like a sister. She remembered she was always very respectful of her employer. But her relationship with the latter had changed over the years, and somehow she became almost like a friend or a sister.

It so happened one day that her employer got mad with her over a trivial incident and raised her voice, something she had never done before. Perhaps she herself was under stress over something, but Maria had no idea if so. So she thoughtlessly replied in kind, perhaps overreacting. Madam uncharacteristically threatened to fire her and Maria was too proud to back down and replied: "If this is how you feel, I'll go work elsewhere." Her employer regarded this as defiance and decided to let her go.

Maria felt that she had done something so unforgivable and so could not bring herself to admit she got fired for answering back. But she was finally persuaded that she would never get a job offer if she would not tell the truth. So she told the truth and was hired after two interviews. At this writing (Jan 2001) Maria had been with her new employer for about a year. Perhaps she will now never forget that an employer is an employer first and last.

Would you hire a maid who was fired for being rude? Or did she lose her job because she was too proud? Was it totally Maria's fault that the break took place? Would you hire a maid who is too proud to be browbeaten by a sometimes-boss and sometimes-friend? Do you think Maria was really rude? She might not have lost her job if her employer if she was not too proud to plead for her job.




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