Ignoring an outpouring of support from her colleagues, the Times Union fired one of its best and brightest employees, Lindsay Connors, Friday by sending her a letter at home on her day off telling her never to return.
The Company ignored a petition from her colleagues, testimony from top sales staff, posters of support on co-workers’ desks, and numerous objections to unfair standards she was placed under that no other employee faced. The union is calling for her immediate reinstatement, as the firing is unjustified and the Company failed to respond to a proposal the Guild made last month on the proper rules and pay classification for the position.
The firing comes while Lindsay has a charge pending with the state Human Rights Commission over Company Vice President Kurt Vantosky inappropriately calling a colleague to say he wanted to take the single mother’s four kids to a movie and have them call him “Uncle Kurt.”
It also comes as Lindsay has shed light on inappropriate actions in advertising: a team of ad sales people branded ‘terrorists,’ staff told to dance for bosses as part of a competition, and, just last week, the Times Union outsourcing ad design work without negotiation. For her efforts, Lindsay recently received the Guild International’s top honor, the Guild Service Award.
“Publisher George Hearst has shredded his credibility with the advertising staff,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “When employees came to him to discuss how badly employees are being treated, he talked to them, pretended to care, and did nothing. Top salespeople told Hearst the mistreatment of Lindsay was wrong and should cease, that she is a stellar employee who helped bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue in the past year alone. George Hearst told Lindsay those were impressive people to vouch for her and that no one cared more about her than the Company leaders sitting at that table including himself. And then he fired her without cause and allowed a heartless letter to be mailed to her, knowing the single mom could very well open it while alone with her children.”
Since returning from maternity leave last year, Lindsay has faced unbelievably unfair standards, with the Company expecting her to call a potential advertiser every seven minutes without being given a list of people to call and while having to call only people who had not recently advertised. She was told to set up appointments for other salespeople but that she would only get credit for the sales if they occurred within a very short time frame. Multiple times, the sales closed, the Company got the cash, the salesperson got credit and commissions, but Lindsay was told the sales were “too late” and received no credit or commissions. And then the Company disciplined Lindsay for not hitting the sales goals it had imposed under rules not a single other employee faced. (When asked what the average length of time is for closing a sale, the Company said it had no idea because it didn’t track that information for anyone but Lindsay.)
“No one among Lindsay’s peers believes the Company’s fraudulent claims that Lindsay is anything but a stellar employee,” O’Brien wrote in an email to Ruth Fantasia Friday after finding a copy of the letter to Lindsay placed in his office mailbox. “She can hold her head up high. The truth is known to all her colleagues and many friends here.”