I was walking a CEO through a difficult termination, and he accused me of wanting to bill additional time unnecessarily. In fact, I was simply looking after his best interests. His comment angered me, and I sent him this letter. Susan Wrobleski was the person to be terminated.
During our phone call yesterday, you accused me of "milking your company" by wanting to meet to go over legal changes to Susan's contract. I need to push back on you over that, because it is entirely inaccurate.
As you may have noticed, I have voluntarily stepped back from any involvement in your company. With the exception of the Susan Wrobleski issue, I'm not billing any more time, whatsoever. This is what good consultants do-get in, make a contribution, and leave. Just the opposite of milking the company.
I accepted the work with Susan because I believe I can make a major difference in the outcome. I've been through THOUSANDS of terminations, many handled badly, and none of my corporate clients has ever been sued. I'd like to keep it that way.
You seem to feel that you have right on your side and you can move forward with a "take it or leave it" attitude in this matter. Susan feels pushed by you, even though the termination agreement gives her 21 days to sign, and 7 days to rescind. While you have every right as the owner of your business to do anything you like, the consequences can be harsh, and could literally put you out of business.
On a scale of 1-10 in legal firepower, KDMA [the CEO's company] is a 3-4, and the employment law departments of HRO, Sherman & Howard, et. al.[big national law firms], are 9s. It will cost you $10,000 to $15,000 in legal fees to open a complaint envelope from them. If the case goes to trial, an award to Susan could go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more. I was in the courtroom recently, when an ex-employee was awarded $1.6 million in a case with less merit than hers.
Knowing the complexity of what you're dealing with right now, I don't think a lawsuit would benefit you. The Susan Wrobleski case would not look good in front of a jury.
Therefore, my reason for wanting to meet with you to go over the proposed changes was not to milk you for more hours. I want to help you keep a level, logical head through this, to make sensible decisions, and to walk away from it totally intact, so you can go forward with your business untroubled.
Let's continue to work together to put this difficult separation behind you.
William S. Frank