Remember “dehiring“?  Dehiring is when, instead of firing a bad employee, you conspire with him to get him a new job someplace else.  As this how-to guide explains:

Managing a problematic employee is time consuming and negatively affects the cohesion of your fitness team. Unfortunately, hoping that a troublesome employee will just go away is not always realistic and may even make the situation worse. Instead of backing away from the problem, take action. By learning how to “de-hire,” you may never have to fire anyone again.


Begin the conversation with statements such as “Sue, it appears that Club X is really not the place you want to be working. You have been calling in sick and arguing with members. Perhaps you’re not happy teaching here any more?” “Sue, are you truly happy at Club X or do you feel you might need a change?” or “Sue, it doesn’t appear that you want to be part of the team anymore. Why don’t you think about what you want to do and let’s meet again tomorrow.”

EconLog reader Elijah Broadbent just emailed me an amusing example of how the University of Chicago dehired infamous genetics denier Richard Lewontin.  Elijah speaks:

Hi Bryan,

Hope you are well! I was reading this old Alice Dreger interview with E. O. Wilson and came across a great example of dehiring you might be interested in.

I’ll tell you a story about all of this. Around 1970, we were searching for someone in population genetics. He looked very good then. And he had this brilliant personality in conversation, this brilliant presentation, a real theatrical power. The search committee decided he was the best person, but this was after he had just adopted his political and public persona and he was known to be joining protests. I remember watching a news report one day about the takeover of a stage at the University of Chicago, where some government functionary had come to speak at the height of the anti-war protests. And to my astonishment, I saw Dick Lewontin rush up and take the microphone!

We had a meeting to take the final vote on Lewontin at Harvard, and a group of the older professors said they were worried about reports of his behavior at Chicago—that he might be disruptive or might have gotten away from genetics, and so would not be the right sort of person to be at Harvard. I made the speech I will regret for the rest of my life: I said we should never accept or reject someone because of their political views. I felt so good about myself making that political speech! “I know several key people at Chicago on the faculty,” I said. “Let me ask them about the key question: Is Lewontin’s new political activism affecting his performance at the University of Chicago, or affecting anything connected with his duties?” And they said, okay, ask and let us know.”

So, I called several people who I knew personally. We were all young guys then and they all said, “No, it’s not causing any problems here. He’s doing fine.” That turned out not to be the case. I reported that, and Lewontin came, and then our troubles with him began. I could tell you stories about him and the department that would make for a hilarious evening. But I won’t, except to say that the whole anti-sociobiology thing broke out about three years after he arrived. It was Gould and Lewontin and Ruth Hubbard, mostly oriented by Lewontin, looking to attack sociobiology and to discredit me.

I held up. In response to those attacks, I wrote On Human Nature, which came out in ’78, and it won a Pulitzer Prize, which helped strengthen my position considerably. I was increasingly confident in my own reputation and my security at Harvard. I wrote [entomologist] John Law, who was then a close friend who had done work with me on pheromones. I said, “John, we’ve had Dick Lewontin here three years”—so this would have been about ’76—“so now it’s your turn to take him back for three years.” John sent back a message on a scrap of paper written by the President of the University of Chicago, who was also named Wilson coincidentally. The note said: “From one Wilson to another, no way!” Apparently, they had already been having real problems with him.