back to article IBM bosses wrongly sacked channel salesman after Tech Data joint venture failed, tribunal rules

An IBM salesman was wrongly sacked after being blamed for the failure of a joint venture with Tech Data, being subject to a "biased, superficial and wholly inadequate" redundancy scoring exercise by vindictive sales managers. Craig Millard won his claim against IBM for unfair dismissal in December 2021, having been turfed out …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Jones went on to break IBM's internal rules by refusing to show Millard the supporting evidence for the poor scores."

    You never get to know what the scores were, or even *how* you were scored. I went through this a number of times, asked each time, and came away empty handed. Unless you can get a senior manager to appeal on your behalf, you won't get a meeting to talk about anything, and you certainly don't get the chance to re-deploy (open seats mysteriously used to vanish around any planned RA).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unless those seats are in the software reliability test team and being occupied by a contractor at which point someone in the hardware team building iSeries boxes can take over their slot without even a handover day. Because in IBM it is headcount that matters, not skillset

  3. David Lewis 2



    “IBM shits on staff (especially sales)”

    Is no more newsworthy than

    “Bears shit in the woods.”

    Somethings never change.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Justice is slow

    It takes way too long for employers to be held accountable for they crappy, unprofessional and unlawful behaviour - IBM dragged this poor bloke through the hedges backwards and tried getting away with denial for years, as they have done and continue to do for many others globally.

    Hope the remedy is a good one - Some money out of this bad situation is the least an employee deserves.

    IBM and its managers are a failure and should be held accountable

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Justice is slow

      I wonder if allowing the ex-employee to have say 20% of the value of the miscreants' personal assets as well as large chunk of change from the employer have any effect on this behavior.

    2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Justice is slow

      Remedy will be very low, the law seems designed for this.

      In this case, the fair thing would be to receive a lot of money plus the option to get the job back.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Justice is slow

        I though one of the remedies for unfair dismissal was get your job back? The tribunal might award him a job, lost pay and compensation.

        Its not clear why IBM keep fighting these in public. Only a tiny percent of people fight the decision (usually because enhanced redundancy terms have to be accepted upfront) so companies usually choose to offer them a settlement. Even a well paid salesman is cheap compared to lawyers and barristers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Justice is slow

          "Enhanced redundancy terms"

          This does not exist in IBM any more. Statutory minimum is the rule now, unless you are a senior manager.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Justice is slow

            I can tell you that's a lie.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Justice is slow

              re: "that's a lie".

              The last RA that happened in IBM UK that I know about was exactly statuary minimum unless there was a specific clause in the person's Employment Contract that had to be honored. My last employment contract with IBM did have such clauses, but then I left IBM (as an employee, I have since worked as a contractor) in 1996.

              It's only the very long term IBMers that have such clauses in their contracts. Most IBM employment contracts now no longer contain any promise of redundancy terms, and I believe that a while back, any promotion or advancement required new contract terms to be agreed to when accepting the advancement, giving IBM the chance to drop any specific redundancy terms.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Justice is slow

          "I though one of the remedies for unfair dismissal was get your job back? The tribunal might award him a job, lost pay and compensation."

          That was my understanding too. Although why the employer doesn't also get an actual fine for breaking the law eludes me. If the tribunal is won by the claimant, then by definition, the employer is in breach of the law and an actual court appearance ought to follow. Or employment tribunals need to be given more legal powers.

  5. msobkow Silver badge

    I used to do some contract work on an IBM project back in the 90's. Back then, they were still a reputable company and had just started wielding the staffing axe. How times have changed. :(

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    "Dallas" looks like the Care Bears compared to IBM cruel world.

  7. Mishak Silver badge

    No one ever got sacked for buying selling IBM.

  8. A random security guy

    This was in the UK. In the US …

    This would be business as usual.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: This was in the UK. In the US …

      In the UK (and the EU and some other countries), there is some pretty strong and decent employment legislation to protect employees from ravenous employers. It's taken many years to get to this stage. Something US employers operating in those jurisdictions seem to have great difficulty in understanding.

      Few US States come even close to that level of employee protection, but as so many States have different employment laws, you'd think a company operating in multiple jurisdictions with different employment law "at home" would have the ability to think that just maybe, in a whole other country, the laws might also be different.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: This was in the UK. In the US …

        Where do people come up with this ludicrous nonsense? It's entirely the other way around. The US has far more protectionism, Europe far less.

        The entire EU (and also UK) have more freedom to sack people than 'at will' states in the US.

        Really, it's very simple. Here, we give people things like medical care and food whether or not they keep their jobs, so we just don't care as much as Americans about being fired, fairly or otherwise.

        1. stungebag

          Re: This was in the UK. In the US …

          Eh? Amost all US states can bin you for any or no reason, within (sometimes) very loose limits.

        2. kat_bg

          Re: This was in the UK. In the US …

          Really? Maybe in UK. Try that in my country (inside EU) and you will end up directly in court. And usually the courts side with the employee. Let alone that such behavior can guarantee a visit from the labor protection authorities which will nitpick every document. You need thoroughly documented investigation before you can fire someone, outside the legally mandated procedures.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: This was in the UK. In the US …

            "Really? Maybe in UK. "

            No, not in the UK. He was talking out of his arse. UK laws and regulations have barely changed since leaving the EU and the UK was one of the EU members leading and pushing for stronger employment protection (despite the comments in the press over the years that it was the EU forcing us to follow their rules)

      2. jotheberlock

        Re: This was in the UK. In the US …

        Try going to an employment tribunal in your first two years' of employment. You can't. You're out of luck, it's not legally allowed, so an employer can basically fire you for whatever with no comeback.

        Blair brought in a 1 year limit for 'flexibility' under New Labour and the Lib Dem/Tory coalition extended it to two years so basically all three national parties have screwed us on this one.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: This was in the UK. In the US …

          The 1 year thing predates New Labour and Tony Blair by quite some time. IIRC, up to a year and you were still classed as temporary labour. If you were on a temp contract and you worked past the one year anniversary with out starting a new one, your contract was, by default, a permanent contract with all the attendant rights. My father was at Reyrolles on a rolling contract like that.. They were effectively "sacked" every 364 days and then, in the main, re-hired the following day. Although IIRC, anyone reaching the end of the second year were taken on permanently anyway. One of my first jobs was dependant on the as then Manpower Service Commission funding, supposedly on an annually renewable employment contract, but 12 years later, long after the MSC had been reformed and renamed twice and I was made redundant, I still got full rights as a permie because no one at the local council had bothered to keep up with the contract details (Likewise, we were always treated as permies after year one and got the usual incremental pay rises on the scale as well as the negotiated ones and the additional long service extra days holiday each year)

  9. KeithSloan

    IBM management total scum

    My first manager who rose to be the European director of systems engineering one time when I was a trainee he planted two elbows on the desk and just glared at me for a number minutes. I also remember one time when some Americans were visiting he and a buddy of his a senior marketing manager who was probably an alcoholic and certainly the most evil of people you could ever meet discussing puting small amounts of LSD in an employees coffee. I think it was alcohol talking as they discussed puting in in his teeth and finally the IBM water supply idea to boost peoples ideas and save the pension plan lots of money.

    I was the large systems specialist in the London City branch we installed 4 x 3900 at the time when even Lloyds bank were not buying, still only got a 2 on my ANC. Was not a manager that told me I should patent things but a master inventor. Getting a patent did not my change rating and when challenged got the response yes but it does not do anything for the division. Why did I waste 30 years of my life working for them? Certain Karma that Apple are now worth $3Tn and Microsoft not far behind, IBM $122Bn about 1/24 the size. At the end of the day they are a marketing company, control freaks who would spend 50% of the time discussing who in the customer were the decision makes and what handles they had on them. Plotting harming their careers if they were not pro IBM. Senior managers clueless about strategy hence screw up with PC business, missing, realising the value in marketing i.e. Google, Facebook, impact of smart phones. The only people in IBM with any real honesty were in Research,

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: IBM management total scum

      It's sad the way IBM lost it's way. Back in the day, I got them in to present on using (I think) AS400 and linux to virtualise services instead of filling up racks with 1U or 2U servers. Sadly had pushback from our sysadmins, who preferred buying lots of Sun kit and Solaris licenses. But even with IBM pricing, it was still cheaper and resource efficient than going the standalone route. Sales and IBM's SE even assured us we could rent instances under existing licenses.

      But so it goes. The mainframe company that gave the world JCL and RACF should have been well placed to capitalise on the shift back from the grand peer-peer experiment, and back to the mainframe. I mean 'cloud', and virtualisation.

  10. trevorde Silver badge

    Occam's Razor

    Jones and Millard are going to split the compensation money. That is the only reasonable explanation for Jones' incompetence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Occam's Razor

      There's a simpler explanation - Jones is an IBM "manager"

  11. David 132 Silver badge

    That JV sounds odd

    Am I interpreting the structure of the JV correctly?

    “If the IBM employee seconded to the disti didn’t persuade the disti to sell a certain target amount of IBM kit, the disti would have to pay a penalty to IBM.”

    I hope I’ve misinterpreted the article. Because if not that sounds utterly odd. Conflict of interest, for one. “If you persuade them to sell lots of our products, we get the revenue. If you don’t, we get paid a penalty. Heads we win, tails they lose.”

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: That JV sounds odd

      Yeah, fairly standard in those sorts of JVs. The problem here is that IBM made it impossible by refusing to lower prices so the partner had no leeway to work with. Usually, the deal is "we'll sell to you at a preferential rate so long as you guarantee to sell X units per year so economies of scale kick in. There are usually conditions on both sides to make sure the deal works and only utter incompetence from one of the parters triggers the penalty clauses.

  12. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Has any HR department anywhere been even remotely competent? Their ostensible role is covering the company's arse, but in this case they appear to have been about effective at that as the man who killed his wife in the Billy Connolly joke.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      HR Functions

      Ultimately HR has two functions (1) protect HR (2) protect the company.

      This is the way.

    2. Yes Me Silver badge

      ... even remotely competent?

      Yes, 30 or 40 years ago when they were called "Personnel" which reminded them each day that they were dealing with people. At some point (blame the Chicago School economists, Reagan and Thatcher) they rebranded themselves as "Human Resources" which reminds them each day that what really counts is cost minimisation and shareholder value. I don't know how HR staff sleep at night.

  13. Sam not the Viking Silver badge

    What brings in the orders?

    It seems that the project was hampered by high costs of the IBM equipment; only some, authorised, managers are/were allowed to offer a reduction in price. Look folks, is it any wonder that if the competition is bettering your price, on the same customer-specification, you might need to look at your own prices?

    Surely IBM need another few layers of management to drive costs down?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can anyone explain to me why anybody still works for this arsehole of a company.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Can anyone explain to me why anybody still works for this arsehole of a company.

      Because he (or she) isn't fired yet.

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