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What Reality TV Teaches Us About How NOT to Treat Employees

Sunday, on yet another painful to watch shocking episode of “Celebrity Apprentice,” Donald Trump fired Khloe Kardashian.  But it wasn’t Kardashian’s firing that was surprising (no offense to the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians’” star) – rather, it was the reason for her firing. 

Usually contestants leave the show because they failed the week’s challenge, but Trump fired Kardashian supposedly because he discovered she had a previous DUI – a reason my co-worker, an overly enthusiastic “Apprentice” fan, believes is completely unwarranted (so much so that he asked me to blog about it so all the world might know of his ire).

Here’s what went down, as he tells it:

Both teams had to create a 60-second viral video for All‘s new detergent and direct traffic to its site. The executives from All hated both videos, so both teams lost, and Trump fired two people (one from each team).

Clint Black [the team's project manager] was the reason Khloe’s team lost, but Trump just focused on Khloe. Khloe missed part of last week’s task – she had to go to LA to get a leave of absence from a judge for a DUI program, and Trump didn’t find out she had a previous DUI until she got back. He said his staff probably knew she had a DUI, but he didn’t, and if he had known she would never have been on the show.

If it were a real workplace, you can’t fire someone because of something they did in the past that had nothing to do with the job.

I have to agree that Trump was wrong to fire her over this.  Had she tried to hide her DUI, it might be a different story.  But she didn’t.  She (or USMagazine.com…whoevs…) disclosed her DUI to the staff, served time in jail, and is taking court-ordered alcohol education classes (which caused her to miss part of the previous week’s task).

 Now, had Trump fired her because he believed that those classes were getting in the way of her job performance – or even because she failed to report her absenteeism – he would have been well within reason, but if either of those scenarios was the case, why did he wait so long to confront her? (Oh, yeah, ratings…). 

Ultimately, this seems to me like a failure on Trump’s staff for keeping the information from him – or even on Trump himself for not bothering to ask about his potential new hire’s background in the first place. 

How should Trump really have handled the situation? Trump said she never would have made it onto the show in the first place, but she did – even if by mistake – and stayed on up until this past week based on (and I use this word loosely) merit.  Does she still deserve to be fired for this mistake – one that she’s actively trying to correct - alone?

Frankly, if I were Kardashian – and any of this were actually real - I might be looking into getting a lawyer to question why it’s acceptable for fellow contestant Dennis Rodman to have DUI but not her…(Suspicious!)

Thoughts?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
7 comments
bev
bev

Ahhh! What a suprise the old double standard remains alive and kicking. My advice get a lawyer , then conduct interviews with anyone who will listen.I don't watch this program either ,but if I had been a viewer this would have prompted me drop this program from my list.

bev
bev

Ahhh! What a suprise the old double standard remains alive and kicking. My advice get a lawyer , then conduct interviews with anyone who will listen.I don't watch this program either ,but if I had been a viewer this would have prompted me drop this program from my list.

JohnJlws
JohnJlws

I have never watched the Apprentice, or any of its iterations. I would rather watch dung beetles mating, or about anything else, than Trump. The problem I see, as I understand this from the blog, is that there are people out there applying for jobs who probably think this is reality. I've been in HR for over 2 decades and I'd no more pull the trigger using this sort of nonsensical logic, than George Bush would pardon someone on death row. Ridiculous.

JohnJlws
JohnJlws

I have never watched the Apprentice, or any of its iterations. I would rather watch dung beetles mating, or about anything else, than Trump. The problem I see, as I understand this from the blog, is that there are people out there applying for jobs who probably think this is reality. I've been in HR for over 2 decades and I'd no more pull the trigger using this sort of nonsensical logic, than George Bush would pardon someone on death row. Ridiculous.

JohnJlws
JohnJlws

I have never watched the Apprentice, or any of its iterations. I would rather watch dung beetles mating, or about anything else, than Trump. The problem I see, as I understand this from the blog, is that there are people out there applying for jobs who probably think this is reality. I've been in HR for over 2 decades and I'd no more pull the trigger using this sort of nonsensical logic, than George Bush would pardon someone on death row. Ridiculous.

ChrisKinVA
ChrisKinVA

Whatever happened to Second Chance Donald? He who provided rehab to Tara Connor (Miss USA) and is a believer in giving people second chances: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20004750,00.html.
I guess he didn't see much value or ratings in showing that someone who screwed up has paid the price and can put the pieces back together to become a productive citizen yet he respects someone like Dennis Rodman. How can you respect someone who doesn't even respect themselves? Keeping Khloe (if she deserved it for her ability) might have been an inspiration for a lot of people who think there's nothing left for them after a major screw up like a DUI.

ChrisKinVA
ChrisKinVA

Whatever happened to Second Chance Donald? He who provided rehab to Tara Connor (Miss USA) and is a believer in giving people second chances: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20004750,00.html. I guess he didn't see much value or ratings in showing that someone who screwed up has paid the price and can put the pieces back together to become a productive citizen yet he respects someone like Dennis Rodman. How can you respect someone who doesn't even respect themselves? Keeping Khloe (if she deserved it for her ability) might have been an inspiration for a lot of people who think there's nothing left for them after a major screw up like a DUI.

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