After less than a year as CEO, with no performance evaluation and no warning, my board told me that I am not a good match for our organization, paid off my contract, and showed me the door. Do I have any recourse?
While terminating an employee without warning is poor business practice, it is not against the law. Should you have reason to believe your termination was discriminatory or if you have questions about language in your employment contract, discuss your rights with an attorney.
If you’re certain you did nothing that violates organizational policy or board mandate, invest in your future by exploring questions raised by a surprise termination. Did you miss any indicators of significant board or staff dissatisfaction? Could you have encouraged more candid communication with the board along the way? What does the board’s behavior say about the quality of their partnership in running an association? Was there any early evidence they would be dysfunctional?
By failing to evaluate your performance or recommend that you address concerns, the board will incur the enormous cost of replacing a CEO yet again—and possibly lose credibility with the membership. They would have served the association much better by giving you feedback that may have enabled you to succeed.
Published in Associations Now, June 2007.