When Your Super-Star Employee Loses His Sheen


Imagine you are the owner of a business with about 50 employees. Your product is well-known and there are limited suppliers in the United States. Your best salesman generates about 50% of your company’s gross sales – or about $100 million a year. He is on salary plus commission under his employment contract and is earning at least three times as much as any other employee.

Now imagine that this super-star has a very messy personal life, and he’s well-known around town for partying and womanizing. He’s been divorced three times (once after being discovered in bed with another woman by his first wife), experienced a brutal custody battle, was accused of beating his second wife and now he’s missed a key sales meeting in New York. Turns out he was found by hotel staff drunk and naked in a hotel room that’s been trashed. He is hospitalized in New York (his mother rushed to be with him and says it is very serious). Upon his release, he enters a three-week rehab program.

He comes back to work. At the local Arts Council fundraising dinner, where your VP of Marketing is getting an award and your company has a table, the employee complains loudly about what a “stupid, stupid man” you are, how your company is exploiting his sales experience and contacts, he doesn’t get paid enough for all the crap he has to put up with — and your company would be nothing without him.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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