Is it wrong to let a fired co-worker be fooled about why she was let go?

Is it wrong to let a fired co-worker be fooled about why she was let go? Topic: Is it wrong to let a fired co-worker be fooled about why she was let go?
July 21, 2019 / By Audrey

Question: Last year, a co-worker quit and the Administrative Assistant position was filled with a temp-to-hire person, in intent being to hire the person after a 'trial' period. The position goes hand-in-hand with my own, so the temp and I worked together daily for over 3 months. I, as well as our supervisor, noticed over this time that the temp's computer skills were not up to par as far as the demands of our office and the position. Common tasks like desktop publishing, document formatting, spreadsheet/table manipulation, internet research were beyond the scope of what this woman could easily accomplish at an acceptable level - some of it she never really grasped or mastered while she was here. The entire time she worked here, the temp spoke about the job and company in terms of 'when I go permanent' or 'when they hire me on permanently' and to my knowledge, no one ever disputed this. A week after her probationary period ended (i.e. the 90 days outlined in the temp-to-hire agreement) and she was eligible to actually be hired on by my company, our supervisor asked me if I thought things were "getting better" with the temp (meaning, how she was acclimating, her overall ability to do the job, computer skills as it pertains to job functions, etc). I was honest and said no and gave examples of why I felt this way, all of which my supervisor agreed with. My supervisor and the regional manager to whom I report called me 'on the carpet' later that week to tell me they were letting the temp go and they want me to attempt to do both our jobs (which I was ok with). Well, cut to the Friday the temp gets the news (she actually got the call from her temp agency the night before, and opted to come on in and work half a day on Friday, to get her things, etc) - my supervisor and the temp agency made the temp believe she was not going to be hired due to budget concerns - and that's IT. She thinks she didn't get hired ONLY because of $$ - the temp told me this herself, and that she'd been told this by my supervisor. Now, I'm not interested in beating this woman when she's down, or making her feel crappy about her shortcomings, but doesn't someone owe it to her to say, 'Hey, your computer skills REALLY need some work, and your deficiency in that area is what's prohibiting you from getting a good, stable job' (I know from chit chats with the temp that she's gone through a few short-term jobs over the past few years, and she's a "mature" lady who should have GREAT administrative skills by this point in her life). This lady added me on Facebook before she left, so I still know how to contact her - is it completely out of line to say something to her about a need to improve her computer skills and knowledge (I feel like in addition to possibly insulting her, I'd also be betraying my company)? Or do I just let it go and let her move on with her life? I feel like it's doing her a disservice to let her think she didn't get hired because the company can't afford it, when it's really just a lack of skills on her part - something she is totally in control of fixing! Re: her computer skill level and her 'maturity' - I was trying to nicely say she's an older lady. I wasn't making assumptions about where her skill level should be - she TOLD me details of her previous jobs, and based on those conversations (if they were truthful) she couldn't have held those positions without knowing how to operate, for example, Word and Excel at least moderately well. If I am making assumptions about what I think her skill level should be, it's based on the # of jobs I would imagine one has in the # of years she's been working, what she stated those jobs to be and the fact that she claimed her skill level with Microsoft Office programs was 'advanced'. Oh, and she said she had worked in the field of IT as well...you can't really work IT and not be proficient with the most commonly used programs, can you?

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