Coming Soon: Term limits for employees?

Published 9:41 am Friday, February 3, 2012

Could changes in the gaming industry someday affect your job security?

According to ABC News, the new Revel casino (scheduled to open later this year in Atlantic City, N.J.) has an innovative manpower strategy.

All the staffers who spend the most time with the public (including bellhops, dealers, waiters, bartenders and desk clerks) will be given a contract for a specified number of years (usually between four and six). No matter how glowing their performance reviews, when the period is up, they must reapply for their own job, competing with other applicants who are hungry for employment.

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Revel would like to be acknowledged for facing economic realities in the highly competitive hospitality industry. This is ironic, since the aforementioned industry encourages people to face economic fantasies. (“Junior, I know I spent all the money for your braces on the slots; but when we break the bank, I’ll buy you a clone and we can transplant his whole danged mouth.”)

The company denies any form of discrimination, saying it just wants to keep its workforce “fresh.” (Unfortunately, the Pillsbury Doughboy couldn’t reach the pedals for a valet parking job.)

But the cynical see the “term limits” as a convenient way for regularly purging employees who have added a few pounds, wrinkles or gray hairs over the course of the contract. (I think “human being” is the scientific term for these individuals.) The company doesn’t mind having employees who are “hit on” for dates; they just don’t want employees who are “hit on” to restart their heart.

Reaction to the plan runs the gamut. Union members are furious. Economists express grudging admiration for the game-changing plan. Some pundits shrug and say, “There are no guarantees in life.” (There are no guarantees in life except “There will always be smug &^%$ who say there are no guarantees in life.”)

How long until the casino executives realize that they are still falling short in their fiduciary responsibility to stockholders? To maximize the benefits of the plan, they should stage a caged brawl for job re-openings, televised on pay-per-view. (“Ow! Not the face! Not the face!”)

Some commentators remark that executives should have to go through the same competitive process themselves. Realistically, partially trained chimps could probably fire employees just as well. On the other hand, the chimps probably wouldn’t be able to fling feces as skillfully.

If Revel’s philosophy spreads across the American labor market, look for one of two outcomes.

If the workers see they have a fighting chance, they’ll redouble their efforts and give 110 percent as the contract draws to a close. If they see the writing on the wall (with the aid of high-magnification bifocals), there will be a rash of laziness, vandalism, embezzlement and workers comp cases. (“The plaintiff says it was the company’s negligence that caused him to injure himself while smuggling a Dodge Grand Caravan engine block in his Speedos.”)

If you ever go through a second job interview, it is vital that you not wistfully mutter, “I can remember a time when employee and employer were loyal to one another throughout a long career.” That falls into the category of self-incrimination. (“I’ll bet he even remembers where he was when Michael Jackson died! Ewwww! Somebody fumigate the office for old people cooties!”)


Danny Tyree is a nationally syndicated columnist. Email him at or visit his Facebook page, “Tyree’s Tyrades.”