Any wrongful termination claims should be scrutinized for the presence of certain personality disorders that compel an alternative explanation to allegations that the company acted in a capricious or punitive fashion. For example:
— The employee with a paranoid personality disorder creates a suspicious, prickly, litigious employee who spreads dissension wherever he or she works and who sees sinister motives behind every business decision.
— People with a dependent personality disorder suffer impaired self-esteem and tend to feel inherently unlovable or less capable. They may thrive on praise at work and can even gain some sense of self-respect on the job that is missing in their personal lives, but are proportionately devastated by even the gentlest criticism of their work performance, over-reacting to it with despair and even fury.
— Passive-aggressives are covertly rebellious individuals who see every order or instruction as an intrusion by someone trying to control them; they are involved in perpetual power struggles, all the while pretending that they are happy to go along.
— The narcissistic personality disorder is incapable of accepting even modest constructive criticism, not because of overtly low self-esteem but because of grandiose feelings of superiority. Suffused with a heightened sense of entitlement, they can be relied upon to blame their own shortcomings on others; if promoted to supervisorial capacity, they are likely to be uniquely insensitive to the feelings of subordinates.
— Similarly, the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder always insists on having things his or her way. Given their characteristically close attention to detail, they are often technically proficient and may well be moved up to management where their rigid perfectionism and intolerance can soon destroy office morale and impact negatively on the sensibilities of all but the most well armored of their subordinates. They thus serve as a classic example of the “Peter Principle,” wherein individuals are advanced to their level of incompetence.