I once worked for an organization filled with one person departments. In such places, it's really easy to get rid of the person in charge of that department.
And I believe a lot of places have it set up that way so they can do just what others have suggested - get rid of the person who's the only one who knows the department and the work. More and more businesses are going to discover this is a cheap way to save money. So it's going to happen a lot more, IMO. Rather than follow the Japanese example of the C level taking the first paycuts and retaining lower level jobs whenever possible, we get rid of lower level jobs and let executives take home bonuses when the company they're heading is failing.
There are a lot of underhanded ways to ditch the "one man" in the department once there's a chance someone will object to one person having so much power. This pretty much revolves around the fact that no one person department can ever take vacation or sick time without messing something up for the organization. Then they get overworked, tired, may lose their health, come in sick, make an error, and out they go.
And heaven forbid someone in their family needs their help in a caregiver role. That's one of the quickest ways to get fired; people have actually been ordered to put their sick family member in long term care that cost more than they made a month. After all, there's a reason why President Obama is trying to stop discrimination against caregivers in finding employment. That is one of the quickest ways to get fired.
The other way to get the boot, especially if you're near that vesting mark, is to be disabled and need accommodation. I can tell you the ADA has a lovely "get out of jail free" card for that - they just say it would cost too much, and/or reduce quality and/or cut productivity. Any disabled employee who insists otherwise has to prove the employer lied. The employer doesn't have to prove a thing.
I'm afraid our SME who emailed their situation is in a lose-lose position. There are some things this person can do that have already been suggested, like trying to get in on the meetings, having a job to go to if things go south when the person tries pushing back, etc. But if this manager has been directed to cut costs, then our emailer friend is probably on the receiving end of "cut production costs, the fixes this person put in will hold us, and we are down one FTE and benefits expenses," and it's doubtful they'll succeed in their fight unless they're not close to being vested, are completely healthy, can work 16 hour days, and don't have any family that needs their help.
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