Is "Quiet Firing" A New Rage Or Just A New Phrase?

Workplace science experts at Gallup have noticed a trend they refer to as "quiet firing."

Similar to the term "quiet quitting" that refers to an employee who disengages from their work, this concept denotes a manager who disengages from their employee.

The more egregious quiet firing involves intentional steps that create an unpleasant workplace experience for an employee, as a way to force them to quit. However, some managers engage in quiet firing without realizing the effects of their actions.

Gallup experts have found three managerial errors that can lead to quiet firing - failing to regularly talk with employees about their progress and give feedback on performance; withholding job development; and providing insufficient individual recognition.

It is a good idea for managers to have regular purposeful conversations with each team member. Include discussions about career goals, the employee's development plan, or current priorities. In addition, be sure to provide general guidance and performance advice.

It is also important to recognize employees for specific achievements. Recognition is most effective when it is timely, specific, and authentic. Encourage employees to inform you when they notice a coworker making a particularly valuable contribution.

Staying intentional about these three factors cannot be understated. Across all three, Gallup surveys find inconsistencies between manager and employee perceptions. A greater percentage of managers report a high level of engagement with their employees than employees who report effective engagement from their managers. Ben Wigert "Quiet Firing: What It Is and How to Stop Doing It"  (Nov. 18, 2022).


“Quiet firing” is simply another term for constructive discharge, which is basically making a job so miserable the employee quits. An employee can bring a wrongful discharge claim under a theory of constructive discharge, if the circumstances show the employee quit because the manager “quietly fired” them for illegal discriminatory reasons.

Managers can limit this risk by making sure employees have clear goals for their job and understand the expectations for workplace conduct. In addition, the assistance managers provide and the discipline they administer must be consistent for all employees. It is a best practice to regularly review the time you spend engaging with each employee to make sure your attention is equally provided to all employees and not to just a few.

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