Ken Knightley has worked at Microsoft for 11 years, most recently as a manager at Xbox Live. Recently he developed symptoms of a brain tumor and was forced to miss work. His absence earned him a poor performance review, and now that he's finally going in for surgery, Microsoft is of the mind that he's too poor a worker to deserve sick pay.
"It's like you just kicked my husband in the gut when he is down," said Teresa Knightley, Ken's wife. "It's not fair."
Knightley, a longtime tech worker and Navy veteran who worked on Trident Missile submarines, according to his LinkedIn page, says he's been a superb worker for all of his 11 years. But the last few months, when his brain tumor (repeat, brain tumor) kept him a bit out of the game, he was quickly slapped with scolding review marks.
Microsoft's excuse for not paying Knightley, though they're not saying so on the record, is apparently that the company has a policy that prevents workers who get negative performance reviews from taking sick leave. They do this because failing workers were supposedly gaming the system and faking illnesses so they could take leave and get paid for three months while they look for a new job.
Obviously unless Mr. Knightley's doctor is in on it, he's not faking anything.
Microsoft is staying mum on the matter, and KING 5 is citing anonymous sources for its company policy information.
Knightley, meanwhile, sounds determined to become a martyr, saying: "I'll take the hit. I'll take the punishment right now. But we need to fix it for the next guy."