I'm going to spoil the first 5 minutes of the movie for you...so if you're going to see it, be prepared. Over the opening credits, we see Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) as a model organization citizen for a Wal-mart clone called U-Mart. He's excited to go to work, he picks up trash from the parking lot, he demonstrates a lot of camaraderie. He spouts that even without organizational policy, sorting the clothes before leaving for the day is the right thing to do.
Over the loud speaker, he hears his name being called to the common break room. He thinks he is going to receive employee of the month, an award he has won 9 times! However, once he gets there, he is met by HR and the suits. He learns that because he does not have a college education (he entered the Navy after high school where he served the country loyally for 20 years as a cook), he is not "management" material, and can't move up the corporate ladder. Because the company doesn't want to prevent anyone from moving up, they decide....TO FIRE HIM.
That's right...they fire him. No thought that the policy might be a bad one. No thought that other positions might plateau. No offer of tuition reimbursement to possibly keep one of their supposedly best employees. No progressive discipline/warning that this might be a possibility sometime in the future if he doesn't start working toward a college education. They fire him.
I understand that they needed the plot point to get him to go to community college to meet cute with Julia Roberts, but its just lazy writing by Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos to get the movie going.
*But the 70 year old ladies loved the movie anyway