April 29, 2019
In an April 17 HR magazine advice column about the dilemmas human resources professionals face regarding employment separations due to voluntary redundancies, employment partner Dan Peyton said reasoned policies work better than situational ethics.
The column examined a situation in which an employee who took a voluntary redundancy with a six-month notice period learned of a leukemia diagnosis shortly before the departure date. Facing a starkly altered medical and financial outlook, the employee — who likely would have survived the round of layoffs but took the buyout anyway — sought to rescind the decision.
“The reality is there’s more than one human side to the story,” said Peyton, office managing partner for McGuireWoods’ London office. Rescinding the employee’s redundancy departure, he notes, could force another employee out.
“The difficulty with the knee-jerk reaction to take the more emotionally appealing popular step is that it’s not always the right one,” he said. “Sometimes the obvious ethical thing to do isn’t — that’s why we have policies.”