Don't Let Policies Blind You
Monday, 25th February, 2013
DON’T LET POLICIES BLIND YOU
Although polices serve as a guideline, supervisors can’t apply them without looking at the situation’s other facts. Jeff Ellis Management recently learned this when firing lifeguard Tomas Lopez after Lopez swam 1500 feet outside the company’s protection zone to save a drowning man’s life.
Company supervisor Susan Ellis compounded the error by defending it on television saying “We have liability issues and can’t go out of the protected areas. What he did was his own decision. He knew the company rules and did what he thought he needed to do.” Meanwhile, supervisors investigating the situation terminated two other lifeguards for saying they would have made the same decision as Lopez. Two other lifeguards quit in protest.
After a widespread public outcry, the company offered to rehire the three terminated lifeguards. Although Lopez doesn’t want his job back, the two other guards could potentially sue their former company for firing them in retaliation for their statements.
What would have prevented problems for you and the lifeguard company? Companies need to thoroughly review any termination decision. In your case, while your employee potentially merited termination, the timing of her complaints gave her ammunition for a retaliation lawsuit.
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