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Beware, the Dinosaurs

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I’m currently counseling a woman who is a single parent and new to a major organization which everyone would recognize in an instant. She joined with the understanding of leading an operation in the northeast where she lives, minimizing travel.

From the outset, her boss has been uncommunicative and aloof. He makes demands that are significant departures from her hiring agreements. His excuse is constantly, “We all have to do what’s best for the organization.”

It was clear to me that he wanted her to resign, which appeared to be the sole option, since she was afraid to go to human resources, convinced that the people there would side with her manager and not honor confidentiality. Finally, her manager made a very bad mistake, demanding that she take a three-month assignment in Florida, even though she’s a single parent and was hired with that fully known and understood. We are now seeking legal action to help her acquire a sizeable severance package.

Her boss actually told her that he had taken similar assignments, and she had to get used to it. Her boss has been married for over 20 years. That distinction didn’t seem to phase him.

There are still dinosaurs roaming the corporate savannahs. HR must be seen as shelter and safety, not a pathway to another predator. The duty of the profession is to be neither an employer shill nor an employee advocate. The duty is to do the right thing.

With that as the guide, everyone should be treated properly and both organizational and individual rights will be safeguarded. The way to keep the lawyers out of the game is to keep the HR professionals in the game.

© Alan Weiss 2002 All rights reserved.

Alan Weiss, Ph.D., CMC is the author of 20 books, including the seminal Million Dollar Consulting (McGraw-Hill) and his newest, How to Acquire Clients (Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer). You can reach him at Visit his web site, to subscribe to his free monthly newsletter, Balancing Act: Blending Life, Work, and Relationships.

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