Stupid HR: “Sorry It’s Not In the Policy Manual”

by Michael Haberman on August 4, 2011 · 13 comments


Stupid HR

I shake my head every once in awhile and sigh in dismay at some the actions of some HR departments. I am sure many of you do so as well. Here is another example of stupid HR and why “sorry it is not in the policy manual” is not always the right answer.

In a local school system two teachers need some time off. Both are long term employees of the system, one of them for over 20 years. They also happened to be husband and wife. The reason the time off was needed was that the husband is gravely ill with Stage 4 kidney disease and he is awaiting a kidney transplant. The wife, much to her surprise, turned out to be a donor match. A wonderful situation. So she goes to the school system HR department and requests leave. (Now here comes the STUPID HR part.) She was told by her HR department that her request for leave was going to be denied because (wait for it…..) DONATING A KIDNEY WAS CONSIDERED ELECTIVE SURGERY AND THAT WAS NOT AN APPROVED ILLNESS!

When I read this all I could think was “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” (Well actually I thought a few other things but they are unprintable.) My question was how about throwing out the rule book when you have a husband and wife were both are long term employees and one can save the life of the other. Are you afraid of setting a precedent here? When is this likely to happen again?

The good news is that a committe overruled the HR department (after the news channels got hold of the story). The bad news is that the HR “haters” out there jus have one more example of why HR is STUPID and should be abolished. The sad thing is that this did not even require “thinking outside the box.” All this required was some compassion and the realization that policies are guidelines to direct day to day behavior and situations. When an extraordinary situation comes about like this there need to be other considerations.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

chris August 4, 2011 at 8:24 am

Wow! absolutely right on Mr. Haberman…this falls under the category “What kind of “beep” is this?”

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Dwane Lay August 4, 2011 at 9:19 am

This is why HR gets a bad rap. We gots brains, folks. Keep them engaged.

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Neal Hammersmith August 4, 2011 at 11:31 am

What about FMLA coverage?

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Michael Haberman August 5, 2011 at 9:33 am

Neal. I thought the same thing. No mention was made in the article about it.

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David Hughes August 5, 2011 at 11:16 am

What about FMLA? Who cares? Why does there need to be a law about doing good business and the reasonable and rational thing?

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Michael Haberman August 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I agree David.

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Jamie Cummins August 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm

WOW. What a sad story with a happy ending. It is sad because the teacher who asked for time off probably lost some respect or appropriation she had for her job. I don’t think I would want to work somewhere where this kind of request was denied.

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Michael Haberman August 5, 2011 at 9:34 am

And many people don’t but in this poor job market the security of a job is overreaching to all other concerns.

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Dave "theHRCzar" Ryan August 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

Great stuff Mike, this however is WHY people hate HR. I don’t get it!

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Michael Haberman August 5, 2011 at 9:35 am

I know, drives you nuts doesn’t it?

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Rus August 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm

This was clearly a blunder on the part of the HR department.
I am not familiar with how the organ transplant surgery works, from what I have heard about it there’s a long list that people go on if they need a kidney. Denying a donor the leave to technically elective surgery might put the life of the other employee in danger. I think if this wasn’t settled by committee, then they might have had a decent legal case against the employer.

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