Question: You are the head of the Human Resources department of an organisation. One day one of the workers died on duty. His family was demanding compensation. However, the company denied compensation because it was revealed in investigation that he was drunk at the time of the accident. The workers of the company went to strike demanding compensation for the family of the deceased. The Chairman of the management board has asked for your recommendation.
What recommendation would you provide the management?
Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the recommendations.
Answer: The above mentioned situation is an example of dilemma between professional duty and human values. The situation demands the need of a balance between ability to uphold professionalism but not compromise on values.
My recommendation on the issue and merits and demerits of suggestions
- Providing compensation without any issue
My first suggestions would be to provide compensation to victim by ignoring the report that he/she was drunk. This would be completely made on humanistic grounds.
The biggest merit of this recommendation would be upholding of values that define human beings. This will also help in sustainance of the family members of the deceased victim.
The demerit would be breakdown of discipline in workers. The workers will consider that it is fine to consume alcohol during working hours as the management has acted leniently.
- Job to nearest relative
This step is actually the most appropriate one because it will send a message that management will not tolerate acts such as consuming of alcohol but it will also indicate the softer side of the management towards family members of staff.
Chances of questions asked on company’s discipline will be removed altogether with this step. This will also honour the company’s legacy towards employees and their families.
Family members may employ blackmail technique to get more benefits from the company management.
- Denying compensation or benefits
This step can be considered extreme as the company requires strong determination to tackle all criticism that it may have to face due to this step.
This will send the ultimate message regarding company’s policy on workers and its strict stand against indiscipline during work.
The family members have to suffer due to the mistakes committed by the victim employee. This will also act as a blot on company’s reputation regarding its employees.
Thus, my recommendation would be just to provide options in the current context and the rest of the decision has to be taken by the management. Ultimately, care has to be taken to balance both the humanistic values and discipline that the company aims to honour.