When Companies Remove Humanity from Human Resources
My brother and I have often mused that when we started our careers, companies utilized personnel departs that administered employee benefits, hired, disciplined and fired people. That department morphed into what we know today as Human Resources or HR. About the time bean counters began influencing strategic decisions rather than managers, many companies began treating employees as a business tool or an expendable fixture.
While I am fortunate that my employer treats me as a valued team member, I was reminded today that some large employers consider their human talent as akin to say, a Xerox machine.
This afternoon I saw a friend who had suffered a serious injury while at work that required several months of treatment and rehabilitation. I was thrilled to see she had been able to return to work on light duty with restrictions. It is the goal of most workers compensation insurers to work with an injured employee to help them return to work in whatever capacity they are capable of handling until their physician releases them to full duty.
My friend, however, said that her employer was threatening discharge because she had not fully recovered and compared her to a piece of business equipment that broke down or was damaged, was sent to the repair facility, and returned still damaged and no longer useful. Wow! I find that horrifying! And my friend works in the health care industry! This organization has truly taken the humanity out of HR.
I live in a right to work state and believe that employment should be “at will”.
Private employers should have the right to decide whom works for them and employees should have the right to leave a job without ramifications. However, threatening to terminate an employee for failing to heal quickly enough from a work related injury that complies with an employer’s schedule is immoral. I’m not talking about a mom and pop business with 10 employees, but a large employer with a significant footprint in the community. Apparently the bean counters are looking for a way to evade paying disability benefits.
I am no bleeding heart. But right is right. It is time to put some humanity back into HR decisions.
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