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Weed Them Out

It’s always interesting when companies make decisions that we all know will come back to haunt them.  Below is a great example.  This story was shared with me about a local company.

There was a male department head who was assigned to a cross-functional team with a female department head from a different division.  They were both married and ended up having an affair together.  The spouses found out and there were divorces, but the two department heads continued their relationship.  They eventually got engaged and had plans to marry.  On a side-note, I guess they forgot about the “once a cheater, always a cheater” philosophy.

Anyway, at this point, the company stepped in.  They created a new policy saying that spouses would not be able to work together if either of them was in a management role – even if they were in different divisions and wouldn’t report to each other.  So the HR person and the CEO met with the two adulterous department heads and told them that one had to quit – they left it up to the couple – but one had to quit.  The woman quit.

I question this policy.  It goes a step further than most nepotism or reporting relationship policies.  Also, I felt it could be seen as discriminatory if the company later had a qualified spouse (of a current employee) who applied for work there.  If they wanted to weed out the adulterers, I think there are better options than hobbling themselves from being able to hire potential star recruits down the road.

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