Tragic outcomes

Feb 02 2009 by Derek Torres Print This Article

With the economy turning increasingly bad, the office sure is a lot less fun than it used to be these days. Unfortunately, we're starting to read more and more stories about people losing their jobs, then their way in life, and finally feel they have no other choice but to do what this man did.

I have no right to judge this man, nor does anyone reading this; after all, we cannot claim to know what was going through his head. In fact, as hard as it may be given the details, it's important to look at this story free of emotion to try and understand what brings a man to this point.

Whatever problems he had going in his life, the root of the matter is that he (and his wife) were fired for lying about their income in the hopes of getting reduced cost child care for their five children.

As someone who pays for childcare, I can certainly understand what a strain of the budget day care or afterschool care can be. To me, this offense is hardly as drastic as what investors and CEOs have been convicted of in recent years. So, based on their financial declaration, both of them were terminated (isn't at-will employment great for some?) and, I'm going to bet, weren't entitled to any sort of unemployment.

While I'm sure than many readers will feel that such people bring it upon themselves and "got what they deserve", I'd posit that perhaps the employer needs to be a little more understanding of personal circumstances. While we won't have all the elements of the story, there's nothing indicating that just perhaps a reprimand or some other punishment other than an immediate dismissal was levied or even considered. Wasn't that at least an option?