The very mention of large corporations in mixed company these days is likely to have a polarizing effect. Some are going to hate the corporate behemoth no matter the issue at hand, others will knee-jerkedly defend it at all costs. The bravest souls even pretend corporations are human beings, which you’ll note isn’t taken to kindly by sane people within earshot.
The point is, talking about large corporations is risky business nowadays. I typically avoid discussing them in any capacity, but I’ll make an exception here because the following tale is a heartwarming example of a large company handling one of its employees’ unique personal situation with compassion and a kindness rarely seen these days.
Just kidding. It’s the exact opposite.
Here’s the story: an employee of a pharmaceutical company in Massachusetts was set to have twins, but due to a medical condition was forced to use a surrogate mother to birth her children. Once she submitted her claim for the typical 13 weeks of paid leave, her HR team was all “hold up, hold up, are we SURE she should be getting the full time off since there is no physical recovery needed?” which, fine, have the discussion. But do you know what those apparently-lawsuit-loving geniuses in HR came back with? Five days of maternity leave. Five!
What’s worse is, here is the transcript of the HR discussion that led to the decision:
Awesome HR manager #1: Something just strikes me as…I don’t know, wrong about allowing Kara to take the full 3 months off after the kid.
Awesome HR manager #2: Right there with you, brah. [Fist bump] I mean, she didn’t even HAVE the kid, right? So she’s basically just like a dad and therefore shouldn’t get all that extra free time.
Awesome HR manager #1: Totes! I’m basically feeling, like, if she doesn’t need to work herself back into shape after the birth, what does she need all that time off for? Not cool, bro, time to let her know — let ALL the women know — we know what’s up. [Shotguns beer]
Awesome HR manager #2: So, new law. If you don’t need to get your bod back into fighting shape, you don’t gets no extra time off. Bring that week-old kid to daycare, yo. Ain’t no use for you at home.
VP of company: [pops head in conference room] How long is this bit going to go on? And are you not going to even TRY to consider our side of the issue? Are you that desperate to make a point that you can’t even–
Awesome HR manager #1: [19-second long burp] No can do, shades of gray doesn’t work for a blog post. Scram, dumbass. Let’s just keep on with the keepin’ on that we’re heartless and cruel and are focused only on the money.
Agreed! We all agree. Pharmaceutical company: you are the worst.