A little on leaves...


I was disappointed to see the letters in the April 1999 Forum column critical of your February Human Side of Engineering case, "Are gay couples entitled to the same benefits as straight couples?"

Al Graham requested one of the most basic and compassionate benefits an employer can extend to an employee -- bereavement leave following the death of a life partner.

If anything is immoral about the situation, its the idea that some readers would want to deny that benefit to him -- regardless of his sexual orientation.

I want to thank Plant Engineering for its evenhanded treatment of the situation and recognition that the changing workplace and increasing respect for workforce diversity will continue to bring up new issues like this one.

This is exactly the kind of dialogue that we need to create -- a workplace that is respectful of all employees regardless of their sex, race, religion or sexual orientation. And, a respectful workplace is also one where employees can be most effective. -- Ann Dunkin

I was surprised at the response to your Human Side case, "When is a disabled worker's leave request unreasonable?" (PE, June 1999, p 20).

The issue of leave hardly seems to be a financial question. When President Roosevelt died, he was running a war and his death did not slow down the war effort one bit. Based on this fact, one can hardly deem Senior Electrician George Foster "irreplaceable."

The answer is clear: Approve the leave, and work around it! At the very least, ask Foster how he thinks the vacancy could be handled in his absence -- he might have some insights management has missed. At worst, Foster might just quit to take care of his failing health and they would still have to work around his absence. I say, approve the leave! -- Paul Martin

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