Is inconsistency ever justified?

Harry Markham, a maintenance department painter, had been caught with a roll of tape in his lunch box, by the guard upon clocking out. When he appeared at the time clock the next day, he found his timecard missing.


Harry Markham, a maintenance department painter, had been caught with a roll of tape in his lunch box, by the guard upon clocking out. When he appeared at the time clock the next day, he found his timecard missing.

"What gives?" he asked his supervisor apprehensively.

"You've been terminated for theft of company assets," Foreman Pete Russo replied. "You'll get your final check in the mail."

Markham was flabbergasted. "Big deal," he protested. "A lousy roll of tape. I was planning to replace it."

"Stealing is stealing. Read the policy manual. Petty theft is grounds for dismissal the same as grand larceny."

"Hey, gimme a break. I'm a 20-yr employee of this company, plus that, I'm 59-yr old. Where could I get another job at this age?"

"You should have thought about that before swiping the tape."

Desperate, Markham went over his boss' head and appealed to Plant Engineer Phil Gold.

Question: In Gold's shoes, what would your decision be?

Gold's ruling: "Reinstate the employee," Gold instructed the supervisor. "I'll grant that going strictly by the book you're entitled to fire him. But in view of Markham's age, long service, and outstanding work record, I'd recommend a final warning and 5-day suspension instead. Even the best rules justify an exception from time-to-time."

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Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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