TU should practice what it prints

At the top of the July 19 classified advertising section appeared this headline: “Making layoffs less painful.”

Below it was this attention-grabbing information in a box: “Kindness is key: Business owners and bosses should follow these five simple tips to better handle layoffs in this trying economic climate.”

Here are the five tips in the Tribune Media Services column the TU reprinted:

  1. Say you are sorry for their loss.
  2. Thank them for their past service.
  3. Let them stay on for a few days after the layoff notice.
  4. Offer to help with their professional transition.
  5. Let their colleagues say a proper goodbye; perhaps arrange a farewell luncheon.”

That’s right. The TU printed a column telling business owners that the best way to handle layoffs is NOT to make people leave right away and that you should LET THEM HAVE TIME FOR A PROPER GOODBYE.

You’ll notice the column said nothing about making sure you have extra security in the building, walking those selected off to the personnel office as their colleagues watch in horror, immediately shutting off their Internet access, removing their names from their mailboxes right away and making sure their swipe cards no longer let them in the building. (Oh, and then claim they’re not really laid off. They’re just on a paid leave.)

The column’s author, Joyce Lain Kennedy of Tribune Media Services, responds to her reader’s 5 tips on properly handling a layoff this way: “I couldn’t agree more with your philosophy. And the people who show kindness under stress won’t be branded as jerks when business rises again.”

So to summarize, the TU printed a column saying that if during layoffs you make people leave immediately without letting them say a proper goodbye, you are a jerk. That’s not the Guild talking here, folks. It’s words to live by, brought to you by the Times Union, which ought to practice what it prints.

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