U.K. employee suspended for wearing charity wristband

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

And now, a little something from the overzealous H.R. files.

An employee of the U.K. supermarket chain Morrisons was suspended for wearing a pin and bracelet in support of Lee Rigby, the British soldier who was horrifically murdered in a recent terrorism incident in London. The employee, Adam Austin, the BBC reports, was wearing a charity pin and wristband that support organizations that help veterans and military families. Because it was not "part of the Morrison staff dress standards," the company told Austin in a letter he posted to his Facebook account, he was escorted out of the building and required to attend a disciplinary hearing.

Rules may be rules. But enforcing this one is not only a waste of time, but a big P.R. mistake in an age of social media. Fortunately, after Austin's post went viral, Morrisons had the sense to make a change. Here's its CEO's comment on the company's Facebook page: "Quite simply we got the balance wrong. ... Colleagues not preparing fresh food will now be able to wear a pin badge or bracelet to show their support for registered charities."

Jena McGregor is a columnist for On Leadership.

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Jena McGregor writes a daily column analyzing leadership in the news for the Washington Post’s On Leadership section.
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Jena McGregor · May 29, 2013