Dear Mr. Ethics,
Our heavy highway construction department has been underperforming for years. The managing board has decided to remove the management team of that department. What we can’t decide upon is whether to provide those individuals with severance packages or not. Some believe providing a severance package to an underperforming team is unethical. Some believe not providing a severance package is unethical. I’m on the fence. Can you give us some guidance?
On the Fence
This is a question has been asked for years. Many companies have settled the issue by developing a written procedure to follow when these situations arise. I think a good code of conduct should include such a practice. Since it does not appear you have pre-set procedure in place my sense is that you need to evaluate if your situation involves a sudden malfeasance issues or a long term problem. From the information provided it seems this has been a long term problem that you and the team have tried to turn around. If that is the case my ethical inclination would be to provide a severance package.