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BTHR Solutions

Viewpoint - News Notes and Nonsense From the HR World

2016 National Employee Benefits Day Story Contest - Winners!

We were thrilled to get so many funny, heart-warming and poignant stories from around the country to share with you as part of National Employee Benefits Day.  We hope you enjoy these snapshots of everyday life in the world of benefits and remember that from wellness fairs to $5 refunds, your job matters to people every day!

Without further ado, here are this year's winning stories:

Hard Proof of Hardship

I got a hardship withdrawal for unreimbursed medical expenses, incomplete, no documentation. Called up the participant who said she needed new dentures so I asked for some documentation, the bill showing the insurance payment, the EOB, something. She says fine.

Two days later… Fed Ex package... and a set of broken dentures on my desk.

Important ERISA Question

My favorite employee benefit "moment" occurred when a colleague said, "When do I get to meet Erisa? I sure hear her name come up a lot!"

Wet suit Not Suitable Attire

You truly will not believe this story but I swear it’s true and tell it to my clients frequently. 

Many years ago, I worked for a large financial institution here in Boston. I had two team leaders that reported to me and each of them had between 8-10 employees reporting to them. 

One day, an average day, I showed up for work as did everyone else. “Bob” was one of my team leader direct reports and he also showed up for work but… Bob was dressed in a wet suit. Complete with brown leather shoes. When I approached Bob and asked if everything was OK, he replied as he would on any other day “Yes, I’m fine, how about you?” I said it was unusual to come to work in a wet suit but Bob didn’t think so. Clearly Bob was having a bad day but I didn't fear for my safety or my team.

I was, however, extremely concerned about Bob’s mental well-being and when I pulled him aside to a conference room, he was perplexed as to why I was doing this. I asked if everything was OK at home and work, with wife and kids, etc. and he said yes of course. I said it was not  “suitable” attire for the office and told him that I was going to get in touch with HR corporate and obtain the number of our EAP line. I told him I thought there might be something bothering him or askew that made him show up in a wet suit. 

As he was on the phone with the EAP line, HR corporate arrived and entered the room after he hung up the call. They escorted him from the building and asked that he go home and change, perhaps take the day off, and maybe even get some counseling. 

I never saw Bob again. Ever. I often wonder what happened to him as there was no social media/LinkedIn back then and frankly, I’m not certain I would want to find out where he was. But nonetheless, I tell this story all the time. My heart ached for him as clearly there was something wrong not just that day, but potentially every day thereafter. Thank goodness for EAPs! If you don’t have one, you need one!

The HR Connection

Recently, among my direct reports were a young women and young man who were bright, great at their jobs, and a general delight to know. They knew each other through work and were romantically involved with other people. I, however, felt they would be perfect for each other and alluded to that opinion to each of them. After a year of working with them on a near daily basis, I met their significant others at two social events; they were delightful, and so I proclaimed my "approval" of their choices the following week.

Within a month's time each of them told me privately that they were splitting up with their boy/girl friend, and a few weeks later they told me they were dating.

That was two and a half years ago. In October I will be officiating their wedding!

How to get rich off your own life insurance

An employee was trying to figure out who to name as beneficiary of her company paid life insurance. She didn't want to name her boyfriend, because she was afraid his wife (!) would get her hands on the money. She didn't want to name her sister because she didn't deserve any money. She finally decided on her father, because he was old and if he got the money, then died... it would come to her! Ummmm ....

Just because the contest is over doesn't mean we don't want to hear your story! If you'd like to share something, send it to info@BTHRsolutions.com!