#PandemicAndBeyond - Dilemma 5: between the two of us

07 October 2020

Tags: Pandemic and Beyond

In the fifth dilemma of our Pandemic and Beyond series, we question what to do when a colleague warns you about possible redundancy.

Despite everyone’s best efforts, the lockdown has been very hard for Dining&Diners, a large London-based catering company with over 500 employees. The economic impact on the business has been significant and the management has recently announced that, unfortunately, redundancies will have to be made at all levels of the company. Connor has been appointed to lead the redundancy consultations. 

“I know I can trust you, Connor. It is a tough job, but you are the right person for it”, his boss told him when he accepted the role. “If I can give you just one piece of advice, don’t let your emotions get in the way. Also, between us, we all know that the Government’s advice is to travel to the office only if it is safe to do so, but people end up taking advantage of these things. There are a lot of hard-working people that turn up for work every morning. The last thing we want is to let them go while we keep paying some lazy individuals who haven’t been to the office in weeks with the excuse that ‘it is not safe’. I think you know what I mean.”

This hasn’t been a problem for Connor himself; his flat share is quite close to the office and it is easy for him to cycle in. However, he is rather concerned for Oliver, from the Marketing department. Oliver, who lives with his elderly and sick mother and has quite a long commute to work on public transport, is one of the people who is still working from home – one of the very few in his team, in fact. 

Connor and Oliver started working for Dining&Diners at roughly the same time and, despite being in different departments, over the years they have become quite friendly. That is why Connor decides that, against his boss’s advice, he will help Oliver out this time. That night, Oliver receives a call from Connor: “This has to stay between us, but you have to come back to the office, Oliver. If you don’t, you’ll get the sack. As much as I’d like to, I won’t be able to help you. And remember, we’ve never had this conversation! Say anything to anyone and we’ll both be in serious trouble. I’m already risking a lot for your sake!”

What should Oliver do?

a)    Take Connor’s advice and go back to the office without telling anyone of their conversation. 
b)    Speak with the Head of HR to report the conversation he had with Connor and point out that it is not acceptable.
c)    Continue to work from home to protect his elderly mother, and accept the fact that he will likely be made redundant.