The woman, an assistant to the company's chief executive, visited the human resources office the morning after the deadline, apologized for being so busy that she overlooked the deadline, and then asked to file for the stock options.
"What was the person in HR supposed to do?" Ruddy says. "Should she violate the law to accommodate this woman, although no one would probably ever know it? Or should she risk offending someone in the company who might be in a position of power?"
The HR person chose to deny the request - and the employee went straight to the CEO to appeal.
"Fortunately, the CEO stood behind the HR decision," Ruddy says. "If he'd made an exception and allowed her the stock options, it could have caused real problems."
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