Microsoft Releases Severance Debacle Service Pack
An inadvertent administrative error occurred that resulted in an overpayment in severance pay by Microsoft. We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you.”
— Excerpt from Microsoft’s severance repayment request
Well, that didn’t take long at all.
Microsoft (MSFT) has thought better of its decision to ask some of the 1,400 people sacked last month to return part of their severance packages. Days after distributing a letter to an unknown number of former employees requesting repayment of accidental severance overpayments, the company has reversed course. It no longer wants its money back. Why? “I thought it didn’t make sense for us to continue on the path we were on,” Microsoft human resources chief Lisa Brummel told News.com.
Apparently, at some point over the weekend, the cost of the PR nightmare those repayment requests created became equal to the total cost of the overpayments, making further pursuit of the money even more foolish than it was originally. And how foolish is that? Well, Microsoft says 25 workers were overpaid (20 were underpaid) on average, about $4,000 or $5,000. So we’re talking $125,000 here, max. Hardly worth the beating the company’s taken over the debacle since it was first reported.