Monday, 13 September 2021

A Costly Choice

In my professional life, I am not part of a Human Resources department. That's probably for the best for all involved including the company itself, but I've had my share of discussions with HR people in my professional career about a number of topics. Most of these have been questions relating to policies that may need some clarification, but there's usually a pretty clear meaning to all of the policies in place. What I can assure you is that HR policies rarely have loopholes one can expolit and most of these policies are iron-clad in what they enforce in order to protect both the employees from interpretations of any policies and to protect the company from any legal liabilities where they may pertain.

That's brings us to the news today that Sylvain Lefebrve, pictured above and newly-appointed assistant coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, made the decision to opt out of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination in order to ensure his employment for the upcoming season, and was summarily dismissed by the club today for making that choice.

"While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said of Lefebvre. Currently, the NHL requires coaches and other team staff who closely interact with players are required to be fully vaccinated.

Lefebvre was hired by the Blue Jackets on June 29, 2021 after serving as an assistant coach with the AHL's San Diego Gulls. Along with Pascal Vincent, they were to be Brad Larsen's assistance coaches for the season as the team moved on from John Tortorella's era in the Ohio city.

Fast forward to August 13, 2021 when the NHL sent a memo to its 32 teams that outlined how staff within twelve feet of players had to be fully vaccinated for the upcoming season. This was mandatory with only a few exceptions - parking valets, for example - escaping the required vaccinations. You would think that Lefebrve might have had an idea then that his hesitance may cost him his job.

Having an NHL job means you're one of the few people on the planet who can hold that distinction. I often wonder when people do things to put that distinction in jeopardy what they may be thinking. For Lefebvre, he was in a very exclusive club of NHL coaches, and his decision has not only cost him an NHL job, but likely other coaching jobs as well as the requirement to be vaccinated is becoming the norm in sports and in life. So I have to ask rhetorically why wouldn't he get the vaccine in order to chase his NHL coaching dream?

With Lefebvre out, the team will turn to Steve McCarthy, who was serving as the associate coach for the AHL's Cleveland Monsters, to take Lefebrve's spot on the bench alongside Larsen and Vincent. Where Lefebvre lands at this point is entirely up in the air, but one would hope that if he intends to return to coaching hockey that he lands at a vaccination site. It may be the only way he's able to step behind a bench for the foreseeable future, so he needs to really weigh his decision here considering what he's already lost because of that choice.

Not only did Sylvain Lefebvre's choice cost him a lucrative NHL job, but it might end up costing him his coaching career over a few millilitres of science.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: