To: Front desk staff
Re: Swearing in Arabic
Henceforth, only I will be allowed to swear in Arabic at the front desk. Any staff violating this rule will be terminated.

Close call. Years later, I am an employment lawyer, and I have never forgotten what that boss taught me. I like to think of it as principled compassion (PC). What happened to me was one aspect of it.

TIME TO REFLECT

PC is best understood in a Q-and-A format. Here’s a key one: Are there any mitigating factors warranting a less severe punishment than termination? That’s the one that saved me, but it has various cousins, all looking to whether capital punishment is warranted. Here are others:

• What is a proportionate response to the misconduct in question?

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