Monday, February 26, 2018

Precision is Important

I know there's jokes out there that show we don't need to worry about precision or accuracy in our language or spelling--notably one in which the top salesperson can't spell 'for beans' and soon the company president starts mimicking the mocked salesperson's writing to prove that results are important, not proper spelling. However, it's really careless not to pay attention to it. And I even complained that a single inaccuracy is not a problem unless it's part of a pattern.
This announcement from the company's leadership wasn't clear at all. Which day in January do I block off for an employee meeting? (Actual announcement at a company for which I was conducting some training.)

A Maine company had to settle millions of dollars to truck drivers because it misinterpreted a state law that didn't have a comma in its exemptions to overtime pay. I can say that it's probably not a typo and the inaccuracy here is the company's interpretation of the law. It's not a single incident though. The company would have discussed the interpretation of the law many times--especially as drivers complained--and continued to fall on the interpretation as if there was a comma in the statute rather than the omission of the comma. The company had a pattern of interpretation. Many staff members, HR specialists and so on could have helped the company with the proper interpretation and avoided the class action suit.

If you're curious about other costly typos, check out Mental Floss's list from five years ago.

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