IRS Learns Hypocrisy Hurts Crisis Management

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    Why give unhappy stakeholders more reason to think ill of you?

    One of the most damaging labels to wear as an organization is that of hypocrite, especially if you’re already nearly universally hated. Cue the IRS, which took a roasting last month after it was revealed it awarded cash bonuses to over 1,000 employees who owed back taxes!

    SFGate’s Stephen Ohlemacher reports:

    More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes, said a report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012.

    George’s report said the bonus program doesn’t violate federal regulations, but it’s inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws.

    Organizations in some industries are going to take flak no matter how responsible and well-run they are, making it even more crucial that they analyze every move with an eye for crisis prevention in order to avoiding diving deep into the negative in the reputation department.

    The IRS is already disliked even when it does everything right – it can’t afford the perception of favoring employees who have committed offenses for which the IRS takes us to task.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]