Why we love HR

Flashback a decade or two, to the days when this IT pilot fish has just gone to work for a big pharmaceutical company -- and HR has a question.

"After I went through all the 'onboarding' processes and signed my wife up for the health-insurance benefits, I got a note asking me for proof that we are actually married," says fish.

"Our marriage certificate was in our safe deposit box. Both of us worked during the day -- neither of us close to the bank -- and the bank didn't have Saturday hours. Being busy with the new job, I didn't think too much of it."

Then fish's wife tries to use the insurance to pay for a routine doctor's visit -- and is declined.

Fish calls HR, asking what's going on with his health insurance -- and the HR rep chastises him for not providing the required proof of marriage.

No, HR won't accept any other documents such as jointly filed tax returns, rep tells fish. And it doesn't matter to HR that, even if fish and his bride hadn't bothered to legally tie the knot, they've been together long enough to qualify as a common-law marriage in that state.

HR wants proof, and the marriage certificate is the only acceptable documentation.

"So I blocked out my calendar for the next two mornings and explained to my boss why I wouldn't be around," fish says.

"Then I went to the bank, got the certificate out of the safe deposit box, presented it to HR as proof, and returned it to the bank the next morning."

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