CUSTOMERFACT#1: Be a Good Guy
I can't believe I am writing this one... James Hardie Industries (a name Australians have learned to trust for building products) recently gave the world a lesson in how not to conduct a compensation case. It has been forced to pay $4billion to people who are dying from asbestos-related diseases. Naturally you owe it to shareholders to minimise outgoings. But when a tribunal of the land has ruled that your actions have killed people and are killing others, it's time to take your medicine, admit your mistake, and come clean. You can rehabilitate your name that way. WHAT did James Hardie Industries do? First it moved its headquarters out of Australia to the Netherlands to minimise the legal risk. Then it stonewalled and sandbagged every step of the way until it was forced - at the barrel of a gun - to cough up. The State Government of New South Wales had to threaten special legislation to force the company to pay to get it to act. James Hardie made no attempt to explain its actions. Every day that passed, victims died. It looked as though James Hardie thought that if it waited long enough they'd all die and it would get off scot free. The name James Hardie now stinks in the nostrils of the marketplace. It is a symbol of corporate greed and irresponsibility. The trade unions supported the company in its fight because of all the jobs at stake. Unions that have no principles are often bedmates with companies which have no principles. James Hardie as a brand is forever compromised and stained by this incident. If they have corporate relations consultants, they should hang their heads in shame at entertaining such a client. James Hardie Industries now represents a name risk for every company associated with it. Shareholders should consider the ethics of their continued support for such an unethical company.