The employee - employer relationship is just that, a relationship. Each enters into it with an expectation that one or more of their interests will be met. When something goes awry in the relationship, do you try to hang onto to it and to preserve the relationship at all costs?
There are a number of reasons why the employee - employer relationship could go amiss. The bottom line is that there is an employee who feel that your organization is not holding up their end of the bargain and that is a problem.
So, what do you do? You stop what you are doing and look closely at the situation and options available to you to ensure the employee is treated fairly and equitably. In short, you make it right for the employee and the organization, chalk it up to an easy day in HR and rest assured, if handled properly, you just created an employee loyal to the organization.
But, what if you can't make it right? What if you have looked at all of the options and flexibilities and none are available to you to use because doing so would violate a handbook or directive or would create an obvious internal inequity? You listened, researched thoroughly and exhausted your options. You were respectful and honest and acted with integrity, told him/her what you can do and that was not enough. When does a short-term solution to an immediate problem outweigh the potential long-term consequences? Does the squeaky wheel always have to get the grease? When do you lay the cards on the table and leave the decision to continue or end the relationship with the employee?
If an employee decides that "clipping coupons" is better than remaining with your organization, can you accept their resignation with grace and acceptance that this may just be what is best for all?