Case Incident: Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

No References. In this case, there are 4 questions that need to be answered.

CASE INCIDENT – Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t
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Fran Gilson has spent 15 years with the Thompson Grocery Company rising through the ranks of this 50-store grocery store chain to become a regional manager, overseeing seven stores and earning approximately $95,000 a year. Fran also thinks she is ready to take on more responsibility, so she agreed to consider the position of vice president and regional manager for a national drugstore chain.

The only person at Thompson who knows Fran is looking at this other job is her good friend and colleague, Ken Hamilton, the director of finance. Fran tells Ken it is a dream job and expresses her positive excitement. She asked Ken last week if she could use his name as a reference. Ken agreed to give her a great recommendation. She made it very clear to the recruiter that Ken was the only person at Thompson who knew she was considering another job.

Jennifer Chung has been a financial analyst in Ken’s department for five months. Fran met Jennifer through Ken. Fran’s impression of Jennifer is quite positive. Jennifer came to Fran to talk. Fran sat her down and listened to her story. What Fran heard was hard to believe, but she had no reason to think Jennifer was lying. Jennifer said that Ken began making off-color comments and his behavior got progressively worse including leering and touching. Jennifer would ask him to stop and not do it again, but it fell on deaf ears. Yesterday, Ken reminded Jennifer that her six-month probationary review was coming up. “He told me that if I did not sleep with him that I could not expect a very favorable evaluation.” Jennifer said that she had come to Fran because she did not know what to do or whom to turn to. “I came to you, Fran, because you are a friend of Ken’s and the highest ranking woman here. Will you help me?” Fran had never heard anything like this about Ken before. About all she knew regarding his personal life was that he was in his late 30s, single, and involved in a long-term relationship.

Questions:

1. Analyze Fran’s situation in a purely legalistic sense. You might want to talk to friends or relatives who are in management or the legal profession for advice in this analysis.

2. Analyze Fran’s dilemma in political terms.

3. Analyze Fran’s situation in an ethical sense. What is the ethically right thing for her to do? Is that also the politically right thing to do?

4. If you were Fran, what would you do?

Fran Gilson finds herself in a very difficult ethical dilemma. This situation relates so much to the many ethical dilemmas that many employees in many organizations find themselves in. The accusations that are made by Jeniffer Chung leave her in a tough place especially at a time when she highly depends on the recommendation by Ken to acquire the position she wants in the organization she is involved in.  This paper seeks to address the various issue regarding the case of Fran, exploring the situation in a legalistic sense, identifying the dilemma in a political and ethical sense.

            From a legalistic sense, it is only prudent that Fran takes very calculated action in dealing with the situation. The accusation that is made is a very serious sexual offense. The best way in which Fran should handle this accusation made against Ken is to address them to the Human Resource Manager of the organization. It is not advisable that she makes her investigations and neither should she confront Ken about the issue as this would affect any investigation undertaken by the human resource manager. The case exposed both the company and herself legally. Legally, if the claims made by Jeniffer were to be verified as to be true, the legal consequences to Ken would be very adverse and would ruin his career. Any sexual offense is greatly punishable by law. As such, such a sexual offense ought not to be taken lightly or joked about.

            From a political perspective, Fran’s Dilemma is that Ken, who is the person the accusation fall on, holds incredible power over Fran since he, unlike all other employees has information Fran would not like known by the rest, especially her boss. This information was that she was pursuing a higher position than the one she held currently. As such, she finds her self-conflicted since if she fails to alert Ken on anything or rather turn his name into the top human resource, would make Ken expose that she was pursuing a job with another company. This is what Frans would love to avoid and thus may make him conflicted as to whether he should forward Ken to the human resource or remain silent on it.
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