Two Page Answer
What Would You Do?
Chapter 1 The Importance of Business Ethics
Jane paused, told Michelle she had another urgent call, and put her on hold. What was she going to tell her friend Michelle about Ralph? Why do these things happen to me? she muttered to herself.
Jane had been a regional sales manager at COBA for almost two years. One of the problems that came with the position was Ralph. Ralph had been with the company for ten years and was a good performer. He always met his quotas and goals and was a team player in every respect. Two years ago, however, Ralph went through a period of depression that severely affected his sales figures as well as his client relationships. Another problem resulting from Ralph’s depression was alcohol dependence. When the problem came to light, COBA had given Ralph the option of either entering a private drug rehabilitation center or being dismissed. Ralph chose the six-week detoxification program.
For about six months all seemed to be go well. Ralph’s sales figures improved, and Jane, who was Ralph’s boss, had not received any more customer complaints about him. However, when it became apparent that Ralph was drinking again, Jane confronted him. Ralph justified his behavior by telling her that he had to have a few drinks with his clients to keep them happy. After all, Jane, everyone knows that drinking is something a salesperson does to develop a more personal relationship with the client, he argued. Besides, my sales figures have not decreased; they’ve increased. Nevertheless, Jane cautioned Ralph about his behavior.
Several months before Ralph had resumed drinking; a confidential report from the detoxification center had landed on Jane’s desk. The report discussed a new test that could determine whether alcohol abusers were genetically different from others. The center requested a voluntary blood test from all clients who had gone through the treatment program in the last year, including Ralph.
At about the same time, Jane had received another memo from COBA’s insurance carrier. Certain employee illnesses were to be classified industrywide as nonqualifiable if diagnosed prior to employment. In other words, a new employee with a preexisting condition named on the list would not be eligible for reimbursement for treatment of that illness. One of the conditions listed was alcoholism, as defined by the new blood test. Jane worried about her personal liability if she were to persuade Ralph to take the blood test, so she said nothing to him.