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978-1285428710 Section 7 SECTION 7E

Page Count
4 pages
Word Count
1614 words
Book Title
Business Ethics: Case Studies and Selected Readings 8th Edition
Marianne M. Jennings
Use PowerPoint Slide 290 and Case 7.27 in combination here.
Answers To Discussion Questions
1. The fear of confrontation or the failure to confront often results in unnecessary harm to an individual,
group, or even society. Sometimes there is physical harm that results as in the Muroc case and in
2. The factors that contribute to the failure to confront include wanting to be nice; worried about the
3. Businesses can provide support for disciplinary action. The availability of anonymous reporting
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. Managers are less than truthful in evaluations because of the confrontation issues. Being truthful
means having a candid discussion with employees about their shortcomings. Mangers would rather
2. If "being nice" is postponing what will inevitably become an issue with an employee, then it is
temporarily easier. There is no real ethical analysis in postponing the truth. The employee is affected
3. Examples of ambiguous performance evaluations:
Meets expectations
Progressing nicely
Willing to listen
Use PowerPoint Slide 291 to show the choices in language made in the evaluation of Ann Hopkins.
Legal Issues
At the time of the situation, partnership decisions were not covered under Title VII, hence the partners did
not fear any form of discrimination charges because their decision was immune from the Title VII
requirements of equal treatment. This case changed that and now the statute particularly calls out that
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. The partnership evaluation system appears to be widely-dispersed, uncertain in criteria, and not
policed for violations of equal employment laws. In fairness to Price Waterhouse though, there was a
2. One of the intriguing aspects of the case is why none of the partners, particularly any of the other
The process of group think results from peer pressure being applied to such an extent that those
forms of conduct and types of statements that would otherwise be wrong and offensive are ignored.
3. The subjectivity was troublesome only because it allowed sexism to enter into the decision-making
process. There is nothing wrong with not awarding a partnership to someone who is obnoxious,
However, in this case, and in many other employment cases, those issues were not the focus of the
In developing a procedure for evaluating potential partners, the firm should consider criteria such as
revenue generated, relationships with staff, work compatibility with other partners, client satisfaction
4. The concept of “mixed motives” was covered in the U.S. Supreme Court decision. There may have
been legitimate concerns about Ms. Hopkins’ partnership “fit”, but they were manifested in
5. CEO issues code of ethics, attends training; managers voice concerns and listen to concerns.
Compare & Contrast
The case presents a good opportunity for students to learn how truly difficult personnel issues are. This
was a problem employee who was doing very well. In many ways, the partnership failed Ms. Hopkins
long before her partnership evaluation and the language that was used there. No one was really
counseling her. She was, perhaps, getting mixed signals because she was doing so well in terms of
bringing in business. However, at the same time, there were evolving problems but no one addressed
Use PowerPoint Slides 292.
Randi W. v. Muroc Joint Unified School District
929 P.2d 582 (Cal. 1997)
Review the facts with the students:
Randi W. is a 13-year-old who was molested by Robert Gadams, the principal at her middle school.
Gadams had the following employment history:
1985-1987 Mendota Unified School District reprimanded for improper conduct with
students including touching, remarks and sexual situations (investigation and
1987-1990 Tranquility High School, Golden Plains Unified District – parents’ complaints, led
a panty raid, sexual overtures (resigned under pressure)
1990-1991 Muroc Unified School District – sexual harassment; touching (forced to resign)
1992 Livingstone – touching and molesting of Randi W
Each time, Gadams was given outstanding recommendations from each school. Randi W. filed suit
against districts for negligence in providing information on Gadams’ background.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. The various principals and administrators who hired and supervised Gadams provided glowing letters
of recommendations and never revealed the dismissals, the allegations, the nature of the allegations
and parents’ complaints. The result was that other young people were harmed by his conduct.
2. Taking disciplinary action against Gadams would have prevented them from being placed in the
Their duty is to their stakeholders, a group that includes the school, the teachers, the students, the
Because of the fear of legal action, many managers will go ahead and simply write the letter thinking
that no one is really harmed by it. However, a policy up front can curb some of the awkwardness of
3. The values in conflict here are loyalty to a friend/colleague and allowing him to have a life after a
mistake vs. the duty you owe to the school, the students, the parents, and the other teachers and
administrators. We often let friendship and loyalty trump doing what is right for the larger group. We
4. Managers must use caution when speaking of former or current employees to potential new
employers; the tort of defamation can be established if false statements are made. Most employers
Discuss reverse issue: is an employer liable for not disclosing negative (and potentially dangerous)
information about a former employee? Laws are leaning toward encouraging former employers to
5. Discuss the risks of not being honest in terms of the liability here.
6. It was difficult to go through the process of investigation. They thought they were protecting the

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