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Managing an Ethical Dilemma – Part II

A Mini Case Study: What the Employee Did

Read Part I of this case study to get background information and learn how others might have handled this situation.

But first….before we start with the wrap up of the case study – many thanks to all those readers who responded with their ideas on how they might handle the situation. What a great conversation! Thank you for reading and for your comments!

What the Employee Did

The employee – who we will call Jonathan – took the following approach to the situation:

Conversation with HR: Jonathan has decided not to talk with HR about the newly hired supervisor. In thinking about it, he really doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of the person any longer (his knowledge comes from 10 years ago after all.) And while his friend (who you will worked with the newly hired supervisor very recently) said he was being fired, you determined that just is not your business.

However, Jonathan did talk with HR about his future at the company since he is looking to move ahead but is not interested in relocating his family to do so. HR suggested that Jonathan increase his visibility within the company so that he can better promote himself and his skills. While HR cannot promise that a promotion is in Jonathan’s future, they shared that a few of the folks who interviewed Jonathan really didn’t know much about his capabilities or Jonathan as an individual even though he has been with the company for 5 years. Therefore, they felt it was risky to put him in a supervisor role where he may not be successful.

Future conversation with the new boss (the supervisor HR just hired):

Jonathan has decided that when his new boss starts in 3 weeks (we’ll call the new supervisor Alex), he will reach out to him to be sure they start off on the right path to working together effectively. Jonathan will not mention issues he has had with Alex in the past as he does not want to surface anything that might damage his relationship with Alex. Frankly, Jonathan is sure that Alex really doesn’t know why he left the company they were both working at 10 years ago, he had simply told Alex and HR at the time that he had found a great opportunity that he couldn’t pass up that would enable him to work with new technologies.

Jonathan decided that he will discuss the following in this meeting with Alex:

  • His current role and the projects in which he is involved
  • His goals for the year
  • Background about the department overall (HR and the SVP of the department has asked him to share this information with Alex) including successes and challenges of the group in meeting organizational goals

Additionally, HR has asked him to introduce Alex around the company.

In summary

Jonathan is comfortable with the steps he will be taking and with his decision to not bring up the past. Everyone changes over time and it has been 10 years. Jonathan is more comfortable with himself and who he is and how he handles challenges and conflicts. If he sees the same thing happening, he’ll address it much better than he has in the past.