The workplace is littered with ethical dilemmas no matter where you work. For Pacific Trust the primary ethical issues that need attention are Jack Ryan’s negligent behavior toward his work with the Palisades Produce contract. His negligence caused him to be faced with lying to his superior or taking responsibility for his mistakes. The necessity for a course of action to help Jack comes partly from the underlying issue of Stephen Wood’s misconduct within the Middle-market Group.
Jack Ryan had been closely working with Palisades Produce for over a year and in his excitement over finally landing them as a client, Jack did not closely read over the stipulations in the contract set forth by Gretchen Marks, Senior Banker in Risk Management. These stipulations were that Jack would obtain monthly Borrowing base reports from Palisades Produce. The Borrowing base reports show the bank how much collateral a company has to cover how much they are requesting to borrow from the bank. Without these reports, a bank could lend out money to companies that could not pay it back. Jack’s first step was to inform his boss, Stephen Wood, of the mistake he made. The response from Wood was for Jack to lie to Gretchen Marks by obtaining and submitting Borrowing base reports of the last four months at the current time as if Jack had always had them.
This is clearly an unethical and unwise course of action for anyone to do. Since Jack has not seen the Borrowing base reports, he does not know if Palisades Produce has any flaws in their records or insufficient collateral. Such flaws would cause Pacific Trust to get into trouble by lending out money they could not get back. After leaving Wood’s office, Jack should have reported to Gretchen Marks to inform her about his mistake in not obtaining the Borrowing base reports. If Jack decides to follow the advice of Stephen Wood in order to maybe save his job, then he will most likely lose his job along with Stephen Wood. Covering up a mistake made in the business world can have dire consequences for any parties involved. The Borrowing base reports could be flawless; however, if there is an inconsistency at all with
the reports, Gretchen Marks will inquire as to why Jack never brought such inconsistencies to her attention in the month they arose.
This would immediately indicate that Jack had lied about when he obtained the Borrowing base reports, putting Pacific Trust and himself in a bad situation. Pacific Trust could not only fire but also sue Jack for his negligence if it did cause harm to the bank. In this case Palisades Produce would most likely leave Pacific Trust since Jack, the person responsible for courting the company, would no longer be with the bank. This course of action is definitely risky for Jack Ryan; he may lose his job either way. However, this is the only course of action likely to allow Jack to keep his job. Gretchen Marks could respect the honesty and responsibility of Jack and help him with the reports, allowing him to keep his job.
The person partially responsible for Jacks ethically dilemma is Stephen Wood. Wood has been known to behave inappropriately in the workplace. Wood plays favorites and helps only those employees who do things his way. His use of derogatory language toward female employees on top of his temper issues should have been reported to a higher-up already. The attitude displayed by Wood shows that he is willing to make unethical decisions and having someone like this in your company is a liability. Jack does not have to reveal that Wood was going to help him with a cover-up, but Jack or one of the other subordinates of Wood should have filed a formal complaint on Stephen Wood’s behavior.
Since Jack is a rising star within the company and Wood is highly regarded within the company, a complaint coming from Jack might carry more weight and consideration with the senior bank managers. This could sever the close relationship Jack has with Wood; however it would lead to a more effective and peaceful work environment. The reason Wood should be reported instead of being left alone is that since Wood was willing to do unethical things with Jack, he would probably attempt to do other unethical things if he has not already done so.
These courses of action for the ethical dilemmas present in this case have the least negative impact. Jack taking responsibility will either hurt
himself or hurt nothing at all if the Borrowing base reports are flawless. If they are not, Jack’s career and possibly Palisades Produce’s involvement with Pacific Trust will be damaged. Filing a report against Stephen Wood for workplace misconduct would allow all of the subordinates to work together in a more peaceful and effective environment because there would not be division amongst the employees based on loyalty.