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Peter had been a human resource (HR) manager for 18 years and vice president for 2 more years for Zyedego Corporation, a small company in New Orleans. In the last decade, there have been many changes to what potential/actual employees can be asked and what constitutes fair and equitable treatment. Frankly, the situation Peter was in was partly his own fault. The first issue began when Gwyn, one of Peter’s HR managers, was planning on rehiring Dana Gonzales but found out that Dana was pregnant.
Because of the “rough” condition of the workplace, Gwyn was concerned for Diana’s safety. If Dana were rehired, employees’ hourly wages should be decreased by 25 percent because the company had experienced setbacks during the hurricane and had to work with a reduced budget. In addition, Gwyn had some concerns over Dana’s citizenship because her passport appeared to be questionable. Dana had been slowing providing the documents since the flood destroyed the original documents.
Then Dana stated that if not rehired she would go to a competitor and expected the company to pay severance of two weeks’ wages for the time she was out of work during the hurricane.
Another issue is the hiring of truck drivers. Zyedego hires many truck drivers and routinely requests driving records as a part of the preemployment process. Several of the potential new hires have past DWI records. Gwyn has hired some drivers with infractions to secure the necessary number of drivers needed to the company. Zyedego has even deeper problems when Hurricane Katrina killed Guy Martin.
The company’s death benefits provide only 50% of the deceased pension for a surviving spouse. Also, because the body had not been found, there was legal question of death. Darell Lambert, the chief adjuster for Zyedego’s insurance and pension provider, proposed that it will be helpful for the company’s recovery and survival to reduce the total reimbursements by 40%. Here is the point where Peter’s decision making comes to play.
1. What are the legal and ethical risks associated with the decision about hiring truck drivers at Zyedego? *
2. What should Peter recommend to Gwyn about Dana’s case? * Peter should recommend to Gwyn not to rehire Dana due to questionable citizenship. The company may be liable if proven that Dana is not a resident of New Orleans.
3. Do you think Peter is too emotionally attached to the Martin case to make an objective decision? * Yes. Because Peter wanted to help the 100 families even if there is a need to cut down the total reimbursement by 40%. There is the assurance that the 100 families will receive financial assistance from the company but not the exact amount as stated.
* Regarding the issue of hiring the truck drivers, it is unethical for Gwyn to hire employees only for the sake of securing the numbers of workers needed to perform the job. Gwyn should take consider of the implications of her ineffective decision making on hiring drivers with records of infractions. Still, there is a probability of recurrence. * On Dana’s case, it will be ethical for Peter to recommend not rehiring Dana because of the “uncertainty” about her citizenship. If proven that Dana is not a citizen of New Orleans, then there is misconduct on Dana’s point of view because she had not provided a reliable document regarding her nationality requirements if she is really permitted to work in New Orleans. * On Martin case, Peter had to take some considerations of implementing some actions for the survival of the business. As an ethical leader, Peter should consider stakeholder’s interest at the same time. His decision should be in the process that is respectful of them not only for the firm’s survival.
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