In this scenario, you will evaluate the Code of Ethics to determine if John Anderson has violated International Widgets’ Code of Ethics by engaging in business with a competitor.
The human resources department worked with management to carefully craft a Code of Ethics. All employees received a copy of the code and were required to sign off stating that they had read the code and agreed to abide by its conditions. If an issue concerning an employee occurs, the human resources department investigates. As the assistant director of human resources, you are asked to evaluate an employee’s behavior. You meet with Gloria Smithson to obtain all information needed to begin your investigation.
Gloria Smithson has now been in business for 2 years. Her business is called International Widgets, and she employs more than 300 people in the business headquarters. In the early stages of the business, she created a Code of Ethics to govern employees’ behavior. Recently, one of her salespeople, John Anderson, seems to be underperforming. Historically, he has been a stellar employee and salesperson, bringing in new clients every month. However, over the last 6 months, not only has he not brought in any new business, but 30% of his accounts have gone to a competitor. Even with this downturn, John was on the road 5 days a week and continued to submit expense reports. Is this ethical?
Janice Marshall is the director of human resources at International Widgets. Recently, Janice met with Gloria to let her know of a rumor in the company that John was actually steering some of his accounts to a competitor because the competitor gave him a kickback.
John Anderson has been employed by International Widgets for 14 months. He likes his job but was recently approached by a competitor with an offer he could not refuse. The competitor wanted to expand his domestic market and asked John to work with him for a few months. He asked that John provide him with the names and phone numbers of the customers he services. He said he didn’t want John to get into trouble with International Widgets so he would contact the customers and not John. However, he told John that for every customer who left International Widgets, John would receive a “1% payment from the customer’s first order.” John didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. He has two children in college and needs the extra money, plus he could continue to try to work with the customer to stay with International Widgets.
International Widgets Code of Ethics
International Widgets is committed to maintaining the highest degree of integrity in all our dealings with potential, current, and past clients, both in terms of normal commercial confidentiality and the protection of all personal information received in the course of providing the business services concerned. We extend the same standards to all our customers, suppliers, and associates.
We conduct business honestly and honorably and expect our clients and suppliers to do the same. We train our employees to be ethical and expect them to always act in the best interests of International Widgets.
Duty of Care
Our actions and advice will always conform to relevant law and we believe that all businesses, including International Widgets, should avoid causing any adverse effect on the human rights of people in the organizations we deal with, the local and wider environments, and the well-being of society at large.
Conflict of Interest
Employees of International Widgets must act exclusively for the benefit of International Widgets. Employees should avoid providing services to a direct competitor of International Widgets, or engage in any type of business relationship that is not in the best interests of International Widgets.
Our contract will usually be in the form of a detailed proposal, including aims, activities, costs, timescales, and deliverables. The quality of our service and the value of our support provide the only true basis for continuity. We always try to meet our clients’ contractual requirements, particularly for situations where an external funding provider requires more official parameters and controls.
Intellectual Property and Moral Rights
We retain the moral rights in, and ownership of, all intellectual property that we create unless agreed otherwise in advance with our clients. In return, we respect the moral and intellectual copyright vested in our clients’ intellectual property. Employees are not to use the intellectual property of International Widgets for any means other than the terms and conditions of their employment and to advance the interests of International Widgets.
We maintain the quality of what we do through constant ongoing review with our clients, of all aims, activities, outcomes, and the cost-effectiveness of every activity. We encourage regular review meetings and provide regular progress reports. This consultancy has been accredited under a number of quality assurance schemes. Further details are available on request.
We conduct all of our activities professionally and with integrity. We take great care to be completely objective in our judgment and any recommendations that we give, so that issues are never influenced by anything other than the best and proper interests of our clients.
Equality and Discrimination
We always strive to be fair and objective in our advice and actions and we are never influenced in our decisions, actions, or recommendations by issues of gender, race, creed, color, age, or personal disability.
You are the assistant director of human resources. Janice Marshall has asked you to review the Code of Ethics to determine if John has violated its provisions. You are to prepare a paper that addresses the following.
1. Evaluate International Widgets’ Code of Ethics at the conclusion of the You Decide scenario. Are there any provisions which would prohibit John’s behavior? Please explain.
2. In addition to a possible ethics violation, are there other legal avenues that International Widgets could pursue against John or its competitor? Review your textbook and library references to assist you in answering these questions.
3. Is John in a fiduciary relationship with International Widgets? Why or why not? Is he an agent of International Widgets? Identify the duties and responsibilities of an agent and whether or not John is fulfilling those obligations. Review your textbook and library references to assist you in answering these questions.
4. What action should Gloria take involving John?
Your paper should be 3 pages long, exclusive of the cover page and references page, and double-spaced. It should comply with APA 6th edition formatting.
a. Cover page
b. References page
c. 12-point, Times New Roman font
d. No website references
e. Include at least two scholarly references
f. Include in-text references to sources