Read the following scenario about Mary. Based upon the information in the text and your own online research, discuss Mary’s ethical options. What do you think that she should do?
Mary recently graduated from college and landed her first corporate job. She works as an administrative assistant for an international corporation that manufactures home decorations in the USA and Europe. On many occasions she had had to travel to Europe to assist company executives conduct business in a wide variety of countries. She had a primary boss in the USA and many secondary bosses in a variety of European countries. On the job only four months, Mary feels that she is already starting to loose her idealism about business. She has heard of and observed employees coming to work intoxicated – even sneaking drinks at work. She has seen employees routinely arrive late for work and leave early. Fifteen minute breaks and thirty minute lunches often last twice as long.
Employees routinely use their computers for sending and receiving personal emails, shopping online, checking horoscopes, and the weather, even gambling. And all of that happened in just her department in the USA and Europe. The department manager is very laid back. Mary has tried to talk with him about these problems, but he seems unable or unwilling to confront the problems. It appears to Mary that he wants the employees to like him, and the employees are taking advantage of that. Mary is growing more and more frustrated. She prides herself as a hard worker and assumed the other employees would be too. Mary is tempted to give up and join the other employees, getting paid for doing as little as possible. But she knows that she would not be able to respect herself. She is tempted to go over her managers’ head to his supervisor and complain about the problems. But that would alienate her direct supervisors and the other employees. She has not been at the company long enough to request a transfer, and quitting her job after four months does not seem like a good career move. She is sitting at her desk wondering what she should do.
In response to this scenario, answer the following questions:
- Using the internet, the library, and your textbook, compare and contrast the rights of employees and the responsibilities of employers in the United States and Europe. Are the laws, customs, and cultures different?
- If Mary chooses to file a formal complaint with a government agency, what challenges will she face?
- What kind of reaction will Mary get from her supervisors in the United States and Europe?
- Finally, advise Mary on what course of action she should take.
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