Business Law Ethical Decision Making Case Questions

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Leo Emmanuel has worked as an engineer at Sigma3D ProTech (Sigma3D) for the last 25 years. The company’s corporate headquarters and sole manufacturing center are in the lovely, but remote, town of Blue Ray. Blue Ray has a population of about 45,000 people and two principal employers: Blue Ray State University (BRSU) and Sigma3D ProTech. Leo and his wife Julie have raised three children there and love the town’s quaint good looks.

Julie works at Sigma3D in the accounting department. Unfortunately, recent news out of accounting has not been favorable. The company’s revenues have been down for several years now, and the company has a lot of debt. The possibility of bankruptcy is real enough that Julie told Leo “it’s really dicey now – we have about a 50-50 chance of going out of business in the next year or two.” Leo noted that Sigma3D’s stock was performing fairly well and Julie replied, “the media don’t know about our problems yet, but in the next few months it’s going to be obvious.”

Leo has recently served on his department’s hiring committee in an effort to recruit an engineer to supervise the development of the company’s new 3-D printing technology. The success of technology is critical to the company’s plans for the future, and an excellent person is essential. Last year, the company hired for this position as well, but the person they got didn’t work out well for the company and was transferred to a less demanding job. As hiring committee chair, Barry Kemp, said to Leo “we’ve got to get someone good soon or we’re in trouble.” Unfortunately, getting somebody good has been very difficult as engineers with the right skills are in great demand and most of them work in Old Town nearly 250 miles from Blue Ray.

After sifting through many resumes, the hiring committee identified two candidates. One of the candidates is quite weak but is clearly willing to take the job. Easily the best of the candidates is Mark Ross. Mr. Ross has 5 years of experience. Recommendations from senior colleagues at his previous job suggest he’s much more capable than any of the other candidates the committee has considered. Leo and the rest of the hiring committee are excited by the possibility of Mark working for Sigma3D ProTech so much so that they’ve gotten approval to make a generous salary offer. On the phone, Mark told Leo that he had other offers in Old Town, but none were quite as good as the money at Sigma3D ProTech. Mark is concerned about moving his family, though. He has two children in school in Old Town and moving would disrupt their lives. Moreover, his wife works and would have to find a new job.

Leo has realized that if Mark Ross knew that Sigma3D ProTech was very likely to go bankrupt he might not be willing to take a job that required moving to Blue Ray. When Leo mentioned this to Barry Kemp he was told: “It’s a very serious thing to reveal confidential accounting information to prospective employees. If you want to keep your job here, I’d keep quiet on this one.”

Should Leo tell Mr. Ross about the true state of the company’s finances?

 

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