Ethical Dilemma in the Workplace
There are many different types of ethical dilemmas in the workplace. For example, conducting personal business on company time, taking credit for other’s work, harassment from coworkers or management, high pressure sales and theft* I have been in the situation to experience each one of these at my former job, Petsmart. Even though they are a large corporate company there are problems that fall through the cracks. Conducting Personal Business on Company Time It clearly states in the employee handbook, “no soliciting”. This would include fundraisers, selling products like Avon, Tupperware, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc.
There have been numerous occasions that I have witnessed coworkers passing out brochures or catalogs trying to sell products. I never realized this was a code of ethics violation, because I never gave it much thought until this class. According to an article I read, most people spend more time at work during the day and it is tempting for the employee to conduct personal business at work. Examples that was listed included selling items, planning a vacation, making doctor’s appointments and using the company computer for social networking (Rafner, 2012). Taking Credit for Other’s Work
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There have been times when I was asked to take part in a team building assignment. I was on the safety and loss team. The manager involved with the team on several occasions took credit for ideas that came from me and the other team members. There were times when the manager was not even present for the meetings. She never praised us for the work we did, nor did she acknowledge our input to the upper management. This was very discouraging. I felt as if I was not taken seriously by upper management, and my supervisor received all of the credit for the all of the hours of work the team and I completed.
Harassment I was a personal victim of harassment from a fellow employee and her friend who was our Assistant Store Manager. I can remember on my first day of work my fellow coworker in the grooming salon grabbed me by the shoulders and told me to “move, get out of her way”. I bit my tongue because it was my first day and I did not want to make enemies with her. She continued to harass me for the next two years by screaming at me and calling me obscene names when I would stand up to her and ask her to back off. During these two years my husband was arrested for soliciting a prostitute.
This made all of the local news stations and newspapers. The city police department was performing a sting operation and he was one of 16 men that was arrested on that day. It was a big media deal because of a local pastor who was one of the 16 men arrested. I was devastated, shocked, and broken. When I humbly returned to work, the first question this lady asked me was if I had went to the doctor to have an HIV test. I told her yes I did immediately. I asked her why she would ask me that and she told me that I worked so close to her and she had the right to know whether or not I had been exposed.
I reported her for asking me this question. I went up the proper chain of command which included her close friend the Assistant Manager. I felt like my complaint fell on deaf ears and I was treated differently by this manager after I filed the complaint. I called the corporate headquarters when I was not satisfied with the way things were being handled. Long story short, they flew in from Arizona and my coworker was terminated. Once she was terminated, I was her friend’s target. The assistant manager would walk through the salon and would not acknowledge me, or she was very hateful to me when she did speak.
This went on for another two years and then I finally resigned. I do not believe that the manager was acting ethically, nor did the coworker. According to an article from The Herald, there are several factors that can help when dealing with Human Resources and ethical dilemmas. These tips would have been beneficial to me in this work situation. These steps are: State the background and context of the dilemma. Identify the main ethical issues causing the dilemma. List possible solutions to the dilemma. Consider the likely impact of each solution.
Eliminate the totally unacceptable solutions. Consider which company values are upheld and violated by each of the remaining solutions. Identify your solution, state it clearly including why it is best, then justify and defend it against criticism (Mhonderwa, 2012). High Pressure Sales One of my biggest complaints as an employee at Petsmart was the enforcement of high pressure add-on sales in the grooming salon. The managers would make large bonuses if we met the weekly sales goal, aka weekly plan. Corporate office would send a sales plan for the week.
If we did not meet the certain sales amount and add-on amounts we would be written up and possibly terminated. My problem was not with the sales of services we offered, but with the managers forcing us to sell services that the pet did not need. For example, there was a geriatric dog who had no teeth. I was reprimanded for not selling a teeth brushing package. We were not allowed to accept no for an answer the first two times someone declined add-on services. I live in a rural area with many residents that are on fixed incomes.
I felt horrible making the customer feel guilty if they did not spend an extra $6. 00 for oatmeal shampoo or an extra $11. 00 for teeth brushing or nail grinding. When the managers were not present, I refused to pressure the customer. Employee Theft There were a couple of coworkers that I worked with that would remove items off the shelf for personal use in the salon without getting approval from management. Some of the items were not products that would be approved and is considered theft. I was a member in the safety and loss prevention team so it was my responsibility to report any suspicious behavior.
This was an ethics violation on their part because it was theft and also we had a strict regimen of what was allowed in salon, in the event a pet had an allergic reaction. We could narrow down the shampoo or cologne we used. Conclusion My experience as a groomer at Petsmart was far from ideal. I loved working with the animals and met a lot of really nice clients. However, the working conditions were deplorable. The management at my location were not professional, nor were some of the employees. I am so much happier now since I have found another salon to work for. I do not have to deal with all of the unethical behavior anymore.
Mhonderwa, B. (2012, May 29). Managing ethical dilemmas in the workplace. The Herald Retrieved from http://www.herald.co.zw/index.php?option=com_content&id=42753:managing-ethical-dilemmas-in-the-workplace#.Ud9sNPmTh4c
Rafner, D. (2012). Common Ethical Workplace Dilemmas. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/common-ethical-workplace-dilemmas-748.html