Ethics Case Study 30

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A former employee who was fired due to poor quality work, absences, and lateness related to her drinking problem, informs you that she has applied for a position at another company and has already given your name as a reference. She desperately needs a job (she is a single parent with three children), and she asks you to give her a good recommendation and not mention her drinking, which she assures you is now under control.

She also asks you to say that she voluntarily left the company to address a family medical crisis, and that the company was pleased with her work. You like this person and believe she is a good worker when she is not drinking. You doubt that she really has overcome her drinking problem, however, and you would not recommend your own company hire her back.

  • What do you say to this woman?
  • What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
  • What if the prospective employer was a friend?
  • Suppose the problem was a theft?
  • Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
  • What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?

Source: Here

  • Asha Goud

    In the above case the virtues at stake are my sensitivity towards a lady who is single mother and unemployed, she also has had drinking problem (which i am not sure if she still has) so her financial condition is bad for sure. On the other hand is my honesty, objectivity and integrity. Compromising on either would have a huge cost.
    I have to therefore take a balanced decision.
    Firstly i should tell the lady that i can only make recommendation if i m assured she is out of her habit. For that she should get registered herself in rehabilitation course and start medication.
    I should b honest to the company and give them a fair judgement about her performance and potentials. Since i believe she was a good worker i should emphasise on that. I should mention about her drinking habit, and she is undergoing medications for that(since i told i would recommend her only if she agrees to medication).
    There is high probability that company would not select her. In that case i should help the lady finding another job and also keep encouraging her to continue with treatment. If she neeeds financial help i can offer that too.
    This way i dont have to compromise on either.

    • Mohan

      gud one…..nice thinking…

    • Asha,

      Your answer is a safe passage in between. It is indicated that the values are not conflicting and both can be chosen at the same time. But, i think you have to necessarily choose one out of them.

      But, i do not think it is practical to help her financially till she gets a job for the period is very uncertain. And, every expenditure of hers along with the children can not be covered till she gets a job.

      You have not answered some of the other questions.

      What would you say about the reasons for quitting the last job?
      What would you do if it was a theft?
      Would you agree being a reference has she asked you earlier?

      Please give your views on them.

      • Asha Goud

        Hi Aditya,
        It is evident i have taken a stand for honesty and objectivity.
        Also I would not be the reference at all if she doesn’t agree to getting medical help.
        I did not mention this that i don’t assure her that i would say as she wishes, i would give the employer my fair review, mentioning about her past performance and the reason she was fired.
        Why i would do that.? Bec if i just do as she wishes m only encouraging her to repeat such demand from me or others citing her desperation and need for employment. This won’t be a good example for her.

        We have to be sensitive towards such ppl who need help and help should be such that helps them long term, that is why i would encourage her to join medication.
        I said i would offer financial help, ofcourse i cannot bear her all expenses but how much is possible for me i would do it. Besides i will help her to find job.
        My whole intention is to stay honest and find a positive solution to her problem instead of just taking the easy way by either agreeing or disagreeing to be the reference.
        The solution here is beneficial to both the parties, isnt this what MP Follet says about solving conflict by being creative. 🙂
        Thanks for your review, i appreciate. 🙂

    • Vijay Pateriya

      Started beautifully.Many faultlines in your answer.
      You will help her finding other job gud,but first answer why you have thrown her out ’cause of drinking now that you have asked her to start medication you yourself could take her back in to your company if she is rejected there.
      But instead you chose to provide her financial assistance.Come on that makes answerlook a bit made artificial instead of a practical.I think a clear approach you should maintain and if you take a mid pass please dont forget to support it otherwise it looks ambiguous.

      • Asha Goud

        Hi vijay,
        Why is is it necessary to be either honest or sensitive.?
        Can the only approach be either of these two 1. honest and insensitive or 2. you can be dishonest i.e. you agree to lie and be sensitive towards the lady.?

        Financial help is not impractical. We can offer as much is possible within our limit. I did not suggest to adopt her for life.

        I said i would help her find job, that is only when she is ready to get medical help. If possible then i too can employ her in future.

        The whole question is about her employbility. She is employable if she quits drinking. And i would recommend her only if i am assured about that.

        • Vijay Pateriya

          I thought the question was regarding my values and integrity then regarding her employability…..for me I thought being sensitive is good one but that does’nt means without any reliability recommend her to other person,what about the chance if she is not able to control her drinking and cause nuisances to other person and finger is pointed towards you.If you really wanted to show some concerns comeon instead of firing her you could have given her some medication advice and a holiday to adjust and refresh that would had been much a practical then to lend her money and make her attitude and mind dependent as well as feeling subjected and seeking sympathy or you could have directly asked her to be independent and think of herself showing at best you could refer her qualities if possible but cant hide misdeeds………….look at it from this angle.

          • Asha Goud

            Vijay, please read my response to Aditya’s comment. I think my stand would be much clear then.

            I am against recommending her in her present condition without. I would not lie to the prospective employer in any case. This is my stand.

            The other part regarding helping her can vary from person to her. I have given my view and genuinely i would have done this.

            How can i recommend her to go for holiday when she is searching job. Is that practical.?
            I gave my view based on this fact that she is single mother therefore she must be under financial crunch. If i help her quit her habit, she can be a good employee anywhere in future. (I am securing return of my money too this way. 😉 )

            I think it depends on person to person how they would handle such cases. There is no one best way.

    • Ramesh Singh

      You have taken the middle path without any affirmative action putting your own credibility at risk. People relapse even after rehabilitation. If she lost the job because of the drinking problem it should be mentioned so along with her excellent work history. If she gets the next job easily based on a lie she would continue with her drinking as she would think that she can get out of it like the last time. It is good to help people, but help those who help themselves. That’s my take.

      • rahul sinha

        as a boss,when you are preparing confidential report of an employee,it is expected that you speak 100% truth,without any favour/ should mention both good things and bad the same time you should also refer corrective course.
        i will follow procedures in this case.
        a bad cr doesn’t mean that an employee will not get another job.yes,she may have to take up a lower job.and if she works well and controls her drinking,she may be promoted in no time.

    • Lynda McMaster-Schuyler

      By recommending her, you are enabling her to continue her negative behaviors. Her agreeing to take meds (alcoholism needs more than meds) and get help needs time to be proven to see if she really does change her lifestyle. In the meantime, her children suffer. I would not stake my honesty, integrity and reputation on someone unless I was very sure they were willing to meet the agreement and be successful. Offering her financial help, making sure children are cared for, and job assistance is the better choice, however, without her truly addressing her problems, you are simply creating more problems for her, her potential employer, society and you. People need to be made aware that their past follows them and even though forgiveness is possible, its generally not offered in a corporate setting unless the person at fault has made major strides at recovery and a generous and caring person is making the offer to give them a “second” chance… What decision is best for the most people???

    • Mahesh

      balanced ans.

    • basant kumar

      nyc answer…keepit on

    • Avnish

      How about asking the prospective employer to put her on probation for few months and observe her performance? If she performs well, she can be made a regular employee.

  • Sourabh

    Here, i face an ethical dilemma of choosing between two risk prone decision:
    – If I, do not support the lady and tell the prospective employee of her vices of drinking or theft, she will not get the job. This will kill the prospects for the lady to get a job and change her life, even if she has overcome past vices. My decision may dishearten her and she may fallback to the vices she has overcame.

    -Another decision could be that, i endorse the lady to the prospective employer, this may land her a job. But, if she continues her past vices, it will cause a problem to the future employer. My credibility will also go down in the eyes of future employer.

    To take a decision, i have to assure myself that the lady has overcame her previous problems. I will talk to her further and ask her that how she got rid of her problem and will take the help of counselors or psychologist to ascertain the fact.

    If i become a bit certain about her overcoming the problems, i will endorse her for the job to the future employer. This is necessary because it will help her to reintegrate with the society and take care of the household. She is a good worker when she is not drinking so it is necessary to give her a second chance. If, she applies in my company, i will endorse her for job as well.

    However, if i am not sure of her overcoming of problems, i will not endorse her and tell her about it. Also if the future employer calls me, will tell them the truth. This way the job prospect of lady may shut down, but it will be better for the employer and prevent them from future problem.

    • Vijay Pateriya

      “You doubt that she really has overcome her drinking problem”

      This lands the reader(of your answer)directly to the last para which you could have directly mentioned without the first four para thus wastes your answer.

      Whats your stake in taking the counsellers and psychiatrists help and ascertain the fact that she has controlled her drinking.

      • Sourabh

        There is a risk and odds are against, but one has to take that risk to help her and counselors would be much more able to ascertain it…
        But by out rightly rejecting her plea, i will close a door for her improvement..

        • Vijay Pateriya

          than you could admit her to your own company if that is all needed.

  • What do you say to this woman?
    1.What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
    2.What if the prospective employer was a friend?
    3.Suppose the problem was a theft?
    4.Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
    5.What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?

    The lady is good at work and a nice person as i personally know her. Her drinking problem may be related to her frustration of managing home with work. But, this can not be conformed.

    1.I would tell her that she should have informed me earlier for using me as a reference. Besides, i would ask her to quit her drinking habit. It is neither good for her personal nor professional life. If she insists, i would tell her that i am going to give a similar but not same account to the employer that she mentioned.

    2.I would tell the employer that she is good at work but is disturbed with some family problems and that she is employable. She had to quit the job because of some medical emergency.

    3.I would tell the same even if the prospective employer was a friend. For, i believe that she may have quit her drinking habit. My recommendation of not hiring her back is related to her past experiences with the organisation which are not very healthy.

    4.Therefore, i would have agreed to her request of providing my name as reference before a prospective employer keeping in mind her problems.

    5.The values of “Honesty” and “Altruism” are at stake and conflicting. If i tell the truth she may lose the job amid the crisis she is facing which can really devastate her and the children. However, the prospective employer may face some financial losses in hiring her, if she is fired for her drinking habits. These losses are much smaller compared to what she would face in the eventuality of unemployment.

    • Vijay Pateriya

      First,it looks that you presumed that her drinking problem is related to the frustration.Its ok.But than instead of firing her you could have thought of making some adjustments in your own companies as otherwise your company will not be able to handle any of the women who has these sort of Dual-roles problem.
      Second if it is already mentioned that You doubt that she really has overcome her drinking problem than can we really twist it this way “, i believe that she may have quit her drinking habit. “.
      Third its mentioned that you will not recommend her to your own company than how you could have allowed her,had she asked before,to present you as referral when you believes she had bad experiences with organisation.
      May be you are justified but i think i made these observation,Feel positive.
      You are one of the most consistent and fluent writer i have seen here.
      Nice job.

      • Completely agree Vijay. Wrote the answer in a haste, had to attend the Chath pooja. Thanks for your comments. Will keep them in mind.

    • Asha Goud

      Aditya, the question says you would not recommend her for your company, still you are ready to recommend her for another company. This shows subjectivity. You consider your company’s losses more important than loss suffered by another company.

      You are taking her words at face value. What if she is lying.? She would loose this job too anyways. So what is the point in being sensitive towards her problem.
      The decision is based on assumptions which could have been substantiated by facts if you make an effort to find if she is speaking the truth.

      I liked your long term view in the case study involving indian diplomat in china. You took long term perspective regarding the sustainability of the deal. Here i think you missed that point.

      • You are right Asha. I was aware of these mistakes while writing the answer, but it was difficult to find another way. Besides, i did not want to miss the altruistic angle. There is a lot of subjectivity in the answer as i wrote it in a haste.

        Thanks for your comments. Will keep this in mind.

  • Vijay Pateriya

    What do you say to this woman?
    What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
    What if the prospective employer was a friend?
    Suppose the problem was a theft?
    Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
    What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?

    I will tell the women about the problems which could emerge in case that I recommends her to other company and her work culture remains as before.I will explain to her the damage to my personality and my company which might result and will ask her to think of some other step and by herself tell the truth and convince the next employer of her controlled drinking behaviour.

    I will definitely tell the employer the truth behind her being fired,along with the potential which I think she carries less drinking problem.

    Sure,i would have mentioned it,anyway theft or whatever.

    I would have directly said her about the course I will prefer.If she will ask my reference.

    The values in stake are the honesty and integrity of my personality as well as my company reputation.Though the issue carries emotional content and Empathetic point as well.But recommending her to anybody else even when I myself would not do the same is not sound.If I am sure about her controlled drinking then knowing her capability instead of recommending I will hire her in my own company.

    • mpavankumar

      practical approach can be seen in your answer, good one.

  • vipul

     What do you say to this woman?
    I will empathize with the ex-colleague and tell her that I will try my level best to promote her chances for getting the job but with honest feedback.
     What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
    I will tell the employer complete truth. I will tell them that she is a good worker but off late she has not performing up to a level due to her drinking habits. I will tell them that she has quit drinking though I have no valid proof of it.
     What if the prospective employer was a friend?
    The same as to a prospective employer.
     Suppose the problem was a theft?

     Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
    She lost the earlier job due to her drinking habits. If she gets the job because of my lies, she may be fired again due to poor performance. Root cause of her problem is her drinking habits and not getting a job. I will tell her that I will not lie if her prospective employer asks me questions about her previous job.
     What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?
     Honesty vs Compassion
     Professionalism vs Personal values

  • Arup Mitra

    1. I would say to her that ” I am sorry that I cannot recommend your name as I am not satisfied by you assurances. If you could assure me then I can think of it”.
    2. I would say that she has been fired due to poor quality work, absences, and lateness because of her drinking problem. But I will also mention that she is the single parent of 3 children, therefore you can atleast call her for an interview and if finds her suitable can hire her as she told me that her drinking habit is under control but I personally cannot assure you.
    3. I would recommend my friend to hire her as she is experienced but on the condition with her that she shows the positive sign of improvement, and in case she fails she will be fired.
    4. If the problem was of theft I would not recommend any employer even my friend.
    5. My response would have been same as of earlier as she is in desperate need of the job.
    6. Professional vs. Personal Values

  • RM

    In this case my help to her would be conditional.i will tell her that i can’t lie but seeing your financiqal crisis surely i can avoid some questions while being asked from hiring staff and i will just answers which are being asked by the employer,i will not take proactive stand. if the person is my friend then i will tell him both the negative and posetive points about her n will leave the decision on him to hire her. As far as my values are concerned i will not go aginst my values but simultaneouly being a human i have to show kindness for the situation but surely i will make sure that i am being emotive rational.

  • nandan

    What do you say to this woman?
    A) I ask the woman how she is doing right now and listen to her calmly and meticulously. I will assure her that to my level best I elevate her to get the new job(as this is a new breath of life for her as she is single and survived with three children and her condition is very appalling.)
    What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
    A) If I receive a call from the employer I will the employer that she is a good worker. However, she has quit the earlier job because of some bad health condition and I never reveal that she turned to vices because of that she turned lame and lost her earlier job.
    What if the prospective employer was a friend?
    A) If the employer was my friend I will tell the past that she was good at work but she has been sacked because of her vices which badly impacted her performance in the earlier job. However, she assured me that she has quit drinking. I recommend my friend to hire her on a condition that she should be inclined towards the job that has been assigned otherwise if she resorts to same old custom of drinking then to fire her.
    Suppose the problem was a theft?
    A) If the problem is theft then also I would share all the past experiences of her with the earlier company to my friend. I recommend my friend to hire her on a condition that she should be inclined towards the job that has been assigned otherwise if she resorts to same old custom of drinking & larceny then to fire her.
    Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
    A) I will enquire about her with her close friends in the company about her habits whether she has changed or remained the same. I will call her and ask her to come to office once to meet her old friends and I will have a chat with her and also equire about her career plans and all. Then, I will get a picture whether has she changed or the same women at the time of leaving the job.
    What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?
    A) In this context, personal integrity come into conflict with professionalism. Apart from that, If I tell the whole things and past experiences with her to the prospective employer then this may jeopardize her career prospects. If I try to conceal whole things I comprising on my honesty.

  • Nikku

    The tussle here is between the maxim of truth v/s the maxim of beneficence.

    While, I feel that she is not a fit hire for my organization, that does not imply that she would be a misfit in some other organization as well. They dynamics, work profile, roles and responsibilities vary from organization to organization and thus this should come in way of my endorsing her candidature.

    Also, my perception that she has not overcome her alcoholic problem could be wrong as well. I thus need to ask her to provide me with some sort of proof that validates her stand, and then base my response on that.

    Regarding lying about the reason for her leaving my company, I don’t think that is warranted. Any organization, during relieving, would have provided some sort of termination certificate. I would stick to the reason that is mentioned in that, as that was the official and public stance of my organization.

    Now, had the case been that of theft, than my stance would vary a little. Since, the graveness of the issue is much deeper, and there is no way for me to ascertain whether she has got over her problem of stealing, I would not endorse her candidature.

    However, my stance would not change even if she is joining my friend’s organization. In fact, if she has actually overcome her drinking problem, I would make an informal recommendation to my friend.

    She has already been punished, via firing, for her unprofessional conduct. Thus she needs to be provided with another chance to prove her mettle and establish herself back in the society. That’s what the country’s law seeks to do as well after a criminal has undergone their punishment.

  • palak

    1) I would try to make her realize the responsibilities she has as a single parent and how her drinking habit can impact her professional and personal life. I will tell her that I would extend my reference only when she assures me that she will quit her drinking by taking proper treatment.
    2) I will tell him about her performance when she was on good terms and let him know that she is facing some personal problems because of which her performance has come down . I will also let him know that she is going through treatment after which she will be fine. I will advice him to hire her on the condition that she will be allowed to continue in her job based on her performance .
    3)I would tell him the same.
    4) Keeping the critical condition of the woman in mind I will not mention about the theft as this can definitely make her loose the job.
    5)I would have definitely agreed for it by under certain conditions like she should quit drinking . I would also tell her that if she assures that and promises to be regular to office I would give her back her job in this office itself .( as she used to perform well and she has the potential .)
    6)emotions vs honesty . If I honestly proceed in the situation it may effect the emotions of the single parent with lots of responsibilities . If I think about the woman’s situation and make the company hire the lady by lying it can bring losses to the company which would be the result of my dishonesty. So since she used to be a good employee with potential in her I would try to recommend her to get rid of the flaws in her .This could be a better solution to all the problems.

  • harvinder Singh

    1. I would listen to her problems and inform her that I have some responsibilities towards the company and any lie could lead to disrepute for the company. Without keeping her in dark or giving her any false assurances, I would let her know that I would divulge the truth as she has not taken me in confidence before recommending me as a reference. However, I will recommend her good working capabilities and about the financial conditions being a single parent.
    (This would get me out of any guilty consciousness that I have to face later on)
    2. I will divulge the truth to the possible employer including her being a hard worker and financial status(being impartial in work ethics).
    3. If the employer would be my friend than I would personally recommend her as she should get the opportunity to prove herself but here also I wont keep my friend in dark as it would be a breach of trust.
    4. In case of theft I would be blunt and inform the same.
    5. I would have suggested her to leave her bad habits which are becoming hindrance in her career prospective. As she being a good worker and looking at her financial burdens, I would have given her a chance and time to prove her mettle. As throwing her into more deeper financial consequences would be no better for her, either in her habitual drinking or in case of theft.

    • harvinder Singh

      Plz review guys…ur invaluable comments are most welcome

  • Aditya

    6. In this situation, values of justice, objectivity, integrity, ends-means, motive, and empathy are at work and at cross purpose. Justice demands that equal treatment must be given to all the employers including himself, and to all the employees who have been fired. Integrity demands to be truthful while empathy calls for a concern for her and her children and do something to improve their situation. While the motive behind the woman’s action may be noble, means adopted are foul and end may not be what she desires. The values of justice and integrity must be upheld because they will ensure that the long term consequences are in favour of the correct person.
    1. While emphathising with her condition, the employer must tell that she has done wrong by not taking his permission before giving his name for reference and that such action must not be repeated in future. A lie may secure her a job at present but it is bound to come at surface and then it will destroy her and her children’s lives. Besides, this is not the kind of example she would like to present before her children. He will tell the truth to prospective employer. This may even incentivise her to ask for more wrong favours in future. A correct appraisal will show her the right way. His and his company’s reputation will also be at stake .Throughout the conversation, he may use mild fear appeal and the authority which he still holds over her by the virtue of being her former employer to persuade her to take right decision. He should also show that she would get a job based on her credentials and that job will serve her better in long run. He must ask for assurance that she has indeed left drinking and ask for a promise to not to revert back to the habit.
    5. Even if she calls before giving name for reference, crux of the matter will be same. He must direct her towards right direction by showing the future consequences of her action on herself and her children. Showing emotional intelligence, he should ask her to use her desperate condition for coming at positive rather than negative measures to overcome it.
    2.3. He should tell the prospective employer about her truthfully without concealing anything. He must be fair between himself and others. However, he must add that if she really controls her drinking problem she will be a good employee. By telling a lie, not only he is taking a risk of spoiling his and his company’s reputation, but also may face legal consequences in the future.

  • neeraj

    What do you say to this woman?
    What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
    What if the prospective employer was a friend?
    Suppose the problem was a theft?
    Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
    What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?

    I would say to this woman that i will not lie about her if explicit questions are asked about why she had to leave this company or about her drinking problem as this will be against the work ethics of the company. Also, i will tell her that i will try to put in a good word for her good work when she is sober. Also, i will suggest her to get rid of her drinking problem.

    If an employer calls for my reference, i will try to put in a good word about her work as she is good when she is sober. If asked why she left the company, i will tell them about her drinking problem and absentism. Also, I will tell them that she has assured me that she has now taken control over her drinking problem but they should assure themselves. Also, i would tell them about the necessity of her job as she has a daughter and an alone mother.

    My recommendations would be the same if it were my friend. If the problem was a theft, it is my duty to inform them of such criminal activities of the employee.

    If she had supplied my name before aksing me, i will have to tell her that she should have asked me first as my time is limited so that i could have given her a preferable time for her employer to call. But nevertheless, my recommendations wouldn’t change.

    The values at stake are professional integrity, work ethics, altruism and truth. The values of professional integrity, work ethics and truth are in conflict with my altruistic behaviour. If i try to do good to my employee by lying or supressing information, i would be not doing justice to my professional integrity, work ethics and truth. Also, I would be not being just to her perspective employer. I have to maintain a balance between these values.

    • neeraj

      pls review

  • Keerthi Narayan

    I would say to that woman that she should not have given my name as reference without discussing with me. After that I would tell her that when asked about her I will present them the facts about her relevant to the question asked and I would not lie.

    I would tell the employer that the woman is good worker. I would add that she was fired because of her drinking habit and the associated irregularities. However, I would recommend the employer to give her a chance to lead a fresh life as she is a good worker and has faced the consequences for her unprofessional actions. She is less likely to repeat her mistakes as she is jobless and solely responsible for her family.

    The reply would be the same even if the prospective employer is a friend.

    The reply would be the same even if the problem was theft.

    I would have appreciated her for discussing with me before giving my name as a reference. But, I would tell her that I will present the employer with facts about her and I would not lie.

    The values at stake are my personal value of giving an honest, unbiased opinion when demanded and being considerate to a former employee who seeks a fresh beginning. The values appear to conflict, but they can be addressed individually, as evident from the replies quoted above.

  • charlie

    @ insights
    please help clarify the doubt
    is giving election fund voluntarily to any political party by government servant violation of conduct rules e.g donating money to aam aadmi party in good faith
    one more query – is extramarital affair violation of code of conduct . if yes ,how . will it constitute a part of moral turpitude ,bcoz according to moral turpitude definition an act should shock the conscience of society in general.pls elaborate bcoz shock is harsh word

  • I think the employer has many bad things but she is a hardworker.a company primarily look towards his abilities.This bad charecters are affect work also.Their for i think as a manager give a counciling to him and remebering all wittings about him.
    What do you say to this woman?
    Seriously give a awarness about work,rules,disciplines.And aware about his bad effects

    What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
    I surely tell he is an efficient employee, and give a trining period for her.After training only appoint as permanent.This is my opinion i woulnt like to promote this kind of a person wittingly.

    What if the prospective employer was a friend?
    If the prospective employer was a freind,then i surely liberally tell some originals and tell also his family backgrounds.And ask for give a chance for him.

    Suppose the problem was a theft?
    If the problem was theft i have mustly knowing he is thief then i shouldn’t help.

  • Sandeep

    Clarification First.

    a) Has she controlled her drinking ? Unless I’m clear about that wouldn’t be able to make a solid judgement about her present state. All I know is about her past and basing completely my judgement on that means I’m not doing justice with her and her efforts in controlling her habit that cost her her job.

    I would ask her to be frank and let me know how could she control ? I’d be able to judge her by the means involved and the efforts she put. Mind you controlling drinking isn’t an easy thing to do, so a judgement can be made about her based on her ways. This is important for me to know from two points of views:

    a) When I choose to be frank with the prospective employer about her past, I would be able to highlight the present truth that she has overcome her habit and that she is a good worker.

    b) If I’m convinced that she had actually overcome then I’ll, for time being, keep it at the back of my mind, to make a recommendation in the company that I’m working in(i.e. her ex-employer).(Case study does not say that I’m the owner of the company and that I fired her).

    1) What do you say to this woman

    a) She should have spoken to me first and let me know that she was using my name for reference.

    b) That no way I’m going to lie about her past because personally I set high standards for myself when it comes to morality and if she gets a job and continues with her old behavior it would not help with the job, the new company and my credibility.

    c) I would clearly mention to her that I doubt that she had controlled her drinking habit and if she doesn’t convince me first then she must not expect a recommendation to the new employer. So I’ll ask her to tell me what all she has done to get over her habit. Only if I’m sure she is genuine I’ll agree to recommend her else no.

    d) But if she wants my help to get over the habit even now I’d be more than happy to help through her rehabilitation, for which alone I can offer financial help, because if she overcomes I can recommend at my company.

    2) What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?

    Important thing for me was to know if she has overcome her habit. My decision is based on that:

    a) If controlled: Say she was a good worker, then the truth about her being fired, but convincingly putting forward that she has over come and can be an asset to the company.

    b) If not controlled: Say she was a good worker and been fired for her habit and the consequences.(I don’t think it’s right to lay my judgement that she should not be hired, that is for the company to decide, who knows the company has some rehabilitation mechanisms or what ever, not right to give them my judgement, it’s none of my business here. I’ll politely say I can’t comment if they ask my opinion)

    3) What if the prospective employer was a friend?
    My response will be the same as above. But if he personally asks me about my judgement that I’ll say a no if she had not controlled her habit..

    4) Suppose the problem was a theft?

    It’s difficult to judge if a person has stopped thieving. So I’d just let it be known that she is a good worker but a was fired for theft to he new company and my friend and leave the decision to them. May be they have fool-proof mechanisms to over come theft or what ever.

    5) Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?

    Would clarify about her habit first. Deny that I’d lie about the past but assure that is recommend if she has controlled her habit, if not then offer her help to overcome.

    6) What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?

    a) Personal Morality Vs Compassion
    b) Honesty Vs Short Term Gain.

  • Adithya Bharadwaj

    What do you say to this woman?
    What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
    What if the prospective employer was a friend?
    Suppose the problem was a theft?
    Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
    What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?

    I would recommend her a good rehabilitation center for her own health and recommend some financial schemes where she could save for her children and if possible refer her to some women self help groups who provide funds and also at times employment for destitute women. The competitive and companionship she might get working with other women might change her habits. Also, this network even if it does not materialize might help her get some good friends and a back up if she does not land a job in future.

    I would also tell her that I can only tell the truth and no lies to her employer.

    I would tell in all honesty about why she was fired and also about her good character. I would make a strong point that I cannot recruit her because she needs some change from the humiliation she had at the office here.
    The same answer as for (2) above goes for my friend too.
    I would strongly refuse to recommend her or entertain her interests and might consider rehabilitation and help her secure atleast good education for her children through NGO’s.
    I would refuse to entertain her interest.
    Honesty and Sensitivity.

    Being Honest means to tell the truth and maintain my integrity and discipline of myself, as well as that of my Office and Post.

    By being honest, I can make her realize that she has to pay for her mistakes and she can’t get away every time.

    Sensitivity, though I can understand her family pressure and background, I cannot let it interfere in my decision at Office or anything concerned with it.

    On a personal note, I can surely guide her to rehabilitation, SHG or NGOs without compromising any of my values and also showing her a path.

  • Pri

    What do you say to this woman?
    I would like to enquire to my satisfaction that indeed she has left her old habits. I could ask her family and her close people to ensure that. In case, I reach a satisfactory conclusion, I would tell her that I would highlight all her merits to the prospective employer, however in case they ask about the reason why in the first place did she leave our job, I would uphold the truth. In the situation I am not convinced if she has cured her drinking habits, I would refuse politely for making such a reference and help her in counseling and other ways in capacity of a friend.

    What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
    If I indeed speak to the employer for making the reference in the first scenario I mentioned above, I would highlight her positive attributes, and how she was an asset while working in our company. In the situation, he asks about the reasons for leaving, I would apprise them that according to my findings, how she has overcome the habits responsible for that.

    What if the prospective employer was a friend?
    My response would be the same as above.

    Suppose the problem was a theft?
    I believe, this is a much serious issue than drinking habits because a lot of confidential information and security of the company and the employees/employer is at stake. Since it’s difficult to ascertain whether the person has indeed given up this particular behaviour, I would be extremely cautious in making the reference,even though I would try and help her as a friend by counseling and probably helping her in independent ventures (latter, when confirmed about her reformation). However, I strongly believe that everyone should get a second chance and in the situation I am of the firm view that indeed she has reformed herself, I would agree to give a reference on the condition that I would not lie in the situation the employer asks me about the reasons of leaving our company.

    Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
    I would follow the same procedure as mentioned in the first situation i.e I will first try and find out if she has indeed left her drinking habits and accordingly agree to give a reference. However, I would inform her clearly, that I would not lie to the prospective employer.

    What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?
    personal integrity, compassion, justice, empathy. I believe, I would not help her cause if I lie for a short term gain because she would only bring a bad name to herself if the truth comes to light. So, if seen in a broad sense, values are not in conflict.

  • If she is in drinking habit make her clean after that try to get her a job, till that time u don’t need to lie to the employer friend. Regarding the theft claim u should make her understand that from next time don’t do it, and make her believe that something u need stealing is not the solution. And money for the time being lots of goodhearted people are there if go and ask.And all these is very much practical if u try.

  • I would mention clearly that I wont agree to lie.its against mine and hers ethics rather I would tell her that ” I will assure to recommend , only if she completely quits drinking by taking medication”.if she had lost job just coz of drinking ,while referring I would definitely mention abt her drinking habit and abt medication last in addition to her performance . I want to help her in a long term perspective. since she is very poor try to help her in financing for medication if required. if drinking would be the only reason for her fire ie if she was very good at working then I will take up the responsibility of her job , may be I can recruit her back if I get assured about her medication.

  • What do you say to this woman?
    ANS. I’ll promise her that i am going to definitely help her if she assure me that she left drinking by a prescribed medical professional. I’ll also ask her if she can get any senior for recommendation also. I’ll also advice her not to commit the same mistakes in new office as this” also spoil his image.

    What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
    I’ll tell them that she is a good worker but suffering from some personal problems. They should not solely rely upon us and get this information confirmed from other sources if they want.

    What if the prospective employer was a friend?
    Then i’ll tell him that lady is really in trouble, as she is already fired from our office, so we can’t take her back. Right now she is in need of work, so if you have any vacancy then accommodate her. But before that make sure that she is not alcoholic any more.And if she is still alcoholic then its your discretion.

    Suppose the problem was a theft?
    If she is kleptomaniac then I’ll won’t recommend her at all. Theft will affect not only organisation but also other staff members

    Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
    Even in that, as she is a good worker i’ll recommend only if assures me medically that she is not alcoholic

    What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?
    1) Conscience: My conscience doesn’t allow me to trait anyone. So i can’t lie to employer or my friend.
    2) Compassion: Its compassion which doesn’t allow me to ignore anyone who is in trouble.
    There’ll be a knower-doer split within me if I’ll lie to anyone knowingly.

    • Yashraj

      Good answer. At the same time, try to analyse the issue from different perspectives first i.e. all possible effects of your giving a false assent (she left the company voluntarily) on her, the company, the society and yourself.
      Try to think about some more values at stake. can be honesty, integrity, helpfulness etc.
      All in all, a nice attempt. 🙂

  • Yashraj

    A former employee who was fired……………………………………………… which she assures you is now under control.

    Facts of the case
    It is clear that the woman is an alcoholic. Her claim to have overcome the addiction is suspected. I believe she has the capability of being a good employee, save for her drinking addiction. Thus she was fired from my company. She has given my name as a reference without my consent and asks me to confirm. She desperately needs the job and has 3 dependents.

    I have the following options:
    1 To grant her request and confirm the reference along with stating that she left the company voluntarily.
    2 To deny the reference and inform her prospective employer about the truth of the situation.
    3 To not confirm the reference but at the same time not informing her prospective employer too i.e. to do nothing.

    If I grant her request she might get the job and therefore she gets a respite. The employer may find out the truth and this might jeopardise my company’s reputation and with it my own credibility. Further, since her addiction is not sure to be controlled, her likely inefficiency may reduce the value of my references.

    The act of lying here is universally unsustainable. If every employer does the same, employer’s references will no longer be trusted and the whole purpose of getting her a job will be defeated.
    In deceiving the employer I am undermining his rationality and autonomy and thereby treating him as a means to an end.
    My act has been made out of the fundamental character of deception, which will promote such character in my employee as well as in the society.


    I will explain my reasons to the employee and deny her request at the same time encouraging her to go ahead with her application albeit, without false references.
    If the employer calls me, whether a friend or not I will tell the truth. I will also inform the employer about the qualities of the employee, when she isn’t drunk and ask him to give her chance.
    If theft was the problem, my action will be the same; to tell the truth.
    If she asked for my reference earlier, i would write one for her. I would also state her shortcomings in my reference.
    Values such as compassion, obligation of an employee towards his organisation, truth, integrity, objectivity etc. are at stake here.
    Yes, values such as compassion and truth are conflicting here. Given the reasons above, i will have to uphold the truth.

  • anurag

    1)What do you say to this woman?

    At first i would tell her that it was not fair and ethical on her part to mention my name as a reference without my prior permission, this shows that her desperation may drive her to adopt such unfair means in future also to achieve any other intentions. As she was not honest to her prospective employer initially she may continue this behavior and i might put that employer and his organisation at risk along with my own honesty and integrity. I would say to her that despite her saying she overcame her drinking habit which i am not myself sure of she still lacks integrity and honesty as she lied to get her hands on the job and mere stopping drinking did not certify that her other Grey areas like late coming and poor work quality will show improvement. We in life may face such dilemma’s more often but we should not act emotionally always as unfair means are never going to benefit, it will be unethical on my part to concur on her claims to her prospective employer. I would recommend her to tell truth to her prospective employer and then i might talk to him if he calls and tell the employer about her positives and her present conditions.

    2)What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?

    Ans- I would tell him regarding her problems and her efforts to get rid of those bad habits, i would highlight her positive facets also and will also inform him about her present family conditions. I would tell him that she has tried to overcome her weakness and is now willing to work with proper work culture as required by any reputed company or organisation. I would not give surety of her conduct but i may ask him to give her chance if he is willing to give her a chance to change for good as she is in need of a job desperately because she is a single mother catering to three children.

    3)What if the prospective employer was a friend?

    Ans- It will be easier for me to explain the situation to him, although i would not recommend her to my company i may ask my friend to give her chance and give permanent employment only after he is sure that she is now changed and is well suited to work as habitual drinkers show behavioral changes after they suffer from withdrawl of the alcohol.

    3)Suppose the problem was a theft?

    Ans- Theft is an offense and it should be judged by the magnitude of theft, but legally theft is theft either of small or big magnitude. If an employee commits thievery in organisation it will be cheating to the organisation and to his employers and to his/her conscience also. It is also an criminal offense which attracts punitive actions. I may not be in position to recommend her if it was proved that she indeed committed thievery. Despite her being a single mother of three i may not overshadow her conduct of theft because she has to cater to three children alone. But i will tell employer that she was a good worker at large, and he should try to visualize her overall performance and situation before arriving at any decision.

    4)Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?

    Ans- If she had asked me to be reference prior to giving my name as one, then i would have heard to her, regarding her situation. If i get assured that she indeed has stopped drinking and is she is willing to work and start again with proper conduct and honesty i might recommend her to the employer but i will not keep him in dark regarding her past, i will explain him situation in which my company removed her and situation now, i would explain as i can not recommend her in my company due to her past deeds as it might not get accepted by my company, he can give her chance to rectify her past mistakes for a good future of her kids of whom she is a single parent.

    5)What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?

    Ans- Here along with ethical values like Honesty, Integrity and work values which makes me marketable as a person whose recommendation matters in organizations other than his own and My values like selflessness and altruism conflict with each other. I may lie and help her gain employment by unfair means and me being a partner in this misdeed or i can tell the truth to retain my honesty and integrity, i may by being honest
    tell employer about her, but i may being selfless and sensitive towards the employee’s problems try to convince the prospective employer to consider her and give her one chance as she is desperate for the job and she is willing to overcome her drawbacks and may in future prove to be an asset to the prospective employer.

    • waytoias