As a manager for a hospital, you oversee a staff of marketing associates. Their job is to find doctors and persuade them to refer their patients to your hospital. Associates have a very flexible work schedule and manage their own time. They report to you weekly concerning their activities in the field. Trusting them is very important, and it is impossible to track and confirm all of their activities. Your assistant, Nancy, manages the support staff for the associates, works very closely with them, and often serves as your eyes and ears to keep you informed as to how well they are performing.
One day, Nancy comes into your office crying and tells you that your top-performing associate, Susan, has for the past few weeks repeatedly asked her out to dinner and she has repeatedly refused. Susan is a lesbian and Nancy is not. Today, when she refused, Susan patted her on the bottom and said, “I know, you are just playing hard to get.”
After Nancy calms down, you tell her that you will fill out the paperwork to report a sexual harassment case. Nancy says that she does not want to report it because it would be too embarrassing if word of the incident got out. To impress upon you how strongly she feels, she tells you that she will consider resigning if you report the incident. Nancy is essential to the effective operation of your group, and you dread how difficult it would be to get things done without her assisting you.
What do you do? Do you report the case, lose Nancy’s trust, and jeopardize losing a high-performing employee? Or do you not report it, thereby protecting what Nancy believes to be her right to privacy?
Recently your company has begun to promote its diversity efforts, including same-sex (and heterosexual) partner benefits and a nonharassment policy that includes sexual orientation, among other things. Your department now has new posters on the walls with photos of employees who represent different aspects of diversity (e.g., Black, Hispanic, gay). One of your employees is upset about the diversity initiative and has begun posting religious scriptures condemning homosexuality on his cubicle in large type for everyone to see. When asked to remove them, your employee tells you that the posters promoting diversity offend Christian and Muslim employees. What should you do?
You are a recently hired supervisor at a paper mill factory. During your second week on the job, you learn about a White employee who has been using a racial slur during lunch breaks when discussing some of her Black coworkers with others. You ask the person who reported it to you about the woman and learn that she is an older woman, around 67 years old, and has worked at the factory for more than 40 years. You talk to your boss about it, and he tells you that she means no harm by it, she is just from another era and that is just her personality. What would you do in this situation?
You are a nurse manager who oversees the triage for the emergency room, and today is a slow day with very few patients. During the downtime, one of your subordinates is talking with another coworker about her new boyfriend. You observe her showing her coworkers explicit images of him that he emailed her on her phone. Everyone is joking and laughing about the ordeal. Even though it appears no one is offended, should you address it? What would you say?
You work for a company that has primarily Black and Hispanic customers. Although you employ many racial minorities and women, you notice that all of your leaders are White men. This does not necessarily mean that your organization engages in discriminatory practices, but how would you know if your organization was managing diversity well? What information would you need to determine this, and how would you collect it?
Your company’s founder believes that younger workers are more energetic and serve better in sales positions. Before posting a new job ad for your sales division, he recommends that you list an age requirement of the position for applicants between ages 18 and 25. Is his recommendation a good one? Why or why not?
You work for a real estate broker who recently hired two gay realtors, Steven and Shauna, to be a part of the team. During a staff meeting, your boss mentions an article she read about gay clients feeling ostracized in the real estate market. She tells the new employees she hired them to help facilitate the home-buying process for gay buyers and sellers. She specifically instructs them to focus on recruiting gay clients, even telling them that they should pass along any straight customers to one of the straight realtors on the team. A few weeks later, Shauna reports that she has made her first sale to a straight couple that is expecting a baby. During the next staff meeting, your boss congratulates Shauna on her sale, but again reiterates that Shauna and Steven should pass along straight clients to another realtor so they can focus on recruiting gay clients. After the meeting, Shauna tells you that she thinks it is unfair that she should have to focus on gay clients and that she is thinking of filing a discrimination complaint with HR. Do you think that Shauna is correct in her assessment of the situation? Is there merit to your boss’s desire to have the gay realtors focus on recruiting gay clients? What might be a better solution to help gay clients feel more comfortable in the home-buying and -selling process?