MGMT 3313 – Social Responsibility and Ethics in Business
Purpose of Assignment: This assignment is given for the purpose of developing analytical skills
using a case study methodology. This method requires you to apply course material to a realistic
business ethics situation.
Written Report Format and Content: For this assignment, you should use the analysis template to
record your responses. The final submission should be no more than ten, double-spaced pages in
length and reflect both careful analysis and writing skills. Times New Roman, 12pt, with 1”
margins, all sides.
Again, complete this assignment using the template below and the grading rubric attached to these
guidelines. This is to be a quality effort and will be judged based on such expectations.
Evaluation: This is an individual assignment; thus, it is expected that the final submission is the
sole effort of the submitter. Both content and format will be considered in the final grade. That
is, the quality, fullness, and accuracy of your response to the respective questions asked, will be
evaluated. This project is worth up to 100 points.
Case Analysis Template
Your Name: ______________________
An Ethical Dilemma
As Lavonda sat in the Ethics Office of the vice president of Emma-Action Pharmaceuticals
(EAP), she was worried. Because she was new in the company and didn’t know the unwritten
rules, the chain-of-command philosophy, and the employees and associates around her very well,
her time in the office was very uncomfortable. Given how well things had started, it was painful
for her to remember how she had gotten here.
Lavonda had been lured away from her last company because of her expertise in the
pharmaceutical industry and her early success in management. Out of college just three and a
half years, she had gotten out of the gate remarkably quickly. She had helpful mentors,
challenging tasks that she excelled in, and came in below budget on each assignment. Lavonda
was typically described as effective and efficient; in fact, at the last company, they even started
to call her “E.”
But the lure of a six-figure salary, the encounter with Allen (her future boss at EAP), and
the chance to be close to her elderly mother made it nearly impossible for Lavonda to say no.
She loved her mother and, being an only child, felt responsible for her. Her mother once said that
she would prefer to take her own life rather than move to a nursing home.
In the beginning, Lavonda’s immediate supervisor, Allen, had been very charming and
taught her about the company, its products, the salespeople, and the politics. She knew from
experience that she would have to earn the respect of the salespeople she would manage, all of
whom were 10 years her senior, and the fact that these men had never had a female boss was just
another hurdle to overcome. Allen had helped her find a nice house in a good neighborhood, had
assisted with the moving, and eventually had become more than her superior. The months
slipped by, and their relationship had become “close,” to the point where they began to discuss
living arrangements. And then something strange happened-she heard a story about Allen and
Karline, who had come to EAP six months prior to Lavonda, worked in Human
Resources, and in a few short months she had become head of the HR department at EAP amidst
rumors of Allen “helping” her get the promotion. Six more months passed, and Lavonda learned
that the rumors about Karline and Allen were probably true. She heard the same type of scenario
that she had experienced for herself: friend, helping with housing, possible intimacy, and so on.
The rumors became so intense that Lavonda confronted Allen about them and discovered that
they were true. Devastated, Lavonda ended the relationship with Allen in a heated confrontation,
but it seemed as though Allen didn’t understand that it was over.
Weeks went by with little contact between the two of them, and then one afternoon Allen
stopped by her office. He apologized for his behavior, and Lavonda accepted his apology. But
the next day he stopped by and began to touch and even grope Lavonda. She made a joke of it to
defuse the situation, but several days later Allen repeated the same behavior, making several
sexual remarks. He asked, “Honey, why can’t it be like it was before?” and then whispered some
graphic sexual language.
Lavonda’s face reddened and she said, “Allen, you are a pig. How dare you say such
things to me! You’ve crossed the line. I’ve never heard such filth. Don’t you ever say such things
to me again, or I’ll report you to Human Resources!”
Several weeks went by, and Lavonda got a phone call from Allen in which he described
even more sexually suggestive things. Every few days, Allen would stop by or call and remind
her of some “private” experience they had together, using vulgar sexual language. He would
taunt her by saying, “Lavonda, you know you want this from me.” It became almost a daily
ritual. Allen never wrote any of the things that he described to her, being sure not to leave
tangible proof of his behavior, but occasionally he would grab or attempt to grab her sexually.
Eventually, Lavonda had had enough and went to the Human Resources department to
complain formally about Allen, his sexual advances, and the hostile environment that they had
created. The person she met at HR was Karline. As Lavonda described the situation in detail, she
finally said, “Karline, I need you to help me. What Allen is doing to me is wrong and illegal. I
can’t get my work done. He’s undermining my position with my sales staff, he’s giving me poor
evaluations, and he’s suggesting that I could change all that if I wanted to!”
Karline’s response was, “Lavonda, I’ve heard what you’ve said, but I also have had
people come to me with some very disturbing reports about you as well. For example, you and
Allen were supposedly sleeping together, and he is your direct supervisor. If this was the case,
then it should have been reported immediately; but it wasn’t. You have no tangible evidence
except for your word. Even if I believed you, the allegation that you had been sexually active
with Allen can be construed as making all of what you’ve said mutual or consensual. If that’s the
case, then I would have to fire you because of the superior-employee ethics code, and a letter
would go into your permanent file that would probably haunt your career for years to come.
From my perspective, we can call this an informal and confidential meeting that is not to be
repeated, or you can continue this formally and take your chances. It’s your call, Lavonda, but
you should know that I am disinclined to support your accusations.”
In shock, Lavonda mumbled a thank you to Karline and left her office. The next day
Allen stopped by, smiled, waved his finger at her and said, “Your performance review is next
week, and it doesn’t look good. By the way, just so you know, the pharmaceutical industry is
quite small, and I have friends at all the majors. Oh, I forgot to tell you how sorry I am for your
mother and her cancer diagnosis. Chemo and the side effects are very draining. I’m glad that
you’re close by to help her through the ordeal. They say it takes months to fully recover. It would
be horrible if you weren’t here to help her and she had to go to a nursing home. Those places
Lavonda said, “Allen, why are you doing this to me? I’m not fond of you anymore. We
have no future together. Doesn’t that tell you something?”
Allen smiled and said, “It tells me that you’re not interested in a permanent relationship,
which is good, because neither am I. And you know that if you want to be promoted or go to
another company with a good recommendation, it all starts with me. Lavonda, there might be
another ‘solution’ to your perceived problem. You know that new sales rep you just hired out of
school, Soo-Chin? Well, if you could have her assigned to me and maybe ‘coax her in the right
way,’ I know of a position in the company that would be a promotion for you and you wouldn’t
be around me. But everything depends upon the success of your coaxing.”
So now here Lavonda was, about to meet with the vice president of ethical affairs. As she
got up from the chair, she pondered her alternatives and what had led her there. In school she had
learned that each company had its own individual code of ethics, but she didn’t know the reality
of the code at EAP until it was too late.
1. Keeping in mind the facts and timeline of this situation, discuss Lavonda’s situations in
terms of legal and ethical issues. Include in your response, the following elements for
discussion: bullying in the workplace; due process in performance appraisals; gender
discrimination; sexual harassment (for example, discuss all the ways Allen is in violation
of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination laws of the United States); hostile work
environment; roles of human resources in adjudicating charges of discrimination
2. Discuss Lavonda’s alternatives and possible professional and private outcomes for her.
3. Define the stakeholders who were impacted by the issues described in the incident and
discuss how they were impacted.