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Ethical Obligations to Shipping Company and Subordinates

You are the manager for the shipping department of a large manufacturing firm. You became manager by being promoted from within. Even though you feel that you have become acclimated to your managerial role, you are still friends with and do things socially with your subordinates (formerly your peers). They come to you for advice and relate information to you that they would not necessarily tell to a supervisor with whom they did not have a former peer relationship.

Senior management for the company has told you that the company plans to automate the shipping function and most of jobs in the shipping department will be eliminated in the next year. You will be kept on and trained in the new equipment. You have been specifically told that you cannot tell anyone that the company is taking this action.

You also know from your conversations with your subordinates that several of them are planning on making big ticket purchases in the next year, such as houses, cars, etc. Further, several members of your team have serious medical problems that either require costly treatment or have upcoming surgeries.

What will you do? What are your ethical obligations to the company? To your subordinates? Are there any legal ramifications to your actions if you do not tell? If you tell? Depending on what you decide to do, do any of the repercussions rise to the level of a tort? If so, what kind of tort?

Solution Preview

There is no tort repercussion if you are acting in the best interest of the employer. You should inform management that you are aware that several of the employees have pending conditions and circumstances which require the stability of regular income. You are in a managerial position and have been instructed to not divulge the information. Your duty isn't to the employees, it is to your employer. The employees will not sustain physical harm, so there are no obligations for workplace safety, ...

Solution Summary

What will you do? What are your ethical obligations to the company? To your subordinates? Are there any legal ramifications to your actions if you do not tell? If you tell? Depending on what you decide to do, do any of the repercussions rise to the level of a tort? If so, what kind of tort?

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