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Paul Cronan

Paul Cronan Paul Cronan Case This case involves a corporate response to AIDS in the workplace. The return to work of Paul Cronan, a person with AIDS, after a much publicized law suit, led to a walkout of his coworkers. This case documents the circumstances which preceded the work stoppage. Analyzing this case from Paul Cronan’s supervisors point of view there are three main ethical issues to be considered: duty to protect the interests of the company, New England Telephone (NET); obligation to maintain the rights of the other employees; and duty to provide for the safety and privacy of Paul Cronan. There are ample examples throughout the reading to support identification of these three issues. It is evident that there is substantial interaction between Cronan and his supervisors in the early stages of his illness. Cronan contacted his first boss, Charlie O’Brian, asking for permission to leave work for a doctors appointment on three occasions.

Cronan disclosed his illness to O’Brian on the third attempt to leave early from work. On his return to work he was instructed by his boss to see the company doctor. Later he contacted O’Brian, asking to be put on medical leave. Months later when he was well enough to return to work he contacted his new supervisor, Richard Griffin, who informed him that he needed a medical release to return to his job. He also asked Griffin for a transfer to a less volatile environment. These examples prove that the two men were Paul Cronan’s supervisors and thus had to be concerned for the safety and well being of Cronan.

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There is evidence to support that there were other employees in Cronan’s department. When his illness was revealed co-workers purportedly threatened to lynch him if he returned. Later it was reported that damaging graffiti had been written on the bathroom stalls. On his return to work after the legal settlement he was treated like a leper by fellow employees. That same day, several co-workers filed a grievance with the local union protesting his re-instatement. The next day the workers walked off the job to reduce their contact with Cronan. Later several employees spoke of their fear of the disease and discomfort with Cronan. These examples prove that there were other employees in the department and thus the supervisors had to see that their rights were upheld, also. Next, it is evident that the supervisors were agents of the company.

Since Paul Cronan worked for NET and they, based upon the reading, were his supervisors, it leads one to surmise that they also worked for NET. The supervisors were obligated by company practice to report matters involving employee attendance to upline supervisors who in turn would report incidences to the human resource department. Upon returning to work from an extended leave the employees contacted their immediate supervisor who then contact the company regarding such matters. When Cronan receive a re-instatement letter from NET it was mentioned that Griffin was his supervisor at that time. These examples prove that the supervisors were representatives of the company and acted as liaisons between the employees and the company and thus were responsible for promoting the interests of the company.

A front line supervisor is always caught in the middle in disputes between the company and the employee and disputes between co-workers. When there are disagreements between a supervisor and an employee, the supervisor is often on his own with little support from upper management, even though he is an agent of the company. The very nature of the job puts the supervisors in a position where they have to be concerned about the rights and needs of all three parties in this case: the company, Paul Cronan, and the other employees. For this reason they are forced to weigh problems, some that have no clear right or wrong answers, and address them, hopefully, in ethical terms. It must be assumed that ethical values are important to the supervisors, and that they want to make decisions that compromise these values as little as reasonably possible.

The process of evaluating and choosing among ethical values, personal goals and the likely consequences of actions is far from simple. To make a responsible decision, they should consider the choices available, the outcomes of each, and their likely impacts on people’s lives. Just which ethical values are upheld and which are violated by the alternatives are essential questions. Which of these values are important for their decision and which are unimportant must be carefully weighed. Whether their ethical values are more important than some of their personal goals may present a further challenge.

Ethical principles are important because we often use them as reasons to think that a given decision is a good one or not so good. Ethical principles implies fairness and impartiality in ones dealings with other people. It requires that one’s own personal likes and dislikes not count as reasons to think something is right or wrong, or ought or ought not to be done. If I were Paul Cronan’s supervisor, this situation would be difficult for me to handle. One, I would have a duty to inform the company of all employee matters, especially those that concern attendance; and to keep them on the job and productive. I would have a duty to protect the privacy of Cronan. I would have a duty to provide information about the disease to other employees and to the dispel ors. None of these are easy tasks to accomplish without offending someone. “Management” carries with it much symbolic meaning.

Typical definitions suggest that managers use all resources, including people, by directing and controlling them to accomplish an organizational objective. A manager is a person with an assigned responsibility who has been given the authority and power to accomplish an assigned task and who is accountable for getting it done. Supervisors need to determine if their organization is prepared to deal with HIV and AIDS in the workplace, ask themselves the following questions: * As an employer, do I understand my rights and responsibilities and my employee’s rights and responsibilities regarding HIV and AIDS? * Do I understand how federal law, especially the Americans with Disabilities Act, applies to an employee who is HIV+ or has AIDS? * Do I understand my responsibilities in insuring there is no discrimination in hiring, job assignment, performance appraisals, termination, and other terms and conditions of employment for an employee who is HIV+ or has AIDS? What about an employee who has a dependent who is affected? * Am I clear about confidentiality requirements? * Are my co-managers and employees educated and prepared to accept and work with a fellow employee who discloses that he or she is HIV+ or has AIDS? Most employees living with HIV/AIDS want to continue to work as long as possible, and fair working conditions are key to their health and well-being. Willingness to make accommodations for those suffering shows both fairness and support on the part of the employer. People with disabilities are created in the image of God just as much as star athletes or homecoming . Yet psychological as well as physical barriers have been placed in their access to the workplace. They experience discrimination because of thoughtless assumptions that disabled people will be less productive or that they really do not want to work.

Such stereotypes are further reinforced by the fact that many people feel uncomfortable around people who are disabled. Because they have not taken the time to work through their own emotions, they do not know what to say to disabled people. Ignorance fosters feelings of insecurity, and the able-bodied end up revealing their own emotional handicaps. Because there are certain costs associated with employing disabled persons, such as health insurance premiums or special equipment and facilities, some firms have not hired them. This has meant a loss both to business and to society. Disabled people have lost dignity and the sense of worth that comes from making a contribution to society.

Society has lost the economic and social contribution disabled workers could have made. Affirming the authenticity of the disabled does not mean that busi …


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