1. Your best friend recommended your name to her company and you get selected for the position of Case Manager in the Legal Team. Your job is to ensure that the employees are adhering to the bond of employment that they agree to at the time of on-boarding that include confidentiality, non-disclosure, not taking any other employment while working with the company, adhering to notice period limit while leaving the organisation and so on. While everything was going great, the Senior HR Manager calls you and discloses something that shocks you. She tells you that your best friend is passing on vital confidential data to a rival company. The amount of revenue loss because of this breach is enormous and the senior management wants to take immediate action against your friend. However, they want solid proof against her. The HR Manager requests you create a fake Whattsapp profile and try gather some evidence from your friend. The Manager promises immediate promotion to you if you are able to gather solid actionable evidence against your friend.
Do you see an ethical dilemma or conflict of interest here? How would you manage this situation? What would be your immediate response to the HR Manager? Would you accept her offer of deny it straightaway? Will you talk to your friend regarding this? Discuss.
- My friend
- The company
- Professional duty to ensure confidentiality v/s damaging friendship by spying.
- Prospect of a promotion v/s ruining friend’s career.
- Believing HR v/s trust on friend
- The revenue loss to the company has been enormous. However, since I know my friend for years, it is hard for me to accept she can do such a thing. I do not deny her involvement as HR has pointed out her directly, but I doubt if she did it voluntarily and for any kind of benefits.
- Being a legal expert, I will first find clauses to take strict action against my friend in case she decides not to cooperate.
- I will then talk to my friend and tell her about the situation, while making her fear that the company already has some evidence against her that can ruin her career. But since she is my friend, I wanted to know everything first.
- After taking her into confidence, I will check if what she did was intentional or she has been a victim of things like honey trapping etc.
- I will present the legal options and take her phone with me to investigate.
- In case, I found she is responsible for leakage voluntarily, I will give her phone to the company as evidence that she passed on information, so that they can take action against her.
- In case, she leaked information but being a victim of something, I will urge the HR and seniors to consider it and might even the same thing to turn the table on the rival company, in exchange for sparing her career and retaining her in the company and also, to prevent any such mishappenings in future.
If I accept the offer:
- Adhering to professional duty
- Immediate promotion
- Lose trust of my friend
- Might ruin career of my friend
If I straightaway decline the offer:
- Upholding my friendship
- Opportunity to see the actual reason why my friend is involved in the case
- Losing the opportunity of promotion
- Risk of further information leakage
I will talk to my friend for the reasons mentioned in my response to give her the benefit of doubt and save myself from the guilt in case she is innocent.