The Paul Cronan is a case against the New England Telephone Company after workers have walked out of the job because they did not want to work with Cronan, a co-worker who recently was diagnosed with the AIDS virus. This case is a perfect example of a corporation's social and ethical structure. From an ethical point of view, NET, had three main ethical issues that presented itself. The first is that the company had a duty to protect the interest of the company, second; to protect and maintain the obligations of their employees, and lastly; to provide for the safety and privacy of Paul Cronan.
Throughout the case study, there are evidences which support these three main ethical issues. In the early stages of his diagnosis, Cronan revealed to his immediate supervisor , Charlie O'Brien, that he was diagnosed with a form of AIDS because O'Brien had rejected his request to take some time off to go to his doctor's appointment. On his return to work, O'Brien was asked to see the company doctor. Later on, Cronan requested to be put on medical leave. During his time off, O'Brien had revealed to Richard Griffin, the new supervisor, of the reasons behind Paul Cronan's absence.
Months later, when Cronan felt that he was fit to return to work, he asked Griffin to be put in a less volatile environment due to the nature of his illness. This proves that as the supervisors of Cronan, they had the obligation to the safety and well-being of Paul Cronan. This point also proves that there were other members in the department, not just Griffin and Paul Cronan. This is proven by the fact that after Cronan's illness was revealed; employees in his department launched a strike and refused to work in the presence of Cronan, afraid that they, too, might contract the AIDS virus.
It was also reported that graffiti was written all over the bathroom stalls which were aimed at Cronan. Several employees spoke about their discomfort of being in the same department as Cronan. This is an example that there were other individuals employed in the same department, therefore, being immediate supervisors to these employees, Griffin had to see that their rights were also being held in a fair manner as with everyone else. From the case, it is apparently evident that the supervisors are agents of the company and it is their duty to make decisions which protect the company.
It is the supervisors' duty to report Cronan's illness and the events surrounding his return to work to upper management. Through the reinstatement letters from NET stating that Griffin was Cronan's immediate supervisor, this is ample evidence to prove that Griffin is a representative of NET and Griffin acted as a liaison to the company and its employees. This puts Griffin in a very tough situation, as an agent to the company; it is his duty to protect the interest of all three parties; Paul Cronan, NET, and its other employees.
Being a supervisor, it is also their duty to value ethics. They would want to make decisions that would compromise ethics as little as possible. In order to make an ethical decision, Griffin needs to consider choices which are available to him, outcomes of his choices, and what sorts of impacts they will have on other people's lives. It is also very important that Griffin does not confuse his likes or dislikes with his decisions as an agent to NET. There are many choices in which Cronans' supervisors can choose from.
The duty to inform the company of all matters related to an employee is an important one, especially if it concerns attendance. It is the supervisors' responsibility to make sure the employee is productive and to keep them on the job. If I were in Griffin's shoes, I would do things a little bit different. As his immediate supervisor, it would be my duty to inform other employees about the disease and the facts in which surround them. As soon as I found out about Cronan's disease, I would need to foresee what sorts of problems this could possibly create to the company in the long-term.
This is especially if the employee decides to return to work upon completion of their medical leave, such as in Paul Cronan's case. During the time which Cronan was hospitalized and on medical leave, it would be in my best interest to educate my employees on the facts surrounding AIDS. The more informed and educated my employees are, the less chances that I would be faced with unhappy, fearful, and hateful employees. These educational classes can be set-up through the human resources department. I would also educate myself and my company on the American with Disabilities Act.