Topic– Part of the series of Ethics Case Studies
8) A woman is sexually harassed by a top-level senior executive in a large company. She sues the company, and during settlement discussions she is offered an extremely large monetary settlement. In the agreement, the woman is required to confirm that the executive did nothing wrong, and after the agreement is signed the woman is prohibited from discussing anything about the incident publicly. Before the date scheduled to sign the settlement agreement, the woman’s lawyer mentions that she has heard the executive has done this before, and the settlement amount is very large because the company probably had a legal obligation to dismiss the executive previously. The company however wants to keep the executive because he is a big money maker for the company.
- What are the issues of integrity, ethics and law posed in the case study?
- What options does the woman have?
- What should she do and why? (250 words)
Structure of the answer
Some of the issues raised by this case study include initial issues of unethical and unlawful conduct, by the executive and the company; whether the company should allow the executive to continue working because of the revenue he generates, in view of his propensity to harm co-workers, and whether this action is ethical or reflects integrity; whether the company should require the woman to state that the executive did nothing wrong as part of the settlement agreement; whether the woman should agree to this settlement in view of the harm future employees are being exposed to; and whether the woman is prioritising justice for herself over harm to future employees in an acceptable way.
Discuss about these issues and give the best ethical solution possible under such situation.