The Ethical Employer
The night was stormy. The sewers were overflowing. The cars schreeched past each other, the sprays their tires created painted transient pictures in the darkness that melted away into glominess.
But Vik swerved not. With a determined stride, a dedicated gaze and dependable GPS, he located his destination. Spiryt Towers. He walked in, a little miffed that his Prada was all wet. He strode into the elevator, punched the key to the 44th floor, and stared at the roof of the ceiling willing to go faster.
The door slid open and he walked in while taking in the room. In the center of the room was a long oval conference table. All the lights were out. One was on. At the head of the table. Vick walked towards it. Under the light, was a chair and on that chair was a man. Or rather, a sad excuse for a man. He was pale, sickly but had a good suit and tie. He looked ready.
Vick put a hand under his shoulder. “It’s time”.
Bets got up slowly. The routine was not new to him. Vick looked like he’d been through hell and yet he kept coming back. Vick was manouvering him towards the lift. They got in. Vick sucked in some air and pressed ‘Ground’. Bets sucked in some air – he needed as much as he could get.
43, 35, 22. Clang. The lift came to grinding halt.
Vick swore under his breath.
Bets’ dull eyes lit up.
“Let’s play a game”, he wrinkled face spoke managing a smile. Vick was all ears.
Bets coughed and began,
“Not so long, long ago, there was a manager called Vincent. Vincent was not a riser but had come to his company with a post-graduate degree. His company decided to let him manage a subsidiary on the shores of a far-away land.
Now when he took charge, there was a vacancy for a person for logistics. It was with great difficulty that they managed to find and recruit someone for this post. Unfortunately, this logistics man left within one year, even before he was confirmed, to join another company. The new company was offering him double the salary, something Vincent’s organization could not match. After a lot of hunting, they managed to locate another person – Raul. He was recommended by the company’s shipping agent. He had a bike license and was prepared to work for a nominal salary. Unfortunately, he was only a 10th pass; unfortunately – as it was the company’s policy to hire graduates. But, Vincent put in a word to management, Raul was interviewed and he was selected.
A week later, he was asked to produce his 10th certificates. He said he would have to get it faxed in from his homeland. It would take some time. Vincent was beginning to lose patience. One day, Raul was conveyed that he had to produce the certificate by the end of the day. He did. But Vincent and his team, could soon make out that it was forged. Upon some questioning, Raul admitted to it. His name wasn’t Raul either. It was Ritchie. He had two passports in two different names which he said he had gotten done to avoid a work ban when he had shifted between two earlier companies.
It was a question of work ethics.
Vincent asked Ritchie whether he thought he could get away with making a mockery of the integrity of his corporate team.
Ritchie sulked away. Later he came into Vincent’s office. Ritchie-aya uvacha – “My dad passed away when I was 16. He worked in this country. I was in 10th then and there was no one to support my family. I had to take his place, but at 16 I would not be given a Visa here. So I made a passport with a fake date of birth and I came here. I worked in the company for 10 years. Then, I got a better offer from another company. If I quit my job, my employer would enforce a 6 month ban, and I would not be able to take the new offer, or any offer for that matter. I went back home and made another passport in another name. I came back and took my new job. I worked there for 2 years. No one had asked me for my certificates. Then I came to this company and when your people asked me, I panicked as I didn’t have a certificate for 10th. So my people made a certificate on top of my brother’s certificate. I’m married now and I have a 2 year old daughter. If your company kicks me out, I have nowhere to go and nothing to do to support my family. Please help me.”
Vincent thought-aya uvacha, “If we fire him, which we can as per the clause in his employment contract, then we lose a useful guy who has a bike license and who knows to pull all the strings around here.If we lose him, we are under pressure to find an equivalent replacement for the next 2-3 months. We may or may not ever find him. Hmmm”
Bets turned his now glimmering eyes to Vick. “So Vick, what should Vincent have done? But remember, if you speak now, I shall return back and we shall meet again some other day. If you speak and you are wrong, there’s a pink slip in my upper left pocket with your name on it. If you stay quiet, we go to ground zero.”
“What will it be, Vick, what will it be?”
Vick adjusted his tie. He ran his fingers through his tussled hair. He glanced up and then down. Slowly, he reached for his breast-pocket. Bets smiled. Vick drew out a cigar, lit it, took a deep puff and began. Vick-aya uvacha, “As a famous web-developer once said “We always have choices .. it’s the choices that make us who we are”. Raul / Ritchie chose what he wanted to say on his resume and what he wanted to say in his interview. He chose to not t tell them about his dad, his wife and child. Instead, he told them that he was a 10th pass. And that choice has come back to haunt him. It is one that he will have to face.
As far as corporate ethics are concerned, Vincent, as a head of the company should not show any hesitation in dismissing Ritchie. The decision would not only reflect the company’s ethical beliefs, but Vincent’s personal ethics as well. Also, it is illegal to do what Ritchie has done. If everyone subverted the law for their benefit, the law would no longer be required to guide us. Therefore, no-brainer – Sack.”
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