The Shoe Store Incident
You are the regional manager of a shoe store chain, which is one of many located in the metro area. Bob, a manager, works at a mall location. One day, Bob calls you with the following situation:
About an hour ago, the store’s best customer, Imelda, walked in and asked Bob if an employee could help her get the proper fitting for her shoes. Bob explained that Tom, a sales employee, would be happy to help her.
Imelda, however, said she would prefer to work with a female employee, and that if a female employee helped her, she would probably buy five pairs of shoes.
Bob explained to you that Mary, another sales employee, was working the back room. Each day, two employees work in the store: one working the front, and one working the back. They rotate on a daily basis because the person working the front gets the commissions for the day. This is company policy, and neither Bob nor you have the flexibility to change that policy—so there is no chance to split the commission. Today is Tom’s day to earn commission.
Bob asks you what he should do. Should Bob swap Tom and Mary so that the store gets the benefit of Imelda’s purchases, or should he stand firm that only Tom is available to sell her shoes?
What legal and ethical issues arise in this case, and what legal and ethical principles guide this decision? What choice do you make and why?
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