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Wal-Mart’s Latest Ethics Controversy

Wal-Mart is a well known name as it is the world largest retailer and second largest corporation. Their business operates internationally, majorly grocery stores.The article in discussion is the most recent ethical controversy that faced by Wal-Mart as there have been many in the past.

In this controversy, a newly appointed 50-year-old  Chalace Eply Lowry, an administrative assistance in communication department, when sensed that the document which she copied for her boss Mona Willams, the vice president for corporate communications, may be used in trading on insider information, she filed a complain against Ms Willams after telling her supervisor Sarah Clark, a senior director in the communication department on May 25.

It didn’t took long for the NEWS to reach Ms Willams ears and then Lowry was not able to contiune to work in communication department and was ask to find another department within 90 days else the authorities  said “they would have to discuss “next steps”” .The ethical dilemma in this case has been the treatment of empolyee who have pinpointed any suspcious action which might be violating companie’s ethical code. The way Lowry was compelled to find new job, it is made clear by the authorities that any such action would not be appreciated, even it is done in good faith.

The reason  why the dilemma occurred can be viewed in different prospectives. One thing is for sure complaining any such action should not be categorized as crime even if it is not been proven. Then one reason can be the possibility of occurance of any such action which was covered up by Lowry dismissel, Secondly the authorities wants to discourage any such false complains from the employees in future.

Thirdly, may be after this situation  coworkers attitude with Lowry may not be encouraging or the her boss Ms Willams (against whom the complain was filed) might have been discriminating with her. All these factors may have lead Lowry to search for a new job. Although the Wal-Mart officals have said Lowry was given the option to contiune her job in the same department and the fact the she is not and as she said “she was uncomfortable continuing in her current position”

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 refer to possibility of occurance of any of the above mention condition post complain.

The solution of the dilemma remained unanswered, resigning of Lowry if taken as the solution of this problem by Wal-Mart then I disagree because it only send neagtives vibes to other employees discouraging them to report anything ( even it if clearly illegal ) and even to the masses, decreases company’s good will in the market , as people will sympthaize with the employee.

If we consider the matter is still to be sloved as the 90 days duration of Lowry to search another job is still not over then corporation must take utilitarian approach by  permitting the Lowry to work in her previous position and making it sure that the her working enviornment and co-workers’ attitude must not be discouraging toward her and also keep close watch on VP Ms Willams actions and attitude towards Lowry thus increasing the good done and reducing the harm. Justice approach is also applied here because if Ms Willams is not leaving her post then why is Lowry?.

Lowry shouldn’t be resigning or shouldn’t be given an option to leave her post as they both are equal in term of justice and as even Ms Willams havent been found guilty and Lowry also accepted that she only complain ,firstly because she thought there was something wrong and secondly her supervisor Sarah Clark also reccommanded to do so. So I think Lowry must be called back on work by Wal-Mart and condition at work must be made apporiate.

After reading the official document of Wal-Mart Ethical policy, it is quite clear the loophole does not exist in ethical policy making. There are clear cut policies and pocedures to be followed for accounting and audit related ethics complaints. It also bears international anti-corruption policy along with privacy policy and supplier standards. It has been made clear in accounting and audit ethics complain procedure that the employee can make complain regardless of the fear of jeopardizing his/her job.

The only thing which I sensed is lacking is their proper, unbaised implimentation.Wal-Mat have been indulged in various controversies in the past also for example firing marketing executive Julie Roehm for accepting gifts from vendors and having an affair with subordinate, this means there is lack of implimentation of these policies and methods which are written in company’s offical documents. If strick actions are taken to control these circumstances then these ethical problems  can be avoided in the future.

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