I suppose, in a way, it's a kind of generation thing. When George started, there was no such thing as political correctness in the office environment. In those days, I'm sure it was common practice to call colleagues 'love' or 'darling', pay compliments about their figures or even give them gifts and things. But you just can't do that nowadays and he should have known better. He says his secretary never complained about it to him in person and that if she had, he'd have stopped doing it, but she didn't. Instead, she went straight to the board and warned them that she'd take legal action if nothing was done abut it. Well, they soon hauled George in and explained the situation. George was outraged and told them what they could do with the job there and then.
If you'd looked around the workplace, I guess you would have seen the evidence. I mean, in a company of this size you would have expected to see at least some ethnic diversity in the workplace, wouldn't you? Anyway, someone finally discovered a secret file with all the applicants who were not given an interview. Whoever it was blew the whistle to the local press and that was it the company was faced with a PR disaster and a police investigation. Of course, the first thing the board did was give the well-paid HR executive his marching orders and insist that it was his prejudice and not company policy. But if that was the case, then why hadn't they noticed what was going on?
I'm sure Sharleen didn't think she was doing anything wrong at the time. She'd been told to put together a report on the market penetration of a new safety product we'd just launched. So she had to find out how much business our main rival was doing. OK, so hacking into their corporate intranet wasn't the right way of going about it but no-one realised she was a complete whizzkid. Luckily, they didn't find out what happened. If they had, it would have cost us a fortune. You can imagine everyone's reaction when she announced what she'd done. Our Ethics Officer went mad and had to quickly put together an official code for dealing with competitors. As for Sharleen, well, she just got away without even so much as an official warning!
We'd been doing business with them for years and our sales executives had always enjoyed very good relationships with them. I don't think for one minute it would have made any difference if we hadn't offered them the occasional thank you for their business. But we always thought of it as good customer relationship management. What's wrong with the odd weekend away for a loyal customer? Anyway, the new CEO changed all that. Maybe it was a cultural thing, I don't know, but she suspended all freebies pending a review. She also recruited someone to regulate dealings with our clients a sort of moral policeman, I guess. She even wrote to all our customers warning them not to accept any kind of presents from any of our reps.
Every business wants to be ethically sound but it's a hyper-competitive world out there and when you're under pressure to make money and keep to a budget, it's a different matter. Pete, the Production Manager, didn't like the new regulation spray paint it just wasn't as good so he carried on using the old stuff. He knew there'd be trouble if anyone found out. But I guess he just hoped they wouldn't. Of course, some campaigners tested the local water and found evidence of the banned chemicals. I suppose when you think about the PR nightmare that followed and the hefty fine the company had to pay, Pete was lucky to get away with just a letter threatening dismissal if he used the old paint ever again.