• Case Studies - Ethics

  • Case Study: Advising a Student Whose Job Start Is Postponed Indefinitely

    Fifty students from a college received and accepted offers from an employer. Six months later, half of them were informed their employment would be delayed for approximately one year. The employer offered “bonuses” as compensation for the extended delayed starting dates. Many were delayed even further. One graduate contacted career services and wanted to know if she should wait any longer or commence her job search, and if she had to tell the company that she planned to look for another job opportunity.

    Case Study: Confidentiality of Student Counseling

    A counselor posts an inquiry on a 1,000-person networking site asking for advice about a client. The counselor goes into great detail about the client, including sharing confidential information, work history, and disabilities. Is the level of detail in the message appropriate—has there been a breach of confidentiality on the counselor’s part? What rules or guidelines should there be for disclosure of client information on a professional networking site/listserv?

    Case Study: Counseling a Student Who Wants to Renege on a Job Acceptance

    A candidate accepted a position with an employer when a week later a newspaper article stated that the employer would be laying off 2,000 “redundant” workers to avert impending bankruptcy . The candidate calls the firm and is assured everything is fine, however, he is quite shaken and tells his career services director he is considering reneging on his acceptance.

    Case Study: Discussing Students by E-mail

    Several counselors have been e-mailing each other about a student who has had problems landing a job. Derogatory comments about the student’s behavior, dress, and communication abilities were made. A student intern in the office saw one of the e-mails and told the other student, who is furious and demands and explanation. The student intern also is concerned and demands to see all e-mail correspondence among the counselors that pertain to her. What ethical issues does this scenario raise? Does counselor confidentiality have any significance here? How could this situation be handled?

    Case Study: Employer Wants Minority Students Only

    An employer requests a career services office supply it with a list of junior and senior African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and disabled students to invite to a special dinner where information about the company and available jobs will be presented. The company has been a major financial contributor to the school’s diversity retention programs, and while there is no direct pressure, career services realizes that the company’s high visibility on these issues may create subtle pressure to comply with the request. Is holding such a dinner for minority students proper?

    Case Study: Indemnity and Hold Harmless Agreements for Interns

    An employer wants a prospective intern to have the university career services office sign an indemnity and hold harmless agreement or it would withdraw the internship offer. Is this ethical and how should the school handle the situation with the employer and the student?

    Case Study: Internships—An Employer’s Obligations to Career Services

    During a semester there were some unusual occurrences at an employer—one student quit in the middle of the semester, a second student was terminated for breaking housing rules, and a third student contracted meningitis and had to be hospitalized. The employer did not notify the career services director or the supervising faculty of these occurrences. What are the ethical obligations of an employer to the school in these circumstances?

    Case Study: Offers With Sliding or Incentivized Bonuses

    An employer sends an offer letter to students that were recently interviewed. The company is giving students two weeks to make their first decision about accepting an offer and bonus, with bonuses becoming lower and lower until the final deadline, three and one-half months in the future. Offers are contingent on passing four requirements set forth by the company and bonuses must be repaid if a student accepts, then decides not to work for the company. Does the letter reflect an equal commitment between the company and the student? Does the offer of a bonus “improperly influence” the student’s job acceptance?

    Case Study: Should Career Services Select Students for Employers?

    An employer contacted a college’s career center for assistance in filling an open position. Specifically, the employer requested the names of 10 students they would recommend for an interview. Further, the employer’s representative made it clear he would work with another school if the career center did not comply with his request. What are the ethical issues posed by this scenario? What are some practical alternatives the career services office can suggest to the employer?

    Case Study: Should Employers Serve Alcohol at a Recruiting Event?

    An employer hosts a “pre-night” event at a local restaurant the night before onsite second-round interviews. An upper-level executive tries to talk a top candidate into ordering wine and the student becomes uncomfortable. Is it ethical for an employer to have a recruiting event with alcoholic beverages? How could the executive handled the situation differently?

    Case Study: Websites, Counselors Geared to Special Populations

    A career center brainstormed with a focus group of minority students to find ways of attracting minority students to its office and website. Some of the ideas were to develop a web page with resources, and employment and internship opportunities for students of color. Another suggestion was to hire a staff member who is either African-American or Latino to handle minority students only. What are some of the ethical issues raised by these ideas? Is the hiring suggestion appropriate?

    Case Study: When an Employer Rescinds a Job Offer

    A company revokes an employment offer a month before the candidate was to begin work. She is told that the company’s personnel needs for the coming year were overestimated and offers to send her resume to other employers that are hiring and provide her with a good reference. Why were the hiring needs overestimated; did business conditions change unexpectedly? What criteria did the employer use to decide which offers would be rescinded?

    Case Study: When Faculty Refer and Rank Students for Employers

    Two years after a faculty member received a research grant from an employer, a high level executive with the company, also an alum and generous contributor, tells the faculty member the company is contemplating a fuller, ongoing relationship with the university that could lead to gifts in the millions of dollars. A few weeks later a recruiter from the company contacts the faculty member and asks her to send him the resumes of her top five students. Seniors in the department find out about this and are angry, meeting with career services to register a complaint. The director discovers the company had not listed the job with career services and has not participated in on-campus interviewing or the job fair. What are the ethical issues in this situation? What are the options for career services?

    Case Study: When Job Acceptance Deadlines Are Short

    A candidate received an offer letter from an employer she had very recently interviewed with, but is required to inform them of her decision by the next business day. Is this request fair? Under the circumstances, the candidate s tempted to accept the offer and then research the company, even though she might later renege on the offer. What advice should career services give her?

    Case Study: When a Student Reneges on a Job Acceptance

    A female minority student accept an offer with an employer that is considered a strong partner to the student’s university. This company is also committed to increasing the diversity of its work force and hosted recruiting events and made donations targeted to diversity student organizations. However, after she learns that the company has a poor reputation for women and Hispanics and is offered another opportunity at a higher starting salary, she tells the first company she is not interested in working for them.