Sunday, September 10, 2006


Readers felt that it was not an option to simply ignore the situation of a talented employee who failed to show up for a meeting with a customer, losing his company a $100,000 contract, because he had resumed drinking after having been sober for many years.

"Under no circumstances is overlooking it the right choice in this matter," writes Peggy Lawson of Middletown, Ohio. "(This) is more than just a missed opportunity for my company -- this is a health issue for this employee, and will impact his performance in the future, as well as his position on the team."

"As much as it hurt financially, I wouldn't fire a loyal, productive employee over a single episode," writes Tom Gebell of Minneapolis. "I would require the employee to go for treatment."

Phil Clutts of Charlotte, N.C., agrees.

"In view of his excellent work history," Clutts writes, "I would tell him that I was putting him on two weeks of unpaid leave and that, if he swore that it would never happen again, he could then go about his business as usual."

"He has to be a full partner in any real solution," writes Vaughn Brink of Mission Viejo, Calif.

Check out other opinions at, post your own by clicking on "comments" below, or e-mail them to me at

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of "The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business," is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," New York Times Syndicate, 609 Greenwich St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10014-3610.

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