John and Marcia were excited about the new developments in their life. John recently accepted a job at a small consulting firm in a new location. Marcia owned a home-based business, so she was flexible about where she lived. After many discussions, John and Marcia packed up all of their belongings and moved into a small rented apartment. The first year at the new job went very well. The company was thriving, and John and Marcia were thinking about settling down and starting a family. John decided that he needed to talk with the owner of the firm about his career. John explained that he wanted to purchase a home and settle into the community, but he wanted to make sure that he fit into the firm’s long-term plans. The owner of the company praised John for all of his good work, and assured him that he would remain an important asset of the firm. Relieved, John went home to tell Marcia and they immediately started looking for a home. John later told one of his co-workers, Alexis, about his discussion with the firm owner and his plans to buy a house. Alexis was very inquisitive about John’s discussion with the owner, and appeared to be caught off guard. John wasn’t sure what to make of Alexis’ reaction, but he quickly wrote it off as being nothing to be concerned about.
Alexis, on the other hand, was shocked at what she had heard. Alexis is close friends with the owner of the firm, and knew that there was a good chance the firm would be closing in the near future. The owner was always complaining about the daily stress the business was causing him, and voiced his desire to dissolve the company and spend a year traveling around the world. Alexis herself had been looking for another job for several months, and was devastated to hear about John’s plans for buying a home.
• What are the ethical issues?
• Should Alexis confront the owner about misleading John?
• Does Alexis have an obligation to tell John the reality of the situation?