What should das do at this moment!?
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WHEN AN EMPLOYEE SAYS HE IS HIV POSITIVE?
WHEN AN EMPLOYEE SAYS HE IS HIV POSITIVE
Chemtech was a chemical firm employing nearly 1,500 people. Since the company
was operating in a sheltered economic environment, the organizational focus for
many years was on technology and manufacturing. There was little accent on marketing. But a liberal import regime heralded by the Government of India galvanized the management into sprucing up its sales and marketing team. A number of people were being hired from outside the company in a long overdue exercise of giving a customer – oriented focus to the company’s operations. a few employees were also being promoted from within. In a professional career spanning over two decades in personnel function in different companies, Aparojit Das, Vice-president (HRD), was closely involved with the hiring interviews. And he had always chosen well even while most of his contemporaries had been expressing disillusionment with the interview as a medium of getting the right candidate for the right job.
The secret of his success lay in a technique he had worked to perfection. As a candidate walked in for an interview, Das would quickly size him up for a first impression. Subsequently, the whole tenor of his questioning over the period of the interview would be aimed at destroying that impression. If the first impression was favourable and if it persisted till the end of an interview or if an unfavourable impression turned otherwise by the end, Das had an intuitive feeling that he had a good candidate on his hands. Of course, the assessment already made by the concerned divisional head regarding specific job requirements would be a major benchmark in the final selection of a candidate.
Das knew, however, that if he had chosen people well, it was not because of any particular skill but because he was simply lucky.
That morning, as he looked at the folder lying in his desk, Das wondered whether he was finally running out of luck. The folder contained dossiers of two candidates who have been interviewed at various levels over the previous month. As a part of the final assessment, Das himself had met them individually an hour ago. Both were internal candidates, presently working as sales executives and seeking promotion to the post of the sales manager to be based at the head office of the company. Both were highly recommended by the company’s vice – president (sales) for the post.
The first dossier was of Prem Sagar who had been with Chemtech for five years. Sagar had worked his way up and understood the company’s product and their markets. He was very keen to take on new responsibilities. The second was of Arvind Vardhan who had joined the company only the previous year. He seemed confident, sensitive to others points of view, a self starter, and a good team player. Das’s maiden impression was that Vardhan was a natural salesperson and it persisted, however hard he tried to disprove himself. He was clearly in favour of Vardhan.
It was when he was about to terminate the interview that Vardhan said “Mr. Das, there is something that I think I must mention in all fairness. But before I do so, I need to have your word that what I tell you will remain between the two of us.” You have my word,” said Das. “ I have been declared HIV positive,” said Vardhan, “the tests came last week.
If Das panicked, he did not show it. “ I don’t see how it can affect your chances of promotion,” he said, in a voice that, much to his own surprise, lacked conviction. “ I think we should talk about this separately,” he continued, trying hard to retain composure. “ I will get back to you. In the meantime, take care.”
Later, alone in his cabin, Das found the burden of having to make a decision lying heavily upon him. The company’s standing orders stated that no physical disability or even a chronic health problem should come in the way of a promotion as long as it does not interfere with a performance directly. But there were two major issues, as Das saw them. First, although the HIV infected people were known to work productively for years, the risk of developing active AIDS at any point of time was real. Recovery from even a temporary about of illness such as pneumonia for example, would be longer, reducing the pace of work and affecting performance on the job. This was an angle which had to be borne in the mind while giving a promotion. Second, could the confidentiality o
Asked By: somnathmudi1977.souvikmudi200612 - 8/4/2009