Fabulous and Abernathy

2 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Andrew Wicks

Andrew Wicks

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jenny Mead

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Ikram Shariff

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

A retail clothing store's regional manager objects to a devout Muslim employee's head scarf, saying that it does not fit the company's brand image. He tells the store manager to “fix the situation.” The store manager, who had been tasked with increasing diversity at the store, must decide how to handle the issue. The case is suitable for both MBA and undergraduate students in introductory ethics courses as well as ethics modules or other courses in subjects and modules on human resources, leadership, reputation management, corporate communications, and diversity, among other subjects.

Excerpt

UVA-BRI-1005

Feb. 14, 2011

Fabulous and Abernathy

Tom Benet had recently been hired as the manager of Fabulous and Abernathy, a high-end retail store in New York that sold casual sportswear apparel, personal care products, and accessories for men, women, and children. Having just graduated with a degree in business administration from New York University, Benet considered his new job a big breakthrough. He enjoyed his responsibilities, the compensation, and the people with whom he worked. He supervised 25 employees, most of whom were very good at their jobs, which made it easy for Benet to get up to speed in his new position.

One of Benet's immediate responsibilities as store manager was to lead a diversity council, which was a part of a new corporate policy to increase diversity at work. To move this initiative forward, the company had formed the Stores Diversity Council, a store-specific leadership group comprising district managers and recruiters and charged with auditing and implementing the diversity initiative. The diversity council at Benet's store hired a new sales executive, Halima Khan, a 22-year-old female of Iranian descent who was working her way through college. Having been brought up in a traditional Muslim family, Khan had deeply rooted Muslim values. She wore a head scarf to work and prayed five times a day. Benet hired Khan not only because she had the skills required for this job but also because he thought she was a great example of increasing diversity at his store.

Khan was an excellent employee: a good salesperson, dedicated to the job, who got along well with both employees and customers. Everything went well for a few months. Then Justin Stidham, the East Coast regional manager, visited the store for a quarterly performance review. Stidham was happy with the store's performance, the financial statements were looking pretty, the diversity council had been successful in hiring workers of different ethnic backgrounds, and the sales team was obviously highly competitive.

. . .

Keywords: Business ethics, ethical issues, retail, diversity, leadership, human resources, leadership, ethical decision making, religion, Muslims, brand image, stakeholder management, New York, employment issues

Suggested Citation

Wicks, Andrew and Mead, Jenny and Shariff, Ikram, Fabulous and Abernathy. Darden Case No. UVA-BRI-1005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2973952

Andrew Wicks (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/wicks.htm

Jenny Mead

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Ikram Shariff

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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