Rita is an employee who has worked for your company for over 25 years. She never took vacation or sick time, so she has enough time saved to go on leave at full pay for over a year. She recently was diagnosed with a serious illness, and there is no telling whether she can or will recover. She submits paperwork for medical leave and is approved. It is unknown how long her treatment will take.
After three months, Rita is still undergoing treatment and doesn’t know when she can come back. You feel bad, but you also need to fill her position due to business necessity. Under the law, you’ve legally given her enough time off for medical leave, so legally you can terminate her employment. If Rita is let go, she will lose her health benefits, which she needs to continue treatment. If she isn’t let go, your company will suffer financial harm because an employee is needed to do Rita’s job. Basically, you would be paying for a replacement while also paying Rita’s salary.
1. What should you do and why: terminate Rita, or keep on her on the payroll?
2. What are the stakeholder relationships you need to balance in this fact pattern?
3. Is it ethical to let Rita go?
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