Naperville Business Attorney Talks About Handling Sensitive Issues

sensitive issues, Naperville business lawyerWe live in very interesting times. In some ways, people are more connected to each other than ever before, but in others, our differences have never been more pronounced. Issues related to gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation seem to have polarized Americans to the point where it is difficult to have civil, constructive conversations at times.

As a business lawyer and a business owner, I understand that sensitive concerns can arise within a company of any size. Interactions among managers, staff, customers, and bystanders can quickly become headline-making stories under the right—or wrong, as the case may be—circumstances. One recent example at a Chicago area drugstore shows how important it is for business owners to handle sensitive issues—and how they are usually at least two sides to every story.

A Brief Recap

The incident took place at a CVS store in Edgewater earlier this month. According to reports and a video that was posted to social media, a woman tried to use a coupon for a free product, but the managers at the CVS claimed that her coupon was “fraudulent.” The woman—who is black—claimed that the managers—who are white—became upset, slammed a door in her face, and told the woman to leave. They also called the police.

When the video began attracting attention online, news outlets picked up the story, and executives from CVS stepped in to take action. They issued a public apology to the woman and promised to conduct a full investigation into the situation. Two managers from the Edgewater store were also terminated by the company.

A Second Opinion

While the situation certainly looks very bad from a public relations standpoint for CVS, there may be more to the story than its initial characterization as a racial discrimination issue. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that a witness who was also in the store at the time has come forward to explain what she saw. The witness told the Sun-Times that she could not hear the original conversation about the coupon but the other customer is the one who created a scene. “When she followed the other manager through the store, being belligerent,” the witness said, “I consider that harassment. When [the manager] called the police…that’s what I would do.”

Takeaway Lessons

It is impossible to say what the “right” course of action was in the situation in question, and it is impossible to predict every scenario that may arise. As a business owner, however, it is important for you to be aware of how any action you take might be interpreted by outsiders—sometimes to the detriment of your brand.

If you have questions about how to handle sensitive issues within your company, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.



USA Today

Chicago Sun-Times