Steven J. Trzaska was the head of L’Oreal USA’s regional patent team, managing the procedure by which the company patented products. As an attorney barred in Pennsylvania, Trzaska had to adhere to professional rules of conduct established by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in addition to rules promulgated by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In 2014, L’Oreal S.A, the French parent of company of L’Oreal USA, enacted a global quota of patent applications each regional office had to file each year. Employees were informed that failure to meet the quota would negatively impact their careers and even their continued employment at L’Oreal. Meanwhile, L’Oreal USA simultaneously enacted a rule to increase the quality of patent applications filed with the USPTO. The second rule led to a decrease in number of patents that could be filed with the USPTO, Trzaska’s team would not be able to fulfill the patent quota.
Faced with the problem, Trzaska informed management that his team would not file patents that they did not believe in good faith were patentable. Several weeks after Trzaska’s meeting with the Page 33management, he was offered two severance packages that he did not accept. Finally, Trzaska was let go. Trzaska subsequently sued L’Oreal, alleging that he was fired for his refusal to violate ethical rules that regulate the legal profession. Which stakeholders did Trzaska and the management of L’Oreal cater to? Referring back to Exhibit 2-5, what values did L’Oreal’s management choose when they made the decision to fire Trzaska?
[Trzaska v. L’OREAL USA, INC., 865 F. 3d 155 (2017)]
For this assignment, refer to the scenario located in the “Questions & Problems” section of Ch. 2, “Business Ethics” in Dynamic Business Law. This scenario involves Steven J. Trzaska, the head of L’Oreal USA’s regional patent team, and ethical rules and core values of the company.
Read the scenario in the textbook and complete the following activity.
Create a WH Framework chart, similar to Exhibit 2.2. Refer to L’Oreal’s core values and the primary values in Exhibit 2.3 to determine the guidelines to include in the WH Framework.
Write an explanation of how you decided on the list of stakeholders and guidelines to include in your WH Framework. Address the following questions in your explanation:
- Which stakeholders did Traszka and the management of L’Oreal cater to? Why?
- What values did L’Oreal’s management choose when they made the decision to fire Trzaska? Why?
In addition to your explanation, address the following self-reflection questions:
- How did the WH Framework help you analyze the situation?
- Now that you’ve put together the framework, how does the WH Framework help managers with making business decisions?
- What type of decisions would the WH Framework chart help you make as a manager?