[Here’s the entire series in case you missed previous chapters]
As they kicked around these latest ideas, DCI Fritz began to draw up a chart of his own on a napkin. Who could have had the necessary access to Cummins? Whose arrival in his office would not have aroused any concerns? With whom might Cummins have drunk a bit of “end of the workday” Sherry? Who would have a means for exercising enough control over Cummins to get him to do something contrary to Cummin’s own self-interest as well as contrary to Cummins’ professional scruples? And who would have a motive for urging or forcing Cummins to violate all good practice in HRM, to violate Great Software’s anti-discrimination policies and the relevant laws? If he had indeed done these things, who would benefit by such behavior on Cummins’ part and/or by this whole scandal coming to light? With these and many of their other questions forming the rows, Fritz began putting names of potential suspects, including Patel and Kahneifmeyer, to the rows.
Suddenly, perhaps because the very act of making the chart called their attention to it, the most likely suspect was revealed, and all three of them started talking at once. Fritz took charge and asked Ms. Patel to share her thoughts first. Looking at the chart, Ms. Patel said: “While a particular hiring manager might have a reason for pressuring Mr. Cummins to tilt their own candidate selection in a particular direction, why on earth would they be interested in impacting the hiring decisions of the other hiring managers? Was there a plot afoot, led by one or more hiring managers, and with the collusion of Mr. Cummins, to destroy the company’s employment brand? If yes, for what possible purpose? So, even if they had motive, means and opportunity for killing Cummins, that wouldn’t explain why so many of the hiring managers had been coded as either sympathetic with or accepting through ignorance some range of discriminatory hiring behaviors unless they were all in on such a far-fetched plot.”
By then Zelda was bouncing out of her seat, soon to attract the attention of others even in this sparsely populated tea shop if not given an immediate opportunity to add her two pence worth. “But if it doesn’t make sense that a particular hiring manager would have done this — and I agree with Ms. Patel’s assessment on this — then for the moment, I’m in the clear even though I did find the body. And, if it doesn’t make sense for a hiring manager to conspire with or pressure Mr. Cummins to skew the candidate evaluation based on forbidden demographic criteria, it makes even less sense for Ms. Patel to have set this up because her career will be tarnished just by the revelation that this was happening on her watch. Thus, for the moment, I think Ms. Patel is also in the clear.”
Stay Tuned For Chapter XVIII
(Cross-posted @ In Full Bloom)