I am a supervisor at a large corporation in the Bible Belt. I am gay and out and, while the company has no formal nondiscrimination policy, my colleagues and supervisors generally have no issues with my sexuality. I am about to interview a potential employee in his early 20s, who hunts, drives a truck and did not attend college. I want those who join my team to be of a tolerant disposition. Would it be appropriate to tell this applicant that I am gay? -- Name Withheld
It would not. By bringing up your sexual orientation in a job interview, you could give the applicant the impression that his is a factor in hiring, a policy that would be unethical. Instead, talk about your company's amiable, tolerant workforce and your eagerness to add someone to your team who is similarly broad-minded. That is, discuss the company's practices, not your personal life, something that should be relevant only to those who might date you.
It is a fine thing to demand that an employee be complaisant, not so fine to demand -- or seem to suggest -- that he be gay (or, for that matter, straight). What's more, your company's being hospitable to its diverse work force is something an applicant should want to know, something that should make him more eager to sign on.
UPDATE: The interviewer did not disclose his sexual orientation. He hired the applicant and later learned that someone else at the company mentioned that he, the interviewer, was gay. The applicant, now a new employee, had no problem with that (and mentioned that he has a cousin who is a lesbian). The interviewer acknowledges, with becoming humility, that he learned something about his own preconceptions.
My brother and I, who live in the United States, contribute to the care of our father, a 90-year-old widower who lives in Israel, as do our two sisters, who also live there. We've always shared the cost equitably, based on the exchange rate of five years ago, when we began helping our dad. This year, with the fall of the dollar, my brother and I have been asked to pay more. Is that fair? -- Elon Schwartz, M.D., Hartsdale, N.Y.
Theirs is a reasonable request, but it does not go far enough. In your situation, defining "fair" means considering more than cash contributions when apportioning responsibility for your father's care. Do either of your sisters, living in Israel as they do, spend time attending to your father? Do some of your siblings earn significantly more than others? These things, too, should be taken into account.
As to those cash contributions, determining a rate of exchange is more of a technical problem than a moral one. Because your father's expenses accrue in shekels (not dollars or ingots of copper or live chickens), that is what your family must come up with, and so that is the medium your family should use when working out who pays what. And while the dollar's decline against the shekel means that you and your brother will now have to pay more than you previously did, it may ease your pain to recall that for years you had to pay less.
UPDATE: Because the older sister's husband is paid in dollars, she and the brothers agreed to continue paying equal amounts calculated according to the exchange rate when each of the yearly payments is due. The younger sister, who lives on a kibbutz and whose contribution has not increased since the beginning, will largely be unaffected by this arrangement.