Fearful that Ms. Patel had fainted, Zelda stopped mid-way in her explanation of what she had found and moved quickly to Ms. Patel’s side while DCI Fritz asked one of his officers to bring some water and a cool wet cloth. Mr. Wrigley was strangely silent while the others fussed over Ms. Patel, but in a few minutes her color improved and she asked that Zelda go on with her findings-to-date.
When Zelda had finished, Mr. Wrigley’s sputtering began, slowly and softly at first but then rising to a crescendo of alarm. “How could this have been going on right under our very noses? What about will be the legal and financial fall-out of violating our regulatory and contractual commitments for having fair and open recruiting practices? What will be the damage to our employment brand, short and long term, among our increasingly liberal talent pool of new PhDs. The publicity will kill us if this ever gets out. What could Cummins have been thinking? With whom, if anyone, was he collaborating? And why was he or were they doing this.” As before, Mr. Wrigley’s voice got louder, his speech faster, and he really did seem in danger of some kind of fit. Fortunately, DCI Fritz now had an officer standing by with glasses of water and cool clothes, but Zelda thought to herself that something stronger would be needed before they sorted out this case.
By now her usual self, but as before, Ms. Patel spoke more quietly and thoughtfully. She too realized the huge, negative implications of Zelda’s research on many aspects of the business, and she had many more questions. “How long had this been going on? How many hiring decisions have been made within this biased and, potentially, illegal decision-making framework? Have any of the hiring managers been aware of this? Been complicit? And what about those who had been hired via Ms. Cummins’ discriminatory system? Did they have any idea what was going on? Clearly Ms. Kahneifmeyer didn’t know, but then her project was fairly new, and most of her hires-to-date have been transfers from other parts of the organization.”
So many questions, and very little time in which to track down the answers and determine if they would lead to Mr. Cummins’ killer. Unspoken was the concern that, where one murder had occurred, others might follow.
Stay tuned for Chapter XII