Eastside Catholic School and Business Ethics

Eastside Catholic School and Business Ethics

The school has fired its principal for being married to his partner, another man. I may not agree with their decision but in terms of business ethics, there is little to work with here, that is, until the school gives up the truth and decides to tell the world that the principal quit when he did not. At that point, we have entered my field of endeavor.

It is a serious violation of business ethics to directly lie to the public especially your own clients. And it is foolish to lie when your chances of getting caught are so high.

But then we find out that the school asked the principal to dissolve his marriage. I would regard this as another business ethics failing, a particularly eye catching one and I’m impressed at the lack of ability and judgment this implies. I might be able to understand the mind set that thought making that request was a good idea but the the mindset that didn’t consider the consequences, I don’t get.

Religious schools are not exempt nor should they be from business ethics. If you are going to fire someone for being in a gay marriage because it violates an article of faith in a religious institution, I regretfully say you can. But it you are going to do it, do it. Don’t lie. Don’t try to PR your way out. Just do it.

James Pilant

Catholic School Asked Gay Administrator to Dissolve His Marriage


Perhaps more shocking, Eastside has admitted to making a last-ditch effort to keep Zmuda in his position: School President Sister Mary Tracy asked him to dissolve his marriage in order to retain his job. Zmuda declined the offer. As his student explains, “I think that he would much rather share that love with [his partner] and get married than think about what the school was doing.”


Due to Eastside’s obfuscations and outright deceptions, it’s difficult to determine whether the fault for Zmuda’s termination lies with Eastside or the church itself. But the ambiguity of that question is overridden by the shocking revelation that the school presented Zmuda with the perverse and unconscionable choice of either getting fired or getting divorced. (Or perhaps Tracy hoped Zmuda could simply annul his union—which, at this stage, is likely impossible in the state.) That offer, made by the school’s president herself, isn’t just some well-intentioned but thoroughly misguided effort to hold onto Zmuda. It is a vile and morally repulsive act of iniquity. No straight person in this decade would ever face such a twisted dilemma, nor should they have to; no human, gay or straight, should have to choose between his spouse and his job. That Tracy placed Zmuda in this painful position suggests an alarming lack of ethics, a total blindness to basic morality on her part. For a church that speaks so highly of love, its mouthpieces at Eastside seem surprisingly eager to stamp it out for the crass purpose of avoiding a PR disaster.