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Postdocs are quite dependent on their advisors for future career success. The decision by the professor as presented above is biased and unethical. This is a situation in which an ethical response by John, even though it involves risk would be essential. Sally should try to talk to John and convince him to behave ethically, and speak with their professor. If that does not work, consulting with a trusted faculty member who could talk to the professor about her concerns could be an option.
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