conflict of interest

Roberta is actively involved in her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. For the past three years she sent an email to everyone in her department during “cookie sale” week to let them know she would take orders at her desk. There have been no complaints in the past; but she has never asked management permission to do this. Recently, a new employee who is also a direct report to Roberta, complained to Human Resources that she felt pressured into buying cookies from Roberta. The employee is a single mom of limited means, but feels if she doesn’t buy some cookies if will reflect poorly on her and could affect her annual appraisal by Roberta. The employee has asked to remain anonymous.

How should HR or Roberta’s supervisor handle this matter?