Project #30911 - Buisness ethics


Business Ethics


Exercise Six


Employees’ Ethical Duties while on the Job



Imagine that you are on an ethics committee, charged with the task of putting together Ethics Policy Regarding Employees’ Ethical Duties while on the Job.”  There will be 47 ethical guidelines within this policy, once it is completed.  However you are responsible only for Guidelines #14 and #27.  Assume that you have absolute power to do this, and that there is no higher legal or political authority that you must recognize or put yourself under, as you formulate your policy. The only powers higher than your own, are the ethical principlesthat you will be using to determine what is morally right and morally wrong. You must use your powers of reasoning and argument to determine what these principles are, and what employee duties follow from these principles.  


Submit your work at the same location where you downloaded this exercise.  Provide answers for all parts of this exercise.  Be sure to keep a copy on file for yourself.  The completed exercise is worth a possible 100 points.  Points will be deducted for work that is turned in late.  



Declaration or Principles:  Within this part of your ethics policy you must begin to articulate an answer to these questions:  What are a person’s ethical duties when they take a job?  Do employees have an ethical dutyfirst and foremost to self-interest?  Or, are their ethical duties to the business or company that go beyond self-interest?  Does an employee have a duty to be loyal to the business or company where he or she is working?  Always?  Or, only under certain conditions?  If the latter, then what are the conditions and/or the ethical principles that allow an employee to be disloyal?  For example, are their times when an employee has a duty to other employees, to customers and/or to society, that go above and beyond any duty to individual self interest and to company loyalty?  Be explicit as to whether the perspective that you are taking, and the ethical principles that you are using to form your policy guidelines, is egoistic, Kantian/Natural Law, utilitarian, or a blending of these orientations.


Ethics Policy Guideline #14What do you do when you think your organization is behaving unethically? When are your actions an unethical act of disloyalty your employers?   And when are they ethically justified by an overriding ethical duty to persons other than your employers? You might first try to change things from within your organization, and if that does not work and the stakes seem important enough, you might decide to go public with your allegations, or "blow the whistle." Sometimes this is done ethically.  And sometimes this is done ethically.  What criteria should we use to tell us when and where and how to draw the line between ethical and unethical whistleblowing?


Use your policy guideline to make a judgment forcases “A and B below.



Ethics Policy Guideline #27: Defining gifts and rewards” on the one hand, and “bribes and payoffs” one the other, may seem like a simple-minded activity.   Butdefining the difference is an important issue in business ethics.  Precisely, what is the difference between the two types of “giving” and “receiving”? Gifts and rewards are things of value given without the expectation of return.  Whereas, bribes and payoffs are things of valuegiven in the hope of influence or benefit.  Because it is often impossible to determine the expectation of the giver and/of the receiver, many businesses have policies restricting both he receiving and the offering ofgifts. In some cases, gifts over a certain amount are disallowed; in others, they must be reported. These rules can vary significantly from one business to anotheror from one employee’s position in the company to another.   What do you think are some simple rules to follow for both receiving and offering of “special things of value” within business? Should there be an outright ban on bribes and payoffs, even in situations where it might bring significant benefits to your company?


Use your policy guideline to make a judgment cases “C,” “D,” “E,” and “F” below.






Case “A  There are a lot of misconceptions about thefamous whistleblower incidents we read about in the news. A lot of people think that if they “perceive”misconduct, all they have to go is report it and then they will be applauded for their actions. There’s a lot they seem to forget about or are unaware of though. Whistleblowers don’t have it easy. They face a lot ofscrutiny and stress.  Many of them lose or quit their jobs because of the repercussions they faced.


Consider this example: When Linda Almonte alerted her boss at JPMorgan Chase about potential fraud in a major deal she was helping to close, she expected him to applaud her great catch.   Instead, he fired her.   "We went down fast," said Almonte, 41, about her family. She had been making $100,000 a year as a division vice president at Chase, enough to support her stay-at-home husband, their four kids, ages 12 to 22, and rent a three-bedroom house in San Antonio, Texas.   Her move at Chase amounted to "essentially suicide," Almonte told news sources. No bank in town would hire her after word spread that she had stood up to the banking giant, she said. After more than a year of fruitless job hunting, Almonte and her family left town, landing at a hotel near Disney World, paying $300 a week for a two-bedroom with a kitchenette.


Almonte enrolled her children in a federal program for homeless kids so that they wouldn't have to switch schools if the family had to leave the hotel. Her father joined them to help out and they survived on her father's $2,700 monthly combined Social Security and disability payments.  Her fate is far from unusual. "Employees get fired all the time for blowing the whistle," said Dana Gold, a senior fellow at the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates for whistleblowers. "We see it so much," Gold said. "It's a predictable phenomenon."


Was Almonte unethical?  Did she pay a justifiable penalty for disloyalty to her employers?  Did she sacrifice her family for something that was none of her business?    Should she have acted differently?




Case “B   Chantale Leroux works as a clerk for Avco Environmental Services, a small toxic-waste disposal company.   The company has a contract to dispose of medical waste from a local hospital. During the course of her work, Chantale comes across documents, whichsuggest that Avco has actually been disposing of some of this medical waste in a local municipal landfill. Chantale is shocked, although she is not sure what is going on. She knows this practice is illegal. And even though only a small portion of the medical waste that Avco handles is being disposed of this way, any amount at all seems a worrisome threat to public health.  Chantale gathers together the appropriate documents and takes them to her immediate superior, Dave Lamb. Dave says, "Look, I don't think that sort of thing is your concern, or mine. We're in charge of record keeping, not making decisions about where this stuff gets dumped. I suggest you drop it." 


The next day, Chantale decides to go one step further, and talk to Angela van Wilgenburg, the company's Operations Manager. Angela is clearly irritated. Angela says, "This isn't your concern. Look, these are the sorts of cost-cutting moves that let a little company like ours compete with our giant competitors. Besides, everyone knows that the regulations in this area are overly cautious. There's no real danger to anyone from the tiny amount of medical waste that 'slips' into the municipal dump. I consider this matter closed." 


Chantale considers her situation. The message from her superiors was loud and clear. She strongly suspects that making further noises about this issue could jeopardize her job. Further, she generally has faith in the company's management. They've always seemed like honest, trustworthy people. But she was troubled by this apparent disregard for public safety. On the other hand, she asks herself whether maybe Angela was right in arguing that the danger was minimal.


Chantale is a single mother with a four-year-old.  She really needs this job; but her conscience is bothering her.   So she looks up the phone number of an old friend who worked for the local newspaper. Would it be ethical for her to just drop the whole thing now?  How should she proceed?






Case “C  A customer has a large sailing yacht on atransport vessel that your company operates. The customer is present and is watching the off-loading operation.  The five stevedores you manage pull off a very tricky maneuver, safely transferring the yacht from the transport vessel to the trailer that will be used to hall the boat on land to its final destination. The customer is elated, and reaches into his pocket, pulling out a big wad of $50 bills.


What should you do?




Case “D  The purchasing manager for a large company agrees to give you an order (their first), expecting you agree to make a $200 donation to his favorite charity, a local youth sports team.


How should you respond?



Case “E  A paper supplier sends a basket of expensive foodstuffs to your home at Christmas with a card: "We hope you and your family enjoy the goodies."This is a person who competes with other potential suppliers for your company’s rather large paper orders--about $5.000 a year worth of business.  You are the person in charge of purchasing.  


What action(s) should you take?




Case “F Pegasus International Inc. is a leading manufacturer of integrated circuits (chips) and related software for such specialty markets as communications and mass storage, as well as PC-based audio, video, and multimedia. Its long-standing strategy has been to anticipate changes in existing and emerging growth markets and to have hardware and software solutions ready before the market needs them.  You are in a meeting discussing the possibility of marketing your products in China.  Initial research indicates that China is likely to develop into a huge market for wireless because its people do not currently have this capability and the government has made spending on wireless a priority.  One person in the meeting raises one concern for Pegasus wireless managers. China allocates frequencies and makes franchise decisions city-by-city, and district-by-district. A 'payoff' is usually required to get licenses. Another person in the meeting says, "A lot of companies are doing business with China right now. How do they get around the problem?"  Another person says, "We believe most other companies contract with agents to represent them in the country and to get the licenses. What these contractors do is their own business, but apparently it works pretty well because the CEOs of all those companies are able to sign the disclosure statement required by law saying that they know of no instance where they bribed for their business."  "I wonder if paying someone else to do the crime is the same as our doing the crime," Someone else at this meeting says, "I'm just not very comfortable with the whole question of payoffs.


What should you say?  What is the right thing for you to do?


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Due By (Pacific Time) 05/16/2014 12:00 am
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