the main ethical principle(s) in the case as you see it. What are the particularly relevant details of the case? What is wrong and why? What do you see as the conflict? Who is affected? (individuals, groups, companies, etc. ) Manly’s office was an old converted bank building and that vault was lined with asbestos-impregnated wallboard and the overhead pipes are insulated with asbestos. The county inspector only cited Manly’s Construction for various minor building violations. The most serious was the asbestos contamination in the vault where Manly Construction was fined $1,400 for the violation and required to clean up the fallen asbestos fibers in the vault in seventeen days. All employees are affected including Rocky who sided with the management.
It is well known that even one asbestos fiber can cause lung cancer though this may take twenty years or more. Even if the asbestos is not directly disturbed, there are almost certainly few fibers floating around that could pose a danger to employees health. The conflict would possibly arise if the employee would accuse Manly Construction of maintaining a hazardous workplace through the presence of asbestos in the vault that could trigger a government agency (Department of Health or the federal Environment Protection Agency) to require or relocate Manly Construction of the work environment.
Management could retaliate by firing the employee or making accusations against the employee just to get back. 2. Consider options in resolving the problem from the perspective of the: a. Consequentialist: the rightness of the decision is based on the consequences ~ utilitarianism The consequentialist approach in resolving the conflict considers the benefit that an individual can get from a certain course of action.
This kind of approach may not be ideal in this conflict because there is no immediate benefit for the employee to “blow the whistle”. Rather, it could be more detrimental to the individual because the management might get back at him to the effect that he will lose his job if he will blow the whistle and therefore he will likely just keep silent and do nothing to keep his job. b.
Deontologist: decision is tied to duty and obligation The deontologist approach to the problem could yield ambivalent result because it depend whose duty and rules will the employee obligate himself. If he will take the deontologist approach to the problem by obligating himself to the rules set by the management, the employee most likely will do what the management him to do to continue getting into the vault even if it could be dangerous to his health out of duty to obey the rules of the company.
c. Virtue ethics: decision is based on “who am I? ” (Consult article: “The Discipline of Building Character”) The virtue ethics approach would be the ideal ethical guideline that could compel the employee to blow the whistle against the company even if it meant the possibility of losing one’s job. This kind of ethical principle does not consider the benefit or consequence of a certain course of action but rather elects a course of action based on what is right regardless of consequences. It is also often the most difficult to do because it involves risk without any perceive benefit to the doer. In the case, it may be going directly to the management to cite the possible health risk associated with the presence of asbestos in the workplace.
Or it could be course through the worker’s union asking the management to change location of the workplace because the present location is already considered health hazard. If the management will not budge due to the cost associate with it, they could lodge a formal complaint at Department of Health or the Federal Environmental Protection for a formal investigation to commence which could ultimately lead to moving to another workplace. 3.
What would you do? Identify what you see as the solution. Answer by applying your values and course concepts that are supported by the ethical principles covered in class lecture/reading. I will follow the virtue ethics principle regardless of the consequence of my action even if that would tantamount to catching the ire of management that would eventually lead to my dismissal from the company. I anticipate that the company will file an insubordination case against me but still that will not daunt me.
My decision to follow the virtue ethic principle and blow the whistle is grounded on several reasons. First, it is the right to do to compel the company to remove the asbestos that poses risk to my health and my fellow co-workers. In the first place, I have the right to have a safe workplace and an asbestos filled workplace is not a safe place to work and therefore violates my right. To protect myself against possible retaliation from my employer, I will invoke the “whistle blower protection” clause of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that protects whistle blowers from possible retaliation of their employers. 4.
What was the most challenging aspect of this case for you personally? Have you faced any similar situation in your work-life experience? Are there current workplace and/or world events that are similar to this case? Quite frankly, the solution may be easier said than done. This is so when there is nothing at stake such as responsibilities and dependents that leaving a job would be easy.
But if there are dependents and mortgages to pay, making the right choice could be difficult. Personally, I have not experienced the same dilemma but I can only imagine how difficult it would be if I needed the job because I have children to raise and mortgages to pay. I believe many people are in this situation who chose to bear with the situation to keep the jobs that enables them to pay their bills and raise their children. The case is similar to the Worldcom whistleblower Kim Emigh who told directly his boss that they are committing fraud and that they will be reported.
The management retaliated by firing Kim Emigh where he remain unemployed for many months to the point that he has to use the college fund of his daughter. It was difficult but he was able to prove that WorldCom was committing fraud. But again, gleaning from the same example of Kim Emigh of WorldCom, it may be difficult at first to the point that he has to dip into the savings of his daughter’s college fund but he proved to be right because indeed the executives of WorldCom committed fraud that lead to the conviction of their CEO and many more executives.
I anticipate that I will go broke initially because it would be difficult to fight against a system but eventually I will be vindicated because I am doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is never easy but their result is enduring such as the increased ethics in financial reporting after the Kim Emigh whistleblower case at WorldCom.