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Chapter 6

BUS 223 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Jet Fuel, Due Process, Foxconn

Course Code
BUS 223
Haskovon Kriegstein

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Ethical issues in the workplace: the current environment
How do employers affect employees?
Setting an example
Pay you a salary
The way they treat you (rudeness)
How much work they give
o Enough hours
o 8 hours, but so much work
offer any incentives
o level of incentives
competition vs. corporation
they can fire you
Two very distinct, competing, perspectives on the ethics of workplace relationships:
1. Employers might decide to treat employees well as a means to produce greater
workplace harmony and productivity, and higher level of innovations (utilitarian
2. Employers might treat employees well out of a Kantian sense of duty and rights,
regardless of the either utilitarian or self-interested productivity consequences.
(Treating employees well because it’s the right thing to do)
Defining the parameters of the Employment Relationship
An individual agreeing to work for another individual this arrangement raises issues of
power, obligations, responsibility, fair treatment, and expectations.
o Due Process and Just Cause
Philosophically, the right of due process is the right to be protected against the
arbitrary use of authority.
In legal context, due process refers to the procedures that police and
courts must follow in exercising their authority over citizens
Due process in the workplace acknowledges an employer’s authority
over employees
o There is evidence to suggest that this acknowledged authority
of employers over employees, or simply managers over
subordinates, is not always exercised in a just or fair manner
and it is not only the worker who suffers the consequences
Employment at will holds that, in the absence of a particular
contractual or other legal obligation that specigies the length or
condition of employment, all employees are employed at will
Due process and just cause, would reverse the onus (burden of proof
on employee) onto the employer to show cause to justify the dismissal
of an employee.
Just how much ethics is needed in labour relations, to produce good outcomes?
o Ethics is about restraining your own behaviour
o What other forces might “do the trick”
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Ethics and Prudence
Prudence: To be prudent is to use “cautious good judgement.”
o “of course we insure our fleet of cars. That’s merely prudent.”
o “Risking your rent money at the race track isn’t prudent.”
Sometimes prudence is enough
o Why don’t environmentalists need to harass airlines to get them to burn less fuel
Because it’s in airlines best favour since burning jet fuel is expensive, and are
already “on the job.”
Is Prudence enough in Employer/Employee Relations?
Is it prudent for employers to treat employees well?
o They’ll stay
o Training is expensive
o If employees are treated well, they’ll perform better
There are limits to what prudence can do
o Why?
There’s a line between a boss and employee
They’re human too – they make mistakes
Culture of the business
Quote from Roosevelt: Workers are also customers
o Does that argument work?
E.g. Mercedes, factory, frontline workers can’t afford the cars
Is contract enough?
Aren’t working conditions simply a question of what employee and employer agree on
o Why not?
Employee has no say
Take it or leave no choice
Very limited
Can’t cover everything
Limited choice
Contracts are always incomplete
Some “ingredients” are suspect (American Apparel)
“informal” argument might be illusion
some agreements might be immoral
Workplace Bullying
Workplace bullying more predominant in the service sector because that work relies
significantly on interpersonal relationships and interactions
o The more interactions, the more chance of personalities clashing
Decision Point
o Should states enact anti-bullying laws, that allow victims of WB to sue harassers
and hold employers accountable?
Advocates: the extent of the problem when considered alongside
evidence that bullying causes significant physical, emotional, and
economic harm to its victims calls for a legislative response
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