Ethics and Corporate Responsibility in the Workplace and the World

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Strayer University

This research paper will discusscommunalmatters of what organizationstake on when dealing with employee relations.Key factors in the perspective of some organizationshave gone so far as to violating laws to conceal illegal behaviors. Unfortunately isolated cases are becoming less common; these illicit practices are more common than one would think. This issue demands a very skilled manager to successfully and positively deal with the issues as well as coincide with what is right for the company considering both factors; the stakeholders and the employees involved in the issue. Stakeholders are those who can affect or be affected by the organization’s actions, objectives and or policies. Actions can be either negative or positive. Stakeholders can be employees, directors, customers, owners, suppliers etc. The stakeholders for this scenario with PharmaCARE are the employees, the company, the Colberian government and the company’s customers.

PharmaCARE is one of the world’s most successful pharmaceutical companies, enjoying a reputation as a caring, ethical and well-run company that produces high-quality products that has saved millions of lives and enhanced the quality of life of others. This company also offers discounted and free drugs to low income consumers. PharmaCARE’s ethics can be questioned, however, due to its many misconducts that have contradicted established ethical values. The company maintains a large manufacturing facility in Colberia, Africa. Here the company has found several healers eager to freely share information about indigenous cures and an abundance of Colberians that were willing to work for $1.00 a day harvesting plants by walking 5 miles in and out of the jungle carrying heavy baskets containing these plants. This company is known for being caring and ethical for which this is completely contrary to their mission. PharmaCARE being a successful and stable company should be able to provide these people a better pay and some kind of benefits in addition to safety measures for workers acting in a capacity to company. Due to Colberia’s low standard of living, these people live in primitive huts with no electricity and running water. PharmaCARE should at least provide them with the essentials of their daily needs like clean water for example. Also, provide them with carriers like wagons where they could carry the plants in and out of the jungle instead of doing it themselves. This would not only be an act of kindness but it would also keep the workers motivated to continue they’re work. If the company is not willing to pay them more than $1.00 per day, they should provide them with other essentials. It is stated that PharmaCARE’s executives, however, live in a luxury compound, complete with a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a golf course. Although Colberians are used to living the way they do, as mentioned before due to their low standard of living, this is can be seen as unethical and harsh to all Colberian workers.

Two years ago after research indicated that one of its top-selling diabetes drugs might slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,the company’s pharmacists began reformulating the drug to maximize the effect. To avoid FDA scrutiny, PharmaCARE then established a wholly-owned subsidiary, called CompCARE to operate as a compounding pharmacy to sell the new formulation to individuals on a prescription basis. CompCARE then set up an office near headquarters, and to conserve money and time, did a quick low-cost renovation and designated Allen Jones to run the operation’s clean room.

As production then increased one of Allen’s techs noticed that there was mold around the air vents. Allen did what he had to do and contacted the facilities’ supervisor to inspect the lab. As time passed some employees began coughing, sneezing and headaches at work. Donna, who has perfect attendance record, got so sick that she no longer was able to go to work due to bronchial problems. Due to this she filed for workers compensation. Also, another employee Tom threatened to complain to OSHA about the air quality in the lab.

In addition to these cases, there is another case involving another employee. Ayesha filed an EEOC complaint alleging she had not been promoted to supervisor because she was a Muslim. Allen did not believe she had the management or people skills necessary to be a good supervisor. After Allen discusses these issues with his boss, the Director of Operations, told him to fire all three of PharmaCARE’s employees Donna, Tom and Ayesha in order for him to receive his promised bonus and to keep his job.

Allen cannot legally fire any of these employees. Donna is protected by the workers compensation in which she is already being provided with her salary wage and medical benefits. This actually helps against her suing the company for negligence. If she is fired, the company is liable for failing to protect the employee’s well-being of being and is assuming responsibility for violating OSHA’s standards which guarantee the employees’ protection of their well-being. This can also be applied to Tom since he has the right to complain to OSHA due to the company’s inability to provide a safe environment and in addition mold is covered in OSHA’s regulations. If he is fired it can be seen as repercussionof making a formal complaint. Furthermore, in this case there is assumed evidence that there is an air problem in the company. An employee (Donna) already made a complaint and went to worker’s compensation due to this matter. As for Ayesha overall is a good worker meaning that if she’s fired, it can be seen as retaliation because she has an EEOC complaint filed. Unless, Allen has a justified and documented reason for firing her, he cannot do so.

In order for Allen to minimize the risks of his department and the company he should take proactive measurements to address each of the employees concerns, to include the following: an environmental inspection, including an air quality check; a career counseling session with Ayesha to explain the requirements for competing to seek managerial opportunities, resulting in having a plan of action or a career development plan to develop her skills in order to meet the requirements for managerial positions. In addition to this, Allen should sit with his supervisor and explain of why he cannot proceed to do these actions of firing these employees.

All of these actions that Allen would be taking are protected by whistleblowing protections and rights along with the other employees. He has the right to disclose corruption, dishonesty, incompetence, or administrative failures, without fear of retaliation. The disclosure may include unlawfully suppressed information concerning illegal or unethical conduct that threatens or is likely to threaten public health or safety (The District of Columbia). Every company supervisor shall make all protected disclosures involving any violation of law, rule, regulation or contract as soon as the supervisor becomes aware of the violation. The failure of a supervisor to act upon a specific protected disclosure is a basis for administrative action, including termination.

PharmaCARE recently launched a new initiative in which its purpose is to better the world by recycling, packaging changes and other green initiatives. This is all contradicted due to they’re anti-environmental lobbying efforts and Colberian activities. PharmaCARE’s extensive activities in Colberia have destroyed habitat and endangered native species. The company’s doing has successfully defeated environmental laws and regulations. This company should carry an obligation to be a leader in environmental matters due to their initiative of being environmental friendly. When a company or launches organizations like these they need to stand up to what is expected from them. If they are not able to keep it up they should abandon the initiative and discontinue.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act is an act to provide for liability, compensation, cleanup, and emergency response for hazardous substances released into the environment and the cleanup of inactive hazardous waste disposal sites. CERCLA’s cleanup authority was given to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). EPA may identify parties responsible for hazardous substances releases to the environment and compel those parties to clean up the sites, or it may cleanup itself using the Superfund (a trust fund) and cost recover from responsible parties by referring such matters to the U.S. Department of Justice. CERCLA has two kinds of response actions: removal actions and remedial actions. Removal actions are those in which are typically short-term response actions where the actions may be taken to address releases or threatened releases requiring prompt response. These actions are also classified in emergency, time critical and non-time critical. Remedial actions are long-term response actions in which seek to permanently and significantly reduce the risks associated with releases or threats of hazardous substances and are larger more expensive actions which may include for example measures such as preventing the migration of pollutants with containment. The provision that would apply to PharmaCARE would be that of removal actions emergency. The mold issue in the company needs quick and immediate response. The superfund that the company has with them will and has to be used cover and clean up the site and for the cost recover of the responsible party by referring such matter to the U.S Department of Justice.

References

EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved February 22, 2014, from Superfund: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/about.htm

The District of Columbia. (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2014, from Department of Human Resources: http://dchr.dc.gov/page/whistleblower-protections-and-obligations

Halbert, T., &Ingulli, E. (2012). Law & ethics in the business environment (7th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.




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