Business problems, situations, and opprotunities that are ethical issues

Essay by mainiacJunior High, 9th grade July 2005

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1. Environmental Hazards:

The pollutants that business industry dumps into the environment are more than just ugly nuisance; they are killers. For example, air pollution has been found to be related to deaths from bronchitis, heart disease, as well as emphysema, and several types of cancers. Studies by the American lung Association have concluded that between 50 to 120,000 thousand deaths a year are linked to the air pollution that are disbursed by air from manufacturing companies. Ant there is little doubt that the depletion of the ozone is caused by atmospheric pollution. According to Coleman/ Cressey (2001), The contamination of our waters with poisonous waste, for example, lead, mercury and dumping radioactive materials at sea to include the sinking of certain types of vessel, has already taken many lives. Thus, alone the American industry creates 3000 new chemicals every year, and most of the hundreds of thousand of chemicals used by industry have never been thoroughly tested to find out how dangerous they really are.

For example, Dell Computer has come increasing scrutiny for its failure to take a leading role in reducing the amount toxic materials in the production of computers. All so, Dell Computer is using prison inmates (cheap labor) to handle the recycling of computers component parts. Not only is Dell violating environmental laws and contributing to improper disposal of computers that contain high contents of mercury, but also is endangering the inmate's health. (Ferrell, Fraedrich, Ferrell, 2005).

The growth of our ecological problem actually started in the 1960's, which prompted groups and individuals to lobby congress to establish laws to protect the public and impose stiff penalties on those businesses that violated the laws. Out of this era came the Radiation Control for Health and safety act of 1968, Clean Water Act of 1972, and Toxic Substance Act of 1976. (Ferrell, Fraedrich, Ferrell, 2005). The responsibility of enforcing these laws is entrusted to (EPA), Environmental Protection Agency. Even businesses of today, continue to behave in total unethically manner when it come to pollution. Many large corporation don't have pollution control program and/or mechanism in place that places value on the environment, be it land, sea or air pollution. But, most violators of the "Acts" receive just a "slap on the wrist". Businesses are more concern about their own self-interest of profits. Thus, continue to show little regards to the fact they are destroying the environment as well as depleting precious resources. Furthermore, the present contemporaries are incline to affluent life style and their materialistic greed have made them careless about the environment. Just as the rules are written for ethical behavior and left open for ones own interpretation and compliance, the same could be said in reference to the pollution control "Act", there is a right and wrong way to demonstrate "environmental awareness", but organizations continue to ignore the fact that we are on a path of depleting our precious environment.

2. Equal pay for women.

"I believe that not only must the hierarchical nature of the division labor between the sexes be eliminated, but the very division of labor between the sexes itself must be eliminated if women are to attain equal social status with men and if women are to attain the full development of their human potential". (Hurst, 1998).

Throughout history, women were directly involved in production. When the industrial revolution occurred, single women and children were recruited for example from New England to work in textile factories in Rhode Island. Supervisory positions were held by men. Female workers were paid only half of what men were paid, even though they made up approximately 75 percent of the workers (Eisler, 1977). Men were concerned about the entrance of women into the labor market because they felt that it would have a depressing effect on their wages. They fought to keep women out of the craft unions that later developed. Women held strikes in the 1830s and 1840s to protest reductions in wages, speed-ups in work pace, and working hours (Dublin, 1970).

Wars change the face of a nation, to include the workforce. During the World War II, jobs held formerly by men were accessible to women. The influx of women into the labor force has continued in recent years. In general, women tend to concentrate in white-collar and service occupations, while men are more spread out between white collar and blue-collar positions. A decline in occupational segregation has occurred in broad occupational categories, largely because of shifts in technology and organizational structures. But despite these general improvements, women still are found disproportionately in certain occupations such as nursing, teaching and hold only a small percentage of positions as computer specialists, scientist and engineers. Similarly, a man and woman may be both be in sales, but the woman is much more likely to be in clothing sales, while the mans is involved in selling of stocks and bonds. Craft occupations are another group of occupations in which women continue to be severely underrepresented (Herz, Wootton, 1996).

According to a US Department of Labor (1996) report, in 1979, women who worked full time made about 63 percent of what men did, but in 1995, women earned about 75 percent as much as men. However, this decline may be due more to decreases in the earnings of men, in general, than it is to real improvement for women (Bernhardt et al., 1995).

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) guarantee that women holding essentially the same jobs as men will be treated with respect and fairly compensated regarding all rewards of work: wages, salaries, commissions, overtime pay, bonuses, premium pay, and benefits. However, comparisons cannot be made across different companies. Interestingly, employers may pay workers of one gender more than another on the basis of merit, seniority, quality and quantity of production, or any other factor other than sex. Given that women are still reaching a glass ceiling, particularly when it comes to upper management, CEO positions, these allowed practices are still discriminatory practices.

How is equality of position established? By determining and setting criteria for skill, effort, responsibility, and working condition. Ivancevic (2004) maintains that the difference in wages includes also "any type of compensation such as vacations, holiday pay, leave of absence, overtime pay, lodging, food, reimbursement for clothing or other expenses". In order to close the remaining earning gap, the concept of equal pay for equal jobs to be expanded to include equal pay for comparable jobs has become more widely accepted.

3. Women comparable worth in the job market: The concept of comparable worth maintains that since females are discriminated in the labor market we have to look at the worth and intrinsic value of the job, and although jobs may be dissimilar in content (i.e. nurse and plumber), both are important to society and the organization. My wife maintains that she thinks that the garbage man/woman has a much greater worth and value (what would happen if the garbage wouldn't be picked up?) than a doctor, for example, for she seldom goes to the doctor, at least not weekly. Even when men take "women's work", they are on top of the pay scale. The solution to the erosion of inequality is, regardless whether viewed from the perspective of equal pay or comparable worth, that women's real wages have to rise faster than men's whose wages don't have to fall. Though laws now prohibit employers from paying a woman with the same qualification less than a man who does the same work. In support of women rights, I would like to see the law expanded to guarantee that the jobs in which most workers are mostly women are paid at roughly the same rate as comparable jobs in which most workers are men. My own personal experience of equal pay and comparable worth is linked to the military pay system. This particular pay system is a product of across the broad theory, that regardless of gender, the pay at this particular rank is the same for both male and female. There are four major factors that govern advancement for the sexes: education, time in service, training, and experience, though there are special incentives for those with critical skills. In other words, all jobs in this particular specialty are to be considered to be equal in pay for all. Therefore it is my belief regardless if you are male or female with identical qualification and capable of performing at the next level there should be no hesitation in advancement. It has been proven time and time again throughout ranks of military professionals, that women are just as capable and sometime more capable than men at performing the same job, but at a higher rate of success and enthusiasm. In closing, the net worth should be based on the value each job (not female or male) renders to the organization.


Bernhardt, Martina Morris, and Mark S. Handcock. 1995. "Women's Gains or Men's

Losses? A Closer Look at the Shrinking Gender Gap in Earnings." American Journal of Sociology 101:302-28.

Dublin, Thomas. 1979. Women at Work. New York: Columbia University Press.

Eisler, Benita, ed. 1977. The Lowell Offering. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott.

Herz, Diane E., and Barbara H. Wooton. 1996. "Women in the Workforce: An

Overview." Pp 44-78 in The American Woman 1996-7, edited by C. Costellor and B.K Krimgold. New York: Norton.

Hurst, Charles E. 1998. Social Inequality: Forms Causes and Consequences. Allen &

Beacon: Needham Heights, MA.

Invancevich, J. M. 2004. Human Resource Management. (9th ed). New York: McGraw


U.S. Department of Labor, January 1996. Employment and Earnings. Washington, D.C:

Government Printing Office.